Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Tuesday Open Thread

 Update:  I note the article in the Times today (1/7) about the deputy superintendent in Tacoma, Josh Garcia.  Mr. Garcia has now received a second national award (in as many years) for his leadership.  Tacoma schools has a "whole child" measuring system.

Their graduation rate has gone from 55 to 78 percent in four years.  Apparently Garcia says that it is important to write goals for students, not adults. 

So this idea that there was no one else to pick in our region for superintendent might have been wrong (and again, I knew of another great pick).  The Board did what they wanted to do but they cannot say that they HAD to do a national search.  We have a lot of good people right in our own backyard and should have considered ALL of them for the best fit for our district.

end of update.

Really good article from Knute Berger on Seattle process and he uses the appointment of Superintendent Nyland as an example.  He gets one thing right:

Just a decision that Nyland was good enough, so let’s move on.

The school board is now on the hook for the choice, which was not a unanimous decision. There’s no question here about who’s accountable.


I love that "good enough" and I guess if you, as a Board, are looking for a caretaker (albeit an expensive one), then they did do "good enough" with Nyland.

But yes, the Board is now truly accountable.

What's on your mind?

64 comments:

ws said...

More portables in West Seattle.

Schmitz Park is getting 3 more portables. I believe that number puts us to 21 now. (may be off by 1 or 2). The school already has more kids than the new building is being built for. Adding 3 portables means the new building will be way oversubscribed when it opens. Where will the portables go on the new site?

Pathfinder is getting 1 and WS Elem is getting 2.

http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/west-seattle-schools-six-more-portables-on-the-way/

Anonymous said...

Just heard that a number of police have been spotted entering District HQ - anyone have an idea what's going on?

reader47

Anonymous said...

FEDERAL WAY, Wash. -- A local couple has filed a lawsuit against Federal Way Public Schools for what they call racial profiling and violation of First Amendment rights.

According to the lawsuit, "FWPS disproportionately refers African-American children to special education programs without adequately addressing whether their disability and/or medical needs prevent the children from attending general education classes or prevents them from completing general education schoolwork."

The suit claims Lawrence and Katherine Williams' 5-year-old son was treated improperly by being placed into a special education classroom at Lake Grove Elementary. Ernest Saadig Morris, a civil rights attorney hired by the family, says the couple wanted the child to remain in a general education classroom.

"They pushed their child into special education because they believe it's because of race -- he's a black child with a disability," said Morris.

Morris says the child's disability does not affect his ability to learn in a general education classroom.

"Upon (the district) discovering the child had a disability he was placed and excluded into a special education setting and his mother had a problem with that and was very vocal about having that problem," said Morris.

But when Katherine Williams continued to take her concerns about the class change to teachers, administrators and the district, the suit says FWPS sent the police to deliver a criminal trespass notice to Williams that banned her from district-owned properties for one year.

"They resisted her First Amendment rights because they were tired of her. They only do that to certain parents," said Morris.

Federal Way Public Schools would not comment on the case, but did say when a letter of trespass is issued it's not taken lightly.

The family pulled the child from Lake Grove Elementary and are now home schooling. Morris says they don't want other families to face the same circumstances.

"We're going to pursue this vigorously," said Morris.

He say parents should not have to face a police officer when they're advocating for their child's education.

Just Saying

Watching said...

I am in complete agreement with this article.

Sharon Peaslee and the majority of the board had a meeting on Thanksgiving eve (!) and attempted to push this initiative through during the holiday weekend when no one was paying attention. This is an absolute slap in the face to members of the public.

While I agree that there would never be a unanimous community decision, and stability is important, the board had the obligation to listen to the public. The public can bring issues of importance to the board. The fact remains, the majority of the board were willing to exclude the voices of the principals (!), SEA and PTSA. Thousands and thousands of individuals.

There was a last minute attempt to at a principal survey. Basically a CYA situation, and all principals did not have input.

For the record: Patu and Peters voted NO and I don't believe they approved of the process.

Watching said...

