Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Tuesday Open Thread

The LA Times is reporting that spending for school board races in LA almost $4.6M.  LA is the second-largest district in the country.  Guess who's pouring the most money?  Charter school groups and then, the teachers union.  (LA has the highest charter school enrollment in the nation.) And, there's a new PAC in the mix and who are its top three donors?  A Wal-Mart heir, former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg and LA rich guy Eli Broad. 

I do not expect to see that kind of firepower here mainly because we have no real ed reformers running.  (But I think the ed reformers and their elected officials proxies are going to continue to try to get what they want via the Legislature.)

Thinking testing is out of hand here in the U.S.?  This was reported back in 2014 but worth mentioning here.

Chinese students are world-class test takers. It costs them all of their time.

All. Of. Their. Time… so much so that investing in amino acid IV drips is considered money well spent at Hubei province’s largest high school. The school pays 90 percent of the cost of the IV, and the student, 10 percent. (In 2012, the cost of one amino acid IV drip was 100 Yuan, or approximately $16.)

As Mercedes Schneider points out in her blog thread, the Chinese and South Koreans may do well on tests but number of Nobel Prizes.  Not so much. 

No school today for the one-day SEA walk-out.  I believe there are several rallies at high schools and then one big one downtown.  SEA didn't send me any info so I'm not sure about the timing of these events.  Let us know if you attend one of them.

The Times has yet other less-than-effective editorial decrying the teacher walk-out.   Funny how they don't write editorials about the Legislature getting a raise and yet not getting their work done on time.  We're halfway thru this "special session" and where's the budget that fulfills McCleary?  Oh and where's that editorial decrying the latest Tim Eyman initiative?

From the PI:

It would slash the state sales tax by a full cent if the Legislature fails to pass and send to the ballot a constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds vote in both houses for any measure that raises revenue or closes tax loopholes.

Basically, it's a blackmail initiative.  

Last of the Bell Times community discussions tonight at 7pm at Ballard High School.

Oh, and if you don't hear from me for awhile, I'll probably be in the SBAC police jail (or so I'm told).

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said...

From the Facebook event

May 19th is not a day off--it is a day of ACTION! The WA legislature is in Contempt of Court for failing to amply fund education. Our students deserve better! The Legislature needs to hear our message-FUND OUR SCHOOLS!
It's past time for fund our schools. It's past time to lower our class sizes for our students.It's past time to fund an educational system that will attract and retain quality educators.

Join us at one of the 8 High Schools in Seattle to picket (West Seattle HS, Sealth, Rainier Beach, Franklin, Garfield, Ballard, Hale, and Roosevelt) at 8am.

The march starts at the Seattle Center at the Space Needle at 11:30, we head down 2nd ave to Westlake Plaza for our Rally!


Anonymous said...

There are a number of posts about actions a various schools on the SEA Facebook page, if anyone is interested



Po3 said...

Don't worry, I am sure we can pool our resources to bail you out.

Anonymous said...

Why blame the legislature for revenue? Why blame Eyman? O.K. he deserves it. But when Bill Gates' dad proposes an income tax on people making over a quarter million, which is a progressive tax to raise revenue, and the voters kill it by a hefty majority?

Ultimately, the voters are responsible for the revenue stream, so the question to the legislature is simply, what gets cut for education?


Anonymous said...

Let's see: I don't get the SBAC police jail comment. Because you report on SBAC?

Also, years ago, when my kid was in elementary school, a delegation from the Seattle School Board went to China to look at their schools and educational practices. Michael Bell, then the SB president (or chair or whatever), reported to our PTA about it. The thing that stuck in my mind is that he said that the Chinese are re-evaluating their brutal educational culture. Basically, he said that the US usually holds the Chinese educational culture up as some kind of paragon, but that the Chinese are looking at us for ways to moderate and humanize their system.

North End Parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

NNNCr, a valid point except that the Legislature is charged with a job that they are not currently fulfilling.

But the answer is NOT necessarily "cutting for education" - it could be rolling back tax cuts for big corporations or better yet, having them actually pay their fair share of taxes.

Linh-Co said...

Here's the schedule:


Campaign Financing said...

I saw a questionnaire for Lauren McGuire for school board. Serious candidates are expected to have a funding source.

