Friday, July 31, 2015

Friday Open Thread

Forgot one interesting piece of news; the City has extended the deadline for families to apply for their Preschool Program from July 31st to August 10th.  What? Families aren't breaking down the doors for this "high-quality" preschool?  I note that ALL the classrooms for the City program are indeed in Seattle Schools.

The College Board got quite the battle over AP History and apparently more conservative interests won.  From Huffington Post:

After facing months of intense scrutiny over a new Advanced Placement U.S. History (APUSH) course outline that some conservatives perceived as containing anti-American biases, the College Board released a new framework for the class Thursday morning. This structure places more of an emphasis on concepts surrounding American national identity, the country's founding leaders and documents and the effective role of free enterprise in U.S. history. 

The 2015 framework released Thursday directly responds to the fears of critics. As opposed to last year's framework, it explicitly mentions the concept of American exceptionalism and emphasizes the names and roles of the founding fathers. Although this year's framework highlights America's positive influence on world, like its role in ending the Cold War, it includes about the same number of references to slavery as last year's.

The College Board officials and scholars who worked on the 2014 framework update consistently defended the product.

"Many of the comments we have heard about the framework reflect either a misunderstanding of U.S. history or a very limited faith in history teachers’ command of their subject matter," the letter said. "The Curriculum Framework was written by and for AP teachers -- individuals who were already experts in U.S. history and its teaching."

 Are you a "charter champion?"  If so, the Washington State Charter School Association is looking for those people who want to volunteer to fix up buildings for new charter students in a Day of Service.

Speaking of charters, boy, are some parents who attend Success Academy Charter Schools in NYC upset over the costs of "scholar uniforms and backpacks."  You have to buy the LL Bean packback and a "complete" uniform package (about $450).  No picking up packages; UPS will deliver BUT you have to be home to sign for it.  Parents note the early cut-off date to get these uniforms and wonder about getting "an infraction" because their child does not have a uniform in time for the opening of school.

Ever heard of "opportunity hoarding?"  It's a phrase to explain why better off kids do well in school and in life.  (Note: this is based on research in the United Kingdom but references a similar study done in the US in 2013.)

Researchers tracked the accomplishments of 17,000 people born during the same week in 1970 and found that family, social and institutional connections, rather than ability as expressed through cognitive tests, are the best predictors of success. The study analyzed the subjects' accomplishments up to their 42nd birthdays.

"The education of parents was found to correlate with children's career success, and the connections afforded by more educated parents were found to create an unequal playing field," The Independent newspaper writes of the research. The study's authors call this outcome "opportunity hoarding," insisting it means "less connected children" get shut out from education and career possibilities.

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said...

No surprise that kids from stable families and upscale areas do better than kids from less affluent neighborhoods. Instead of spending all this money on testing to reconfirm this, why not use the money instead for other things? Support struggling students. Test curricula to find out what is most effective. Increase arts education and physical fitness in schools.
So many other ways to use money in schools.
S parent

mirmac1 said...

Heard a commercial on Jack FM this morning for and the superior "individualized" education it offers for "free"!

Joe Wolf said...

Riffing on the Success Academy piece:

"Product Review: The Invisible Backpack of White Privilege (L.L. Bean)"

Hilarious because it's true.

Watching said...

There are multiple private prek providers within Seattle Public Schools and they are being supported by the Family and Education Levy.

One of the city's private prek providers has 1200 prek students within SPS facilities. The city will have 14 prek classrooms and expand next year. The city/district intend on aligning P3 and what is the administrative impact/costs to SPS when the city/prek expands beyond 14 classrooms. Director Peters wanted the city's proposal vetted in Audit and Finance. Peaslee felt the Ex. Committee vetted the proposal and all was fine. By the way, the Ex. Committee consists of McLaren, Peaslee and Carr...another good reason to vote-out McLaren.

As I see it, Burgess/Murray have privatized prek, and they use public funding and free public space to do so. To boot- SPS has provided hundreds of hours of free administrative services. Way to go.