The hiring of the Superintendent should be a unanimous vote. The sponsor of this initiative failed to get a unanimous vote. If this thing goes sideways...there will be vast political consequences and Sharon Peaslee will be responsible.

Anonymous said...

The SPS Careers website has a new listing for a Data Assessment & Measurement Project Manager. The job description includes this:

"Coordinates the development, secure administration, and scoring of new common summative assessments developed in currently untested subjects and grade levels in order to widen the domain of teachers for whom student growth is measured for evaluation."

It looks there will be new assessments coming. Does anyone know more about this plan? It specifically mentions 1st and 2nd grade summative assessments, but then again, it also says it's for 2013-14...

HIMSmom

Lynn said...

That's just nauseating. Spending district funds to create new tests (which will take up valuable classroom time) for primary students solely so that more teachers can be assessed using test scores.

Let's add this to the list of things the district believes are more valuable than retaining teachers in our schools.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if these will be preschool tests?

- reality check

Carolyn Leith said...

The next Seattle Opt Out Meeting will be Tuesday, January 13 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM at Beacon Hill Library (2821 Beacon Avenue, 98144).

With special guest: Educator Dr. Wayne Au.

Opting Out of Standardized Tests: A Meeting in Seattle

Anonymous said...

Instead of hiring yet another body for the glass palace to figure out testing for 7 year olds in EARLY primary elementary school (yes, test those 2nd graders on Science, please!) could we instead HIRE a teacher to teach kids in 2nd grade? BF Day had a teacher axed this year AFTER the year got going -- please, could Dr. Tolley make a rational decision and drop that extra body for JSCEE and instead put a teacher into BF Day?

How did we all survive without 9 or 12 hours worth standardized tests taken ON A KEY BOARD when we were in 2nd grade? How is it that any of us know anything at all??

WASTE NOT

Po3 said...

Here! Here! Waste not!

All hires should be in the classroom for the remainder of the year and staff at headquarters should be made to do without....not the KIDS!







seattle citizen said...

An article in Sunday's New York Times suggests our future if we continue to standardize tests, curriculum, and college entrance (particularly if we are saying things like "the Chinese score higher on us in tests, oh no!":

Inside a Chinese Test-Prep Factory

"China’s national college-entrance examination, known as the gaokao.....[in preparation a] peach farmer’s son in half-laced high-tops, Yang had spent the previous three years, weekends included, stumbling to his first class at 6:20 in the morning and returning to his room only after the end of his last class at 10:50 at night.....Nothing consumes the lives of Chinese families more than the ever-­looming prospect of the gaokao. The exam — there are two versions, one focused on science, the other on humanities — is the modern incarnation of the imperial keju, generally regarded as the world’s first standardized test....the pressure to start memorizing and regurgitating facts weighs on Chinese students from the moment they enter elementary school......Perhaps nobody on campus is more motivated — and exhausted — than Maotanchang’s 500 teachers, whose jobs hinge on their students’ success. Base salaries for teachers are two to three times as high as China’s normal public-­school wages, and bonuses can easily double their incomes. For each student who gets into a first-tier university, the six-member teacher teams (a head teacher and five subject teachers) share a $500 reward. “They make good money,” Yang told me, “but they face even worse pressure than we do.”

The head teachers’ schedules are so grueling — 17-hour days monitoring classes of 100 to 170 students — that the school has decreed that only young, single men can fill the job. The competition to hang onto these spots is intense. Charts posted on the walls of the faculty room rank classes by cumulative test scores from week to week. Teachers whose classes finish in last place at year’s end can expect to be fired."

Watching said...

This Friday, the City of Seattle's Education and Governance Committee will hold a Special Meeting.

The members of this committee are: Tim Bagshaw, Sally Clark, Sally Bagshaw and Jean Godden.

The committee plans on reviewing and possibly voting on:Making technical corrections to the Election Campaign Contributions Code, amending Sections 2.04.010, 2.04.150, 2.04.155, 2.04.180, 2.04.265, 2.04.270, 2.04.290, and 2.04.340.



BRIEFING, DISCUSSION, AND POSSIBLE VOTE (5 minutes, to 9:45 a.m.)



