Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday Open Thread

Upcoming threads:
- Jay Inslee
- Washington State PTA Convention and charter schools
- fundraising stress for PTAs
- CTE - Career and Technical Education

What's on your mind? 

58 comments:

Anonymous said...

Melissa, or anyone has any information on this: why Lowell at Lincoln and Hamilton can not use the public park between the 2 buildings in Wallingford for recess during the day or for any after school activity?
- Curious

Anonymous said...

Curious:

"There are covenants between the neighbors and the Parks Department that prohibit school use of the park during the day." Question 6 under Facilities

-- D's mom

Anonymous said...

Thank you D's mom. The reasoning of the law is not there so is there any chance to ask the city to change this law?
- Curious

mirmac1 said...

Why is SPS trying to get us to pay for a new SLUSH? Because Tim Burgess wants one. Open a downtown public elementary school. Look 2/3 down the page. Note he fails to cite any real numbers for children in the downtown area. He cites "people" living downtown and percentage of households. How many are singles, retired couples, etc? His citations don't provide that info either. But I did review the 2010 census tracts for lower QA, Belltown, Denny Triangle, Central Business District and SLU, and the number of children under 18 equals 753. That differs from the Downtown Seattle Association that says the census show "19 and under" (not a category on U.S. website) as 1,293 for these same tracts. Just a delta of nearly double.

He wants to be mayor and school board director too.

mirmac1 said...

D's mom, changing a convenant changes the value of those homes so doubt it. But who knows. Any real estate attorneys here?

Anonymous said...

It's *really* unfortunate that JSIS, Hamilton, and Lincoln (McDonald too(?) in Wallingford ALL lack green space. Small footprints, no green space, overcrowding, UGH.

-It's not easy finding green.

Sahila said...

#edreform - who controls what?

PEARSON = core curriculum, content, texts, testing;

BUSH Institute = preschool program, 'principal' training;

BROAD = 'superintendents', district management, school boards;

KOPP = 'teachers', teacher training...

GATES = DOE, parent & 'community' groups, funding

ALEC = privatising, union busting, teacher deprofessionalisation legislation

Lori said...

I think I heard last summer when the move to L@L was happening that the covenant forbidding school use of adjacent/nearby public parks during the school day has something to do with making the resource less attractive or less available to the rest of the community.

I think the concern is that other people (eg, younger kids) might not feel comfortable using the playground if there are already 100+ school kids using it when they get there.

I also vaguely remember that it might have to do with wear-and-tear on things like the grass as well.

It would be interesting to know if a single class could use the park for a special outing once in a while versus the whole school using it regularly for recess.

And one caveat: this is what I remember hearing, but it was nearly a year ago and I can't even remember who said it or who had looked into it. But it sort of makes sense. I guess.

Po3 said...

Private schools use public parks. Billings uses Green Lake, Pacific Crest uses a nearby park.

Bush is using the land that the church bought (not public, but does not have permission).

I am sure there are others.

Anonymous said...

We do live in a city. On nice day, a bit of green is gold. On most wet cold days, it's mud. In anycase, I know my kids would love Hamilton new built instead of their ugly mid century, dark building. But I tell them at least you have a park for "fieldtrips" and a pool nearby and your teachers aren't blowing fuses when they plug into an outlet.

sunny

Anonymous said...

My understanding was that schools couldn't use the city parks on a regular basis, but they could use them occassionally for special outings. Many schools are situated in close proximity to parks and they do use them for special outings like end of the year park days or an occassional gym class.

-parent

Charlie Mas said...

Ha ha ha!

On his blog City Councilmember Tim Burgess praises Roxhill Elementary. I don't think he knows that the District wants to close it.

Maybe he should actually pay attention to what the District is doing.

dan dempsey said...

