Friday, September 13, 2013

Friday Open Thread

What are you all thinkin' about?

Here are some miscellaneous items:

Jose Banda in a 10-minute KUOW back-to-school interview.

National PTA issues pablum-like press release on data use and a guide for parents which glosses over serious concerns everyone should have about what kind of data is being shared, the fact that parents have no rights to know about it, and the fact that parents have no ability to opt out:

Thanks, Mary Griffin for those

I have a question about a form from the YMCA Community Learning Center authorizing the release of student information that is protected by FERPA for after-school activities for Hamilton students. Anyone know about that?

Kristin King, a Seattle parent, has a website that you will probably want to check out. Her most recent post is How to Check Out a Non-profit,

Here's a long list of articles about boys in school. We presume institutionalized racism when discipline for African-Americans is four times that of non-black students. Boys are disciplined ten times as often as girls, so isn't that evidence of institutionalized sexism? Do teachers need to become culturally competent when it comes to boys?

How to Make School Better for Boys

Boys Have Deep Emotional Lives

Celebrate boys’ boyness – and work with it - The Globe and Mail

Stop Penalizing Boys for Not Being Able to Sit Still at School - Atlantic Mobile

Bring it: Boys may benefit from aggressive play - Children's health

Why Boys Will Be Boys

Single gender classes: Is is time to separate some boys and some girls? | Comments From An Old Fart

Rough and Tumble 101

“You Be the Bad Guy”: A New Role for Teachers in Supporting Children’s Dramatic Play


Anonymous said...

Wondering when the agenda and presentation for Tuesday's Growth Boundaries Work Session will be available.


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Anonymous said...

Recopying my last comment from the previous thread as Charlie is now bringing up more privacy links. (Mirmac makes some sweeping comments in that thread to which I am responding.):

In return, 10 years worth of every student's information will go CCER, without the parents' permission.

Mirmac's comment is misleading, because it sounds as though SPS and CCER are passing information around when they are not entitled to do so.

There is a long list, by federal law, of entities who may view a student's individual education record without consent of a student's guardians. No permission is necessary.

These entities include but are not limited to law authorities, accrediting agencies, organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of a school, and agencies contracted to provide support services to students.

Perhaps Mirmac disagrees with this federal law and wishes to pursue a change. But SPS and CCER do nothing illegal nor unusual ---- at the local, regional or national level ---- in their handling of data.

A more productive discussion on the blog would be an education campaign on the many places student data is shared. I agree that most parents will be surprised, and some subset will be unhappy. Data privacy is a topic on which families will have varying sensitivities. However, given current law, sensitive families will have little recourse in prohibiting the sharing of data.

Your child's grades, classes, attendance, test scores, disciplinary record, special education and (or) advanced learning information and more information, may in fact be shared with non-SPS entities frequently.

But Mirmac's use of words such as scam and garbage do not promote a thorough discussion on the topic.


seattle citizen said...

CCER, mirmac merely states that the information will be passed along without the parents' permission. 'Tis true, eh? As you write?
It's not misleading at all.

Of course there is the inference, if one chooses to make it, that this passing along of information without the parents' permission is....distasteful, if not in some ways perhaps unethical or even dangerous to student identities and learning.

If that is what one wants to infer from mirmac's comment, I would wholeheartedly agree with creepy feeling that Big Data is swallowing our children whole.

You are right, of course, that action must be taken to stop this practice (if one wants to stop it....which one should!) but this blog IS an "education campaign," as you put it, to share the many places the data goes. The many places.

The many places where it will surely go when the databases are hacked or sold (or both!) to the internets, to business....

Who wouldn't want this data, and why won't it get out of its supposed box ("law authorities, accrediting agencies, organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of a school, and agencies...")

I'm with you, CCER fan, to stop this spread of personal data about children requires education and action. I'm on it.

seattle citizen said...

Oops, didn't read your entire post down to where you quote mirmac writing "scam" and "garbage" You should have included that in your first quote in order to follow by saying it's misleading.

