Friday, February 21, 2014

Friday Open Thread

A new initiative is coming on student data privacy in Washington State but here's the latest from California via the NY Times.  California has always been a frontrunner on this issue and this bill may be one that our Legislature could use as a template (along with the bills now going in Georgia, NY, and Colorado).  This is an issue that is gaining steam.     This says it all:

“We don’t want to limit the legitimate use of students’ data by schools or teachers,” Senator Darrell Steinberg, a Democrat who is the sponsor of the bill and the president pro tempore of the California Senate, said in a phone interview. “We just think the public policy of California should be that the information you gather from students should be used for their educational benefit and for nothing else.”

Also in a continuing pattern, Governor Cuomo of NY state yesterday said he would side with parents if Common Core rollout in NY state doesn't get better.

“I think the way they have implemented Common Core has failed utterly,” he said. “There is massive confusion, massive anxiety and massive chaos all across the state. It may have been a good idea, but it has to be a good idea that is done properly. And this was not done properly.” 

Cuomo added, “We have to slow this down, it’s caused too much disruption and if the Board of Regents doesn’t do it satisfactorily, I’m with the parents.”
“So I’m sort of where the parent is, standing outside with the sign and oh, by the way I would hold the same basic sign the parent is holding. I think the way they have implemented Common Core has failed utterly,” Governor Cuomo said. “There is massive confusion, massive anxiety, and massive chaos all across the state.” Governor Cuomo said he will demand change or pass a law that slows the implementation of the Common Core if the Department of Education fails to act.

Read More at:
“So I’m sort of where the parent is, standing outside with the sign and oh, by the way I would hold the same basic sign the parent is holding. I think the way they have implemented Common Core has failed utterly,” Governor Cuomo said. “There is massive confusion, massive anxiety, and massive chaos all across the state.” Governor Cuomo said he will demand change or pass a law that slows the implementation of the Common Core if the Department of Education fails to act.

Read More at:

“So I’m sort of where the parent is, standing outside with the sign and oh, by the way I would hold the same basic sign the parent is holding. I think the way they have implemented Common Core has failed utterly,” Governor Cuomo said. “There is massive confusion, massive anxiety, and massive chaos all across the state.” Governor Cuomo said he will demand change or pass a law that slows the implementation of the Common Core if the Department of Education fails to act.

Read More at:
As well, the president of the National Education Association, says (via Education Week):

"...that in too many places, states and districts have "completely botched" implementation of the Common Core State Standards and must do a better job of listening to teachers and revising policies in order to fulfill the standards' promise.

"Seven of ten teachers believe that implementation of the standards is going poorly in their schools. Worse yet, teachers report that there has been little to no attempt to allow educators to share what's needed to get CCSS implementation right. In fact, two-thirds of all teachers report that they have not even been asked how to implement these new standards in their classrooms," NEA President Dennis Van Roekel writes in the Feb. 19 letter. "Consequently, NEA members have a right to feel frustrated, upset, and angry about the poor commitment to implementing the standards correctly."

FYI, Seattle Schools may be bracing for a school bus driver strike.   Keep a watch on the local news for updates.

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said...

Could you provide more details on the student data privacy initiative?

--- swk

Melissa Westbrook said...

SWK, that is to come soon (within a week or so). I'm just noting that this is a national issue and many states are creating safety bills to protect students (Oklahoma has already passed one.)

37 Questions said...

I hate to say it, but what's on my mind is the current APP debacle regarding eligibility. The letters have not been sent to many people, and the official appeal dadline is still today despite their vague implications that we will have more time.

I have a kid at Lincoln and it was a little messy with letters and apoeals, but this year is much, much worse.

Jen C

Melissa Westbrook said...

Jen, I urge you - and all prospective AL parents - to let the Superintendent and Board know of your unhappiness. That this happens year after year is not good and clearly, something should change.

Lynn said...

I get the impression that the office is under-staffed in a good year. This year they are distracted by the (very late in the game) planning for new highly capable service requirements that are effective September 2014.

Here's what's on my mind:

The Design Team for the Horace Mann project recommends not accelerating the construction schedule - instead they prefer to open the school in January of 2015. Credit for this situation to Superintendent Banda.