Anonymous said...

Regarding uniforms...

A little known fact that if a public school requires a uniform, that school is responsible for supplying them.

Veteran Educator

Greenwoody said...

This is a really disappointing report from KUOW's Ann Dornfeld, usually a very good journalist, on three new charter schools. It reads like promotional material for the schools and doesn't really take a close look at what some of these things mean in practice, like "personalized learning." Nor does it give any voice at all to critics of these specific schools, particularly Summit, or of charters generally. It just makes them sound like happy fun fairy-tale places where everything will be awesome.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Veteran Educator, clearly either the law in that state doesn't have that clause or the school is ignoring it.

Yes, I saw that KUOW report. Excel just LOVES to say they send 99% of their students to 4-year colleges. One, how many of those students actually started freshman year and how large was the freshman class to the graduating class? Two, they virtually guarantee all kids will do this. Very odd.

To note, the WA State Charter Commission will be reviewing two applications at their next meeting on August 13th and will announce if either (or both) are approved.

Joe Wolf said...

Fact check:

Community Day School Association (CDSA) is the non-profit that folks claim "already has 1,200 pre-k students in Seattle Public Schools".

CDSA serves 1,200 children total, at nine SPS campuses. They offer:

- Before- and after-school childcare;
- Preschool, with or without a before- and/or after-school childcare component.

- Preschool is offered at six of the nine campuses.

I do not have a breakdown of the number of kids attending one of the flavors of preschool, but it is a number significantly less than 1,200.

Hope this helps clarify the narrative and conversation.

mirmac1 said...


Do you have figures for Causey and the third selected provider with space in SPS buildings?


Watching said...

Thanks, Joe.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Here's the thing - there won't be ANYWHERE near 2,000 more preschool seats. It's mostly going to be rearranging chairs with the City's curriculum.

mirmac1 said...

Are these folks going to become "squatters" on district property? How does SPS dislodge them if AND when they need the space?

Thanks Joe, I'll do the math.

Anonymous said...

Watching, or Joe, or? What about Nurturing Knowledge Preschool branch located at Greenwood Elementary. Is that supported by Families and Education Levy, still? Do they pay rent and for facility use? Their monthly tuition schedule for a 4 hour day is:

Morning Program 8:45/9:30 a.m. to 12:45/1:30 p.m.
2 Days $451.00
3 Days $636.00
4 Days $793.00
5 Days $925.00

Their "full day" option runs until 2:45. Not for typical working parents. Who is our money supporting here?


Anonymous said...

The city preschool classrooms are *not* all in SPS buildings. The chart merely lists the SPS elementary school zone that the preschool is located in. Look at the locations map. For example, Little Eagles is located downtown on 2nd and Madison, not Lowell.

NE Mom

BL said...

Not all of the listed Seattle City preschool programs are in SPS school buildings. The one in Lowell's attendance area is not an after-school child care provider (it's infant-pre-K), and the buildings are two miles apart. Causey's-23rd is not on the Bailey Gatzert property and Hoa Mai is not on the Kimball property.

BL said...

Oops. NE mom beat me to it.

Watching said...

It should be noted that the City of Seattle's prek program has partnered with the state funded program called ECEAP:

In essence, it is time for the district/city to shed full light upon the city's prek program with ECEAP/ private providers and plans to involve Head Start.- and the manner in which SPS classrooms are impacted/involved.

Anonymous said...

I have a question about Garfield. I heard recently that if your student is not in APP it is difficult to get into AP classes because they get filled with APP kids Is this true?

Molly Ivins said...

Individuals that have funded DFER's PAC, which is now valued at $135 K: Katherine A. Binder and Ruth Lipscomb.

I've noted that Ruth Lipscomb sits on FUSE's board, as does Dean Nielsen. Nielsen has a consulting firm and has been known to do hit pieces on school board candidates. To Dean Nielsen, it doesn't seem to matter that the organization, for which he sits on the board, endorses a candidate. Nielsen will turn around and make $60K doing hit pieces.