At any rate, I agree that it's both: A scam because my guess is that 90 percent of parent's believe that the data stays in the school, perhaps the district (with the possible exception of, say, state test scores and school demographics), so parents are being snookered behind their backs.
It's garbage because it's garbage science: "Quantify and feed to Big Data information about students (omitting the student themselves and their inherent qualifiable data that is intangible); Big Data will produce metrics to steer education and education policy to help those individual students. But since the data IN is incomplete, and the actual student is complicated and messy, NO products of Big Data will actually reflect the actual child, so the products of Big Data will be, generally, useless.
It's also garbage because it WILL be spread to businesses and commodified; might end up in the hands of people using it for other purposes (more nefarious, perhaps) and THAT is just plain garbage.

Our children are not data points.

Patrick said...

CCER Fan, the fact that Bill bought legislation from Congress may give SPS a legal right to give him my student's transcript without informing me or getting my consent, but it doesn't give SPS any moral right to do so. If you don't like scam and garbage, how about first against the wall?

Maureen said...

Thanks for covering the Open Thread Charlie. I love them, but I gotta say: I don't know why you and Melissa don't just post "OPEN THREAD GO AT IT" instead of filling the open thread post with topics and information. If you want to post a miscellaneous info and/or articles thread then we could use that to discuss things like how boys fare in school and then not trip all over the Open Thread. What do you think?

Anonymous said...

The YMCA runs the after-school program at Hamilton - HOST (Hawk Out of School Time). Funded in part by the Families & Education Levy. I signed my new middle schooler up for some of their offerings, AND I signed the FERPA release. I think the FERPA release had something to do with the HOST program being able to access student info for various purposes of supporting the offerings to students, but I honestly can't remember. It made sense. I work with FERPA a lot in my professional life, and it didn't concern me. But then again, I don't generally mind releasing FERPA information. Your mileage may vary.

New HIMSer

Anonymous said...

Discipline among African American girls is also quite high. Add disability, the rate increases. 1 out of 5 students with disabilities are suspended at least once. 1 out of 5 if they are ELL students The UCLA study looked at 26,000 MS and HS discipline records. In 2009-10, ONE MILLION students were suspended from secondary schools. Why does it matter? Suspension doubles the chance for drop out. Dropouts are at greater risk for detention or incarceration.

“Those are extremely dramatic numbers, and show the importance of reinstating the civil rights data collection and expanding the categories of information collected,” said Deborah J. Vagins, senior legislative counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union’s Washington legislative office. “The harsh punishments, especially expulsion under zero tolerance and referrals to law enforcement, show that students of color and students with disabilities are increasingly being pushed out of schools, oftentimes into the criminal justice system.”

While the disciplinary data was probably the most startling, the data showed a wide range of other racial and ethnic disparities. For while 55 percent of the high schools with low black and Hispanic enrollment offered calculus, only 29 percent of the high-minority high schools did so — and even in schools offering calculus, Hispanics made up 20 percent of the student body but only 10 percent of those enrolled in calculus.

And while black and Hispanic students made up 44 percent of the students in the survey, they were only 26 percent of the students in gifted and talented programs.

The data also showed that schools with a lot of black and Hispanic students were likely to have relatively inexperienced, and low-paid, teachers. On average, teachers in high-minority schools were paid $2,251 less per year than their colleagues elsewhere. In New York high schools, though, the discrepancy was more than $8,000, and in Philadelphia, more than $14,000."

The report also noted the vast majority of suspensions were over minor infractions such as tardiness, classroom disruption, or violation of dress code.

Solutions include:
-develop strong, caring teacher-student and teacher-parent/ guardian relationships (Chicago study)
- best practices to better engage our at-risk students
-social-emotional learning strategies for students and teachers (Cleveland)
- positive behavior supports and interventions
-restorative justice


Anonymous said...

Part 2

Boys are twice as girls to have a learning disability. 3x Higher with ADHD diagnosis. 2/3 of students receiving special ed services are boys. To read more about the challenges, risk factors,and the solutions (quite similar to the solutions to reduce the high discipline rates among students of color)


Anonymous said...

Reader: The studies you cite, which bring awareness to the public about systemic education problems, are possible because of the access to data that Mirmac has determined is only and always of detriment to kids in addition to being a scam and garbage.


seattle citizen said...

