Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tuesday Open Thread

I am back and it seems to be quite a busy week.

Ballots are dropping this week for the November 4th election.  I'll have more to say on the ballot measures on preschools but, from being out on the campaign trail, I see that it seems to be shaping up somewhat like the charter school measure.  Meaning, unions against wealthy ed reformers.

I will be speaking about the two preschool measures at a voters forum this Thursday, Oct. 16th at Horizon House, 900 University Street, starting at 7:30 pm.  This is co-sponsored with the League of Women Voters who have already recommended a no vote to both measures.  (Meaning, vote no on the first question and send idea back to the drawing board which is my position as well.)

The agenda for both the Operations Committee meetings this week on Thursday the 16th are still not available.  That seems odd but I suspect it's because the Board may be considering finding funds to accept the Federal Reserve building and renovate it.

I'll put this up now but please let your PTA or PTO or any other newsletter writers at your school know about this event:

The AARP is a sponsor of a free dental, vision and medical care clinic on Thursday, October 23rd to Sunday, October 26th at Key Arena from 6 am to 6 pm (line-up starts at midnight with numbers given out at 3:30 am). 

Patients do NOT need ID of proof of citizenship.  Parking is free.  No advanced registration (first come, first served).  Licensed healthcare professionals are available, both male and female.

I know these events have been hugely attended in other parts of the country.  Please let any families within your community know about this opportunity.

Update:

A couple of other items:

A teacher in Philadelphia is reporting that students taking the PSAT are being asked to sign up for text messaging on financial aid but also to have personal data shared with two organizations uAspire (for one-to-one financial aid and college advising) & Harvard’s Center for College Policy Research – to study impact of this.  I do not know if this is true for SPS and I don't know these two groups.  But this testing period is coming up and you might want to ask your child's counselor/principal about this and discuss with your student what data should go out.

The DOE is giving grants to six charter schools in Washington state.  These include Excel Public Charter, First Place Scholars Charter, PRIDE Prep, Rainier Prep, SOAR Academies and Green Dot.  Each is getting at least $200K and Green Dot will get $2.5M over three years (they are a charter management org).  (Former TFAer and SPS staffer Bree Dusseault has been hired as head of Green Dot, Washington State.)  Green Dot will be leasing space in an old Tacoma school, John. R. Rogers Elementary.

I note that the Charter Commission meeting minutes reflect something of a confusion over whether the Commission should allow charters to open in facilities own by religious groups.  The Commission stated it will be gathering information and creating a policy.

The Commission last week rejected two charter applications for a second time (Village Academy and Sunnyside Charter).  Commissioners seem deeply torn over passion for these schools versus the need for clear nuts and bolts on running them.  The only one approved this round was for another Green Dot school, a 6-12 school somewhere in south Seattle.  

33 comments:

Po3 said...

Can I vote No and No for PreK?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Po3, under 1A and !B, you will get two questions.

The first is something like "do you want either measure?" You can vote Yes and pick one.

Or you can vote "no" and stop right there.

If there are enough "no" votes, neither measure will pass (no matter how many votes either 1A or 1B get).

Oddly, if you vote "no" you are allowed to hedge your bets (in case there are more "yes" votes on the first question) and vote for 1A or 1B.

I'm voting "no" to the first question (in hopes that it prevails and sends both sides back to the table together to hammer our ONE proposal that voters can understand and feel good about).

But, yes, I am hedging my bets and voting for 1A. I feel that I want to side with those caregivers/teachers on the front lines, I do want more training and regulation of these caregivers and that it would, overall, affect just as many (if not more) kids from birth-5 years old than number of kids served in 1B.

I also don't like subsidizing pre-k for those who can truly afford it as 1B would.

Po3 said...

So I can vote No then vote Yes for 1a, that is messed up and I wonder if anybody will even get that option.

Melissa Westbrook said...

As I say everywhere I speak - these a confusing and complicated measures AND a confusing way to vote.

I'm not sure anyone will "win."

Anonymous said...

Dang - wish I'd seen that thing about the PSAT data sharing before today - Federal Way is having all 11th graders take it today (for free) - would have suggest to my friend's child that she "opt out" - oh well...

And I'm sure there are more than a few prop. 1B supporters who are hoping the inherent confusion in those options helps them win the day...sigh...

reader47

David said...

I noticed the television ads have begun for 1B. I fear that our Seattle "it's for the kids" usual voting practice will cause it to pass. Ugh

Anonymous said...

Melissa, how are you getting that caregivers will be more regulated under 1A? I don't see this happening at all. Who would provide this regulation? The unions? The city? DEL? And just in case you were unaware, preschools are pretty regulated now. Check out DEL's WACs. You won't believe some of the things.

And do you think it appropriate that the unions be the sole training provider? I don't.

I will be voting NO on the initial question and won't bother hedging my bets.

Finally, I agree with you that 1A would affect more kids than 1B --- 1A will cause preschools to close or reduce the quality of their programs.

--- swk

Melissa Westbrook said...