Building off of my Open Tuesday comments and data that there are fake grades that disguise the lack of education of students happening in some schools .... comes this:

Choosing Blindly: Instructional Materials, Teacher Effectiveness, and the Common Core

Evidence shows that instructional materials have large effects on student learning. However, little research exists on the effectiveness of most instructional materials, and very little systematic information has been collected on which materials are being used in which schools.

(1).. State education agencies should collect data from districts on the instructional materials in use in their schools.{{Sen Eric Oemig was all for building a data base of materials in use and analyzing results from OSPI testing ... he was not reelected .."The End"}} The collection of comprehensive and accurate data will require states to survey districts, and in some cases districts may need to survey their schools. In the near term, many states can quickly glean useful information by requesting purchasing reports from their districts’ finance offices. Building on these initial efforts, states should look to initiate future efforts to survey teachers, albeit on a more limited basis.

(2) The federal government’s National Center for Education Statistics should aid states in this effort by developing data collection templates for them to use through its Common Education Data Standards (CEDS), and providing guidance on how states can use and share data on instructional materials.

(3) Organizations with an interest in education reform should support this effort. For example, the National Governors Association (NGA) and Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) have put their reputations on the line by sponsoring the Common Core State Standards Initiative. Research based on current and past state standards indicates that this initiative is unlikely to have much of an effect on student achievement in and of itself.

(4).. The Data Quality Campaign (DQC) should use its influence in this area to encourage states to collect information on the use of instructional materials and support them in their efforts to gather these data. The DQC should also help states use the data once they have been collected.

(5).. Philanthropic organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Lumina Foundation for Education could have a major impact by providing the start-up funding needed to collect data on instructional materials and support the research that would put those data to use.

===========
Meanwhile the SPS ignores its own data on how ineffective its k-12 math materials have been.... The state legislature has nothing going on nor does OSPI other than spending and implementation of the Common Core State Standards..... which will likely accomplish little other than to provide an economic stimulus for some segments of the Education Industrial Complex.

Meanwhile in Utah ... a new movement complete with website is in operation:
Utahns Against Common Core

I would be signing the petition if I lived in Utah.

========
(continued ....)

dan dempsey said...

(... continued)

Let me point out how far off the mark education spending has been.... The requirements for an NSF/EHR grant .... involve this degree of accountability.... was the money spent the way it was stated that it would be spent in the grant award. .... and that is it. There is no requirement to report on learning improvement or efficacy of the program the grant paid for.

I know this because I filed a complaint with the NSF Inspector General over the $1,000,000 spent on Math Pro-D programs that included the school wide unmonitored math debacle at Cleveland High School from 2006 thru 2009...... results are not important.

That should be the SPS motto... results are not important.

Anonymous said...

Public schools (other part of Seattle) are using parks around them also: C. Blaine , Lawton in Magnolia, the one in Queen Anne. So what is it so special about Wallingford. My student in Hamilton never been in the park for any reason in 2 years.
- Curious

WallingfordMom said...

The Meridian School at the Good Shepherd Center uses Meridian park for recess daily. I've had to leave the park many times with my young kids because it is too difficult to keep track of them with the Meridian kids out.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, I think there is an issue with young kids mixing with school kids, sharing as well as having adults around that staff doesn't know and the issues around that.

Patrick said...

I can see it could be an issue both ways. If K-5 kids are in a park, it's a public place, and they can't tell a creepy-looking adult to leave.

Jane Addams uses Meadowbrook Pond and Mathews Beach occasionally.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I just read the minutes from the Executive Cttm. meeting of March 14th.

It seems the Legislature asked if SPS could name a school after the late state senator, Scott White. The minutes say that DeBell needs to "speak with the community and White's family" to make sure they would be ok with this. They said they would consider schools with "generic" names.

He was in the 46th so that would be Laurelhurst, Greenwood, Northgate and Lake City.

I thought he was showing signs of being a good senator and a champion for education but I'm not sure about naming a school after him.

sarah said...

What school did you go to? I went to the White School. I guess it's fitting for North Seattle! HA! Sorry...Couldn't help it.