I found it interesting that Lauren McGuire claimed that she will have enough funds to "win an election". No dollar amount was listed.

Lauren MtGuire hired one of the city's expensive and highly sought after campaign strategists. Grassroots school board candidates do not have the funds to support highly sought-after and expensive campaign managers.

mirmac1 said...

It DOES look like A4E is getting edged out. I'm so sad (she said sarcastically)

There is a concern that the "fee" paid to A4E that's based on a % of, say, PTA funds raised may be a gift of public funds. The district is considering whether to bring this function in house.

Anonymous said...

SESEC (Southeast Seattle Education Coalition) is offering another opportunity to learn about/give feedback on Bell Times on June 4:


HighlandPark Mom

Anonymous said...

No worries Melissa. Have the best get out of jail cake recipe ever! Lo cal to boot;<)


Anonymous said...

No SBAC jail for you. Those are not secure test items. Besides, we'd have a GoFundMe account set up and your bail taken care of in no time if you were. :)


Meg said...

Campaign Financing, what are you hinting at?

I don't know how much it would take to win an election. If I went ahead and entered a school board race (not happening), I would assert that I had enough funds to win, like McGuire did.

I worked with Lauren McGuire on FACMAC. I found her to be thoughtful, inquiring and able to put her personal concerns aside in considering what solutions would be best for the most students.

I strongly support her run. I think she would make an excellent addition to the school board.

I also expect that if she wins that I will disagree with some of her votes, just as I don't always agree with Sue Peters, who I supported, still support, and have a great deal of respect for.

-Meg Diaz

TheGoodFight said...

I attended the Bell Times community discussion at Ballard High tonight.

Only around 12 people showed up, but there were some sharp parents there that were very informed. I've been to many of these community type meetings and this was one of the rare times parents were not cut off from fully exploring their concerns with district staff.

All options except option one (no changes) are going to cost money. I have a hard time believing changes are going to happen. It just seems there are too many moving pieces for this to happen anytime soon along with an estimated 6-14 million dollars to implement.

Several attendees were members of the bell times task force and questioned why the top 2 task force recommendations where missing from the final choices.

One interesting take away was the fact that SPS runs 83 buses for High Schools. One bus travels 18 miles one way and others only 1.5 miles. I was told the buses carry SPED and APP high school students and the cost to operate is over 5 million per school year. So much for the 6 million is saving promised last year.

Anonymous said...

The Good Fight,
Thanks for the info. How many APP busses are there? I believe there are only very few buses (one or two)that take students to the APP IB program at Ingraham. It is not for all APP in high school. Please clarify for the record if you know more detail.
GHS mom

Melissa Westbrook said...

Just to be clear, the transportation costs for APP are paid for by the state.

Anonymous said...

Which HCC High school students get yellow bus? I don't know a single one that does, could you clarify, please?

- Tired

TheGoodFight said...

I made the point about the 83 buses for several reasons. Most high school students must either take metro, walk or find other modes to school.

APP or SPED programs should be provided in your local school. Busing students 18 miles to Ingraham high school seems excessive. Busing students out of area to receive services is in violation of IDEA and excessive.
For example, the Latino family I met in Ballad that have students bused to the south end, just because they don't speak English well.

I'm sure many of the buses are for SPED students assigned to their local high school and that's fair use of buses, because of safety concerns.

I would like to understand why we are spending $66K per bus to move non SPED students out of their assigned attendance area school. Whats wrong with using metro like all there other non disabled high school students?

TheGoodFight said...

Ok the state pays for busing, whats your point.

The state pays for most of public ed.

The Democrats’ choice for Senate majority leader, Ed Murray, D-Seattle, has said he believes voters would likely agree to pay a bit more if the money went to education. “School buses for kids, a little tax on gas — I think the voters would sign off on that,” he said.

Anonymous said...

@The Good Fight

Are you forgetting about option high schools...Cleveland, Nova, South Lake, Center School, etc..? I have no idea how many buses option high schools use, but they would factor into the 83. It's not just SpEd and HCC.

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

A bus leaves Garfield every morning for Ingraham. For the APP students in the area who choose to go to IBX instead of Garfield.


Anonymous said...

