Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Tuesday Open Thread

State Superintendent Randy Dorn is having a press conference this morning to talk about his funding plan for McCleary   He says:
“I want to make sure that every student, from Cape Flattery to Clover Park to Clarkston, has an equal opportunity to a basic education,” Dorn said. “That isn’t happening today. My plan will ensure that.”
Also from OSPI, the announcement of math and science partnership grants to seven districts including Seattle.
The grants will be used to help increase student achievement in math and science. Specifically, the grants allow for partnerships between schools and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) faculty at institutes of higher education.
State funding for the projects totals $1.9 million, to be split among the grantees. Awards, which have yet to be determined, range from $500,000 to $1.5 million and will be distributed during the course of the three-year grants.
The MSP grant program is part of the federal Title II, Part B section of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The size of awards for each state is based on student population and poverty rates. Partnerships through MSP grants develop and implement programs that, among other benefits, focus on the education of mathematics and science teachers as a career-long process.
I won't be able to follow-up with the district this week due to the Spring break but I'll ask which schools this might affect.

Speaking of ESEA (NCLB), the Senate bill on this issue is scheduled to be discussed in the Senate this morning with Senator Patty Murray and Senator Lamar Alexander leading that discussion.

KUOW reported this morning that Spokane School district is removing students whose parents have not submitted full accounting of vaccinations.  The students will be allowed back in class if their parents either submit proof of vaccinations or file a request to waive vaccinations for religious or personal reasons.  The district is offering immunization clinics all this week.

Also from Spokane School district:

The school day will be 30 minutes longer for elementary schoolers starting with the 2015-16 school year. 

But this action only brings Spokane in line with the rest of the state who have longer school days for elementary students.

Interestingly, while their high school time stays at 8 am, they move elementary to 8:30 am (from 9 am) and middle schools to 9:00 (from 8:45 am). 

And check out the chart out for elementary school time for districts around the state from their FAQs.  It ranges from a high in Yakima of 7 hours, 15 minutes to a low in Spokane of 6 hours.  Where is Seattle?  Second from the bottom with 6 hours and 10 minutes.  Eyeballing the chart, I'd say the average looks to be about 6 hours and 30 minutes.  Kind of shocking to see that much difference from district to district.

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said...

ATLANTA (Reuters) - Eight former Atlanta public school educators were ordered on Tuesday to serve between one and seven years in prison in one of the nation's largest test-cheating scandals.

Superior Court Judge Jerry Baxter gave three of the 11 educators who were convicted of racketeering this month 20-year sentences, ordering that seven years must be served in prison and the rest on probation.

Five more educators received five-year sentences, with two ordered to serve two years in prison and three to serve one year.

"There were thousands of children that were harmed in this thing," Baxter said during the hearing, after getting into heated exchanges with attorneys for the defendants.

"It’s like the sickest thing that’s ever happened to this town," he later said.

Another convicted educator was then ordered to serve six months of weekends in jail and five years of probation, avoiding a potentially harsher punishment by making a sentencing agreement with prosecutors.

After hearing the sentences given to the defendants who did not strike deals, the final educator to be sentenced cooperated with prosecutors and also apologized in court. She was sentenced to five years probation with no jail time.

Watching SPS

seven4all said...

As a kid in Texas in the early 80's, I went to school from 8:30 - 3:30 (7 hours). We had time for art, music, PE, science labs, recess, and a full sit-down lunch.


I went back to my parent's house not too long ago and found a box of old school stuff. Compared to what I was being asked in elementary to what I see with my daughter now, we've gone backward as far as standards and expectations here in Seattle.

Don't get me wrong, I don't ever want to move back to Texas but I've gotta say that life was pretty sweet before the days of out of control standardized testing. We took the ITBS every other year. That was it.

I would love to see Seattle with a 7 hour school day. Then again, I would also love to see a year round schedule (8 weeks on, 2 weeks off).

