Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tuesday Open Thread

I attended (and spoke at) the City Council meeting yesterday where the two pre-K for all programs were discussed and voted on.  Boy, you want to see a president of a group control the conversation, look at the master, Tim Burgess.  I'll have a thread on this but it is astonishing the City did not work with pre-school teachers and their union on this issue.  Both measures will be going before voters in the fall, not as complimentary measures on the same topic but competing ones.  It's a pity.

Wow, big news out of Milwaukee.  NPR is reporting that in order to boost attendance they are bringing back art, music and PE

Milwaukee Public Schools is one of several school systems across the country — including Los Angeles, San Diego and Nashville, Tenn. — that are re-investing in subjects like art and physical education. The Milwaukee school district is hiring new specialty teachers with the hope of attracting more families and boosting academic achievement.

Want to show your kids a quick history lesson about the U.S.?  Here's an interactive map from Slate showing the loss of land from Native Americans.

KOMO tv is reporting that a Seattle Schools mom wants Meatless Mondays.   Megan Murphy gave the district 1500 signatures to the district towards this effort.  This won't happen next year, according to SPS, but they will consider it in the future.

She pointed out that dozens of large cities across the country, including Bellevue, San Diego, Los Angeles and Philadelphia are already doing it.

Apparently even Leonardo da Vinci had to have a resume. From Letters of Note:

Da Vinci's efforts paid off, and he was eventually employed. A decade later, it was Sforza who commissioned him to paint The Last Supper.

What's on your mind?

40 comments:

robyn said...

I don't really understand the voting restrictions on the competing measures. I am not for Burgess' plan, but I read we can only vote on one. If I, for example, vote no on the City's plan, is that an automatic yes vote for the other measure? Or, is it a non-vote?

Melissa Westbrook said...

A non-vote. You can vote on both or neither but voting for one does not mean a vote for the other.

Catherine said...

One more question about the voting - is if both measures pass, does that mean we get both of them? then what if they're competing measures?

Charlie Mas said...

The ballot has not yet been designed, but I believe that first you have to vote on whether you want either of them, and then on which one you want.

Anonymous said...

I don't think "Meatless Monday" is a very good idea. Given that school lunches can take common foods that most kids like, and make them disgusting, I don't think it's the best venue for trying to make kids eat new things - it might just end up putting them off things completely that would like if they tried it for the first when it was freshly cooked instead of frozen & reheated. They should be trying to reduce waste by sticking to the menu items that they have observed kids to actually eat. Also, since they already have a vegetarian option every day, it is just not necessary - it's one person (or maybe 1500, since there are some signatures) trying to tell others people how to feed their kids.

Mom of 4

Melissa Westbrook said...

Mom of 4, your objection was noted in the tv story.

As we can see, this issue of having two pre-K issues on the ballot may end up being very confusing.

Christina said...

I had read vegetarian entrees are offered daily by SPS Food services. Is that no longer the case? Or is the petition more like "no student with a SPS Dining Account should have a meat entree option on Mondays?"

Anonymous said...

Start later seattle is sending emails encouraging everyone to email the board to vote with moving forward. Apparently there's some push back to the study and it might get buried in the superintendent shuffle. I can post the full email if anyone wants it, but just a reminder that changing start times isn't a given.
Glad I left

Anonymous said...

Yes, Christina, the intent of the petiton is that once a week, only vegetarian food would be available for purchase. They currently have one vegetarian and one meat-containing option available every day. Mom of 4

Lori said...

The KOMO piece is not very informative, unfortunately, and I think they got the focus wrong.

I am a fan of the Meatless Mondays campaign, which was started more than 10 years ago at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health as a public health awareness campaign. You can read all about it at meatlessmonday.com and you can even follow the campaign on Facebook (for weekly reminders, recipes, etc).

I'd love to see Meatless Mondays enacted in SPS as intended. It's not simply a way to get kids to try new things. It's about education, awareness, and reducing global consumption of meat to achieve health and environmental benefits.

Mom of 4 hits on a great point though about potential downside: do we trust mass-produced, vegetarian school lunches to be tasty and kid-friendly? I don't know. There would need to be real thought and effort put into it. I'd hate to see the campaign backfire and turn kids off to meat-free meals. But if there's a way to do it well, I'd support it.

Christina said...

Children of free or reduced-lunch classification are more at risk of receiving insufficient protein at home: the cheapest foods, at least where I live (Seattle), tend to be carbohydrates. The cheapest sources of quality protein are eggs, sardines and yogurt. Protein slows down the absorption of sugars found in carbohydrates. Eggs, sardines and yogurt contain essential fats.

Deficiencies in essential fats can have huge repercussions on intelligence and behaviour.

I wonder if their parents were among the 1500 who signed the petition (i.e. "no, my child who has the FRL designation should not have the option of eating meat on Mondays at school").
I would bet a halibut dinner at Ray's that the petition originator is not of a Free or Reduced Lunch household.