Presenter: Wayne Barnett, Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission


3. C.B. 118300 (PDF Version)


Related to reports of campaign contributions from continuing political committees; amending Seattle Municipal Code Sections 2.04.230 and 2.04.155.

It should be noted that all of these individuals are running for election and district elections has just made their campaigns a bit more difficult.

cmj said...

Oh, good grief. The district is pulling teachers from their schools and sticking them elsewhere nearly two months into the year (which is deeply disruptive for the student at both the losing and receiving schools)-- and now it's announcing yet another hire at central administration? Who has the most direct impact on students' learning? Teachers. Yes, SPS needs administration and IT and payroll specialists for schools to function, but austerity measures should start first at JSCEE, not in the classrooms.

I think that testing data can be incredibly useful -- but I think that students are spending too much time on tests that aren't very useful right now. Here's what I would like to see: the state tests students every other year at most with tests that take no longer than 8 hours to administer. Since it takes months for these tests to be graded, the district would also test students once a year between 3rd and 10th grade. These tests would be short (3 hours for middle school, shorter for elementary), multiple-choice scantron tests that could be quickly graded at JSCEE using Scantron machines available for $300 on Ebay. The tests would also be written by teachers from SPS. This data would be available within a matter of weeks and returned to the students' principals and teachers and used to diagnose weaknesses in teaching, curriculum, organization, etc.

Anonymous said...

For the hundredth time, follow the money.

All this standardized testing reminds me of a passage from Michael Lewis's book Liar's Poker, where a very well-paid fellow Wall Street broker told Lewis, "I'd kill my son before I'd ever let him work here."

I send my kids to school for social interaction and learning, despite mountains of evidence showing they'd probably score better on standardized tests if I home schooled them. Thing is, I'm trying to raise kids, not economically powerful robots.

When we fall into the ditches of class warfare, North End vs. South End, and who wants to be who's sugar daddy, we all fall prey to the sociopaths who see our children as their piles of clay to mold as they wish. Cure cancer? Why do that when programming violent video games pays twice as much?

Yeah, yeah. Off topic? Whatever. If we can't see where this is all going, we are voluntarily blinding ourselves for the sake of our own supposed economic security. But at what cost? Where China is the new model of doing things right? Economically? Politically? Socially? Ethically? Morally?

Standardized tests score one thing and one thing only, exceedingly well: Conformity. And we have quite enough of that already.

WSDWG

Anonymous said...

As a teacher, I am hopeful about the new position. SPS teachers are desperately in need of common summative assessments for progress reports. At this time, teachers are making up their own assessments, resulting in very subjective progress reports. For example,this fall the district told each school to decide what "Reads Grade Level Words" looks like for the report card, so proficient at one school, is below standard at another- that is unacceptable. Likewise, the MIF
assessments are terrible, so we've had to create additional assessments to gauge student progress on the CC standards. We NEED common assessments.
I have to hope this hire is a step in the right direction.
TS

Anonymous said...

@TS

Thank you for shaing your insights as a teacher. As a teacher, your opinion is based on knowledge and experience that I as a parent don't have -- please always pipe in; your contribution and those of your colleagues are vital to keep the conversation grounded in practical reality!

Having said that, in this case, the situation of testing very young children, I, as a parent, am okay with a report card for my 6 or 8 or 10 year old bring subjective. I expect it to be. I believe in teachers' judgment and therefore value their opinion about my children's academic performance and learning behaviors. I really don't need to compared elementary school child's report card to one from a child attending a school 5, 10, or 20 miles away. I am not concerned with 'grade inflation' in 3rd grade. I don't think it is a systemic problem for primary school. Indeed, it is enough that there are OSPI standardized tests from 3rd grade on in reading and math. That for me is enough. More than enough.

Other parents may be clamouring for more standardized tests for our young children; but I haven't heard that. I speak only as one parent.

