Monday, October 06, 2014

Odds and Ends

About preschool and SPS, a few items:

- Director Blanford has been working with the City on their preschool plan almost since he got elected.  (I know this from some public disclosure e-mails.)  Trouble is, I went back and looked at his campaign interviews and I can't find one that mentions it.  Not even in a very detailed questionaire from the King County Dems where mentions being the director of an early learning center. 

That seems odd given this statement he made in an e-mail to Councilman Burgess, Sara Morris from the Alliance and Holly Miller at the Office of Education in January 2014 about joining them on the preschool junket

Thanks for including me in this opportunity, which I'd like to pursue.  As you know, I have some background in Early Learning (as the Executive Director of the White Center Early Learning Initiative) and hope to be a strong and informed advocate for Universal Preschool in my position on the Seattle School Board.  

Apparently he didn't feel the need to tell voters this would be a special interest of his.

Director Blanford is becoming increasingly outspoken, sometimes for good and sometimes not.  The good is when he called President Peaslee on her habit at committee meetings of trying to move the meeting along (good) but then asking a lot of questions but not allowing others to do so.  He said it wasn't fair and he was right.

But then, at the Garfield PTSA meeting, all the things he said about the Garfield field trip incident?  Not so good.

The Seattle Council PTSA will have their General Meeting on October 20th at 7 pm at Madrona K-8.  They will have staff from the Transportation department to present "Busing 101."  They will also present theirfive focus items for this year:
  • McCleary, 
  • school capacity/maintenance and overcrowding, 
  • safe environments including supervision, walk zones, transportation and "reasonable school start times that support healthy sleep."
  • improved family engagement
  • equity in initiatives and policies to provide all students with a quality education.
 They also have a new website.

This Thursday, the 9th, the Washington State Charter Commission is expected to see the approval of at least two more charters (out of the four applications that cleared the process).  I would expect to see Green Dot and Sunnyside Charter Academy to make it.  Spokane School district, the only school district authorizer in the state, has approved one more, Spokane International Academy. 

Good article about the drop in charter applications from the Seattle Weekly.

I came across this very useful webpage (which I honestly cannot remember if I have put up here before) on the History of School Funding in Washington State.

The Washington Post's take on "Parenting as a Gen Xer" - good luck with that.  I'm not sure I would want to have school-aged kids because it would take some really careful thinking about them and their online lives. 


Greg said...

On the charters, the Washington Post wrote a great article yesterday, "Was the ‘original bargain’ with charter schools a raw deal?"

An excerpt from that article: "The charter school PR machine is doing everything it can to cover up reality ... Whenever there is close scrutiny of the remarkable results the charter industry loves to crow about, the facts are those results really aren’t there ... Charter schools that were supposedly intended to be more 'accountable' to the public are turning out to be anything but."

On the very last thing you mentioned, raising kids now and thinking about their online lives, I'm not sure that's any different than thinking about their offline lives. In general, I think you want to prepare them for the good and bad of the world and what they are going to experience, showing them a bit at a time, as much as they can handle well, and teaching them how to deal with it. Online doesn't seem different to me than the experience walking down the street in different spots on our city. Both have their very good and their very bad, don't they?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Charters are largely not holding up their end of the bargain. As someone who had to consider school closings, I can tell you NO ONE wants their school closed.

Greg, I think every generation has its challenges. But back in my day, you had to use a rotary phone and dial those numbers (many times) if you wanted to spread a rumor (but not me, of course).

Today, with a flick of a button, any middle school meanie can spread a rumor. When you are 11, 12 or 13, it is hard to fight that. And, as a parent, you are pretty much powerless.

As I say, over and over, I worry about students and their life and school data being tracked and stolen. Child identity theft is the fastest growing identity theft. My kids didn't have to get their Social Security numbers at birth; yours do. That's a very valuable data point for a hacker and you might not know your child's identiy has benn comprised for many years.

But, we all muddle thru so I hope I am just an Nervous Nellie. (But I have promised my sons that if there are not data protection measures put into place, I will live in a hovel to allow me to pay for private school for my grandkids.

KnownBySupporters said...

Dale Estey talked about birth-5 on the campaign trail. She never elaborated. Considering school board members run for K-12 positions, I never understood 0-5 comments.

Blanford never mentioned prek on the campaign trail.

Considering Blanford's wife works for the city, he should recuse himself from all votes involving the city.

Charlie Mas said...

Director Blanford is having trouble complying with the Board Code of Conduct.