Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Tuesday Open Thread

 A bit of dark place I find myself in. 

Robin Williams, a giant talent who I saw twice live in San Francisco (and once in a little bookstore), killed himself.  Very sad.

Then there's the essay by Joe Williams of DFER who says that "Suburbs Hold Key to Resolving Democratic Party's Tensions over School Choice."

It's hard to know which is worse - the idea that the "school choice" is the REAL issue among Dems (hint: it's not).  Cue violins and wringing of hands - if only we could get the "huge swaths of black and Hispanic families" on the same page as "as the nation's soccer moms" where"no cul-de-sac left behind," why we'd all be singing Kumbaya, no?

(Note to Mr. Williams, you may have missed the World Cup but those of us who watched and who know soccer as the world sport, know there are MILLIONS of black and Hispanic soccer moms.)

  According to Bazaar magazine, we have "the Savior in Seattle." Not "a savior" but "the savior."  That would be one Mrs. Bill Gates, Jr. 

Now an odd thing I find about nearly every article on the Gates Foundation - it seems when they want to look good (and/or not be challenged), their Foundation is all about world health.  But public education in the U.S. and their efforts to mold it just never seems to come up.  And so it is with this article.

She takes a seat in a conference room, wearing black trousers, a tan silk blouse, and a subtle Van Cleef & Arpels flower necklace.

(But she must have changed clothes for the photo.  I was going to put the photo up but the only place you can do that is ...Pinterest. You can't make this stuff up.)

Gates's worst trait, she says, "is being too hard on myself. Bill reminds me often, 'You know way more than you think you know, Melinda. Just be nicer to yourself.' "

That's what big money (and Big Data) will do for you, I guess.  It buys you the power to believe in yourself.

And then there was the C&I meeting.  I'll let others report out but honestly, Director McLaren telling staff to enjoy "this sweet moment" while speaking of getting the Highly Capable report "done" was a little more than I could take.   They really should go back to calling it Highly Capable because pretty soon, that's all that will be left.

What's on your mind?


mirmac1 said...

posting for a friend:

To those concerned about sexual assault in public schools:

Citizens are gathering to support the movement to Stop Sexual Assault in High School. A peaceful demonstration is to occur, with your help, at the Seattle School Board meeting on August 20th, 4:40. Parking is available

It is possible that persons supporting the petition to remove Garfield Principal Howard for his role in fostering sexual violence (that led to the US Dept of Education, Office for Civil Rights, opened in response to the Garfield High School rape) may be present. (see petition link below)

The meeting starts at 4:15 with the consent agenda and any presentations related to superintendent comments. Testimony starts at 5pm. People can come at 4:40 and wait outside the front.

Please come at 4:40 and take pictures as the media turnout is still unknown. Please email your pictures to stopsexualassaultin highschool@comcast.net

We need the School Board to see people upset by the events that led to the opening of a Federal investigation.

Suggestions for signs:

Garfield Rape: No one accountable (Everyone Accountable is the district's motto)

Garfield rape gets Federal Investigation

Garfield rape was entirely preventable

Teachers didn't read/enforce chaperoning rules

Unscreened chaperone slept with earplugs

District fosters sexual violence

School Board says no sex harassment occurred

District failed to address sex harassment under Title IX

Sex assault reported: No excuse not implementing Title IX

District : "Sex on field trips can occur when chaperones
appropriately performing duties"

"Sex on field trips doesn't mean chaperones failed"

Why Have Chaperones if they don't read/enforce the rules?

Principal privileged assailant's tale of
consensual sex

District values athlete but devalues female victim

District's biased investigations conducted by insider

District response to rape outrageous, self-serving

This rape could be anyone's nightmare

Please feel free to forward this and have people email me.

District released victim's address to media!
Violated FERPA

Stop Sexual Assault in High School seeks to help families nationwide advocate for a student's rights after sexual assault. We will also be addressing prevention through trainings. Stop Sexual Assault in High School recently came into being after our family member was raped on a Garfield High School field trip. Our vision is to spare others the devastation that ensued when the Seattle School District failed to keep students safe and failed to extend any of her federally mandated Title IX rights. The District is now under federal investigation for violation of Title IX. We're only one month old but an unrelenting revolution is underway with the help of dedicated individuals, organizations, and media. Please join us!

Please visit our Facebook page including "Our Family's Story," our complaint opened by the US Dept. of Education, Office for Civil Rights, and other posts. Email us with your suggestions and let us know how you can be of service.

Facebook Page (peak following of 13,000+following Jezebel.com and Al-Jazeera coverage)

Stop Sexual Assault in High School

mirmac1 said...

correct email is stopsexualassaultinhighschool@comcast.net

Anonymous said...

A good paper on the rise of Neoliberal policies, especially in education. Mostly details Australia, but pulls in parallels from the US. Not a quick and easy read, just FYI.

"The neoliberal cascade and education: an essay on the market agenda and its consequences"

Joe Wlliams, the DFER-DINO, can stick it.


Anonymous said...

Interesting review of constructivist methods in Canada:

1st major study of reform math: Epic fail


Carol Simmons said...

Congratulations to Rainier Beach High School for a "discipline fix" as reported by the Seattle Times Education Blog on August 10. Since 2012-13 R.B. has been implementing some of the Recommendations made by several of the Seattle Public School District's former Disproportionality Task Forces and the Council of State Governments. In June, 60 recommendations were made to make suspensions and expulsions the last resort reserved for serious threats to safety, instead of the "default reaction whenever a student steps out of line." The U.S, Department of Education's civil-rights investigation into Seattle Public Schools' Disproportionality data is still ongoing. RB is to be commended for addressing the disparity in discipline by positive approaches to student behavior by understanding the causes of the behavior and responding with positive approaches.

Anonymous said...

Well it is BAZAAR(o)after all. One expects Van Cleef. Personally, for the gossipy lo-down, I like the Daily Mail. If you are a Gates groupie, FYI: they were vacationing in the Med on a $5 million/week 450 ft rental tub. Then again my daughter's classmate just got back from a 3 week getaway in Greece and S. France. How do these people do it?

summer envy

Anonymous said...

Great article on the new NEA Pres. We need leadership clearly.


-Believer in Change

Josh Hayes said...

I was pointed to a disturbing blog post about a school-wide "flipped classroom" endeavor using iPads and, of course, a whole pile of Pearson software. The disturbing thing is how godawful it sounds like from the perspective of student rights, good teaching -- pretty much from everyone's perspective except for the money-making interests. Yikes.

Read it here. It's about a five-minute read, probably.

Anonymous said...

Ugh - I've heard nightmarish stories about the Pearson software apps for the iPad and all the little hidden bits that nickel and dime purchasers to death.

The flipped classroom stuff is equally as bad. It requires a certain set of conditions - motivated students, all kids with Internet access, functional computer/device access, a safe place to study - as well as the right kind of teacher AND subject. Some content areas are better served by this than others, but in many places it is being forced on all teachers despite the lack of any conclusive research base. Yet another fad, pushed by ed tech companies and groups like ISTE, and districts/principals buy into it.


mirmac1 said...

a friend requested I post these documents:

Garfied Sexual Assault Case Documents - REDACTED

Staff Complaint and Correspondence - REDACTED

Anonymous said...

According to the Washington Post and Huff Post, Michele Rhee is planning to step down from heading up Students First. Appears she didn't raise the money she wanted and also that there is a backlash to her views.


Anonymous said...

Carol: I wish Nathan Hale would look at those recommendations because it does seem to me that students of color receive harsher discipline than white students. They seem to get suspended more often. At least that is what my white kid tells me and finds very upsetting to see friends treated harsher due to their skin color.


Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what's going on with Salmon Bay? I was a little nervous about all the staff members leaving last year, but there were reasonable explanations for all (e.g. the chance to build a new program at Jane Addams.) Now the principal is leaving at what really seems like the last minute, saying the decision "was more difficult than you cam imagine, but also what is needed in order for Salmon Bay K-
8 to move forward with the momentum required to achieve its vision." I liked her leadership and thought the school was doing well, and would really like to know what the deal is.

-- Arden

Anonymous said...

Melissa, maybe a thread for Salmon Bay k8?

@Arden, is it true 12 teachers/admin have departed and won't be there for September?! If true, that is a sea-change.

What is going on? How is SpEd doing? Does all of this turn over affect Sped disproportionately?

-SB SpEd?

Anonymous said...

SB SpEd, I haven't saved all the Salmon Bay staff-change notifications, but these are the ones I do still have. -- Arden

- Principal Jen Benkovitz (announced today)
-- Special Ed's Heather Wixom (not sure of position) and Devin Gurley (certificated teacher), recruited to work at central office level (announced 8/10)
-- 7th grade math teacher Janet Bogle, moved to McClure (announced 8/10)
-- Assistant Principal Brett Joachim, returned home to Spokane (announced 6/12)
-- Nurse Julie Kaloper (staying on as Loyal Heights nurse but said it was "time for a professional change" and is dropping Salmon Bay), announced 6/10
-- Karen Putnam, longtime administrative secretary, transferring to Jane Addams (announced 5/9)
--Kate Davis, 7th-grade language arts teacher, moved to Jane Addams (announced 4/14)
-- Anthony Malaki, counselor, transferred to Mercer (announced 3/20)

Lynn said...

2,300 people have signed this online petition requesting a new principal at Garfield for the 2014-15 school year.

Anonymous said...

I would be surprised if Nathan Hale was disciplining minorities differently. Two years ago, both vice principals were African American. I think they have both moved on now to promotions.
What I did find disturbing was when I asked my daughter why an ambulance had been at the school. It turns out 2 girls were fighting and one got badly injured. My daughter said "It's only the black girls who fight." That was disturbing - and very sad.

Stu said...

Here's something new . . .John Greenberg's been reinstated to teacher his social justice course at the Center School. Just when I thought nothing ever changes!



Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...


Please start a new thread on Jon Greenberg's case. While I am sure we are all thrilled that he has gotten his job back through a lengthy and grueling process, the fact remains that teachers know we can be Greenberged with one complaint and that there is little recourse.

open ears