1A's own website and statement:
Proposition 1A (Initiative 107) would establish a $15 minimum wage for childcare workers (phased in over three years for employers with under 250 employees); seek to reduce childcare costs to 10% or less of family income; prohibit violent felons from providing professional childcare; require enhanced training and certification through a training institute; create a workforce board and establish a fund to help providers meet standards; and hire an organization to facilitate communication between the City and childcare workers.

Regulating felons? requiring enhanced training?

I think those are all new regulations.

Both the City's plan and the unions plan criticize the city for not having some of its own regulations and only using state ones.

Do I think it's needed? Probably. Have I seen that there is regulation to the nth degree in some cases? ditto. But that's another day, not these two.

Both plans could cause preschools to close or reduce quality.

Anonymous said...

I would agree that those would probably be new regulations. But let me ask a few more questions:

Can violent felons currently provide professional childcare? Aren't childcares licensed and don't these licenses require fingerprint background checks on all employees? Would this even be a new regulation, or simply a scare tactic of the unions to get people to vote for their proposal?

And who is going to regulate this required "enhanced training and certification"? The unions? The city? DEL? Turnover, especially for part-time childcare employees, is pretty high. Who is going to ensure that ALL new employees are getting the "enhanced training and certification"?

And regardless of who is going to set up the massive bureaucracy to oversee and regulate this "enhanced training and certification," who is paying for all of this? Taxpayers? The childcares themselves? If the latter, where is this money supposed to come from? The childcares won't be able to raise their tuition to cover the costs because there will be a cap on the amount of tuition each family will pay.

I bet the $$$ that the unions rake in on required "enhanced training and certification" could provide multiple hires for the unions --- being a PD provider can be quite lucrative, just ask WEA.

What a disaster.

--- swk

mirmac1 said...

I found the Times' bevy of articles about billionaires throwing their weight around quite interesting:

California billionaire pours $250K more into his Wash. climate PAC

Hanauer rages at Constantine over police militarization

□Critics say Gates Foundation's agriculture program won't help poor farmers

Finally, a good guy not trying to buy or bully politicians

Seattle philanthropist Floyd Jones gives $10M to ACLU

Disgusted said...

Voters doubled the Family and Education Levy to $232M to support vulnerable and low income schools. We had no idea that Ed Murray and Ed Burgess would band with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to force their way into our schools under the guise of Prek-5 (!) alignment.

The city's plan includes funding for individuals, with 4 year degrees, to enter into "alternative teaching pathways" and this is Teach for America.

As is, I don't believe a prek would have access to public dollars for a charter schools...banding with K-3 space/ facilities there is an absolute possibility that schools could be taken over by a charter organization. Guessing by the funders of 1B..I am suspect.

The grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is nothing more than an early attempt to highly inter-connect 2 separate forms of government. Claims that Bailey Gatzert would go without prek, if grants aren't accepted, is false. The city has set aside $60M for prek efforts.


Next time, I'll be voting NO.

mirmac1 said...

Operations Committee of the Whole agenda is two items: Growth Boundaries Implementation and 2015-16 Transportation Service Standards.

Anonymous said...

The State threw out Beacon Hill's test results:

http://blogs.seattletimes.com/educationlab/2014/10/14/state-invalidates-test-scores-in-seattle-elementary-school/

-midnight

Anonymous said...
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Transparency Please said...

Preschools affiliated with 1B will be required to adopt certain curriculum. Preks that have adequate progress will not be required to adopt curriculum set- forth from the steady. What? The city wants growth!

The state has decided to invalidate test scores from Beacon Hill due to heavy erasures. Let's not allow this madness into our preschool classes.

Vote NO on 1B

http://blogs.seattletimes.com/educationlab/2014/10/14/state-invalidates-test-scores-in-seattle-elementary-school/#.VD2hxvy9iBE.facebook

Transparency Please said...

I meant to say: Preschools that have adequate progress will not be required to adopt curriculum set forth from the city.

We're talking about toddlers and growth.

Anonymous said...
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Transparency Please said...

I'm hearing the city shot themselves in the foot with ballot language. Apparently, there are issues with the "neither" and "either". One thing is for certain: This is a mess and let's remember Burgess's role in this matter; he is up for reelection.

Melissa Westbrook said...

SWK, my complaint about the preschool measures is consistent - too confusing and too vague.

The need to start over...both sides together.

That Hanauer versus Constantine episode is very funny but also annoying. Rich guys get attention that no one else would get in the same situation.

Yes, Burgess seems to have set himself up to either look like a knight in shining armor (or, as Mayor Murray called him "the Godfather of Preschool)or the guy who mightily overreached.

Given how quickly he dropped out of the mayoral race when it looked like he would really have a challenger in Murray, I'd say the latter.

Interestingly, there's a woman, Alison Holcomb, who has suddenly piped up over at Publicola on 1B to the point where she really sounds like a talking points person. I hear she wants to run for City Council.

Funny how this 1B preschool measure seems like a launching pad for so many.

Melissa Westbrook said...

One other issue with 1B is that Burgess takes great umbrage that I say their plan would have teachers make about $30-60K and downtown administrators would make between $100-200K.

Where did I get those figures? The highly touted BERG report that the City's plan comes from.