I believe the teaching profession is just that: a profession. And, I am confident in teachers' trainning and professionalism to do right by our children. (which is why I am so deeply offended by the Teach For America: teaching is not for dilettantes!! It requires special training and apprenticeships and a real desire demonstrated through a comittment to be a teacher in the first place!). And look, if/when there is a teacher who is struggling, that is what your colleagues and principal are for (to support, mentor, and remediate -- but some weak apples do not, in my mind, justify the need for more standardized tests for younger children.)

Humble parent

Anonymous said...

those who rail at "class warfare" are ALWAYS those who desire to protect their privilege.

Accurate assessments are absolutely required to determine if we are serving the struggling students.The well-off don't like testing mainly because it shows the incredible advantage that wealth gives students.

equity, equity, equity

The schools must make up for the monetary division of our society and get all kids up to an equal level so they may compete fairly with each other.

Charles

Anonymous said...

@TS, shouldn't the common assessments be based on the curriculum used in the class? If teachers are all doing different things--as it sounds like they often are--how exactly do common assessments work? And should these be focused more on making sure kids learned the details of what was taught in their own class, or the the more vague and time-consuming-to-assess things that are in the CCSS? I agree, however, that alignment of assessments across grade level is a nice idea--"at grade level" at one school should correspond to "at grade level" in another. Just curious about how it would work in practice.

Half Full

Anonymous said...

Same question as Half Full: How does the district create common assessments when there is no common curriculum? Yes, there are common standards - the CCSS - but there is no common curriculum. The district seems averse to creating any sort of common curriculum, so what gets taught varies considerably from class to class. Math is somewhat defined grade to grade, though the level of challenge and depth varies, but language arts instruction is all over the place.

Charles said, "The well-off don't like testing mainly because it shows the incredible advantage that wealth gives students." Objections I've heard focus more on the lost learning time and the lack of useful information that the test results provide. If a student is below standard, but you don't know what specific problems were missed, how do you target interventions? What learning is displaced when time is spent on test prep?

2cents

Jack said...


"Coordinates the development, secure administration, and scoring of new common summative assessments developed in currently untested subjects and grade levels in order to widen the domain of teachers for whom student growth is measured for evaluation."

The NEW administrative position is to support testing of presently untested subjects and widen the domain of teachers for whom student growth measurement.

As per usual, this does not tell us what the district is up to. Are we looking at social studies, pre-k or what?

Elephant's Memory said...

Tim Burgess and the city's education committee have reappointed Greg Wong and Lucy Gaskill Gladys. This will be the 3rd appointment for both of these individuals.

Does the city ever fill the Family and Education Committee with NEW individuals? Was it the Family and Education Committee that gave the ok for present levy funding to support charter schools...even though the law states differently?

Elephant's Memory said...

Clarification: Greg Wong and Lucy Gaskill Gladys have been reappointed to the Family and Education Committee.

Anonymous said...

"Coordinates the development, secure administration, and scoring of new common summative assessments developed in currently untested subjects and grade levels in order to widen the domain of teachers for whom student growth is measured for evaluation."

It sounds as though they want to have teacher evaluation data for teachers of subjects other than LA and math. PE, foreign language, art, science, social studies...??

Melissa Westbrook said...

Watching, you put "Tim Bagshaw" which gave me the laugh I needed. Sally Bagshaw and Tim Burgess are the two other members of the committee.

"Those who rail at "class warfare" are ALWAYS those who desire to protect their privilege."

That's a heck of a broad statement - anything to back that up or is everyone who, for example, belongs to the ACLU just trying to "protect their privilege."

Anonymous said...

The new hire is more Déjà vu from the MGJ/A4E era. Back then the corporate mindset was to bring in "project managers" to create simplistic bar charts, track progress, write reports etc. They didn't have to actually know anything about the subject/project matter. No accountability.

Remember Nicole Van Voorhis? She was brought on board under Gates/A4E's Strategic Plan to coordinate the whole "performance management" distraction. She's remained as, variously: Planning and Reporting Coordinator; Project Manager, Data and Assessment; Data Systems & Community Partnership Manager; and Performance Management "Consultant". Like Nathan Fitzpatrick HR who was also former TFA - they got a well-paid administrative job and burrowed in like ticks. And we all know how well HR and Data/Assessments have been going over the last five years.