Anonymous said...

How about "Flesh Eating Friday" where the vegetarians are forced to adopt the dietary practices of others? What's good for the goose should be good for the gander.

Fairness

TechyMom said...

The vegetarian entrees on the cafeteria menu seem to be mostly starch+cheese, not vegetables. We really don't need to encourage kids to eat more quesadillas, bagels with cream cheese, sunbutter sandwiches, and cheese pizza.

Anonymous said...

Ditto what TechyMom said. Meatless does not necessarily make it healthy. We usually go meatless at home, so it's nice for my meat-loving so to be able to satisfy those cravings at school sometimes.

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

Meatless Mondays? Give me a break. Why do some people feel so compelled to dictate how others should live? What happened to "embrace diversity"?

Freedom

Anonymous said...

No to the City's plan for universal preK. Unless they provide total DETAIL on both total COSTS and LOGISTICS - its a fail. And, this is coming from a rabidly pro-ed supporter, who completely believes in the power of preK as THE tool for equity. The City's plan and the District's limp-wristedness is way too out of control.

Voting NO

mirmac1 said...

A wonderful story about a Sandy Hook crossing guard. Thanks to all crossing guards who watch out for our kids' safety. : )

Anonymous said...

Melissa, you said earlier that you had seen a copy of the draft Highly Capable Program grant app. Do you recall if the form/template still includes built-in language assuring that (a) the district has a highly capable policy, and (b) that evaluation of the program is done at least every five years? I know those were both in last year's application, but I believe both are untrue. Assuming that language is still there as a requirement, are there any possible consequences to board or staff if they knowingly sign off on something with false information for submission to state? Is this a potential way to force the AL policy?

HIMSmom

Lynn said...

HIMSmom,

I've got a copy of the draft grant. Here's are a few of the things the district must ensure:

The district has a written HCP policy and procedures for Grades K-12 for:
Nomination (WAC 392-170-045)
Assessment Process (WAC 392-170-055)
System for the selection of the most highly capable (WAC 392-170-075)
Appealing the multidisciplinary selection committee’s decision (WAC 392-170-076)

The district conducts program evaluation and makes changes to the HCP as needed (WAC 392-170-030, 087, 090).

The district makes a variety of appropriate program services available to identified HCP students, which take into account such student’s unique needs and capabilities. Once services are started, a continuum of services is provided to the student from Grades K–12. Districts periodically review services for each student to ensure that the services are appropriate (WAC 392-170-078, 080).


The grant application - which may change after the final meeting(s) of the task force(a) - also indicates that the CogAT screener will be used in grades K-12. The CogAT and WISC will be used for grades K-8. A variety of services available in general ed classrooms is listed - plus there will be self-contained classrooms in grades 1-11.

carolchin said...

Hello folks, we're a new family to Seattle (just moved in from the other Washington). Really appreciate the insights into what's going on with schools here. Just wondering if there's any way to connect with MLK Jr. families? Would really love to hear just about anything about the school/staff/atmosphere, etc. Thanks!

Lynn said...

Carol,

Welcome to Seattle. I would try contacting the office and ask if they can connect you with someone from the PTA - that might be helpful. Here are a couple resources for you:

School Report Card

MLK Jr. website

Anonymous said...

Honestly, no one is forcing your kids to eat vegies. No one is infringing on your freedom. Pack them a lunch with all the meats you want if you are so against it. I hear Paula Whatzit has a recipe for sandwiches where the bread slices and lettuce are replaced with bacon and meat patties. My kids tell me the "vegetarian" school lunch choice is usu pizza. Yeah, healthy eats doesn't seem to be the big goal with this school district here.

Some people probably read or saw pics of how big agri's animal husbandry is done in this country - with cattle, chickens, pigs etc forced to stand in one place from birth till butchering, in stalls too small for them to turn around or even move, in piles of their own bodily wastes, pumped full of antibiotics - and believe it's better for all if less meat is consumed. Right, wrong, to each their own. Myself, I haven't eaten meat since highschool when I was shown a tube of blood from a patient that had big globs of white fat floating in it.

Pack your meats, problem solved. That is, until global warming turns every river into ditches. Take a look at the current level of the Colorado & Mississippi. Then no one will be eating any vegies or fruits.

We used to have salad bars in my admittedly prehistoric secondary schooldays when the dinos roamed. Is that no longer an option?

CCA

Lynn said...

CCA,

So kids who ordinarily are provided free meals at school can just "pack their meats?" It's my impression that they make up the majority of the children eating school lunches.

If your writing style were a little more understated, you might have had a chance to make a useful contribution to the discussion.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lisa said...

