Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Tuesday Open Thread

Happy Birthday, to space hero Sally Ride.  Today would have been her 64th birthday.

I sent this story - via the Washington Post,  along to the Board - Six of the nation's largest school districts dump polystyrene trays.  These districts are banding together for volume savings to do better for their districts. 

Great new area at the Fordham Institute for Advancing Educational Excellence - Eduwatch 2016 - with quotes from presidential candidates on education (which I believe they will be keeping updated).

Rand Paul has an interesting idea about student loans for higher ed:
Let’s let college students deduct the entire cost of their educations over their working careers. Let’s make college tuition entirely deductible.
 Bernie Sanders:
Promote creative learning by doing away with 'fill-in-the-bubble' standardized tests, and instead evaluate students based their understanding of the curriculum and their ability to use it creatively.
It's 2015 but apparently some people didn't get that memo.  A story from Indian Country about a song being used in a school district in California (written in 2000!) as part of teaching California history that is fairly offensive to Native American students.   One 10-year boy decided he wouldn't sing it and got it pulled from the curriculum. You should read the lyrics - I think the song's authors were trying to do something good but failed fairly miserably.

The district is starting the School Climate survey this week, "asking families for feedback on their schools."  You will get a call or e-mail with a second round in June.   

Good news from the district: Roosevelt teacher Karl Ruff was named K-12 STEM Engineering Teacher of the Year from the Puget Sound Engineering Council.  Mr. Ruff worked for Boeing for 16 years before becoming a teacher.
In any given period and in the same room, students may be enrolled in beginning or advanced levels of Aerospace Engineering, Computer Integrated Manufacturing, Digital Electronics, Engineering Design or Project Management.
Now any Roosevelt student in grade 9-12 can take any of his courses almost any period of the day. Ruff also advises four student clubs: the Iron Riders First Robotics team, the Girls Rocket Club, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers student chapter, and the Technology Student Association.
 When I used to do tours for prospective students and their parents, I was always happy to stop by Mr. Ruff's lab.  He has such a huge enthusiasm to teach and share what he has learned and give students the chance to create work based around their interests.  He is also very encouraging to girls to please come and try his classes.  


ForTheKids said...


Page 5 of the MOU between the City of Seattle and Seattle Public Schools prek agreement indicates that the city's prek program must receive approval from a board that protects human research subjects from psychological harm. The name of this board is called an Institutional Review Board.

The agreement is very vague. There is no indication why IRB approval is necessary. There is NO indication whether or not "evaluations" will take place in prek- only...or, if these "evaluations" are to occur in the K-12 system.

SPS is on the verge of using children for research and this portion of the MOU needs to be removed.

For the most part, children in the city's prek program will be poor, and some parents don't have the ability to speak English. I suspect language related to IRB approval will be in the small print.

When did it become ok to use children for research?

Please write the board on this issue.

ws said...

SPS shutting down WS Middle college effective next fall.


Po3 said...

Interesting that Nylands letter doesn't offer students the option of enrolling in an option high school, like The Center School, which has a social justice component or NOVA, which may be a great fit for these students. Oversight or glaring omission?

Also interesting that the district seems to be manipulating the decline in enrollment, by not letting students enroll. Clever tactic.

I am also left wondering what happens to the staff, will they be RIFFed or reassigned?

mirmac1 said...

The City PreK program needs IRB approval because they will need to set up "control groups" of youngsters. That way they can demonstrate how their fancy preKs blow those other programs (and kids) away. How ethical is that?

MiddleCollege Admission said...

Was Nyland aware of the fact that Tolley disallowed admissions into W. Seattle's Middle College? It matters.

Anonymous said...

Jill Geary and Rick Burke have received sole endorsements for their school board races from the MLK Labor Council, and been recommended for sole endorsement by the King County Democrats Endorsement Committee.

The SEA should take note.

Note taker

WS said...

Looking for a simple opt out letter i can submit to my child’s school. I thought I saw one posted on this blog previously but I can't seem to locate it.