Pig Trough

Lynn said...

Charles,

Teachers don't need common summative assessments to identify struggling students. The tests HIMSmom describes will be used to evaluate teachers - not to help children.

I am against testing when the time and money spent on testing could be used to provide a more valuable educational benefit to students.

You are directing the blame in the wrong direction. We are all aware that poverty puts children at a disadvantage. (We don't need to spend more time and money on testing to prove that.) Education is not a competition for knowledge and skills and the fact that some children are not affected by poverty does not affect other children's ability to learn.

Correcting economic inequity is not the mission of public schools. Society as a whole has a responsibility to identify the causes of poverty and to create policies that eradicate or remediate those causes. Standardized testing isn't going to be the answer.

Anonymous said...

Interesting talk about Nyland and Tolley's salary increases when teachers have gone 7 years without a cost of living adjustment (COLA) pay increase.
- frugal teacher

RosieReader said...

Humble parent, given how much we know about the negative perceptions and stereotypes that color the perceptions/reactions of all people, including educators, I am far less comfortable simply trusting that relying on their subjective assessment of young students is helpful. I Remember reading a study in the past couple of years that demonstrated racial bias in the response to he he misdeeds of kindergarteners, for example.

I think we need to trust our educators in these situations. If TS and his/her colleagues feel these assessment would be helpful, then I don't want to get in the way. Its just like teaching math or reading, I have strong, and completely foundation-less opinions about how math should be taught to my student. I sent my kids to public school so that people who had opinions based on training and experience would teach them reading and math,

Anonymous said...

Just heard the principal at Eckstein has taken a position at JSCEE and will leave some time this month. Rumor is downtown will just place a new principal there from somewhere else, perhaps permanently. Shouldn't the Eckstein community have a say in who takes the helm if there's a vacancy?

Greener Pastures

Anonymous said...

I heard from a teacher friend that Jon Greenberg at Center School was suspended without pay for 2 weeks. It must be payback time for him from the administration for winning his job back last year.

My friend said schools were circulating petitions of protest in his defense but some teachers were afraid to sign.

The SPS administration certainly inspires fear. Things are rotten at the top.

S parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

Greener, If I were still an Eckstein parent, yes, I WOULD want a say. Get an interim (if what you say comes true) but frankly, Eckstein is a huge school with many working parts. You can't just stick anyone in there and I think parents should have a voice on the hiring committee.

Anonymous said...

@Charles: We don't need excessive standardized testing to reveal privileges or the lack of them. I'd rather see the money being spent on assessments instead being spent on extra teachers and tutors to make up whatever deficits or lack of privilege you are concerned about.

The top-down macro approach you're defending has never helped as many kids as smaller class sizes and better resources inside a school will do. The class warfare is a distraction perpetuated by the money interests who want to suck money out of our schools and into their own pockets while pretending to do equity. Watch and monitor the Charter operators for a perfect example of what I'm talking about. Watch kids become data and numbers, if not robots.

Nobody's denying the obvious inequities in our schools or society, but testing, testing and more testing is not going to change that. It's Kool-Aid. Don't drink it.

WSDWG

Anonymous said...

Important article for those concerned about our teens getting enough sleep:
Evening use of light-emitting eReaders negatively affects sleep, circadian timing, and next-morning alertness.

WSDWG

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

The following directors voted to extend the MOU with the Alliance for education- Carr, Peaslee, Blanford, and Martin Morris.

Carr and Wright insisted that the MOU does not indicate that The Alliance will be involved with SEA negotiations. Peaslee stated that the school board was not able to meet with the Alliance.

It is clear that the entire board has NOT seen the draft language for the Alliance Agreement. The information will become available to the board. Of course, the board has already voted on this issue.

The Alliance's MOU states:

" Effective teaching: Supporting evidence-based contract reform and new teacher training and support initiatives"

Time will tell whether or not Carr and Wright lied to the board. Peaslee insisted that the board could not meet with the Alliance. Why not? It doesn't make sense because there are a number of ways this information could have gotten to the board.

