Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Tuesday Open Thread

Stacie Starr, a veteran Elyria, Ohio, teacher who was chosen as the winner of  the “Live with Kelly and Michael” 2014 Top Teacher Search, announced her retirement on Monday, citing the increasing pressures on students and teachers under the mandated Common Core standards.  The teacher did this on-air.

From Mother Jones, "Sorry, I'm Not Taking this Test."
Kiana talked about this with Mr. Katz, who regularly met with students who needed extra help during his lunch hour and after school. One day during their tutoring session, he mentioned Gandhi. Kiana went to the library and found some of Gandhi's essays. She determined that what it took to make change was someone taking a personal stand.
Next, she researched state education rules and discovered that the end-of-course tests that Florida required in every subject were being used primarily for job evaluations. (She says one teacher told her: "Please take [the test]. My paycheck depends on it.")
The English teacher started passing out the computer tablets used to take the test. He put one on her desk. Kiana raised her hand. "I'm sorry," she said again. "I'm not going to take this test."
The noise dropped abruptly.
"You should wait until you are done with high school before you try to change the world," the teacher said.

A very sad story from the Washington Post about a teen who seemingly pressured her boyfriend into suicide.  Maybe a lesson in here.

More lessons learned - investigator's report on the Marysville High School shootings last October says some adults probably knew the shooter was having issues, this from the Seattle Times.  As well, the victims' lawyer says:

She said the Marysville School District has failed to respond to requests for its policies on bullying and discipline and that failure has raised alarms among the families of the victims. The policies ought to be available to anyone who wants to see them, she said.

The shooter's father is being charged with weapons violations for illegally obtaining a gun 
while under a restraining order.

What's on your mind?

112 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have been looking at the new website for Hale and it is really bad. There is no schedule for this year. Schedule posted is for last year. The supplies they suggest are for elementary schools.

http://halehs.seattleschools.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=3943&pageId=1037385

A lot of the information that used to be there appears to be gone.

What gives? Is this because Hale doesn't have someone to keep the website up to date or is it because someone at JSCEE hasn't done their job?

Raider Day is next Tuesday and there is no info on that either.

HP

Anonymous said...

So some of the high school websites are better than others. In looking around I found this on the Roosevelt page:

Pay to Play Fees
have been eliminated for school year 2015-2016.

Activity Fee - $50.00 is required

Activity Fee $50.00 plus Yearbook $40.00 is another option $90.00

What is an activity fee? Are all high schools charging this? Does every student have to pay it? Doesn't this defeat the purpose of eliminating pay to play?

HP

Anonymous said...

At RHS, we got a mailing. It said "Why get an ASB Card? If you participate in athletics, clubs, yearbook, newspaper or drama & music programs, you must purchase and ASB card. ASB funds cover and assist the expenses of these extra-curricular activities. Dances, assemblies, student recognition and programs organized by ASR also benefit from ASB funds - you will get reduced entry fees for Football and basketball games, school dances, drama productions and ASR sponsored activities.

So it doesn't look like it is required unless you are participating in extracurricular activities. I may be wrong, but I believe the pay to play fee was an additional fee on top of the ASB card. We had this fee when I was in high school - nothing new.

NE Mom of 3

Anonymous said...

I think the ASB card fee is less at Hale, like $35. It was required for sports and cheer but I am not sure about the rest of the activities. I'll have to check.

HP

Lynn said...

Garfield has reassigned counselors in an odd way. Ray Willis is now the counselor for all African American and Hispanic males and special education students. Are schools allowed to do this?

Anonymous said...

SAYONARA Ron English.

Don't let the proverbial door hit you on the proverbial backside on the way out.

If nothing else positive got accomplished under Nyland to date. (and that's not a hypothetical from my treehouse) this did.

Longtime SPS followers will remember his hands in the sale of the MLK building, Title IX scandal, special education litigation and the one that drove headlines about him and his old boss, also a real piece of work IMHO Gary Ikeda. Remember when English threatened his own legal action over Silas Potter and Goodloe-Johnson? Such nice folks.

Things now can and must get better.

DistrictWatcher

Melissa Westbrook said...

So my recollection is the Activity fee was not really related to sports except for attending games. I think it's an ASB thing, not a sports thing.

Lynn, that does seem interesting that Garfield would put all these students with one counselor (especially across grade levels).