CCER, the data above includes the categories "Black"aand "Hispanic." Please tell us what a Black or Hispanic student is, what factors make that student Black or Hispanic.
The data above does NOT include F/RL data (free or reduced lunch), a piece of data to which we can, in fact, attach some relatively reliable parameters to and perhaps attach assumptions to (though it IS impossible to determine, knowing a child is F/RL is part of a very recently poor family, a family that has been poor for the child's entire life, or a family is generationally poor...)

But back to the first point, what makes a child "Black" and, once adopting some arbitrary indicator for THAT, what assumptions are we then to make about the child in matters of policy, curriculum and instruction?

After answering all that, please tell us how a child's "performance" data (test scores, grades...essays, art, pictures, moods, discipline records etc etc) are GUARANTEED to remain private?

Three years ago, phone numbers of SPS staff and students was given by the distict to the Alliance, who unethicslky (and perhsps illegally) gave the information to a third party so they could use it to conduct a push-poll to influence the teachers' contract. Information wants to be free and WILL escape. Please tell us how student data about their lives will NEVER be hacked, stolen, or othereise released to the interwebs and the budinesses snd the foundations that use their corporate money to bypass public policy and create the worldviews and policies THEY want?

seattle citizen said...

Pardon errors above:still adjusting to tiny keyboard and screen of smartphone. My eyes are old and fingers clumsy. That's some data for your profile of me ;)

mirmac1 said...

What is a scam and garbage is:

1) the thinking that somehow consultants and Gates-funded non-profits are "entitled" to our students data for a professed but illegitimate "educational interest";

2) that CCER is, in fact, conducting studies and research (read the MOU, no particular study or methodology is described);

3) that the ends somehow justifies the means. Read the MOU. SPS may end up with NO grant money. Grants are all by "request for proposal" like in the competitive real world of business and free enterprise. Great. Isn't that how our buildings were made to compete for RTI "pilots" (that went nowhere) and FEL taxpayer money?

I have yet to hear what you object to with the release of tetrabytes of personal data to unspecified entities. You must find it worth the very real risks it presents to young people and families at risk of predation and identity thieves;

I have yet to hear what you find so worthy of CCER to make you a fan. Is it because the Road Map Project is a job-creation program at the PSESD for experts like Jessica DeBarros? Or because it will redirect scarce state and federal LAP, Title I and II funds to new shiny things at the expense of critical needs?

What are you doing about "Data privacy (as) a topic on which families will have varying sensitivities"? Other than dismissing the CCER MOU elements that I provide and my justifiable outrage, I mean, "sensitivities"? Where is your thorough discussion on the topic? Here is mine.

Anonymous said...

I am appalled by the number of teachers and administrators who still take recess away from little boys. Some children lose multiple recesses each day, and it always seems to be the boys who need it the most. Punishment does not improve the self-control or maturity of little boys. In my experience, teachers who take recess away daily either have poor classroom management skills, or they get some sort of satisfaction from dishing out vindictive punishment toward children they find challenging (active boys). I've taught for 10 years, and I have never once taken a recess from a child. If you want a child to behave, you need to teach them how.

Anonymous said...

In my child's kindergarten class last year we heard of a lot of discipline stories about children being sent to the principal's office, lots of missed recess, kids getting stars for good behavior, and lots of separating kids from each other -- until the end of the year where no children appeared to have a neighbor, they were all separated out, the desks distributed across the classroom. Fun, eh?

I heard of other classes using the stop light system, one friend's 6 year old was despondent when he was tired late in the day and got put on yellow.

We did positive discipline with our child. He did okay behavior-wise in the class, but it seemed rather in spite of the classroom management. The discipline practices however felt incongruous with all that I know of early childhood education. What about the child who weren't availed the same opportunities in the years leading up to kindergarten? Or the ones with deficits such as hearing loss, being a slow learner, or the ones with more volatile personalities? They got into trouble more.

Hooray for archaic classroom management practices destroying little egos.

By the way, the school climate survey questions are phrased in such a way that they give little opportunity for constructive feedback. Our tracher was not open to such feedback offered directly, even when it was simple things like asking for more information about what material the kids were covering in class. Offering input to the principal made me fear retribution from the teacher, so the teacher continues with her lousy practices.