ForTheRecird said...

McLaren also voted for the MOU with the Alliance's contract extension.

ForTheRecord said...

Typo:

McLaren also voted to extend the contract with The Alliance.

mirmac1 said...

School board "was not able to meet with the Alliance". Because from the Committee of the Whole meeting a little over 2 months ago, the Alliance was quibbling about meeting "in a neutral location" (!!) And this is someone who wants to get paid money by the district! Carr just about choked on that. She said "if we can't even decide on a meeting location than there's a whole lot more wrong with this relationship than MOU language!"

Look at how far we've come. We've now granted an extension so that the Alliance and the Times and the zombie Our Schools Coalition can keep pounding the dysfunction, micromanaging board drum. Wright can continue his dual role as Dep Supt (what a farce) and chief lobbyist for the Alliance. Does the board hear people laugh at them behind their backs?

mirmac1 said...

Wright already has admitted he: screwed up; didn't "know" the policy; hid info; said he didn't know he had to keep the board apprised on Alliance "negotiations". Right. More like "Alliance, tell me what you want and I'll get it rubberstamped." So he encountered a brief hiccup. But if we have a board where the majority continues to believe the JSCEE suits over teachers, parents and others - just may as well sign the blank check and hand over the direction and mission of this district to Gates, his PPPE, Alliance front, and paid political hacks.

Anonymous said...

What gives with Director Carr?

Does she "hold her nose", and, vote for it anyway?

If she herself identified there is a whole lot wrong with the 'relationship' if the Alliance won't even meet because they are holding out for "neutral territory" (WTF?), then, why would she just blindly rubber stamp the whole thing? Why not do the right thing, defer, until such time as the meeting/diligence/negotiations had been completed?

I don't get why she would say (correctly) one thing, then act disregarding her own misgivings and be cowed and do another thing (vote yes).

Not being snarky, I just don't understand.

And, Director Peters rocks. She has intelligence and courage. She is all about being reasonable; when unreasonable things are presented, she is the one who questions and then cannot vote yes if the reasonable questions have no answers.

Someone can enlighten me about Director Carr? She is also very intelligent, but, she does not seem particularly courageous. Is she a make no waves person? Does that explain the difference between what she says and how she votes?


wondering

Melissa Westbrook said...

Wondering, I plan on a longer thread but yes, Carr runs very hot and cold.

One minute she's forthright and law-and-order - she'll say amazing things out loud at committee meetings - but then, wag her finger and vote yes anyway.

I don't get it except to say that I believe the majority of the Board is being pressured to truly take control and ignore any outside pressure (note I did not say staff pressure).

It's maddening because she's one of the smartest people up there and I had hoped, for a long time that SHE would be board president. Guess I was wrong.

mirmac1 said...

Melissa, that concerns me too

Po3 said...

Teachers should be afraid.

There is a phrase teachers use when considering what to teach to our children:

"I don't want to get Greenburged."

Sad.

Anonymous said...

I've heard from some teacher friends of mine that Jon Greenberg is that teacher that all of us current or former teachers know very well: He's that teacher who is perpetually angry around adults; feels morally superior to most of his/her peers and thus treats them with disdain; sits in the back of the room at all school meetings fuming over the "waste of time" and/or grading papers and/or reading his/her smartphone instead of paying attention; and avoids all mandated professional development unless forced to attend by the principal or union rep.

And sometimes these malcontents are great teachers. They can also be terrible colleagues. They are loved by their students but hated by their fellow teachers.

From what my teacher friends tell me who've been around him, this is a fairly accurate description of Jon Greenberg.

--- swk

mirmac1 said...

swk

and that should matter....how? Sounds like backhanded character assassination, and beneath you. I have heard from teachers that the Center School principal is...well, you know.

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

Thank goodness for the "malcontents" who are critical of the latest bs educational fad.

Common Sense

n said...

swk, some of your best teachers don't always get along with the rest of staff. There is a resentment that forms when teachers are too respected or admired by parents or kids. I happened to watch Amadeus over winter break. Resentment and envy/jealously is very common in education as it is in almost every area of life. Perhaps more so in the arts and I believe educating kids is an art rather than a science.