I will say that the City's plan does not include salary costs BUT
Burgess says that, at some point, the City Council "rejected" those salaries.

But the Action Plan from the City speaks of the BERK plan, several times, in glowing terms. There is NO asterisk that says "the City Council rejected parts of the BERK report."

I have asked when the City Council voted this rejection and no one can give me a date or point me to any video where it happened.

I think what really happened is that some people actually read everything documented on the City's preschool efforts and I suspect that isn't what some at the City/City Council expected.

I'm fine about retracting my statements; I just need proof.

Anonymous said...

I will be voting "No" on the pre-k issue, and will be voting for A-1, not just to hedge my bets, but to try and keep the city's plan from becoming a reality. Voting "No" and "A-1" is a chance to vote twice against the city plan, which looks like an employment/patronage program for the Murry-Burgess-Gates crowd and a student data mining bonanza. I also hate the for-profit Acelero connection to the city plan.
Here's a good rundown of what's wrong with the city plan:
http://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/2014/09/24/11-reasons-why-seattles-preschool-for-all-proposition-1b-is-a-bad-idea/

Cameo

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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just say no said...

A teacher in Philadelphia is reporting that students taking the PSAT are being asked to sign up for text messaging on financial aid but also to have personal data shared with two organizations uAspire (for one-to-one financial aid and college advising) & Harvard’s Center for College Policy Research – to study impact of this.

Melissa, do you have a link for this? I can't seem to find more details on this, or an original post anywhere. Anyone??

If it's behind some kind of "wall", like a facebook post, could someone post the original information here?

Schools are giving the PSAT here in Seattle TOMORROW, and it would be great to be able to tell the kids what to NOT sign up for.

Anonymous said...

Just say no - try this link: http://mckeemoney.blogspot.com/2014/10/text-messaging-college-news-courtesy-of.html


CT

Anonymous said...

Our school (Whittier) is dropping the MAP test. Are other schools also doing this? I'm curious how kids will be tested for advanced learning programs in the future if there aren't MAP results? I also thought Whitman was going to use the MAP results for math placement for incoming 6th Graders? (I'm happy to see the MAP test go, huge time suck.)
North of 85th.

Anonymous said...

Late to the Tuesday comments but I really love this article:
http://grantwiggins.wordpress.com/2014/10/10/a-veteran-teacher-turned-coach-shadows-2-students-for-2-days-a-sobering-lesson-learned/

--Kensington

mirmac1 said...

Please provide notice of this event to your secondary principals:

Black and Brown Male Summit at Highline CC

Melissa Westbrook said...

MAP is going but is being replaced. You didn't think the district would just stop using it without something else to follow? :)

Anonymous said...

THINK BEFORE OPTING OUT OF PSAT.

The PSAT is how National Merit Scholars are preliminarily identified.

It is also a vital practice for the SAT - which like it or not, is important for college admissions. If you're not able to afford SAT tutoring, then the PSAT is a way to practice.

Frankly, as a parent who has opted out of tests in the past, this is one of the few tests we would NOT opt out of - and might even take in 10th grade for extra practice - b/c it actually has meaning, unlike pretty much every other test.

PSAT - not a joke. Not meaningless. Don't jump on the "opt out b/c of data sharing!" (which I do dislike) wagon without knowing what you're not participating in. A high-achieving student with a potential to be a National Merit finalist, or a student who wants to practice for the SATs, should probably take this test.

Signed: Math Counts

Melissa Westbrook said...

Math Counts, I'm not saying opt out.

I'm saying tell your kids to give the minimum information and DON'T give out any part of their SSN.

Anonymous said...

Seattle isn't the only town where the conversation of superintendent vs. board roles gets a lot of play. I'm copying the first few paragraphs of a story I just read. Holy cow! And yes, I can imagine such a tussle happening here, maybe not now, but back in the Goodloe-Johnson days - or in the future? - yes. Community beware, indeed.

Dallas ISD trustees will discuss their roles and limitations and those of the superintendent at a called meeting on Monday.

Trustee Bernadette Nutall and at least two other trustees asked for the meeting after she was ousted from Dade Middle School Monday at the request of Superintendent Mike Miles.

“My goal is that we come to a better understanding of our purpose, the line between governance and management, and how we can improve the lives of the nearly 160,000 students we serve,” board President Miguel Solis said on Wednesday.

Miles ordered massive staff changes at Dade last week. He replaced the principal, two assistant principals and 10 teachers because of academic concerns. It’s the fourth principal at the school — the third to be placed there by Miles — in two years.

Dade has received a failing score of “needs improvement” the last two years.

Nutall has said that she arrived at Dade about 6:30 a.m. Monday to encourage and counsel staff and learn about the changes at a staff meeting. She said that when Miles saw her, he asked her to leave and accused her of trespassing. When she refused, he got three officers to toss her out, she said.


Here's the full story.

EdVoter

Anonymous said...

Don't forget that the "Board vs. Superintendent" was an invention of DeBell, who used the press (including Charlie on this blog)to spread his narrative after realizing that his pick, Enfield, was leaving and he was losing power.

It's been a convenient trope ever since.

--enough already