Out of those 83 buses, I think only 2 transport HCC students to Ingraham (AM only, via group stops). Not all schools/neighborhoods are easily accessible by Metro. Some of the routes near Ingraham only operate southbound in the morning (toward downtown). Sure makes it hard if you are trying to go northbound to school.

Capacity, @TheGoodFight. There is no capacity at neighborhood high schools. Busing these students eases capacity issues at other schools, like busing students from the Eckstein area to JAMS. When it was proposed that HCC be placed at Eckstein - the neighborhood school for a large number of the NE HCC students - there was an incredible amount of pushback. APP/HCC is used by this district as a capacity management tool. While there is a cost to busing, busing students out of the neighborhood helps mitigate some district capacity issues.


Broadmom said...

Ingraham has two "shuttles." One from Garfield that has stops in NE Seattle and one from Coe that has stops in NW Seattle. In the afternoon, one goes to Northgate Transit Center and one goes to North Beach ES.

TheGoodFight said...

It's the north end schools that are maxed, so how does busing students in from the central district help reduce over crowding at Ingraham?

My north Seattle neighbor attends Garfield and he takes metro and leaves at 5:30AM everyday rain or shine....where's his state supplied school bus. Just saying why the distinctions.

Anonymous said...

A heavyweight, big headline throwdown article from the New York Times was just posted. It shows the anti-test fever spreading through New York, broken down by district, for the past three years. It's something our state legislators and OSPI should see, stat.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Good Fight, Chief Sealth is also very crowded as is Franklin. It is not all north-end high schools.

I'm confused how your north-end neighbor is attending Garfield.

TheGoodFight said...

He pick Garfield four years ago. He's a musician and was attracted by the music program there.(For good reason) Four years ago students still had choice, but had to use metro. I was and still am impressed by his willingness get get up at 5AM everyday and walk 5 blocks to the metro bus stop then ride it all the way to Garfield. He graduates in June and is terrific person.

Anonymous said...

The northend neighbor must be in APP. The boundaries have been set and Garfield has been restricted to students within the boundaries and APP since 2010, I believe. There is not yellow bus service to Garfield from the northend for APP students. They drive or take the 48.


Lynn said...

Busing students to Ingraham (which has not to this point been overcrowded) alleviates overcrowding at Garfield.

Here are links to the latest Transportation Report and

Transportation Service Standards

From the Transportation Service Standards:

1. Chief Sealth students residing in the South Park neighborhood receive District arranged transportation service in addition to ORCA cards.

2. Ingraham students residing in the SW portion of the Ingraham attendance area, west of 15th Ave NW, shall receive District arranged transportation service to school. ORCA cards shall be provided for afternoon transportation requirements.

3. Ingraham students residing outside the Ingraham attendance area may receive supplemental District arranged transportation to augment ORCA cards as required.

4. Madison Middle School students may receive supplemental District arranged transportation to augment ORCA cards as required for transportation to and from the Denny service area due to the lack of available Metro service.



Yellow school bus service will be provided to grades 9 - 12 only when there is a lack of Metro seat capacity. Generally there must be a minimum of twenty (20) or more student riders in a common service area and it is feasible to tie the route with a bus already in service. Determination will be made based on student assignment data available to the Transportation Office on July 1st. If actual ridership drops below the minimum in the current school year, this service may be rescinded after the following actions have occurred:

 School administrator is notified

 Students/parents are notified

Anonymous said...

So, I don't want to cause a fight, I just want to understand: why are APP high school students bused with yellow school buses? It seems to me that it would make more sense to give them SPS-provided Orca cards. I understand why SPED high school students get the yellow school buses, but the APP students don't make sense.

North End Parent

Anonymous said...

Remember the uproar over Garfield having to let go a teacher in the fall of this year because it was underenrolled? Garfield is not overcrowded. My impression was that the district (AL department) was trying to build up the IBX program at Ingraham and offered the yellow bus service to that end. There are not that many kids going to Ingraham IBX from the Garfield area that it would over or under enroll Garfield in any significant way, one way or the other. But those small numbers have made an impact in the viability of the IBX program from the beginning.


Eric B said...