An interesting summary from Science (top journal) said...

An inquiry-based science curriculum requires teachers to generate scientific questions for their students. Are students studying to be teachers (preservice teachers) learning this skill? Graves and Rutherford examined the ability of elementary preservice teachers to generate a testable question from earth science data available online. One group was given instruction on what constitutes a testable question, and the other was referred to a conclusion rubric in a laboratory manual. Generated questions were categorized as testable or nontestable, and testable questions were analyzed using a rubric designed to evaluate the preservice teacher's ability to identify variables, state investigative parameters, and identify relationships between variables. The majority of preservice teachers from both groups wrote questions that were testable but still needed modification, suggesting that the instruction given to the test group did not improve the quality of their questions. Moreover, it highlights the need to provide preservice teachers with more opportunities to experience the nature of science by participating in research.
J. Coll. Sci. Teach. 41, 46 (2012).

Bird said...

When I was kid in Mountain View, the elementary schools were generally speaking attached to public parks, and the schools used the park land during the school day.

The city maintained the park space. The schools had access to well maintained greenspaces. The public did not have access during school hours, but did after school.

I remember a lot of things as being worse funding-wise back in those post-Prop 13 days, but in this respect the California schools of my day were way better than SPS.

I remember it working very well for everyone.

I often think wistfully of the grounds of my old elementary when I'm standing on the blacktop of my kid's school under the freeway with 200 K-1 students all trying to play on a small wood-chipped area at once.

mirmac1 said...

An interesting summary from Science-
I'm sure TFA is training their novices for that.
*snark*

An interesting summary from Science (top journal) said said...

Mirmac1,

Well, if they are science majors, they should be receiving it as part of their undergraduate education!

mirmac1 said...

TFA has not too many science majors. Mostly liberal arts. Again, the five-week training's got nuthin' for inquiry-based learning.

mirmac1 said...

BTW, on an earlier thread, someone asked how she could express her frustration about the SLU school for no one (remember the bridge to nowhere).

Write to Councilmembers Conlin, Clark and Burgess. Especially Burgess because this is part of his dream for the utopia he thinks he will someday lead.

Anonymous said...

I'm trying to wrap my head around the proposed new middle school they are planning for the Olympic Hills property. I understand why they need a new middle school, but so many things about the proposal just don't make sense.

First, they don't say which schools will be in the feeder pattern for the new Olympic Hills Middle School. I'm guessing it would be some combination of Olympic Hills, John Rogers, Sacajawea, Northgate, and Olympic View?

From what was said at the Eckstein meeting, they don't plan to open the new middle school building until 2018 or 2019 (depending upon the option), and, in the meantime, the plan is to house the population that would feed into Olympic Hills Middle School at an interim site. This could be either Lincoln or John Marshall?

When would this interim housing begin? Could it begin as soon as 2015 or even 2013? If so, are they proposing that all these kids from these north-end schools will go to middle school way south of where they live, to Green Lake or Wallingford, for up to 6 YEARS? That is nuts! Will they be bused, or will the kids have to find their way via Metro bus? I hope they will be bused, but how much will that cost the district?

The Olympic Hills site is about 1/2the size of the Jane Addams property (check it out on Google Earth), yet it has been proposed to house an elementary school AND a 1000-seat comprehensive middle school? Once again, this is just nuts! It doesn't even look like there would be room for just a middle school, with the necessary athletic fields.

There already is a middle school building in this area - Jane Addams. I can appreciate that there is a newly-established K-8 at the site, but wouldn't it make more sense to build a new K-8 building for that community, and use the existing Jane Addams building as a comprehensive middle school?

I know that this would inconvenience the Jane Addams K-8 families, but by not repurposing the building, they will inconvenience the families from at least 4 of the surrounding north-end attendance area schools. If the interim process were to begin in 2013 and continue through 2019, this would affect all the kids from the feeder schools who are currently in kindergarten through 4th grade, plus those entering kindergarten next year! That's a lot of kids!

Sorry to vent, but you asked what was "on my mind."

-Frustrated up North

JA Parent said...

Yes, it would sort of "inconvenience" the Jane Addams families to have our school closed. It would also inconvenience the district to find seats for those 600 students.

And is 3 years old "newly established"?

Anonymous said...

SPS has inquiry based science kits at the elementary level that they train their teachers on. Each lesson involves an inquiry question that guides the work.

-ST

Anonymous said...

Barf. Who cares about "testable" science questions? Kids need to get out and explore, not sit around and think up "testable questions". Equally lame is endless fretting over controls, variables, etc. Inquiry is what science actually is. Until we have some science that is actually ABOUT something - instead about the theory of science and all its little mechanics, who will really care about the rest?

-stay at the Jr. College please

Anonymous said...

JA Parent -

I think Frustrated Up North said to build a new building for Jane Addams, not close them. I agree that Jane Addams is a thriving community but the district totally blew it by not making the Jane Addams building a middle school when they had the chance and so now middle school is a disaster up here.

For families with a 4th grader, there is no clue as to where those students will be for middle school so expect to hear a whole lot more from really frustrated families not looking for convenience but any clue about where their students will go.

If they are going to make a new building at Olympic Hills, I think it does make sense to build it as a K8 for the Jane Addams community. Jane Addams gets a custom build K8, which is much less expensive than building a middle school and the North end gets a middle school.

As for inconvenience, well, welcome to the north end, there is no such thing as convenience or predictability in public school up here. I think it is a coin toss some days as to which neighborhood has the least amount of predictability or convenience - West Seattle North or North East Seattle.

- another frustrated parent.

Anonymous said...

TOPS has used the public playfield in Eastlake as its "own" for years. I think Seattle Prep uses the attached tennis courts as their training facility. Seems like it is nice to have kids using the facilities, though admittedly it wouldn't be the most welcoming to parents of preschoolers or dogwalkers during school play and practice times. But can't people take turns?

Also, Jane Addams: Three years of history in one place guarantees you nothing unless you are incredibly naive. Witness the opening closure and movement of populations everywhere by our district. No offense, but get real if you think you are entitled to a location. No one is. Which is painful for everyone. And you can throw enrollment numbers logic all day long at the district, but don't count on that getting you anywhere either. Life in SPS. And Carr and Martin-Morris's bad oversight of capacity problems going back years now.

SavvyVoter

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

oops, the previous post should have been signed "Frustrated up North"

-Frustrated up North

Charlie Mas said...

Frustrated up North,

I think the middle school planned for the Olympic Hills property is going to be an attendance area middle school with a set of feeder elementary schools of its own. If that's the case, then I think Olympic Hills is a better location than Jane Addams for that purpose. Think of the future geographical distribution of attendance area middle schools in the north-end. The set of Hamilton, Whitman, Eckstein, Wilson-Pacific, and Olympic Hills is better than it would be with Jane Addams in lieu of Olympic Hills.

Besides, what is gained by switching the purpose of the two buildings? Yes, it would accelerate the opening of the middle school, but there's no urgency. The Wilson-Pacific school will open earlier and relieve a lot of the pressure before the Olympic Hills building is ready.

And accelerating the opening of the middle school comes by deferring the permanent home for the K-8. It doesn't make more winners, it just changes who they are.

JA Parent said...

Believe me, Jane Addams families aren't "incredibly naive" about how the district operates.

Anonymous said...

Just how big is the park between Lincoln and Hamilton? A covenant is a legal document agreed upon by the parties involved. It isn't like you just change it because some new people want to.

Also, two schools the size of Lincoln and Hamilton could overrun and devastate a space if used for recesses. Parks are for people . . . not just kids.

The parks mentioned by posters above are generally large spaces, not used for recesses every day - as far as I could discern - and many of the schools mentioned have smaller populations like Billings.

Also, recesses are controlled for safety and observability. My school uses Loyal Heights as a destination park but no one uses it daily as a recess space that I know of.

If I were a homeowner in that community, I'd probably choose to reserve the space for the quality of the space and the flora and fauna that habitate it. All spaces are not equal.

My first years were spend at a school in a rural community with a huge grassy playground with swings. Third grade and on were in Seattle at West Queen Anne: a concrete playground not nearly as big but much more fun.

Funny. I spent seventh through twelvth grades at Queen Anne (before McClure) and I don't remember having recesses.

Still a Skagit Girl

Melissa Westbrook said...

Up North, you make good points.

According to the district's three scenarios, yes, W-P middle school would start up in 2014 at John Marshall and then move to the new building about 2016. So they would be bringing a new middle school on-line sooner.

As for moving Addams to a new K-8 building at OH and using the Addams building - a middle school - as a middle school. This was Sherry Carr's suggestion.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Melissa and Charlie -

Charlie, I understand your arguments (kind of), when you are just looking at dots on a map, but when you look at the neighborhoods around those dots, the Jane Addams building has much better access to transportation, already has middle-school-sized athletic fields, and it's proximity to Hale would be so benefical for a comprehensive middle school community.

The Olympic Hills site is located in a quiet neighborhood setting. Has anyone bothered to ask that community if they want a big, 1000-seat middle school build in their neighborhood?

Charlie, you mention feeder patterns. Have there been feeder patterns proposed for either the Olympic Hills or Wilson Pacific middle schools? It seems silly to have "community engagement" about this process without a clear understanding of which communities will be affected by the options.

-Frustrated up North

Anonymous said...

Olympic Hills is a terrible location for a middle school. To be blunt, a comprehensive middle school is a complex endeavor, not SPS's speciality. A brand new middle school, with no existing community will not be remotely as straightforward as starting an elementary school.

OH is right on the border with Shoreline. Nobody in their right minds would pick a brand new SPS attendance area school when they can simply go a few more blocks and go to one of the best middle schools in the state.

- north seattle mom

dw said...

Among several ideas, Dan said (5).. Philanthropic organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Lumina Foundation for Education could have a major impact by providing the start-up funding needed to collect data on instructional materials and support the research that would put those data to use.

Two thoughts:

1) I'd be a little worried about the direction this could take, given the players.

2) This would obviously require testing and associated metrics, either in addition to exiting tests or replacing them. Perhaps they could use something already in place, like MAP or MSP/HSPE, but would that anger the many folks who strongly dislike MAP? Regardless of the merits, there are a lot of parents around that would fight against anything testing-related.

On a related note, read this thread about how the Gates Foundation's MET project can come into a school, and for testing purposes, block a child from moving to an appropriate class, force them to be videotaped or miss classes, and generally make a mess of things.

Short quote: They are paying the teachers and achools to participate in the study and dictating no placement changes. They are also videotaping the children. You can opt out of being videotaped, but I think that means your child misses class on the days they videotape. You can't opt out of the study (and the placement restrictions) because they are claiming that the children aren't in the study, only the teachers.

Anonymous said...

Melissa,
You said that the plan is for WP to open at John Marshall in 2014, moving into the WP building by 2016 (the spreadsheet says 2017). What about the OH middle school? When and where will that population be housed prior to 2018 or2019, when the building is slated to open?

Charle said there was no urgency to open the OH middle school. I guess from the District's point of view there isn't, if all those kids are designated for an interim assignment until the building is ready.
-Frustrated up North

GreyWatch said...

Interesting article in real change about a transit survey conducted by south seattle middle school and high school students.

http://www.realchangenews.org/index.php/site/archives/6447/

Wholeheartedly agree with their recommendations to SPS and Metro which include making it easier for kids and families to deal with ORCA issues. The only current option - getting to their downtown office, M-F, 9-5.