That may be the debate.

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

I was given a copy of a letter to Nyland from the Center School staff. They urge him to withdraw the 2 week suspension, saying it is time to put the controversy from two years ago behind them.

They say that continuing to pursue this punishment comes off as needlessly punitive and will disrupt student learning. They want to move forward.

S parent

Anonymous said...

Reposting for no-name:

"Sometimes a teacher going their own way results in better outcomes for students - I can think of several math teachers that supplant the CMP and Discovering texts to achieve great results. Sometimes a teacher goes their own way and students are left not learning the base level standards for the course. If ideology and personal agenda get in the way of student learning, that's a problem, no matter if a teacher is liked or not."

And I'll second that--especially the last part, which was my child's experience. Then again, if you put a "great" teacher in a new school, working with a new population that has unique needs, and don't provide much of a curriculum, it probably shouldn't have come as a surprise when personal agenda trumps the basics--especially if the teacher is hoping to not stick around at the school.

Should've Supplemented

Anonymous said...

Let me be clear. I wasn't trying to assassinate his character, though I could see, mirmac, how it might come off that way. It wasn't my intention. So, here's why I think it matters:

If you're part of a good school teaching staff, you're part of a collaborative team. Teachers support each other, or do their best to do so. When there is someone on that staff who feels above it all and treats his/her colleagues with disdain, it's toxic (especially if that teacher is popular among the students, but not among his/her peers). And when this disdain extends, which it almost always does, to administration and the district as a whole, it is an untenable situation.

And when that teacher becomes the center of a school controversy, it inevitably divides the school. There will be those among the staff who side with the teacher and there will be those among the staff who, while they may not agree with the actions of the administration, feel no obligation to support a colleague who has ignored and/or dismissed them previously. It always ends badly.

And in these cases, it's not about jealousy/envy. It's about mutual respect and collaboration and these "star" teachers tend to undercut the collaborative nature of a strong teaching staff.

Finally, I'm not saying this is definitely whats going on here. I don't have any details. But from what I've gathered from conversations, there's a side to this larger story that isn't always acknowledged.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

Why would the Center School staff send an urgent letter to Nyland urging him to reinstate Greenberg if they disliked him? Their signatures are on this letter.

What is wrong with this district is that it looks petty and stupid for removing iconic teachers from schools. Our son had Greenberg’s class on race years ago and he is the kind of teacher you want in SPS.

SPS should be promoting the Center School as a city wide alternative for families who want a smaller high school with caring teachers. Instead, they pick battles with individuals like Greenberg who was strong enough to fight back.

Charters will come in and take students away from schools like Center if the administration does not nurture them and support their staff and mission.

Greenberg’s class is highly popular and one of the reasons parents send their kids to this school.

S parent

Anonymous said...

SPS administrators make some dumb decisions, and it's not hard to believe that they might re-punish him for the same offense. Teachers--even those popular with students and parents--can also make dumb decisions sometimes, and it's not hard to believe that a reinstated teacher who feels vindicated might push the limits again to make a point. Or do something else inappropriate but totally unrelated. Without any evidence as to what's really happening here, I prefer to reserve judgment.

That's great that fellow teachers are supportive, and good for them for writing a letter if they feel certain that this was an instance of "double jeopardy." But their letter isn't really evidence that this is a second punishment for the same offense. They may be interpreting it that way when it's not the case. Or they may have been told that by the teacher, who is presumably the only one allowed to share that information. A teacher facing disciplinary action for inappropriate behavior may be inclined to "spin" the story a bit--especially when there's an easy excuse and a public inclined to believe.

The point is, most of us likely don't have good information on which to assess whether this suspension is right or wrong. We can get worked up all we like, but our positions are clearly based on our own biases.

Half Full

n said...

Without any evidence as to what's really happening here, I prefer to reserve judgment.

