Friday, June 06, 2014

Friday Open Thread

Tomorrow is the Board retreat; that should be interesting to attend.  It's from 10:30 am to 3:00 pm at the JSCEE.  Agenda.  It appears the bell time analysis is to be presented in the morning and prioritized.  After the math adoption, I'm sure there are priorities to be shifted.  They have lunch at 12:30 and start work again on priorities at 12:45 pm.  The rest of the afternoon is for governance/committee structure.  Nice to see a more scaled down agenda for a Retreat.

Well look at that, two more states - South Carolina and Oklahoma - drop Common Core.   It is an interesting thing to see the variances in "dropping" Common Core.  Florida just renamed them but for both S.C. and OK, they are truly going to write their own standards.  As well, the number of states participating in the testing consortiums has gone down for both the PARCC and Smarter Balanced (which WA state is part of). 

Are we ever going to have a discussion of this issue in Washington State or Seattle Public Schools?

Also, there's a new WA state poll on Common Core that claims the majority of the state likes Common Core.  I'll get a link and show why this polling (as usual) is flawed.  

Great piece from Radical Neurodivergence Speaking about how having autistic friends is good.  Good reading for parents who have children who face these challenges. 

HUGE thanks to the courageous Jon Meis, a 22-year old engineering student at Seattle Pacific, who initially subdued yesterday's shooter at the school.  The shooter was trying to reload his shotgun, Meis - a building monitor - had pepper spray, used it and tackled the shooter.  Other students helped to hold the shooter down until police arrived. 

Photos of the day.
Macklemore signing the new "buddy bench" at Roxhill (photo credit: West Seattle blog)


Disgusted said...

We will see a backlash against Common Core when first graders spend days on tests, and when test results start coming-in.

Anonymous said...

Hard to think about the shooting, seems the guy was a Columbine fan and just wanted to shoot up a school.

Melissa, do yo think you could restart the thread on the NYT article on G&T?
It got buried with the board meeting.Even a AL argument would be welcome today, to keep me from crying.
Thx, Quon

Eric B said...

Thank you to John Meis and all of the first responders who made the shooting less tragic than it could have been.

The SPU shootings is one more piece of evidence that mass shootings end when the shooter has to stop and reload, giving bystanders a chance to intervene, or the shooter kills himself. IMHO, the key to reducing the potential harm of mass shootings is to reduce the available magazine size. Prevention relies on keeping guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them. That is a much trickier problem to solve, especially with the Supreme Court's current stance on gun rights.

On the larger scale, nothing will change as long as Joe the Plumber can get positive media coverage for saying that his constitutional rights outweigh children's lives.

A parent said...

Received this last night after the SPU shooting from Queen Anne Elementary's principal.

"Dear QAE Families,

I simply want to share with you our response to the events of this afternoon. I'm heartsick about the shootings at SPU but do not know enough to comment on that tragic part of thisthis is simply to inform you of what happened here at QAE.

As school was dismissing at the end of the day (3:35PM) we received a phone call from a QAE parent who is an SPU employee to inform us there had been a shooting incident, sometime around 3PM, and that they were locked down. Our office staff immediately contacted me on the walkie-talkie, turned to online news, and then walked out to tell me more details. At that time all our buses had left and there were a large number of children and parents on the playground. I chose to inform them of this incident and the only news I had, that a suspect, possibly two, was/were not in custody and requested they vacate the playground and either head home or into the buildings. We locked our buildings but allowed adults and children with adults to leave and enter, essentially a Shelter-in-Place. After some time making sure we were aware of where all children and adults were on our campus I had time to call our SPS Security. I was informed that SPD had contacted our security department and informed them there were no schools in the vicinity and no calls needed. I was, and am, completely unsatisfied with that decision for us and for Coe, which is situated eight or nine blocks from the SPU campus. I will certainly follow up on this with both SPD and our SPS Security Department. We received notice that our bus that went to the Nickerson vicinity was returning and those students were taken to a classroom with one of our teaching staff. We had several after school clubs that went on as normal with Shelter-in-Place procedures, as did Kids Co. We monitored our doors and when SPS security arrived on our campus we were informed we could end the Shelter-in-Place and proceed as normal.