North End Parent, APP students get some yellow bus transportation because the state pays for it separately from the regular transportation system. I do not know why Garfield doesn't get transportation under the same program.

PW, Garfield is right at the edge of what they can handle. If you added in the ~250 IBX students from Ingraham, it would be an awful mess.

TheGoodFight said...

It's also worth mentioning that ocra cards are NOT useful to the students that live in the Broadview neighbor area and further south if they are trying to get to Ingraham, that is unless someone has figured out how to turn the cards into magic carpets.

Maybe if you live a couple blocks on either side of Aurora then you can use metro and ride along with the druggies and prostitutes that frequent the metro buses north of 85th. I took metro in the 80s to Ingraham when I missed the school bus and I wasn't riding with druggies and prostitutes.

When you mention the busing problem of the Broadview area and Ingraham to school officials, they just stare at you and keep repeating "we give each student an Ocra card" thinking if they say it enough it will mean something. So,though it's nice the district coddles the IBX students, how is that fair when they ignore the needs of Ingraham's schools NW geo assigned students?

Anonymous said...

All APP kids don't get yellow bus service. Some APP students get yellow bus service because riding Metro is not feasible from where they live.

The state, not the district, pays for APP bussing.


Anonymous said...

I was only referring to the small number of APP students who are receiving yellow bus transportation form Garfield to Ingraham. In the beginning of the IBX program 4 years ago, those numbers were vital to make IBX a viable program. With the exponential growth of the APP program and the stability of IBX established, there is probably no need to provide this transportation any longer to help IBX. Ingraham is well on its way to being overcrowded as well. IBX has certainly helped manage APP capacity at GHS, for now. Fall 2015 may be a different story for both schools given the enormous 8th grade APP classes this year.


Anonymous said...

APP students have the ability to choose whether to attend their assignment area high school or stay with the cohort and attend GHS or IHS. As has been stated endlessly, there is not an APP program in high school. The choice is to remain with the cohort. Given that no one else in the district has a choice about squat, why should APP students be driven to a school, funded by taxpayer money, just to stay with their cohort? Metro should work just fine and should be factored into the decision making. Getting a lift from the state, us taxpayers, is really beyond the pale just to stay with your friends.

Waiting for all the reasons it is so important for these kids to stay with their cohort. Procede.


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

reposting for anonymous at 1:15 pm
It's not about "staying with your friends," ARG, and I think you know it. The point of the cohort is to ensure that there are sufficient numbers to support a good range of appropriately advanced classes, and to make it more likely that a gifted student will have at least a few other gifted students in their class. In the absence of an actual program at the HS level, the cohort provides some (minimal) insurance that there will be sufficient academic rigor for these kids.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the ENTIRE middle school enrollment process is about gen ed students staying with their cohort.

A rational system would draw middle school boundaries around each MS based on the size of that particular MS (and its ability to expand via portables, etc) Thus HIMS which cannot expand into portables b/c no space, and which is smaller, would have a smaller geo area drawn, for example).

However, b/c SPS thinks "cohort" for gen ed going from ES to MS is vitally important, MS is made up of elem. school zones mashed together to feed in their entireties to a MS, even if that doesn't make sense for that particular MS enrollment. That's why you have crazy gerrymandered looking MS areas in the central and south part of the city, etc.

If gen ed "cohort" going into MS didn't matter, they could do a better job right sizing all school boundaries, just like they right-size (as best they can) HS by drawing new boundaries just for HS.

But they continue to use elem. school "feeder patterns" for MS. That's just placing the highest value on maintaining the gen ed elem. cohort into middle school. It makes no logical sense from a capacity or boundary perspective to organize that way, and makes it much harder to adjust any one boundary - because every change affects both Elem. and MS at the same time.

Some people said during the last round of boundary changes that it would be A LOT easier to draw all the MS boundaries (and MUCH less disruptive when Wilson Pacific opens) if SPS just drew MS boundaries independently, like they do HS ones, but SPS wouldn't change at that time.

Signed: cohort info

Anonymous said...

Good point, cohort info. The district does indeed seem to value "staying with your friends." Except, of course, in the case of APP, where the district is plenty happy to rip those kids out of their existing school and ship them off whenever capacity needs arise, right? The argument that APP cohort is about coddling these kids is clearly absurd.