An interesting summary from Science said...

Jr. college--

You don't seem to understand what science is. Are you saying that the top scientific journal are confused about science? As a scientific researcher, what I do all day is use research to try to answer a question. If you don't understand the basics of experimental design, you can easily be swept up by pseudoscience. Science is not just puttering around; puttering around is only science if you are trying to answer a testable question.

mirmac1 said...

I guess we could always teach "creationism". That's testable.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure your point, interesting-summary. And we're all so glad somebody really knows what "real science is." What kids do now - is endless drills on "testable questions". What they should be doing is observing things in the natural world, reading and learning about those observations. You can actually GIVE the kids the testable question, or tell them what's supposed to happen (and see if it actually does happen) - and still do a whole lot of "science". They will learn how to formulate testable questions when they are ready and INTERESTED. Science shouldn't be about "what science really is." By turning the whole thing into a big bore - you don't learn more science, or more anything. The inquiry based science kits are also terrible. Inquiry is a good things - but the kits don't promote it. My kid's class got a bunch of packages of dead bugs from which they were supposed to make terrariums. That pretty much shot the whole unit - and nobody learned anything. I never saw one that was worth anything. There was one about identifying rocks and minerals. OK. But why use a kit for that?

parent

Interesting summary said...

Parent--

I'm not saying that the kits are great. They're not. But giving kids cookbook assignments, which is what you advocate, doesn't teach kids how to do science. They should be coming up with the questions and trying to answer them.

Melissa Westbrook said...

No, the OH middle school is slated to be built in 2019. I suspect their population would go to John Marshall during construction.

As I said, they would have already created a population for W-P middle school so that would already take some of the strain off Eckstein/Whitman until the OH middle school is ready.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm... I had written a comment further up in this stream that I had forgotten to sign, then tried to sign it with a subsequent post, but my comment was deleted anyway.

What I had written was a little bit of the history of middle school assignments at the north end of the Eckstein service area.

Before the NSAP, Eckstein there was a circle around the Eckstein service area. If you fit in that circle, you got in. If you didn't, you got bused to Hamilton. Summit was in the JA building then. The solution for the lack of capacity at Eckstein was to bus kids from the Lake City neighborhoods to Wallingford for middle school, past both the JA and Eckstein buildings.

Then came the NSAP, and the promise of a seat at Eckstein and room at a "mushroom-model" K-8 at Jane Addams to handle the middle school overflow.

Now, Eckstein is severely overcrowded, and the elementary population of JA is huge, leaving very few, if any, middle school seats for kids entering at 6th grade beyond the next year or two.

The current proposal, to once again bus our kids to Wallingford, and house them at an interim site, while a middle school building in our neighborhood, the Jane Addams building) is used to house mostly elementary students, is a slap in the face of every attendance school family in the area.

Build a new K-8 at Olympic Hills for the Jane Addams K-8 community, and repurpose the JA building as a middle school. The result would be a vibrant K-8 community at OH, and a successful middle school for the north end.

Signed - Frustrated Up North

Anonymous said...

Melissa,
Are you sure that the kids slated for OH middle school would be in interim housing only during construction? I got the impression from the response to questions at the Eckstein meeting that they planned to house the kids in the future OH feeder pattern at an interim location, in order to solve capacity issues at Eckstein, not just during the construction of the middle school. Did you hear otherwise?

-Frustrated up North

Melissa Westbrook said...

Frustrated, I'm not sure what you are asking.

Why would OH students remain in an interim location after construction is completed?

Anonymous said...

Parent:

It sounds like your kid was in 1st grade? In the first grade organisms kit they make terrariums--but they also involve moss and a tree seedling and observing them grow (on top of putting sow bugs in there and watching what happens). If all your kid got was dead bugs in a terrarium then...their teacher didn't actually do the unit (it also involves observing seeds, planting seeds in different conditions, observing woodland vs water animals...)

