Friday, January 10, 2014

Friday Open Thread

How to fund schools properly?  The Stranger Slog offers up not one but two alternatives.  It can be done and done without adding onerous bills (like grading schools) in order to say "we're doing something about education" before education is truly fully funded.

Here's the district's "official" notice about proposed Transportation changes.  I'll note a couple of things.  One, they don't list (or link) what schools would be affected.  You'll get a letter if you are affected. 

Two, they claim money saved will go to teachers and classrooms.  All $3.4M goes to classrooms?  I'd like to see real and verifiable proof that claim will happen. 

Three, about those secondary late start times and the Board wanting a real timeline, here's what staff says:

During the School Board’s March retreat with senior District leadership, Board members will discuss their governance priorities and when staff might pursue this work.

So they'll have yet another work session-like discussion about when they MIGHT do this?  In March?  What's weird is that staff are not supposed to be setting what the Board retreat work is so how do they know this so far in advance?  

Favorite line: Families should be on the lookout for more information in the next few weeks. You've been warned.

What's on your mind?

20 comments:

Dora said...

Seattle Education Meetup featuring Melissa Westbrook.

Topic: Student Privacy and House Bill 2133


Our first Meetup was a success with our guest, the newly elected School Board Director Sue Peters. We were also fortunate to have with us at the Meetup two previous board members Amy Hagopian and Sally Soriano.

It was a great discussion and we learned more about the history of our district and how the school board works along with Sue’s priorities as a new School Board Director.

The next Meetup will feature Seattle Schools Community Forum contributor Melissa Westbrook. The main topic will be on student privacy and House Bill 2133, “Maintaining privacy of student educational records”, that was dropped last week and will receive a hearing on Wednesday, January 15th.

Please join us for information and discussion on this topic.

You are invited to ask questions on other topics as well.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Noon to 1:00 PM

At Couth Buzzard Books

Couth Buzzard Books is located at 8310 Greenwood Avenue North in the Phinney Ridge neighborhood and serves a light lunch as well as hot and cold beverages.

If you have any questions, please note them in the comment section of this post at
Seattle Education

Anonymous said...

Well there is the issue of the unfunded mandate of Common Core implementation. Governor Gregoire and Superintendent Dorn signed on to commit Washington State to Common Core adoption before the standards had even been written. Of course the standards are only part of a three-part reform including also data collection and assessments.

Washington State never received a Race to the Top grant which was the reason for the commitment in the first place. Instead a smaller district consortium called now Road Map Project received funds for South Seattle and South King County schools which averages out to a very small amount of money (scroll to the end of the post for reference in the grand scheme of things. We also received a RTTT grant for early childhood education, which was used to produce the Early Learning and Development Guidelines.

Instead of COLA that voters approved we get legislation passed around called for greater accountability. Instead of smaller class sizes the students get more tests. Instead of improved instructional practice professional development our educators get training in Common Core. Instead of incorporating relevant technology instruction we get computer labs outfitted for taking tests.

For lack of a better source, check out the work that Stop Common Core WA has done on pulling up OSPI provided estimates for Common Core implementation:

http://stopcommoncorewa.wordpress.com/2013/05/27/cost-estimates-for-implementing-the-common-core-state-standards-in-washington-state/

I am worried about what the fallout will be for our children when the first Smarter Balanced assessments scores come back next year.

Ann D.

Anonymous said...

http://blogs.seattletimes.com/educationlab/2014/01/10/waldorf-schools-avoid-technology/

Seattle Waldorf High Schools move to Magnuson Park

HP

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, HP, that's interesting as in Northern California where Rocketship charters are big for low-income students, most of the wealthier parents are sending their kids to the low-tech Waldorf schools.

Anonymous said...

The local Waldorf schools are full of parents who are in the high tech industry - Microsoft, Google, Boeing, Honeywell, etc. Most people in high tech understand that tech is a tool not a replacement for a teacher and hands on learning. My kids did not use computers until around 12 years of age and they are both very tech savy. My son't teacher at the Waldorf school had two sons of her own, both of whom went on to work in the tech industry. One has a startup.

HP

Anonymous said...

Was the Math Adoption Committee going to announce the top three choices today? Anyone have any information to share on that?

-FedMomof2

RickB said...

@FedMomof2 Re:Math Adoption

The community input (in-person and online) has been tabulated, summarized, and reported to the Math Adoption Committee (MAC). By this afternoon, we have been told that the committee votes and selection rationale report should be completed. Over the weekend, the MAC members are tasked with reviewing the report.