I've notieced that Lauren McGuire for School Board is touting FUSE's support on her web page. McGurie, has such lovely supporters- I see.

Molly Ivins said...

Clarification: Katherine A. Binder and Ruth Lipscomb have contributed to DFER's PAC.

No need to take FUSE's recommendation seriously.

I see that Jill Geary has received the SOLE endorsements of The Stranger, King County Democrats, Martin Luther King Labor Council and a host of other non-corporate types.

Anonymous said...

Reposting for Anonymous:

I have a question about Garfield. I heard recently that if your student is not in APP it is difficult to get into AP classes because they get filled with APP kids Is this true?

-- Also curious

Anonymous said...

Also Curious -

That is not true. Absolutely not true. As an alum family with 2 non-APP kids and friends with many non-APP kids, they all had the opportunity to take as many AP classes as they wanted and were never unable to take a class they wanted to. If there were limits on classes (I think one year they had to restrict Latin 3) it was based on grades, not APP status.


Lynn said...

There will be an additional benefit for high school students who are identified as highly capable beginning this fall.

At the high school level, students identified as Highly Capable:
Are guaranteed a placement in any offered Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate courses in which they choose to enroll and meet all prerequisites. While any high school student who meets the prerequisites may enroll in AP/IB courses, Highly Capable students are guaranteed a seat.

This will affect all high schools - not just Garfield. It's the district's effort to meet requirements of the law without putting any effort into providing services to highly capable high school students.

Anonymous said...

Thanks PW. That rumor caused me a lot of stress because while my child doesn't qualify as APP, she didn't get below a 100% in a single class in middle school. I have no desire to make her sit for a qualifying test, but want to make sure she can get the classes that she needs.

And thanks to also curios for reposting. It was early and on my phone when I posted.


Anonymous said...

My hope would be that even though APP students are now guaranteed AP classes in high school, the administration will accommodate all students who are capable, whether by testing or proof of being capable from previous classes (eg - above a B in Chem honors qualifies for AP Chem). There are so many kids who come into high school who are smart and driven but have parents who have not been into APP or didn't feel their kid needed it or were just happy where they were, or have been in private school. The guarantee serves the purpose of following state law, but I really think (and this sounds like rose colored glasses, but it has been our experience) high school administrators are willing to and hope to allow kids to challenge themselves to the highest level. You cannot stay in AP classes if your grade falls below a certain level, and kids recognize when they have hit their limit. This has been our experience at Garfield.


Anonymous said...

The Environmental Impact Statement for changing bell times was released Friday and is here :


Anonymous said...

Just to back up PW, I had two GHS kids, one Spectrum eligible (but there was never a seat for him at a Spectrum school -- so, never mind). The other, a SPED kid. They both had no problem getting into AP classes -- none -- unless they didn't have the prereqs for them. In fact, the school was encouraging.


Robert said...

Well that is accurate and very articulate spam! But yeah MW and occasionally CM. Thanks!

Robert said...

Thanks TC what do all those pages say? I know how to read a scientific journal but that just seems like word soup with zero conclusion. I think it is funny that they stick with APP, change is hard my friends.

David said...

From what Lynn posted, it does seem like non-APP students might not get every AP class they want, since APP kids will have priority.

Anonymous said...

David -

APP students have always taken AP classes, as have students not identified prior to high school but capable of advanced work. The difference is in the language being used to satisfy state requirements for gifted Ed K-12. Students register for classes the spring of the previous year with their counselors The schedule is then created based on demand. The counselors make every student a priority, Please don't start rumors Based on a change in language that has been put in place this year to meet a new state requirement regarding gifted Ed. I believe/hope that nothing has changed except the language. All high school students should be able to take the most rigorous course load they are capable of succeeding at, A guarantee does not mean non-identified students will be excluded.


mirmac1 said...

So this is what's happening to the Federal Reserve Building: