Friday, August 14, 2015

Friday Open Thread

Yesterday was quite interesting for me, going to both the Charter Commission meeting as well as the Executive Committee meeting.  It was quite the contrast - the CC being honest, deliberative and having questions answered by staff and the Executive Committee, well, more of the same.

If you have a teen daughter, the film, The Diary of a Teenage Girl (based on a graphic novel of the same name) is out today.  I have not read the book but the NPR interview with the author on NPR's Fresh Air was eye-opening.  If your daughter wants to see this, a heads up.  (Not that I'm saying girls shouldn't see it but it is very adult content and something you might want to be aware of.)

Monday should be another busy ed news day.  The Governor is having a meeting with legislators over the Supreme Court's ruling yesterday of the State being fined $100k a day for not meeting McCleary.  This is not just Washington State.  One legislator, Rep Matt Manweller (R-Ellensburg) tweeted out that the Court should be impeached (and I tweeted that maybe it's the legislators who should be and then I amended that to the correct action which would be recalled).  The Court said nothing about 1351 but did talk about "class size reduction."  I have been told there will be some kind of media availability - what do you think I should ask?

As well, Superintendent Randy Dorn will finally release the SBAC scores at a press conference in Olympia on Monday.  (I will not be attending but I am setting up an interview with Dorn.  I will probably get in three questions.  Any suggestions?)  I note that Superintendent Nyland, at the the Executive Committee meeting yesterday, said Seattle's scores had "dipped a bit" but it wasn't so bad.  Naturally, this would mean he either was told about Seattle's SBAC scores or has them.  I'll ask.

The Living Computer Museum is having a free admission day tomorrow from 10 am-5 pm with retro gaming, food trucks, 3D printed craft station and live music. 

What's on your mind?


Carol Simmons said...

HI Melissa,
Thank you for attending the meetings. I noticed on the Agenda for the Executive meeting that there would be a discussion regarding the Resolution on the Moratorium for suspensions for Elementary students. Would you (or if anyone else attended) please give a report on what was said or decided or debated, or?

Thank you

Melissa Westbrook said...

Carol, the meeting ran so long that I didn't stay for that part. However, they discussed the agendas for the next two Board meetings. The one next week - August 19th - had an Action item on the moratorium. That means voting for it, right?

Carr announced that it would be pulled due to a request from Director Martin-Morris (the sponsor of that item) and wouldn't come back on until late September. No explanation and Martin-Morris was not at the meeting.

dan dempsey said...


Ask Randy Dorn about the need to replace the one-size fits-all diploma.

The legislature would like all students to achieve "internationally competitive" standards, yet the SBE finds it necessary to lower SBAC cut scores.

Where is the coming likely 24 credit graduation requirement going to take us?

Replace One-Size Fits-All Diploma

dan dempsey said...

More Charter School Expansion coming in LAUSD

A prominent local education foundation is discussing a major expansion of charter schools in Los Angeles aimed at boosting academic achievement for students at the lowest performing campuses.

Details of the project are not yet fully clear. But charter school leaders said they have met with officials from the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation in recent months about the effort. The Keck Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation and other organizations that support the independently run, publicly financed charters also are involved, according to people who attended the meetings. They requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the matter.

The Broad Foundation said the charter plan is in an early, exploratory phase, but declined to provide specific information.

Anonymous said...

If you need the school bus to pick up or drop off your child at an address different than your home, now would be a good time to contact SPS transportation about the change. I'm pretty sure you need to do this every year. I did it with a quick phone call a couple days ago. If you wait until closer to school, your child will likely end up needing to use the green card system for weeks until Transportation can get the new address entered.

--Plan Ahead

Melissa Westbrook said...

I was helping a father and son at JSCEE yesterday. They were filling out the enrollment form for middle school and naming their choices out loud. The dad seemed worried and it turns out that he got a letter assigning his son to a middle school that was not in the region of his son's elementary school nor near his address. I told the father it seemed like a mistake and it turned out it was.

But the father seemed a bit overwhelmed and, of course, was very worried his son had been assigned far away.

Anonymous said...

At Brookings ...

80% of those entering community college want at least a bachelors degree

6 years later 15% have that bachelors degree. Claims that lack of guidance may be part of the problem.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

Randy Dorn appears to realize that many students need and prefer technical career-ready skills minimizing the need for expensive and semi frequently irrelevant college debt. The diploma alternatives is a good question Dan. In terms of the 80% stat, if accurate, I'd say it's partly due to our overdone pushing all to "college" and a lack of realism by students, especially by those who barely squeaked by graduation more due to school supports than their own initiative. Unfortunately I also saw a stat recently claiming 10% drop out due to credit card debt.


Josh Hayes said...

Saturday's NY Times has an editorial deploring those silly opting-out families. It's extraordinarily bad; our "newspaper of record" seems to have taken a Pearson press release and an SBAC press release and mashed them together into an editorial.