Anonymous said...

Thank you, TS. As a parent, I could never understand why recess was taken for kids that really just needed to run around, get some fresh air, and burn off some energy. It seemed counterproductive in terms of improving classroom behavior. I vividly remember volunteering in the classroom one day - a handful of boys sat with their heads on the desks while their classmates were at recess. It was 2nd grade.


Anonymous said...

Over on the dead thread Mirmac opines that the YMCA has no legitimate academic interest in kids records. The thousands of families asking SPS for enrichment and academic support opportunities think differently.

YMCA - Treehouse - Boys and Girls Club - Save the Children - Powerful Schools - many more - are welcome partners in this town. Thank you to the staff and volunteers who make it happen. Apologies that one always disgruntled commenter made a sweeping statement that belittled good faith efforts to educate this city's children. SPS doesn't have enough resources to go it alone. We need partners.

Had Enough

mirmac1 said...

Using your logic the Alliance for Education, Stand for Children and the League of Education voters are welcome partners and have a legitimate educational interest in my child's private information. Why stop there? why not include Kumon, Sylvan and other for-profits who want to market "enrichment" services.

There is a reason FERPA was created. As presented to the court in a lawsuit against Arne's over-reaching rewrite of regulation:

“Contrary to the agency’s contentions, Congress itself articulated specific reasons for precluding non-educational state agencies from accessing, altering, or storing records containing the personally identifiable information of students. The law’s chief sponsor Senator James L. Buckley specifically intended that FERPA would prevent linking academic data to non- academic data for the purpose of measuring schools’ impact. Senator Buckley’s statement in the Congressional Record describes FERPA as a safeguard against “the dangers of ill-trained persons trying to remediate the alleged personal behavior or values of students,” which include “poorly regulated testing, inadequate provisions for the safeguarding of personal information, and ill-devised or administered behavior modification programs.”

Present some facts. Not your opinions and aspersions on me.

Anonymous said...

Mirmac's comment is misleading, because it sounds as though SPS and CCER are passing information around when they are not entitled to do so. There is a long list, by federal law, of entities who may view a student's individual education record without consent of a student's guardians. No permission is necessary.

And this is precisely the problem. Do you really not understand this? If permission was necessary, or at the very least, if there was a way for parents to opt out, then there would be little to complain about.

You and CCER and SPS and all the others seem to have the same MO, which is to use misdirection to try to point out the legality (which is not only questionable, but only exists because of recent hard lobbying against family's and kids' best interest). Once again, parents are fighting big money. But this is not legal issue, it's a societal and moral issue. Let me try to make this as clear as possible by picking a very fresh example from the local news:

A couple days ago, in Mountlake Terrace, an adult male followed and walked with a 4th grader on his way to school in the morning and then again from school to home in the afternoon. He told the boy "we can be friends" and "I know where you live". This was a picture perfect example of Stranger Danger. And yet, the man was not arrested because he did nothing illegal. To use your terminology, no permission was necessary. But what he did was clearly wrong. You are claiming that what SPS is doing is legal, but it is just as wrong. SPS may (questionably) be legally able to give this personal data away, but they are in no way required to, which is another misdirection tactic.

- Not Sympathetic (part 1)

Anonymous said...

You are clearly very close to CCER, based on the way you've written your post. It's not neutral; as soon as you say "no permission is necessary" and talk about not doing anything illegal, it's abundantly clear you're not just an interested parent, but you are either part of CCER, SPS or otherwise involved in the process. So I have a simple question for you:

What exactly is the problem with allowing parents to opt out of the distribution of their kids' (and their own) data? What are you scared of?

Perhaps Mirmac disagrees with this federal law and wishes to pursue a change. But SPS and CCER do nothing illegal nor unusual ---- at the local, regional or national level ---- in their handling of data.

There's the "nothing illegal" misdirection attempt again. And as for unusual, it most certainly is unusual at the level and scope that's currently being pursued, especially at the national level. Nothing like inBloom has ever been attempted, or even proposed, until now.