I want to thank office staff for their confident handling of this situation and also thank our staff who stayed to watch doors, reassure students, follow twitter, and help keep a calm and caring presence.

Take care,

David Elliott--Principal"

NB said...


Can we re-open the topic about school funding for next year (bump it up somehow) and what people are hearing at their schools? There were only a couple comments on that thread, but I heard the same thing from my child's teacher yesterday.

It was more along the lines of: Please, tell anyone you know to enroll now instead of waiting. We know of at least 16 kids who were not on our initial enrollment list that are enrolled, and it's resulting in 'retirement' of one teacher and the loss of another.

This teacher seems to think there will be about 30-40 more kids than budgeted for on the first day of school.

Anonymous said...

Our son is attending Ingraham HS next year and we've heard that parents in the Wallingford neighborhood chartered a bus to take some of the Hamilton MS students to IHS... does anyone on this blog know who I could contact about this, if there are any plans to do it again this year (I know many interested parents of 8th graders who going to IHS next year)? Thanks in advance:

-- Alx

Anonymous said...

If I were a plumber, I'd sue Joe for defamation. He gives all plumbers a bad name. His infamy is all based on his ignorance about progressive taxation, if he even knows what that means. And people still put microphones in front of him.

In Kardashian land, whatever provokes a reaction is gold to the "look at me" press.


Eric B said...

@Alx, I'll forward your email address to one of the parents I know who is doing this.

Anonymous said...

(Repost from another thread)
Several threads back, I posted links to the OSPI website which included a Windows Media version of a webinar from Student Achievement Partners, who had a very heavy hand in the development of CCSS. I urge others to listen to it, even though it drags on for about 1.5 hours.

Listening to the webinar and viewing the powerpoint slides is downright eery, when you think about the level of "control" CCSS will have over a generation of students in public schools if it comes to fruition as they want it to. As far as standards go, it is plainly and un-apologetically one-size-fits-all for the whole country.

While many who support common core were well intended, I found my thoughts floating back and forth between local control push-back in many states and regions, on the one hand, and Chairman Mao's Re-Education programs on the other. Hyperbole yes, but all sorts of thoughts go through one's head, such as Carl in Caddyshack:

I have to laugh, because I've outsmarted even myself. My enemy, my foe, is an animal. In order to conquer the animal, I have to learn to think like an animal. And, whenever possible, to look like one. I've gotta get inside this guy's pelt and crawl around for a few days.

Are we becoming the enemy or rival in order to defeat him? What is all this controlling of the flow of information CCSS exerts over our kids minds? It completely contravenes so much of our history of public education in this country, it just left my head spinning to listen to comments and see how quickly state education people listening to the webinar fell into line and agreed with the SAP rep, whom I believe was Sandra Alberti. Bizarre, almost creepy.

I would imagine any MS or HS history teacher would be speechless at what's going on, given those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it. But we apparently have many teachers planning to teach to CCSS as much as possible, because that's what students will be "graded on" and maybe someday what teachers will be "rated on" as well.

The same standards from sea to shining sea? Welcome to the United States of Widgetry & Data. I think we've already reached the point where we've standardized our curricula to death, but CCSS is causing people to double-down on it.

From a policy standpoint, to meet each kid where they are and help them grow and develop into competent adults, I find this "programming" of kids terrifying and depressing.


Charlie Mas said...

Each year, at their retreats, the Board sets priorities for the year. Each year, the superintendent and the staff ignore them.

So the impact of adding bell time changes to the priority list? None.

Anonymous said...

Can someone please clarify the process/contact person for filing a FOIA request with the district?


Melissa Westbrook said...

The district's Public Records Officer is July Barbello,

If you are making a public disclosure request, please do the following:

- say that in your opening sentence
- be specific! give a timeframe (such date to such date), specific people/staff, topic you are trying to pinpoint within the e-mail or document. Don't make this a fishing expedition.

Anonymous said...