Fate and mathematical fortune permitting, there should be a public announcement by Monday. I'll post again if something gets delayed.

Anonymous said...

Thank you RickB for that update on the math adoption. I look forward to the announcement on Monday.

-FedMomof2

mirmac1 said...

Just how does Obama propose to pay for this?! Health care centers, healthy meals, etc etc.

Good photo op though...

Anonymous said...

Do they say that the transportation savings will go to the classroom OR prevent further classroom cuts?

Lynn said...

State funding for transportation increased by $5.3M this year and staff are anticipating an additional $6.4M next year.
While there is a complicated formula for calculating state funding, in the end it is limited to the district's prior year transportation expense. If we cut $3M in costs next year, the maximum revenue for the 2015-16 year will be reduced by that amount.
Do we know how much would it cost to switch to a two-tier schedule - and how much of that cost the state would cover?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Real data? What are you, kidding me?

Anonymous said...

Part of the reason (though certainly not the entire one) for switching from 2 tiers to 3 tiers a few years ago was because the District no longer has 2 bus vendors. (A "cost-savings" move.)

With only 1 company providing all buses and, more importantly, all bus drivers, there are some things that just can't be easily fixed. The current vendor has a shortage of qualified drivers - (in part due to the improved economy) - so any solution that requires adding additional routes/trips is unlikely to happen.
Though it's not clearly stated, I suspect that's one driver behind the end of "option school" transport, though that's an educated guess.

The best thing you can do is to write to Supt. Banda and the Board and tell them what works/doesn't work in the proposed transportation changes. Get your next door neighbor to write - your mom, your mailman, the guy on the corner crossing the street. Unless they hear loudly and clearly that something different needs to happen, something WILL happen - just something no one likes.
bbb

Watching said...

Ann is absolutely correct:

"Instead of COLA that voters approved we get legislation passed around called for greater accountability. Instead of smaller class sizes the students get more tests. Instead of improved instructional practice professional development our educators get training in Common Core. Instead of incorporating relevant technology instruction we get computer labs outfitted for taking tests."

We also received a court ruling that stated charter schools are not common schools and aren't to receive tax dollars. Now, we have this:



SB 5994 – Senator Doug Ericksen (Bellingham) - A Common School Fund Charter Schools Fix. The Superior Court ruling on Charter Schools placed some restrictions on capital financing of charter schools. This bill would remove the obstacles that were highlighted in the decision.

It is all incremental.

Watching said...

Ann is absolutely correct:

"Instead of COLA that voters approved we get legislation passed around called for greater accountability. Instead of smaller class sizes the students get more tests. Instead of improved instructional practice professional development our educators get training in Common Core. Instead of incorporating relevant technology instruction we get computer labs outfitted for taking tests."

We also received a court ruling that stated charter schools are not common schools and aren't to receive tax dollars. Now, we have this:



SB 5994 – Senator Doug Ericksen (Bellingham) - A Common School Fund Charter Schools Fix. The Superior Court ruling on Charter Schools placed some restrictions on capital financing of charter schools. This bill would remove the obstacles that were highlighted in the decision.

It is all incremental.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Senator Ericksen's bill, while troubling, still doesn't fund charter operations. What program(s) will see cuts to fund them if there is no new revenue?

And, of course, we are still not fully-funding the public schools that ALREADY exist.

Watching said...

I'll need to check whether or not SB 5994 has a similar bill in the House. I'm sure some Democrats would sign-on.

It is all incremental.

Josh Hayes said...

Did anyone else find it odd that the big puff piece on charter school applicants in Sunday's ST said nary a word about the unconstitutionality of the whole law, and what a spanner that would throw into the works? Not. One. Word.

It's like if they pretend it didn't happen, then by golly it DIDN'T. Neener neener!

Anonymous said...

"Seattle Waldorf High Schools move to Magnuson Park"

AAAAAAAAACK!

In advocating for any and all possible locations for more public schools, we were repeatedly told that Magnuson land was impossible due to the donation covenant- recreation only. I guess it depends on who you are, or who you know.

Banging head on desk. Again.
Chris S.

Anonymous said...

Seattle Waldorf is leasing the space in Building 11. Sail Sandpoint is at one end and Seattle Waldorf high school is that the other end. There will be about 100 students there and will top out at 125 or so. I don't think the space is big enough for SPS nor do I think they would want to lease it. Seattle Waldorf is doing an extensive remodel to the site on their dime. Perhaps public schools were excluded because of the need to lease it?

HP