Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Education Roundup (Local and National)

Popped into the City Club's One-Stop Ballot Stop this evening.  Not so many people but the mayoral debate was interesting.  One quick-fire question: "Do you think the Seattle School Board is doing a good job?"  Murray - yellow (waffle), McGinn (refused to answer - "I think they are doing the best they can at a hard job.  I don't want to put them down." , crowd (mostly yellows with a smattering of green - yes and red-no).

 I had forgotten but City Club puts all the candidates for each type of election together so there was this uneasy line of Dale Estey, Peters, Blanford and Green.  Blanford and Green appeared to completely ignore each other (as did Dale Estey and Peters) while Dale Estey and Blanford appear to be pretty good buddies (so I guess that CASE - the Chamber of Commerce PAC - isn't wrong in calling them "a slate.")

The Supreme Court has taken on case on affirmative action which involves a Michigan case using race for college admissions.  Apparently the discussion was quite spirited and I liked this interchange from NBC News:

When Michigan Solicitor General John Bursch, the state's representative in court, suggested Michigan could get rid of legacy admissions as a way to admit a more diverse student body, Justice Sotomayor remarked: "The minorities finally get in and have children, and now you want to do away with alumni preferences."

You mean like alumni preferences at Harvard or Yale?  Because George W. Bush would not have gotten into Yale with his grades without it.

I'm torn in some ways but I don't believe the K-12 public education system is a level playing field so eliminating affirmative action is asking for colleges to have a level playing field before we have it at the K-12 level.

A story from NBC news about a high school coach who wanted ALL types of boys to be part of the team.  It's a great story of inclusion for special needs kids.


From the sublime to the silly - one school has banned balls - of all types - from the playground and now comes word that one New Hampshire elementary school has banned tag.  As they said on the SNL news about the school banning the balls, "Its name is the 'Geez, be careful, you're gonna get hurt School."   

From silliness to the downright dangerous - a 12-year girl in Florida killed herself after being cyber-bullied for more than a year.  What is fascinating is that two girls, ages 12 and 14, have been charged with "aggravated stalking."  The accused sent her e-mails that she "should drink bleach and die."  From NBC News:

While bullying is not a crime, (Sheriff) Judd said, the girls have been charged with aggravated stalking — a third-degree felony — because the victim was younger than 16 years old. 

It was startling to hear Sheriff Judd also take on parents - all parents - by saying parents need to pay attention to what their children do online and do "be a parent, not a friend." 

Tell me you didn't miss this one - the Texas Board of Education has been working overtime to rewrite their textbooks (and as one of the largest buyers of textbooks in the country that means other states as well).  What now?

One of the most controversial changes is to deny the slave trade. The Texas Board of Education wants to refer to the slave trade as the “Atlantic triangular trade”.  (Apparently they did rewrite it to be "Transatlantic Slave Trade.") 

Capitalism can only be referred to as “free enterprise system”, largely because of the negative connotations of the word “capitalism”

The board has diminished Thomas Jefferson’s role in history because of his belief in the separation of church and state. Students also are required to learn that America’s founding documents were influenced by various intellectual traditions, “especially biblical law,” and principles laid down by Moses.

I feel very sorry for the students in both Texas and Louisiana where they are going to extreme lengths to mis-educate and undereducate students. 

7 comments:

mirmac1 said...

McGinn's answer validated the estimation I have of him. Based on my read of many hundreds of city emails, I do not see him as a total sell out to the Bezos', other assorted m/billionaires and their Chamber following. (No wonder they're going after him.) Granted, city staff makes up for this, but most often at the behest of Mayor wannabe Tim Burgess.

dan dempsey said...

National News Round UP....

From the NY Times

Thinking Sensibly About Charter Schools an editorial.


Mr. de Blasio is on firmer ground when he says that charter schools, which choose their students by lottery, need to do a better job of recruiting and retaining special education students, English-language learners and others who tend to be underrepresented in the charter school population. If charter schools hope to expand — some already enroll 15 percent or more of the students in their districts — they will need to behave more like traditional schools in their admissions policies. That means making room for “over-the-counter” students, among them transients and the poor, who show up at the schoolhouse door in the middle of the year.

Traditional public schools must do a better job of this, too. A new study from the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University found that tens of thousands of new immigrants, special needs students and poor students are disproportionately assigned to struggling New York high schools that have little chance of helping them. The city has already begun to open school seats for these children — but clearly more needs to be done.

Anonymous said...

@ Mirmac: McGinn looks to lose by an enormous margin in Nov. Best to start planning for Murray.

SavvyVoter

mirmac1 said...

I see this in the Friday Memo for 9/27 from our new Dep Supt

Data-Sharing

Surprise! They think that they're doing great! But they decided they will let parents know who they're giving our kids info to. Nice.

mirmac1 said...

SavvyVoter,

Best look for an attempted mayoral takeover. Like Murray thinks he can help schools when he didn't so good in Olympia....

mirmac1 said...

Corrupt elected officials slip "highly-qualified" exemption for TFAers into budget bill. Surprised? That's the only way they can sell this garbage, in backroom deals at the stroke of midnight.

Anonymous said...

I'm not planning on a mayoral takeover.
I think Murray and his supporters assume the polls are correct and expect to win big. Funny thing happens when you assume something...
Several friends have said that they were pretty apathetic at first, thought Murray would be a good choice and were fine with voting for him in the primary. As they've watched the ads and heard at least one Q&A, they've changed their tune. Their words: Murray sounds like a Washington DC politician with sound bites and glittering generalities, while McGinn does not. It was an interesting observation, in my mind.