As someone who eats meatless for most of my meals I ought to be for "meatless Mondays." However, I don't think the infrastructure of the school lunch system will support it. Let's first figure out how to get palatable veggies into the lunches, regardless of meat content. Palatable anything, really. My kids liked the lunches pretty well that were prepared at school, but refused to eat them once they started being trucked from Stanford Center. It just isn't a model that promotes meals that taste good.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Voting No, those were exactly my points. It is unclear and vague. I'm not voting for a "it's for the kids" idea without clear parameters especially around the responsibilities and role of this district when its (under)funded mandate is K-12.

HIMS Mom, I will try to get that draft application up by the end of the week.

CarolChin, you can write to me off-line and I'm happy to try to answer your questions about this district. sss.westbrook@gmail.com

I believe there are some schools that still have salad bars. It seems weird that the district has all these stories about how great the food is becoming and yet we still hear from parents/students who say the food is not that good.



Lynn said...

HIMS mom - here's the Draft Highly Capable Grant Application

Anonymous said...

Michelle Rhee initiatives rejected in DC: http://www.salon.com/2014/06/20/d_c_halting_key_michelle_rhee_reform/


Schoolmarm

mirmac1 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

CCA-

Totally agree with everything you said, and the image your words provoke are truly depressing. That being said, the (pathetically gross) lunches at school ARE the only food many kids get. They can't pack anything from home because there is nothing to pack. That's pretty depressing too.

Summer

Anonymous said...

"Edible Entrees, Every School, Everyday"

Could the SSD make an effort to provide that?

Summer

Anonymous said...

Summer meal programs and locations
type in your zip code or phone the information hotline #800-322-2588

https://resources.parenthelp123.org/services/summer-meals?

PSP

mirmac1 said...

HoooBoy, The Fordham Institute is at it again:

Should Principals Be Treated Like CEOs?

Josh Hayes said...

I was interested to read in the Daily Drudge (aka the Seattle Times) that the mean ol' teachers union has been virtually STEALING money from students and administrators. Students, okay, but innocent administrators? WHO WILL SPEAK FOR THEM?

[rolls eyes]

Either that, or this particular piece was satire. Somehow I doubt it. Here's the link, if you want to check it out.

Anonymous said...

Josh: The "Freedom Foundation" from which that article was belched should tell you all you need to know. Unions never equal freedom of any type in their eyes.

For anyone with a grain of sense, the old "teachers only work for 9 months" myth is easily busted by facts. But think tanks like that recycle & regurgitate-based "foundation" don't need facts when trolling for anti-union sentiment, which subsists within the readership of the Times.

The truth, as anyone even slightly involved in public education knows, is that the average teacher works as many, or more hours, than the average 50 week per year, full time worker. Some outwork such folks by days or weeks, in fact.

But you'll never hear the anti-union sentiment thrown at firemen, police, or bus drivers like its thrown at teachers & building staff.

Ah hell, it's the Times for crying out loud. What else would we expect to read there? WSDWG

Anonymous said...

And as for Banda's leaving, he says it's family proximity. Done.

If there's any other or "real" reason, then he isn't being forthright with us, which is a breach of loyalty and integrity, in which case, his position is untenable and indefensible.

I know I must be insane to expect those in public positions of power to be honest and forthright, but it makes me sick to see people making excuses for such people when they aren't. If someone like Banda doesn't like something about the Board, staff, or the public, he should have the integrity to say so. It reminds me of an important saying, which goes: "Tell the truth. Then you don't have to remember anything."

It's high time we get back to simple notions like truth-telling if we really want our SI to be successful, instead of playing politics, where everyone comfortably lies through their teeth, going along to get along, while delivering the opposite of what they promise, or worse.

So, is Banda being forthright, in which the Board is exonerated of any wrongdoing? Or is he keeping the "real reason" to himself and a few confidants, while deceiving and lying to the public? What a position to try to defend or support, huh?

WSDWG

mirmac1 said...

Dangit! Play-area fire at Schmitz Park Elementary School, $50,000 damage. How long will it take to replace...!?

TechyMom said...

WSDWG, when you leave a job do you tell everyone, including possible future employers, what you didn't like about your work and your manager? That sounds like juvenile and unprofessional behavior to me, and something I hope our superintendent would NOT model for our students. Bad-mouthing your former boss is a great way to ensure that you never have another one. If he has negative feedback for the board, or particular board members, the right place for that is in person and in private.

Anonymous said...

Some teachers are busy running summer camps and finding summer jobs right now (after they cleaned out their classrooms) to augment salary. Two friends left for Europe and are touring the Mediterranean after several years of planning and saving. We just wished them off and got the keys. They'll have lots to bring back to the classrooms this fall. I think there are trade offs in any profession.

summerluvin

Anonymous said...

Right TechyMom. And that's why we are a generation of hypocrites, liars and frauds. We play the PC game of keeping our mouths shut, while not "bad-mouthing" anyone, for fear of reprisals. That's aka "selling out" btw.

Honesty and integrity are now juvenile and unprofessional. God Almighty, if that doesn't say it all!

WSDWG