Well said. "Conversations" with people do not comprise evidence. I've seen first-hand many examples of resentment towards popular teachers. But I'm not there so I will give Greenberg and his student/parent supporters the benefit of the doubt. After all, aren't they the reason he's teaching?

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...
I heard from a teacher friend that Jon Greenberg at Center School was suspended without pay for 2 weeks. It must be payback time for him from the administration for winning his job back last year."

Yes, Greenberg was administratively transferred to another school for the 2013 - 2014 school year. Being administratively transferred IS a disciplinary action.

In August 2014 Greenberg won this case a yearlong arbitration process with the District and with it the right to return to Center School given .

He went on unpaid leave for this first semester.
After his win he was then banned from setting foot onto the Center School campus over this first semester, even to prepare for second semester.

So now, a semester AFTER having won his case, he is to get slapped with a two - week suspension?

This is saying: Okay, we disciplined you nearly two years ago, but now that you won your case against us, we find we NEED to discipline you some more.
Is he being punished for winning or for making the District or the Center School principal look bad?

Although I don't know any teachers in the District that use the term "getting Greenberg-ed" as has been mentioned on this blog , I can say that those sentiments are very real.

--ModernSound

Anonymous said...

@ ModernSound, do you have direct evidence that the recent suspension was based on the past incident? Or is is possible that the new disciplinary action stemmed from an unrelated event? I understand why everyone is willing to assume the worst about SPS, but it's possible these assumptions are not 100% correct, isn't it?

Should've Supplemented

mirmac1 said...

ModernSound,

Your information matches with mine.

Anonymous said...

@mirmac1, which is WHAT exactly? What is the specific infraction cited in the recent suspension?

SS

mirmac1 said...

SS

You have every right to request public records. Furthermore, you can contact those involved. Do not ask me because I will not divulge. Then ponder what do I possibly have to gain for making stuff up?

That last one was rhetorical, of course.

Anonymous said...

SS, in the 8th grade yearbook photo from HIMS last year, students held up signs that spelled out "disapproval" or something similar. The letters were digitally removed from the final print. Was their moment of protest related to administration? A teacher? Something else?

Anonymous said...

mirmac1,I don't know you and have no idea what, if anything, you would have to gain by making stuff up. Maybe you're a district official, someone with an axe to grind against the district or particular district staff, a friend of Mr. Greenberg, etc. I have no clue, and it doesn't really matter. That's not the point.

I also never suggested that you were making things up in the first place. My only comments were to the fact that there had been no evidence presented that the recent suspension was in fact based on the past actions, and therefore it seemed possible that the new suspension was based on a new incident. Without information, it's hard to make a call. It seems like a lot of people, however, are perfectly willing to just assume one thing or another, in the absence of actual data. Your "your information matches with mine" comment addressed a post that similarly lacked any detail or real sense of insider knowledge as to what's really going on here. It came off instead as "yes, I can confirm that I've heard the same rumor, so it must be true."

I'm not saying--at all--that things aren't exactly as you claim them to be. It may very well be the true that the district has slapped on a second punishment for the same offense. The recent article in the Seattle PI does seem to suggest this to be the case, although the sloppiness of the article raises a bit of suspicion as to the overall accuracy of any of it. However, I don't know you, don't know where you get your facts or hear your rumors, and I hate to see people jumping on the bandwagon just because someone guesses that this must be payback for JG. I assume you agree with me that you'd like to see people on the blog act in the face of good evidence, not hearsay, right?

Oh, and thanks for the reminder that people can always request public records. I'm not particularly interested in the ins and outs of an individual personal personnel matters, although I do hope that JL takes the issue up with SPS via his union if he feels he's receiving a second punishment for the same thing. If that's the case, it certainly doesn't seem right.

SS

Anonymous said...

"SS, in the 8th grade yearbook photo from HIMS last year, students held up signs that spelled out "disapproval" or something similar. The letters were digitally removed from the final print. Was their moment of protest related to administration? A teacher? Something else?"

Sorry, anon at 10:34, I don't know what you're talking about, and I don't see how it's relevant here anyway. Are you suggesting it is somehow related to Mr. Greenberg's time at HIMS?

SS