A more productive discussion on the blog would be an education campaign on the many places student data is shared. I agree that most parents will be surprised, and some subset will be unhappy. Data privacy is a topic on which families will have varying sensitivities. However, given current law, sensitive families will have little recourse in prohibiting the sharing of data.

FWIW, the way you write "sensitive families" comes across as condescending, so let me tell you about just 2 classes of "sensitive families".

1) Kids in Special Ed and kids with IEPs already face difficulties as a result of those categorizations. Nationalizing this data with real names and identifying information and making it available to a myriad of organizations has the very real (and eventually, likely) chance that it will be detrimental to the kids when they are older.

2) Across our nation there are something like 100,000 people who have been threatened or stalked. Given your support for personal data distribution, I can presume that you are not in this category, but I am. It is not reasonable, nor fair, that my kids' personal data, including their names and where they go to school every day, is made available to organizations outside the school district. Ever. There must be an opt out provision. I hope even you, as a CCER supporter, can understand this.

-Not Sympathetic (end)

seattle citizen said...

Not Sympathetic, you are being to sensitive. CCER knows what's best for our children. CCER is insensate and is therefore much more able to analyze our children's lives, plan action accordingly, and direct outcomes in an efficient manner without those unquantifiable sensitivities throwing a monkey wrench in the works.

I, for one, am GLAD that democracy has been taken out of the equation. It's so messy. Sensitivities have no place in efficiency. Look at our education goals: Everyone ready for college and work! There is NONE of that sensitivity stuff in there; it's not efficient or productive. That is why we don't cry at work, for heaven's sake! It's just not good for the business of this country. Since we've axed civics and history and art, there's nothing to cry about anymore, anyway, so get over it. Big Data knows we should only be interested in the productive subject, and they are making it so.

I thank my lucky stars every night that the many arms of a giant technology company are gathering every bit of data they can about children. It will make things run so much more smoothly. THEY can plan things, you know? They'll know who is smart and who is not; who is naughty and who is nice...And I know they will find comfortable and appropriate niches in the economy for each and every one of our children, whatever their lexile and HSPE numbers might show them to be.

They will soon be able to gauge our children's every malady, know their every aptitude, feed their every appetite...Efficiency! it's the American way! Children might LIKE Soylent Green, if only we knew how to market it to them!

I'm glad they've bypassed transparency! I'm glad they've bought the candidates who best see their grand vision via those impressive pie charts and bar graphs (I can make hardly head nor tail of those dang things...I'm too sensitive and, damn it, I see grey areas everywhere. It's a curse..)! Thank goodness for a system that can make the trains run on time without having to account for those pesky sensitivities...

Thank you, Big Data. Thank you, CCER and Mr. Gates. You have brought us the Truth and we are in your debt. Soon our children will know no other truth but yours, and they will bask in your munificence. Thank you.

Mary Griffin said...

I'm going to keep my comments brief,
What "Fan of CCER" says about data collection can be argued in a legitimate sense. Parents and guardians need to understand that the protections offered by FERPA are not robust in any way, shape, or form. Generally speaking, districts do not have to inform parents or guardians that they are releasing personally identifiable information to third parties nor do they have to allow parents or guardians the ability to opt in or out.

What "Fan of CCER" perhaps is not ready to admit is that FERPA is a bad law. It is not a law that we would want to protect our personally identifiable information such as medical and psychiatric conditions released to third parties without our knowledge. FERPA is a bad law, weakened by Congress in 2008 and 2011 at the behest of companies which have an interest in profiting off of student data accessibility.

The protections that HIPPA affords medical records generally do not extend to school districts. People whose children may have medical conditions need to know that any medical records given to the district become educational records when they are held by the district, and as such are only protected by FERPA rights. Protections offered by IDEA are superceded by the protections offered by FERPA when it comes to release of personally identifiable information.

Mary Griffin said...

I'm as big a fan of data as anyone. I love data. But this is not data in the ordinary sense. It is personally identifiable data. In other words, names, addresses, birthdates, etc., associated with discipline records, disability status, test scores, household status, etc. at a minimum. It's tracking the same rugrat from womb to tomb. It's being done without knowledge or consent of parents. There are no remedies for parents, and even worse there are no remedies for students. If a child's employment outlooks, educational outlooks or reputation are damaged in 10 years from the accidental release of this data, he or she has no legal remedies.

