This could mean dire things for other schools who may get F&E grants and then see them taken back should they lose their principal. I have never seen any documentation mentioning this nor did the Department of Early Childhood and Education staff at a recent Board Work Session on the levy mention this possibility.
I'll have full details after I get some answers to queries I have put to various stakeholders.
Today I will be attending an odd sort of panel discussion on charter schools at UW via the Evans Schools of Public Affairs. It's called Charter Schools: Problems and Possibilities. Professor Richard Zerbe from the Evans School organized it because "it's an interesting topic I wanted to learn more about."
The panel includes two people from the Center on Reinventing Public Education which is all about charters and their promotion. Then they have the head of a religious private school and a recent Master's grad who works for Summit charter schools.
Director Peters has been invited to sit on the panel but she is about the only person who is likely to raise issues against charters as she seems to be the only person they could find. In all the Puget Sound region, they couldn't find a single person. (The panel had also included a guy from the Washington Policy Center - also a big charter supporter - but he's not going to be there.)
I asked Professor Zerbe why the panel seems skewed. He has no idea who Brittany Alvarez is. He says he invited both Robin Lake and Paul Hill "because I know them and their work." He "thinks" the guy from the private school is against charters. He said he really tried to get other people - he called the City Council and either WEA/SEA. He said no one replied to his query. (Why he thought someone on the City Council would know anything about charters is a mystery to me.)
Lastly, I pointed out that this event was not on either the CRPE home page nor UW events calendar. He doesn't know why. I suspect that this is a set-up to have some "UW" videotape on charters. I don't think it's about having some broader discussion.
Danny Westneat of the Times has a good column on his own experience in Seattle Schools with testing. He estimates that his two students have taken 72 standardized tests (and one is in 7th and one is in 9th grade). He's a good dad and he tried the SBAC. He makes a pretty good point about how several legislators called out the teachers for walking off over funding. He says:
"Hey state senators: how about holding a hearing on something that actually is cutting into students' class time? Your standardized testing regiment.He also said:
The issue is that this is probably the most heavily tested generation in U.S. history. To what end?I wrote a lengthy comment but here's how I ended it:
All that time, all that money and again, Danny's question: "To what end?"
The Times is also reporting that Rainier Beach High School has 91 students sitting for the IB exams this year as opposed to just seven last year. That's big news. The growth seems to have come because of RBHS's making all junior/senior LA classes into IB classes. It is also reported that three star basketball players are among those taking the test. Twenty-five students took 3+ tests and seven students did all the work in order to receive a full IB diploma.
In addition, 10 sophomores are going to Barcelona for an IB World conference (lucky kids - Barcelona is a great city).
Today the Board has a busy Work Session. First up - Exit Conference for Financial and Single Federal & Accountability Audit. This is usually a dry affair but you can never know what an audit might turn up. I would assume it would include Title IX.
Then the staff will give a Budget presentation. As Mirmac1 reported, the 2015-2016 budget - in the early pages - says a goal is to put back cuts at Central. Really, see page 4.
I would have a number of questions myself like where most of the cuts to schools restored? I don't think so. Has the district hiring at Central ceased over the last three years? No. And, what are these "eroding systems" spoken of on this page because I thought we had Charles Wright on the job to fix all these. (Oh wait, he wanted $1M for a consultant to figure out how to equitably allocate funding to schools. That was his ask at the last Executive Committee meeting.)
They want to drive $6M more into Central Office. (And again, Central Office and Central Administration are NOT the same thing. So when you see that "below 6% of the budget" figure they like to give for Central Office, keep that in mind.)
But they are also reporting about a $10M gap in the budget. But oddly, they then say they have $8.5M in "current year savings."
They do mention the McCleary dollars but don't quite explain what they would do with those dollars. (I'm thinking - given page 4 - not drive most of those dollars to schools.)
Interestingly, they project there WILL be a second session for the Legislature and that it will be done by June 29th. I think they are beyond right on this point.
There's a revised enrollment projection on page 18. Tell me what you think.
After the Budget presentation, there is the Superintendent Evaluation "Check-In." Take a look at page 5. Very funny for a presentation - a row of angry-looking boxes.
I'll be honest - the Superintendent's responses are written for the Board. They are brief and use a lot of jargon the average person would not know. While I understand it is the Board's job to oversee the Superintendent, it would seem any voter should be able to read and understand the Superintendent's documentation of his work.
Tomorrow the Board has another Work Session on a Resolution about Assessments. I'm hoping the Board is taking the lay of the land across the country as well as how many parents opted out of the SBAC and realizing now may be the time to take a stand.