Jaded Mom

Anonymous said...

Ah, OK. So the APP busses aren't paid for by the district. If this is the case, why do the APP yellow busses always come up when we're discussing costs for bell time changes? I'm not understanding the link.


North End Parent

Anonymous said...

North End Parent - I think it's simply that most people don't know or understand or remember that the District doesn't pay for APP buses. I was in a Sherry Carr community meeting a couple of years ago where this issue came up and she had to tell people this fact, too. Even on this thread, the fact has been stated several times and yet people are still complaining about APP buses and suggesting that cutting them would be fair and save costs. And presumably that's after they've read the thread?

But all this is (IMO) a bit of a distraction from the real bell times issue, which is that Transportation is dictating bell times and refusing to consider a 2-tier system, even though that's what the task force recommended.


Anonymous said...

FYI - Busing costs and the District Budget

There are 5 special categories of transportation funding that are paid for by the State from a separate funding source -- so it is neutral to the District and does NOT pull $ out of the classrooms!

The 5 categories are:
Preschool (specific mandated forms)
Special Education
Gifted and Talented
Bilingual (ELL)

So, these categories of students mean that their transportation is paid for, and, does not cost our District a thing. It is a flow-through. Our District actually makes money on the APP kids. And no, while there is a Ingraham shuttle (due to challenges with Metro), non-SpEd students in the north absolutely do NOT get a bus to Garfield!! And if you really dig down into the weeds on the funding mechanism, putting gen ed students on these special buses muddies the water for the remuneration to occur. Occasionally, a sibling can be authorized to accompany a SpEd brother or sister going to the same school, but that is very specific. It is a complex system, to say the least.

And there is a program at high school for the HC students, and, it is cohorted - that is the program. Look it up in the OSPI HCS grant documents. By cohorting, that enables sections of advanced courses to be run, which is necessary to provide service. Not all high schools offer as many AP courses as Garfield, because, they simply do not have the demand and they do not have the budget to run a 'half empty' course. There are other reasons as well for the cohort model for service for HC students in high school, and service is the law. 'Sprinkling' HC students everywhere would mean critical mass to deliver required courses would not be possible.

Perpetuating a myth that APP students get yellow buses to high school and that giving these students buses means that money is diverted away from the classroom seems an awful lot like bating...

5 categories get specific transportation funding. Seems like you, @ARG, only have a problem with HCC, but not with SpEd, ELL, Preschoolers, or homeless, right? What if the student was HCC and ELL, or, HCC and SpEd, or, HCC and homeless, or, HCC and SpEd and homeless? Then it is okay that they get bussed? The cohort model is not about staying with your friends, by the way, it is about ensuring educators have meaningful PLC with others who work with HC students, it is about budget efficiency, it is about program service integrity, etc. Staying with friends? That is insulting when one considers how many times these same kids have been pulled away from the friends at the last minute. When Lincoln is the ONLY elementary school that does not feed to a single middle school, like every other elementary in the SPS system.

But hey, fire away anyway if that is your thing.


Anonymous said...

OK, thank you for the clarification!

North End Parent

Anonymous said...

Jaded Mom and others,

*sigh* I can't read this pitiful wingeing without sighing.

Do your children get moved every year? Cohort? What a joke. Students with disabilities (even mild autism) are forced to up and move or sign off on getting nothing, flailing without support and failing.

Yes. Failing. Consigned to the garbage heap of society. Or prison.

Let's have a different Tuesday Open Thread, shall we?

another sped advocate

Anonymous said...

Amen advocate. Let's all do a collective boo-hoo-hoo for a 1000 strong cohort - that must be maintained NO MATTER WHAT. Oh poor them! They only get 5 languages, 10 different jazz bands, 5 different high school choices, their gifted cohort OR their neighborhood cohort OR Center School OR Nova OR Cleveland. What's a parent to do, when their kid can multiply in 3rd grade? ??? It's such a burden!

And did you read? The poor kid even had to get up early to catch the bus. Let's post 25 times about that. Oh, stop the injustice.

Right On!

Anonymous said...

APP kids do multiplication in first grade. That's the two years ahead math part.

That could be a lot of months waiting to move on in a regular classroom.