To make it clear to political types, it might be helpful to say how would you like the leakage of information about something you did in 7th grade to be "accidentally leaked" when you were running for office? This is just an example of what I am talking about. Think about it.

I have read the MOU regarding the CCER. There are some questions some people have about the legality, but on the face of it, it looks like it was written in an attempt to comply with FERPA. It provides no remedies if data is leaked. People should be concerned.

Mary Griffin said...


Can you please provide your citation for the claim that boys are disciplined at a rate of 10 to 1 to girls? I am more familiar with a 2:1 to 4:1 ratios being cited.


Jet City mom said...

Boys are twice as girls to have a learning disability. 3x Higher with ADHD diagnosis.

Yes I agree boys are more likely to be diagnosed.
My daughter had an iep, where she was scheuled for pullout every day. It consisted of her sitting and watching the teacher try and get the boys settled down enough to learn something, while she was supposed to work on her own.
With the high ratios of SPS sped classrooms, it didnt really work great for anyone.
However, it was better than the previous year when she was supposed to go to resource by herself. But as she couldnt tell time & no one alerted her, I only found out her IEP wasnt being met because I was in the building everyday & happened to run into the advocate for the building.
The thing that made the difference for her, was the activity ski Fridays her school implemented, decades ago.
She started taking lessons with the encouragement of the 6th gd teacher and gained so much confidence on the slopes that she started raising her hand and asking for help in the classroom. That was when she really turned the corner.

Alternative schools are invaluable for those who arent linear & naturally obedient. The students learn to trust themselves and to value their ideas & skills.
The carrot works better than the stick.
But in the last several decades, SPS has done their damnest to squash alternative approaches.

Anonymous said...

TS - missing recess (especially it seems boys) happens at our school all the time. and usually not for disciplinary problems, but to make up an assessment given during an absence, or teacher is on a time crunch to get assessments completed, or teacher holds a group of students in to study up on math facts. in THIRD grade! i think this is yet another manifestation of kids getting hurt by teacher's ratings based on standardized testing. I've told our teachers that they MAY not keep my kids in for recess unless i've given permission - my kids need the break from the classroom and fresh air just as much as the teacher does!


Anonymous said...

Does anyone have readily available articles, research etc they could post that speak to the value of recess, especially as it relates to helping with 'academic gains' (thinking that the endorphin release, fresh air, change of scenery help kids stay on task and learn better when they are back in the classroom - that kind of info)

Also if there are similar studies, articles that speak to the value of choice time for younger kids (kindergartners, first graders)

I can do some research but I imagine there are folks who follow the blog that have this kind of information compiled?

Thanks if you can help.


Anonymous said...

Data Dad says- Appreciate the data topic. Parents: Comprehend that kids school data is not private. It is less private each year. Databases create data access. Intermeshing technical systems creates more access. Multiple entities wanting the data creates more access.

BTW, if you assume HIPPA keeps your medical data safe, your naïve. Also - examine your credit report and consumer profile sometime.

If data still leaks through good faith efforts to address privacy, know that a bad faith effort to retrieve personal data, in any school system in this country, would merit an individual's detailed record quite easily. I could detail 10 different ways to get an individual's data. I won't.

From my viewpoint, you can live off the grid - a legitimate choice - or you can teach yourself and your kids how their data can and will be used, with and without your consent. Better use of time than outrage. The outrage won't keep your data from being used. Not by a longshot.

Jet City mom said...

Google is your friend spsmom
I just found studies that indicate more recess is better.
The famously long school days Asian schoolchildren enjoy is punctuated with LOTS of breaks for recess.

Anonymous said...

Missed Recess

Kids should not be kept in from recess.

I have seen cases where students (sped. boys) have missed an entire week of recess because of some infraction like not finishing homework or class work. Many kids ride the school bus. They also live in apartments so the only real time to run around, get fresh air, play group games, is at recess.

Parents, tell your child's teacher you do not want your child routinely punished by having to miss recess. Maybe once in a blue moon but not more than that.