Melissa Westbrook said...

"It’s like the sickest thing that’s ever happened to this town," he later said."

Seriously? If this cheating scandal is the worst thing to ever happen in Atlanta, I'm thinking the judge has led a sheltered life.

Anonymous said...

With around 45 school days left, how is SPS doing on IDEA CAP ? Will SPS be in full compliance by June 19th? I haven't heard a peep, what happen to the open community communications?

Pete S.

Anonymous said...

Why does SPS pay metro over $2 million per school year? I already subsidize METRO BUS SERVICE! The buses seem to run the routes independent of SPS, is this true? In fact they seem to run the routes regardless of riders. Are there special services METRO is providing for the millions?

There's $2 million to use else where. Now, I hope SPS is not paying for water, power or garbage! If so, this also something we need to change.

No Profits

Anonymous said...

@No profits - that's to pay for ORCA cards for middle school/high school students. The district provides the cards to students in lieu of yellow bus provisions. It's actually cheaper then having more of those.


Patrick said...

The teachers cheating a poorly-conceived, unnecessary test was really worse than Atlanta being burned in 1864? Or slavery, or Jim Crow?

speducator said...

Farah Thaxton, Principal at Emerson, will become the Principal at West Woodland.

Anonymous said...

In what grade should a student be able to name and identify parts of speech, say just the most basic like nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs. Or is this old-fashioned and not viewed as needed anymore? I was surprised that my 5th grader has only been taught nouns. We are, of course, now picking that up at home.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Pete, you reminded me a of thread I've been meaning to put up on What Happened To...?

David said...

Or the Atlanta child murders? The Olympic bombing?


dan dempsey said...

AIR study about positive effects of Common Core in Kentucky was produced by AIR who a Gates funds recipient.

. Blue Grass Policy Institute's Analysis of claims made in AIR report.

This also raises questions about student privacy as well.

Patrick said...

Speaking of "Whatever happened to...," how about Ron English? Is he still on administrative leave? Has someone else been made Acting District General Counsel?

Ann D said...

“In the end, I think that these Atlanta teachers have learned a lesson: Be a banker. Or a polluter. Or run a for-profit education scam. Or snooker people with predatory mortgage agreements. Or rip off people with penny-stock schemes. Or run a college sports cartel. Or create a super PAC. Or 'torture some folks'.

Just don't ever change the answers on a standardized test.”

Did Atlanta Educators Get Equal Justice Before the Law?

Maje said...

Has anyone had kids who did the Summer Staircase program? I hadn't heard if it before until we got a letter about it. It is a summer school program for K-4.

Anonymous said...

Wow. If these Atlanta teachers had any backbone at all - they'd all walk off the job to protect these teachers "convicted" of cheating. Seriously. What actual law was broken? ??? They got an extra bonus??? Because they cheated? That's ridiculous. Insane actually. Every sort of pressure is applied to get test scores (that are random anyway). So what, if they're cheating. I don't blame them one bit.

The reality is. You can't really cheat a cheater. And the real cheater really and truly is SBAC. And that robbery is WAY WORSE than anything any teacher ever did.

Fight Back

Linh-Co said...

I see Marty McLaren just declared her candidacy on the PDC. Even though Sharon Peaslee is listed, she will not be running.

n said...

I like a seven-hour day incorporating longer art periods with a specialist (or music, other) and which would give teachers a longer prep time which we need very, very much.

We have so much rush in elementary these days. And don't get me started on the 30-minute lunch.

@Ann D: all women and black; southern white judge. No surprise here. Outrageous but not surprising. Citizen's United, attack on the voting right's act, misogyny. It's all there. Right-wing male supremacy and bigotry. Nothing surprises me anymore.

Lynn said...

Students don't have to have longer days for teachers to have more time for planning. We could just pay them more to work a longer day.

I'd be reluctant to send elementary children to school for seven hours. (I want more time for lunch and recess within the current schedule.)