Here's some news on the Jon Greenberg/Center School situation. Curriculum realignment is the recommended solution.

This memo contains an update on the Advanced Learning task force on service delivery methods (first meeting next Wednesday) and the intervention planned for two schools that have been at the lowest performance level (on student achievement measures) for three years.

Interesting how all the news comes out when families are out of town.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Lynn, I was just telling a reporter that very thing yesterday - how the district times its information flow.

Why does the Design Team want to open in Jan? Is that to save money or what?

Anonymous said...

FAT FRIDAY RANT doubleposted from the NW Center thread because it needs to be.

Been in this district far too long. JSCEE about to jump the shark. It failed with the Ed Reform darling Goodloe-Johnson who IMHO was the worst personality to set foot in the district in 10 years and that counts the fool Olchefske.

Banda, the Supe billed as the Equity Guy by some parents and current board members who wanted Goodloe-Johnson out has been saddled with the fallout of years of crap management and now the population of SPS is exploding because of demographics (not excellence, again IMHO). Big issues.

But Banda has been here a year and go find a group who thinks he's doing a good job. Not hearing it. He inspires no one. No one sees him. No one hears from him. His lieutentants are not strong. Good employees have fled. Things are bad downtown. Look at the stupid transportation changes. Again. Look at the stupid equity issues. again. Look at the stupid AP issues. Again. Look at the lack of capital planning. Again. Look at the crap PR and community outreach. Again. Look at special ed. Again. Look at the teacher unhappiness. Again. Look at HR. Again. Where's the success story? Not hearing it.

Banda's backer Kay Smith-Blum conveniently quit the board before the crap hits the fan. Interesting. Does the rest of the board support Banda? Who knows but at least some of them chose him so they seem stuck. Does staff and board work together? Who knows. From watching the board meetings at home I guess no.

Now the budget process is going to start guided by someone who just took the job. The state won't be ponying up money as they are supposed to. Disaster predicted.

Even Melissa said a bit ago that her temper is running short. And anyone reading this blog knows she though Goodloe-Johnson was horrible.

If the heavy hand downtown doesn't cut it and the opposite, Banda, doesn't either, that leaves the city.

This NW Center eviction is a straw for the camel. If @(#*@& JSCEE administrators can't figure out how extremely bad it looks to kick out heavily disabled kids from a building that has served them when SPS WOULD NOT, then the fools deserve to lose their jobs. It does not matter that there is no space or that Cascade needs a home. We all understand that. Tough. Go find a solution.

Want to see this issue used to float a city takeover? I predict it's coming and today I don't know if I care anymore.


Anonymous said...

SLOG just posted that City Council and other legislators are now leaning on Banda over the NW Center issue.

My point in spades. JSCEE = STUPID.


Lynn said...


That's my guess. I read it in the BEX IV monthly status report.

Anonymous said...

The district said "All students will receive a letter with their assignment for next year before Open Enrollment begins on February 24, 2014." Has anyone gotten one? We haven't and I'm wondering if this letter will inform families like mine that we will be losing busing to the school where we could keep grandfathered enrollment. Not a make-or-break issue for us, but it could be for many families and there has been no notification about this so far. I just know because I watched the school board meeting where letters informing families were promised. -Missed Bus

Anonymous said...

Our letter came today with student's current assignment. It says that transportation eligibility may change next year, & that information will be sent in August.

-HS parent

Anonymous said...

We received our enrollment assignment letters today. Looks like they were mailed yesterday.

The only mention about bus service, "Transportation: If your child is eligible for transportation, we will mail you specific information in August. Transportation eligibility and service (district provided transportation or Orca card) may be modified due to changes in funding."

In the past we have received a separate letter from Transportation about eligibility -- but so far only a letter from Enrollment and none from Transportation.

No letter yet from

Anonymous said...

Ugh - to above messy post is from me.


Anonymous said...