Sped Staffer

Carol Simmons said...

Congratulations to Rainier Beach High's rising test scores and reduced student suspension rates. Editorial notebook Times, Saturday Sept 14.

The concerns raised about which neighborhoods and which programs receive Yellow or Shuttle Bus Service are legitimate, and need further investigation and explanation.

former dragon said...

Also, at many schools, the punishment for breaking rules at recess is to go stand 'at the wall' or on a bench, so they may be outside, but not running around. I always noticed the same kids there. I don't blame the teachers/staff on yard duty, there is usually only one or two of them, and a hundred kids. It's not a great system. Instinct would be to remove the kids causing trouble....

Anonymous said...

Isn't there an SPS policy or some other regulation that says it's "illegal" to punish kids by taking away their recess? I remember being told this once last year. Reference to the policy or regulation would be very appreciated. It's wrong to keep antsy kids inside to punish them for antsy behavior. It's also ass-backwards!

( fundamentally, I believe this is one of the problems with large class sizes in the K5 environment, the teachers aren't given the opportunity to really purvey their intense classroom management positive discipline techniques, because after the 20th kid, it gets pretty darn difficult to rein them all in all at once)

-pro recess!!!

Anonymous said...

Carol Simmons,

I don't know how to find bus route maps, but you can find a list of the routes and schools they serve here:


And in case my pretty link doesn't work - here's an ugly one:


Anonymous said...

If there is a policy stating teachers cannot take away recess, I would REALLY like to see it, and to begin the fight to enforce it!!!! There is no other issue in education that gets under my skin more than watching little boys being penalized for being little boys. Or watching sped students being punished for "disturbing others". :( I've had as many as 33 students (with the majority being ELL) and I can promise you, you don't need to use punitive punishment to have a well managed and productive classroom.

seattle citizen said...

I wrote in an earlier comment that democracy (and its citizens) is "messy." I was referring to the attempts by data-gatherers to make education (our lives?) more efficient by analyzing inputs and outputs. The original post on this thread links to an article in the NYT about tablets, and how they are coming into classrooms and might/will be used to gather data and help educators formulate responses to individual data (sometimes immediately.)

Another piece in Sunday's NYT, It's Not 'Mess.' It's Creativity. speaks to my overarching concern: In our rush to organize, digitize, maximize...render every process orderly, we are losing the "messy" background necessary for creativity. Research tells us that creativity flourishes where things are not in orderly rows, categorized and pidgeon-holed: Creativity flourishes in discordant environments.

We are organizing our world much too quickly.

Not only is our privacy (and that of our children) being chipped rapidly away, and often, apparently (see Fan of CCER and Data Dad's comments), there is nothing we can do about it, but I fear that we are increasingly leaving behind the messy humanity inside ourselves as we strive to identify and render into data all the myriad components that make up undisciplined, disorderly selves: Our intellects, our aptitudes, our cares and concerns are being measured but out of context and in a mechanized vacuum....As we lose interpersonal communication (face to face, not Skype to Skype or tablet to tablet) and civics and history and art, we become flattened, mere automatons programmed to perform X and Y tasks by instruction we receive through a machine.

That is my fear.

Yes, tablets allow instant feedback: an educator can instantly measure some aspects of learning at it happens, identify those who aren't getting it and those who are ahead and tell the machine to send their tablets something appropriate; the educator can pull out leveled groups or individuals and "facilitate" more understanding as others do other things. But should we structure the classrooms so completely?

Yes, we are in a digital world. The dial telephones I grew up with, the five channels on TV, the encyclopedias...gone, all gone. I'm not some luddite who believes we should go back to using coal to write on the back of a shovel, but I'm not that old and the digital/data world has sped everything up. Are we not rushing down some primrose path that might, in retrospect, be brimstone instead?

At what cost efficieny? My father once said, about the Steamship Virginia V (asserting its value) that we often throw away things of value in our rush to embrace the newest tool. No great original thought, I know, but don't we? My dad also claims that that which can be measured isn't worth a god-damn. I think he gets this from Cummings.

I agree.

e.e. cumming wrote:

“We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us something is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit.”