Unlike most newspaper articles, however, the comments on this one are well worth reading, including one from our friend Diane Ravitch. As usual, you have to deal with the NYT paywall, but in this case I'd burn one of my ten free monthly articles to read it.

Here it is. Check it out.

Anonymous said...

Josh Hayes is sure correct about reading those comments at NY Times on the opt-outs. It looks like a whole new day for any publications attempting to sell SBAC and PARCC Nonsense Testing as beneficial to students as the public is no longer buying it.

Melissa wrote:
Superintendent Randy Dorn will finally release the SBAC scores at a press conference in Olympia on Monday.

Where and at what time will this take place?

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

Got the answer from Nathan Olson at OSPI

Superintendent Randy Dorn will release the SBAC scores at a press conference at 10 AM

in the Senate building (Cherberg).

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

Has anyone else noted the parade of charter school rah-rah articles appearing almost weekly on most of the local news websites like KOMO, etc., all courtesy of the so-called journalist Donna Gordon-Blankinship? I'm curious who is paying her to write them, or who is having coffee with her each week to provide her with the propaganda materials. Gates? LEV? WA State Charter Assoc? They are fairly one-sided, most definitely propaganda, certainly not news-worthy. It's as if she is the publicist for the charter schools rather than a journalist with the Associated Press. On the rare occasion that she does write about public school stuff rather than charter school stuff, she is nearly always very negative towards the public schools.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, CT, I have noticed. Blankinship, seemingly, has been peppering her articles for quite awhile now with a pro-charter nod.

n said...

I love it when smart people respond to Christie's thug rhetoric:

From Daily Kos:

Christie Suggests Teachers Should Be "Punched In The Face." Teacher Takes Him Up On It.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know how to find out how many people applied for the limited number of free Seattle Preschool Program slots? We dont know how to pay for preschool for our Next- year kindergartener, and yet we hate the idea of him being the only kid in his class next year who didn't go to preschool.

(And please no comments about how we can just "trim our expenses" to make it work - we've already cut out all discretionary spending and we are just getting by)

- Waiting to Hear

Melissa Westbrook said...

Waiting to Hear, I don't know how many applied for those particular slots but they had extended the application period by about 10 days. I think that is more a signal to the non-free slots than free (I'd have to believe that is the case). However, as you may know, the slots are charged by income so hopefully, you will be able to get one that best matches your income.

Maureen said...

Waiting, I don't know if this would work for your family, but we did Co-op preschool through the Community College system and it was about as cheap as it could be (they offer scholarships as well.) It's hard if you don't have one parent with a flexible schedule, but it's a great learning environment for the kids and a support group for the parents.

Anonymous said...

Were the SBAC results released today?

-Interested to Hear

Greg said...

Anyone else get a letter from Seattle Public Schools today for their child but addressed to the wrong name? I heard this was some sort of system-wide mistake, but would like to get confirmation.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Interested, I promise tomorrow I'll do a write-up.

Anonymous said...

OSPI results website hasn't been working since yesterday. Predictable. Randy Dorn posted state wide flim flam with overall results. Basically 50ish pass rates. 80% graduation pass rates with the reduced cut scores. Up from 76% it would have been. 24% from 11th graders, but opt out rate 50%.

Also Waiting

Anonymous said...

State results were viewable earlier in the day. Some high school results were blocked, but other than that, the site was working.

The refusal rates skewed results (refusals counted as not passing), but pass rates were also given with the opt outs excluded. Hale made the news for high opt out rates, but opt outs happened at all grade levels. HCC schools seemed to have higher opt out rates compared to neighborhood schools - around 16% at JAMS, 14% at HIMS, and 8% at WMS.

-opted out

Anonymous said...

District wide, opt outs ranged from an average of around 3% in 3rd grade, up to around 9% in 8th grade. If you look at all "no scores," the percentages are a couple of points higher. Some of the highest opt out rates (outside of high school) were at option schools, such as TOPS (54% in 8th grade) and Thornton Creek (almost 90% in 3rd grade). What's interesting at Thornton Creek is none of the "no scores" are categorized as unexcused refusals, as at other schools. They are 100% "other." Did they all happen to call in sick on test days? Hmm.

-opted out

Rob Taylor-Manning said...

This is an open thread, so I'm hoping someone can point me in the right direction. My daughter just returned from a year long exchange in another country. She is heading in to her senior year at Garfield. Her counselor is telling her that it is nearly impossible for her to graduate this year, the primary sticking point being occupational education credits.

The school manual says that choir classes can be considered either Fine Arts or Occ Ed. The counselor is now saying only choir classes taken in Junior and Senior Year can count as Occ Ed.

(1) Has anyone else dealt with the issue of counting FA as Occ Ed?
(2) Has anyone had experience with relying on the school's published manual and later being told the published information is wrong?
(3) Does anyone have experience with waiver procedures for FA or Occ Ed, since the published materials make an Occ Ed seem impossible to get.
(4) Finally, there is a running start issue, since she will have to take running start as well as classes at Garfield.