Friday, March 20, 2015

Consider Reading the School Board Thread

I finally finished the notes I had taken on the first hour+ of the latest School Board meeting.  I think it worthy reading for several issues.

- enrollment is continuing to increase
- NCLB waiver and the Senate bill designed to get it back
- why SPS isn't funding IB textbooks
- artificial caps on enrollment at some schools
- Africatown MOU

That last one is pretty eye-opening as it featured a last-minute change to the MOU, a blank space for the dollar amount on the lease document, and a question about any religious connections for this learning center that Africatown is running.

Very odd and very troubling. 


David said...

For convenience, here's a link to the thread:

Ann D said...

Who as a board member, tasked with overseeing operations, would vote on extending a lease with unfavorable terms to a group that twice has cost the organization money and without a dollar figure applied. The lease is for $1? Amended clauses after it was already presented, and not even with printed copies showing the addenda at the meeting? Hellooooo?

Anonymous said...

Couldn't SPS use that building for something they are short of…… like say, a school??
Instead of leasing it to some scammers. It's not like SPS hasn't been taken for a ride before (more than once) - you'd think they'd have a bit more vigilance and common sense. Not common sense at all with wasting/writing off tax payers money - that should be going toward our kids in our schools.

You know what they say - fool me once, shame on you.

Fool me twice….

shame on SPS

Anonymous said...

So they get steamrolled by Africatown, but when it comes to providing real equity and equal access to kids, this is what happens:

Many parents pointed out that offering the 5th grade algebra readiness exam ONLY at JSCEE on four Thursdays 4:30 - 6:00 was not good for working families, families without transportation or child care for other kids, etc. The schedule impact will obviously hit hardest on single parents, people with hourly jobs, less transportation options or living farther toward the north and south edges of the city or south part of West Seattle, those who are farthest from the only test location at JSCEE.

Several parents contacted SPS specifically asking them to consider giving the test at area MS locations, or on at least one Saturday to help broaden access.

Responses were basically "thank you, we'll think about that for next year." And "kids all over the city are eligible, that's why we have to do it downtown."

(Uh, no, kids all over the city are eligible is EXACTLY why you give the test ALL OVER THE CITY - to promote access to the algebra class that will be in their neighborhood school next year, not to show whether or not those kids can make it to JSCEE.)

So ... real equity for real kids? Not so much. AFricatown MOU, it gets time - but real kids with one small need - access to a few test dates that make sense - nope.

Here's what they COULD do instead of only offering the test at JSCEE on four Thursday nights:

ANY eligible kid in a Title 1 school could get the algebra readiness test AT SCHOOL during the school day, if the parent wants them to have it. (Or frankly even if just the kid wants to take it - any kid who scores that high on the required precursors might want to take it).

At least one test session should be offered at JSCEE on a Saturday.

Tests at 3 middle schools: JAMS or Broadview-Thompson, Washington and one in West SEattle. That, unlike JSCEE, will cover the whole city.

Or, to be even easier -- they could just make the readiness test available to all principals and teachers to be administered directly at school.

This is so frustrating - this is a tiny, tiny thing, helping kids take a test in a way that is true equity and truly provides high expectations and access to opportunity for ALL, but even this basic little thing is messed up badly at the start (who didn't spot this when they looked at the schedule? Or spotted it but DIDN'T CARE?). Then there's absolutely no urgency or even vague desire to fix it for the kids now in the system, ("eh, next year, we'll think about it"... ) even when the problem is clearly and repeatedly called out.

Convenience for the testing person at JSCEE trumps ALL. Even equity/equal access framework. Period.


Lunch and recess and start times and anything else that is actually hard? Forget it. They can't even schedule 4 rooms, one time each, in a way that promotes equity. Nor can they take action to correct it.

Anyone with authority reading this --

Please, this is an issue at so many levels.

--So Done

Melissa Westbrook said...

So Done, I have asked for verification of this and have not received an answer. I agree; it seems very inequitable.

Anonymous said...

Did they change the method for qualifying for Algebra this year? Last year there was a matrix combining two prior tests.

Anonymous said...

My understanding is that if you qualified on one measure but not the other you are offered the opportunity to take an additional test to access algebra in 6th grade.

JCSEE also refused to offer weekend achievement testing for non-sps students applying to HCC. That I can sort of understand but it shows that this is something they are doing throughout the various testing things they are doing this year. We've gone through testing in previous years and this is the first time they have been so restrictive. It's not a problem for us but I agree, very misguided for equity reasons. Do they not have someone to vet these things through an equity lense?