Can machines believe in us? Can they earn our trust? Can they know the human spirit?

seattle citizen said...

The link to the NYT op-ed didn't load, so here it is again:
It's Not Mess. It's Creativity

seattle citizen said...

And lastly, regarding data and Capitalism, we find this in a book review of Thomas Pynchon's new book, Bleeding Edge" in today's NYT (Pynchonopolis:

"In Pynchon’s view, modernity’s systems of liberation and enlightenment — railway and post, the Internet, etc. — perpetually collapse into capitalism’s Black Iron Prison of enclosure, monopoly and surveillance. The rolling frontier (or bleeding edge) of this collapse is where we persistently and helplessly live. His characters take sustenance on what scraps of freedom fall from the conveyor belt of this ruthless conversion machine, like the house cat at home in the butcher’s shop."


Anonymous said...

When oh when do the artsy crafty projects stop? I mistakenly thought middle school, but no. When does Language Arts focus mainly on the art of language, not coloring pictures? When?


Lisa said...

Argh: it improves in high school but doesn't go away. Maybe we are free of it in college? Or at least the kid won't live at home.

Anonymous said...


What kind of artsy craftster projects are you talking about? In what context? Things that need to constructed at home and turned in (I.e. - models) or things crafted at school that need transporting home when finished where parents puzzle over what to do with oddly crafty constructions? Or something else?

Ann D.

Anonymous said...

I thought I read something from Banda that said that the draft boundaries would be posted somewhere no later than 9/18 -- but now I can't find his letter. Did anyone else see this?


Anonymous said...

I remember the same date being mentioned for boundary info...the first public meeting is Sept. 23 at Mercer.


Anonymous said...

Posts about africatown, with response from Charlie Mas


Anonymous said...

I found this on the Growth Boundaries Maps and Data page of the district website:

Growth Boundaries Maps
These maps will show the proposed boundary changes for the 2014-15 school year for elementary and middle schools. The proposed changes go to the Seattle School Board on September 17, 2013, and will be posted after that meeting.

The previous board presentations have been posted on the Timelines and Presentations page.


Anonymous said...

From the Kansas City Star: Interesting and even sort of in-depth piece on teacher abuse by parents. Comment thread is worth a look too.


Jet City mom said...

What is the ACIC plan to dismantle institutionalized racism? Where can we see it?

Wilson, naive much?
Where does the district have a plan for any student?

What are you going to do about it?
I got my butt in the school & was there everyday.
I actually quit my job to do so which I realize is too much of a sacrifice for most families, but I was cheaper than any attorney I could have hired.
Whats the parent volunteer rate compared across the city?

Anonymous said...

Sadly first hiller, behaviors mentioned in your referred article is all around us, be they in schools, hospitals, metro buses, airplanes, parking lots, roadways, restaurants, sidewalks, churches, or professional offices. Lots of angry people out there and it's far too easy to get all worked up.


Anonymous said...

the salient question in the blog post about Africatown at Mann was what have white folk done to address the race issues in Seattle schools. ACIC states their work is triage to help stem the bleeding in their community and they need help from the more successful sectors of the district population to really recognize and fix the school to prison problem that is tearing I their constituents lives apart. I thought it a well written and persuasive post.


apparent said...

I'm with Maureen (9/13 @ 4.52 pm) . . . It's not really an "Open Thread" if we're given a list of talking points in the intro! When did this start happening, Charlie and Melissa, 'cos I've been thinking the same thing other Tuesdays and Fridays too!

dw said...


I'm disappointed that you've either left the conversation here, or purposely ignored the question posed by "Not Sympathetic". I've been asking the same thing for some time now, and never get an answer. I'd love to hear your response to the question of why there isn't an opt-out provision for SPS parents to prevent their childrens' data from being sent to outside organizations.

I would especially hope you are considering circumstances like that described in their last paragraph, as I'm aware of a family in that situation as well. As a self-acknowledged "fan of CCER", do you think they should be subject to having their personal data distributed against their will, with no means to opt out? Even if it might put their children in danger when that information is leaked, hacked, published or otherwise finds its way out of these private databases?

A response please!