John Meis was very brave and yes, a hero in those circumstances. But the reason that only one person died and only one other person was seriously injured was primarily the circumstances - i.e.. the shooter had to stop and reload.
He was not carrying the typical large-magazine assault weapons favored by mass-shooters in the US. If he did so, likely John Meis, the shooter, and many, many other young people would be dead or injured.
This is why we need to ban these sort of weapons and magazines or at least enact very strong restrictions on who can obtain them. There is absolutely no reason anyone needs assault weapons outside or the military, other than to parade around feeling macho (like the Texas open carry losers), or to cause human carnage. They are not for hunting, sporting use, or self defense - in civilian life their only role is to boost the self-esteem of Rambo wannabes or kill a lot of people in a short time. Every other developed country in the world can see this, and restricts ownership of these sort of guns (and others) so why do we let people in the US wander around like we're Syria or Afghanistan?
People stand up! The NRA does not represent the views of the majority of American so why do we let them be the dominant voice.
How can we all not fear for our lives on a daily basis - because the reality is, that the lack of gun laws and the mentality here means this could happen anywhere at any time - at our workplaces, at our kids schools, at the mall, at the movie theater. How is this acceptable? This is not normal. This is not the case in other countries. Other countries have the same rate of mental illness, the same violent games and movies, but mass shootings are rare occurrence. Everytime this happens the media makes a fuss (perhaps that should stop), people are shocked and pray and make speeches and light candles for the victims but NOTHING CHANGES and next week it will be another town, another bunch of victims and the same process all over again.

How about for a change we don't just pray for the victims -we actually do something!
Donate, join organization such as"Everytown for Gun Safety" or "Moms demand Action". write letters to your representatives, collect signatures, show the NRA and the politicians who are in their pockets that we have the numbers, vote!

Do something

Anonymous said...

Sorry -Lots of typos in my previous rant. As you can see this is a topic I feel strongly about!

Do something

Melissa Westbrook said...

You should see the Jon Stewart piece on gun violence - hilariously true.

Anonymous said...

Melissa - the Jon Stewart piece is spot on. If you didn't laugh, you'd cry.

Do Something

Anonymous said...

Can someone create a thread on the TIERS recommendation and extension to the SEA-CAP. Also I heard Patu wants less SPED but TIERS wants more child find activity. That will mean more of those pesky dyslexic trouble makers (sarcasm)

The deadline won’t move, Gill said, just because planning is taking longer than it should. Ya right!


Mary Griffin said...

Michael, what Betty Patu was talking about at the last SEAAC was over-identification of minorities. This is a priority of the Federal Government that boils down to requirements that OSPI needs to follow when dispersing federal money related to IDEA.

Seattle continues to have significant dis-proportionality in the identification of children of color in certain categories, such as students who are black are over-identified as having an intellectual disability (formerly called mental retardation) 3.06 times more than students who are not black. Even more alarmingly, students who are identified as Native American are 7.02 times more likely to be identified as intellectually disabled. The rate for all disabilities is 29.9% of students who are Native American are identified as qualifying for Special Education.

It can be argued that what is being identified/overidentified is poverty, but there is also good evidence that there is cultural biases, especially with giving students of color diagnosis of intellectual disability and emotional/behavioral disabilities. Labeling children as disabled when they really are not leads to unwarranted services and reduced expectations.

Betty may also be concerned because the five to 21-year olds, the state Special Education allocation is 93 percent of the district’s average per-student general apportionment
allocation, BUT it is capped at 12.7 percent of the resident K-21 full time enrollment. The allocation for students with disabilities aged birth to 5 and not yet enrolled in kindergarten is not capped. In other words, the state provides no allocations for the percentage of students who exceed 12.7% of the K-12 population. In Seattle, the K-21 percentage is 12.87%. This amounts to a difference of 91 students that aren't funded, so about half a million dollars. There's motivation there to not over-identify minorities, too.

Ragweed said...

Mary - do we also see the differential diagnoses in Seattle that we see Nationally? I know there are big concerns around racial disparity around the type of diagnosis - eg. kids of color with autism systems are disproportionately diagnosed with behavioral or intellectual disabilities. Do we see that here as well?

Ragweed said...

systems = symptoms

TechyMom said...

Great article about the differences between high achieving, gifted and creative learners

Is anyone aware of research on how poverty or restrictive educational environments impact different types of kids?

mirmac1 said...

Yes, Ragweed.

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