We know many friends who haven't received their APP eligibility letters yet. However, they've now received their enrollment letters saying they're assigned to Spectrum (the program they've been in to date). Some have assumed this means they didn't qualify for APP. However, that's not necessarily the case and doesn't seem to be related. For 5th grade kids who have an existing APP qualification, but have been in a Spectrum program for elementary, the enrollment letters automatically reference Spectrum placement at the local middle school. If the family wishes to select APP, they'd need to do so via open enrollment. Not all families know this, though, and the lack of official notification from advanced learning in combination with the enrollment letter that indicates a Spectrum designation could be very misleading.

On a related note, families who have contacted the advanced learning office to ask about advanced learning letters have been told that the copy machine broke, that the high volume of south end testing caused additional volume, etc. If the kids who were automatically tested in the south end can't actually enroll in Spectrum or APP for 2014-2015 because they didn't actually apply (very weird approach that would seem to contradict the whole effort), shouldn't the applications/test scores for kids who did apply be processed first to allow those families to enroll or to appeal in time? In general, I think the district wants to discourage appeals, so doesn't allow time for the process except for those families who go ahead and get private testing after taking the district tests but before knowing the results just to be prepared for an appeal. Paying for private testing without actually knowing if you need it is a big step that most won't take. Even if a kid barely misses the testing, though, the district can say that without private testing, there's not a compelling reason to grant an appeal (been there with a child who missed by a very small margin on the district test).

If I were waiting for a qualification letter right now, I'd be extremely upset and frustrated. I'd also be confused by the designation included in the enrollment letter.

-a parent

Anonymous said...

aThe links between Chris Eide, his wife (former district employee, Bree Dusseault) and Clover Codd (who is in charge of the TIF grant, among other things) should not be overlooked.

"Now I see that Councilman Burgess is being thrown a fundraiser this week by the following people:
Michael and Marie DeBell, Sherry Carr, Clover Codd, Bree Dusseault , Chris Eide, David Elliot, Christina Gonzalez, Chris Korsmo, Peter Maier, Lisa Macfarlane, Harium Martin-Morris and Steve Sundquist."

This group has had several losses in a row in terms of election outcomes--no Burgess or Estey.

Coming into SPS through the back door to do student evaluations of teachers seems logical when you can't just buy elections.

--enough already

Anonymous said...

They can't seriously be using "the copy machine broke" as an excuse? There's only one copier at JSCC? There aren't dozens of professional copy vendors in town who could print the letters?

That's the lamest thing I've ever heard. Is anyone at JSCC capable of executing a workaround ?


Anonymous said...

We got our assignment letter for an incoming kindergartner and even though the boundary lookup tool online says we were moved to the newly opening FP in West Seattle for 2014/2015, the letter kept us in our old neighborhood school. Our older kid is at an option school (and we will be applying to get him in there as well), so this doesn't really matter for us, but I just thought it was interesting. I need to verify that the same thing is true for some other families on my street. Seems like either the letter is wrong or boundary lookup tool is wrong. Nothing surprises me with SPS anymore!

Confused in WS

Maje said...

Saw this posted on the SPS FB page:

Negotiation teams from the School District and SEA have agreed upon some calendar dates for the 2014-15 school year.

Looks like mid-winter break next year will be a four-day weekend.

Sept. 3, 2014 First Day of School for Students

Nov. 27 and 28, 2014 Thanksgiving Holiday

Dec. 22, 2014 to Jan. 2, 2015 Winter Break

Feb. 16, 2015 Presidents Day

Feb. 17, 2015 Mid-Winter Break

April 13-17, 2015 Spring Break

June 15, 2015 Last Day of School for Students

June 16 and 17, 2015 Snow Makeup Days (if needed)

Karen said...

Thanks, Maje, I was curious about next year. I'm still struggling with the math of last year's calendar. :) School got out for summer a week early due to no mid-winter break. However, SPS had a half day Thursday, a full day off Friday and they added a day to memorial weekend. Please, someone, help me with that math. We lost 5 days of school in June since we got rid of a 4 day break. OK, we are only behind 1 day. However, they added 1.5 days off to President's weekend and a day at Memorial. So, we added 3 days off instead of mid-winter break, and the kids got out a week early in June. Next year, the devil will be in the details when we see all the 'extra' days off with school ending a week early.