In my experience, the science lessons all have open ended questions to explore that are not even really testable (I have experience at 1st...with questions like "What can we observe inside a seed?").


-ST

Anonymous said...

Melissa,
Sorry if I wasn't clear. At the Eckstein meeting, Peggy M said that they knew the were going to need middle school capacity prior to the 2019 opening of the OH middle school, and the plan was to start putting kids from the designated OH feeder pattern at an interim site prior to the opening of the OH middle school. I don't think she said just during construction.

If the interim housing is for only a couple of years, beginning in 2017, that's not horrible. If they are planning to start interim housing in 2013 or even 2015, in order to deal with capacity issues, then it's a different can of worms entirely.

-frustrated up north

Anonymous said...

I liked the science units in first grade. They include organisms, weather and balls and ramps. My fave was balls and ramps. It is the most hands-on and open ended once the controlled trials are over.

The organisms unit is a good one but time consumptive and often with poor live materials. And you're basically supposed to kill it all when you're done. I've done K, too. The snails are also not environmentally appropriate and they, too, are supposed to be killed after the unit. I don't know any teacher than kills them. They send them home with families who eventually put them out into the environment.

I know. . . they shouldn't. But they do. I took them one year from a K teacher after I'd moved on and up and gave them to a parent who promised to freeze them. I could not do it. When I taught first grade, I kept those darn mealworms alive for almost a year. I never did know what to do with them and they kept hatching.

I'm just not a killer.

n...

Anonymous said...

Yes, when Roosevelt and later Garfield were at Lincoln,
that park also could not be used during the day. No real explanation was given besides the fact that there was some sort of agreement preventing it. I wonder if this agreement existed *before* Lincoln closed as a high school.

--Old School Music

Charlie Mas said...

Frustrated up North, somebody is going to ride a bus to Wallingford.

Either it will be the middle school students from the new Olympic Hills service area or it will be the K-8 students from Jane Addams. But either way, one of those two populations will be riding a bus to Wallingford until the Olympic Hills building is ready.

Making Jane Addams a middle school doesn't take anyone off the bus, it just changes who is on it.

Anonymous said...

Interesting summary -

"But giving kids cookbook assignments, which is what you advocate, "

Did I "advocate" to give kids cookbook assignments? No, I don't see where I did. I KNOW that giving them lots and lots of drill on "testable questions" doesn't do a thing to motivate students. It doesn't teach observation skills, it doesn't prime interest, it doesn't teach them about any scienctific area. It is ineffective and boring. Foremost, science is about observation and curiousity. Funny that the district moves towards "inquiry" in other areas... but where it matters the most, arugably "science", it is stuck on "theory of science"... rather than anyting resembling inquiry.

parent

Anonymous said...

I found the current Science curriculum too limiting in what I was allowed to expose my students to. I was allowed to have children only learn what was in our kits, what we could test in our classroom. That meant that there were about sixteen lessons, that had a limited amount of equipment, that would not cost very much. Most principles about science were "off limits" because it was not testable from our school's budget. Students were not really allowed to learn what was not in our kits, which meant most of the principles of science were "off limits." Concepts about the stars and solar system, molecules, etc. were off limits. Almost all of what is currently understood about science was "off limits." While students in other countries can learn about the findings of science, our students are not supposed to be instructed on those things in any way.

We are way too one sided in our approach. When a teacher can only teach what is in their kits, their students have very little to learn. On pretests, my students already knew most of what the kit was supposed to teach. It seems like teachers are not allowed to expose their students to basic scientific knowledge. Even though I like the kits, and my students enjoy their assignments, I find the current approach to be limiting in allowing students to learn as much as they should know by the time they leave elementary school.

Teachers actually get repremanded if they expose their students to information that is not in their kits. I would like the freedom to include some of both types of instruction. I believe that my students would be interested in learning more scientific content than we can afford to replicate in the classroom.

Seattle teacher