Can anyone repost? Also do you know if emailing the letter is sufficient?

Thanks in advance.

Anonymous said...

In the article on Middle college as well as comments, it appears the school is pretty radical.
Social justice curriculum? History from the native POV?

Good for them. Hopefully their curriculum will move into the mainstream high schools with the students. Option schools in SPS may be supplanted by charters like Summit High School.

BTW, What's the word on Summit?
Did they recruit at any middle schools? Their website is useless, no info; are there no requirements for public notice?


Lynn said...

The form can be found at the bottom of this page.

You don't need a form - you can simply email your child's principal that your child will not be taking the SBAC (or MAP or the mCLASS Beacon...)

Took Notes said...

Jonathan Knapp was in Martha McLaren's area when the community gave a resounding thumbs down to McLaren. Harris was supported by a vote of 123. McLaren received a vote of 12.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Poppy, is teaching history from the POV of the people who were here first radical? I would think it would make sense.

As for Summit, yes, that website is not great and you'd have to ask yourself why. I know they say they have talked to middle/high school parents in the area. They are to have a public forum but no date has been set yet.

Anonymous said...

Took notes, to add to what you wrote, not only was Knapp present, but the 34th District Democrats endorsed Leslie Harris with that 123-12 vote AFTER Knapp had spoken in favor of endorsing Marty.

I am not writing anything on this blog that I have not told Jonathan to his face. I don't know what game he is playing here. He knows full well that Leslie will be a dynamic, effective, and positive force on the Board. When, not if, Jill Geary is elected over the reformie McGuire, that will make two of them. Combine them with Rick Burke, and with Sue and Betty, and we could really make some positive changes happen here. But I'm not counting any chickens before they are hatched. We will have to get our vote out.

-- Ivan Weiss

Anonymous said...


An article on testing... literally from a student's perspective.

Just sharing

Anonymous said...

In the comments on Diane Ravitch's blog to an article decrying "Parent Choice" charters (where 51% of some group of parents votes to remove a school building from the public and retain it for use by private charter schools):

"It’s as if the passengers on a mass transit bus or train at a particular time were able to take a vote and sell the line to a private operator.

Normally that would be called piracy, but it’s A-OK with the Public Ed Piratizers."

It was just such a great analogy that I had to pass it along!


Anonymous said...

When did The Source start displaying a "Pearson" logo in the bottom right corner and the phrase "Always Learning" in the bottom left? It loks and feels subversive. Remember the huge stink about not letting advertisers have access to space in our schools to avoid our students being reduced to media targets when they are supposed to be learning?


mirmac1 said...

Two special meetings this week:

May 27, 2015 - Board Special Meeting: Exit Conference for Financial and Single Federal & Accountability Audit; Work Sessions: Budget/ Superintendent Evaluation; Executive Session: Evaluate the performance of a public employee

May 28, 2015 - Board Special Meeting: Work Session: Resolution on Assessments

mirmac1 said...

Oh gawd. Here's a laugher from the budget presentation

FY2015-16 Budget Goals/Intent
•Historically, the District kept cuts away from schools and classroom and absorb reductions at central office
•Now the District needs to restore some of the staff cuts made during the recession
•And, the District needs to do what’s necessary to fix eroding systems
•We continue to maintain central office staffing levels at a reasonable level (currently at 5.8%)

Melissa Westbrook said...

Mirmac1, that is funny.

Again, there is a difference between Central Office and Central Adm and if you added both those up, I'm sure that percentage would not be 5.8%.

I'm not sure I believe systems are "eroding" - they would need to be more specific.

mirmac1 said...

Maybe they mean that crap software they keep buying that doesn't talk to each other. Wright's "Start of School" efforts have apparently gone nowhere. Now they want to hire a consultant to the tune of $1.5M to help them because its too haaaaard.

Lynn said...

Did anyone hear the story on NPR about Forest Mondays? I would love to send my child to a school that did this.

There are outdoor preschools in Seattle now and several more are opening this fall.