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

I miss the old staff pages on school websites. It was nice to see a picture or read a few sentences about your child's teacher, rather than seeing some generic list.

-sigh

Sigh said...

Knapp went to the 34th Democratic District and told an audience- of 135 people- that McLaren is the 'single' board member that supports teachers. Yes, this during a year in which the teacher's contract will be negotiated.

Anonymous said...

What is the best guess on who will be on the new school board come November?

Hale Parent

Anonymous said...

I am pretty sure that everyone who is on a sports team (except club sports) or on cheer, has to buy a ASB card, but I am checking on it. Club Sports are encouraged to buy one. I don't know about drama, music, etc. kids if they have to buy one. This is at Hale.

It would be great to see what all the high schools are charging so far we have:
Ballard $35
Hale $35
Roosevelt $50

HP

Anonymous said...

Later start times in Bellevue article:

http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Bellevue-schools-Later-start-time-may-boost-grades-attendance-323659891.html

HP

Melissa Westbrook said...

Hale Parent -
In Peaslee's district, it is truly hard to say as neither candidate seems to have much in the way of a campaign. I think endorsements for this race will count a lot as both are complete unknowns. They are Michael Christophersen and Scott Pinkham.

In Martin-Morris' district, it's quite the toss-up. Both Jill Geary and Lauren McGuire have many good endorsements and both have a good body of work to bring to the table. I think forums may help sharpen the picture. I believe this is likely to be the highest spending race given their supporters (especially on McGuire's side).

In McLaren's district, Leslie Harris bested McLaren by 10 pts (and that's in McLaren's own district). Citywide is always the challenge and both have good endorsements with Harris having a rather large amount.

In Carr's district, Rick Burke probably has the edge if only because he is out there running a campaign. I haven't spoken to Laura Gramer (although I have talked to her in the past) about why she's running. I think it may be to call attention to Sped issues especially around deaf/hard of hearing students.

Your question reminds me I need to do an update and find out about upcoming forums.

Anonymous said...

It is Sept 1.

And still no SPAC test result information for 10th graders, who in a week will be 11th graders.

Nothing on the OSPI report card.
Nothing from the district.

This impacts 82,000 students statewide and approx 3,000 in SPS.

Just kinda wondering, what is the plan?


10th grade parent

NW mom said...

The Ballard music & drama kids were strongly encouraged to buy an ASB card. I believe if every kid bought one then the performing arts program would get an extra sum of money donated. I don't recall from who.

Anonymous said...

"Knapp went to the 34th Democratic District and told an audience- of 135 people- that McLaren is the 'single' board member that supports teachers."
=======================

Really, is this what Jonathan Knapp said?

I wonder if SEA President Knapp has any data to support the above statement?

What does supports teachers mean?

the 'single' board member ... really?

Inquiring Mind

Anonymous said...


I'm in district #1 and I searched with google for both candidates and found lots of information. I don't know why you think neither are running campaigns or are complete unknowns, based on what?

As a north end parent, I have never heard of any of the candidates before, except Lauren McGuire and McLaren, so all the rest are unknowns. I can honestly say neither McGuire or McLaren has done anything notable for my students. I wish we could vote for school principles rather than a board.

The reality is, most voters will look at the voters guide and make their decision then. Studies show endorsements can maybe add or subtract 1-2%. There also a estimated 2% advantage if your name is listed first on the ballot, which would cancel out endorsements.

My opinion is every race is up for grabs with Lauren McGuire and McLaren most likely to win, each with a 3% advantage over their opponent. I think all the negative attacks against McLaren will actually help her, just ask Peters.

Hale Parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

Hale Parent, Googling candidates is not the normal way to find out information about candidates, nor is it the easiest.

But send me the link to Scott Pinkham's website. I can't find it. I found Christophersen's but it has one page of information and nothing else. Not events he's been at, going to, endorsements, etc. That's what's helpful to most voters who are not going to take the time to Google every candidate. We can differ on our opinions about candidate information.

That's true many voters will just read the voters guide (which is sad) but I think endorsements count for a lot more especially in lieu of other information about candidates.

I don't think McLaren will win simply because of her showing in the primary.

Incumbents run on their records and pointing out what they have done (or not done) and what they promised in their first election isn't negative.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure how you would find out more information about a candidate? Are you suggesting they need to attend partisan candidate forums? Are suggesting they need partisan endorsements? Do you mind explaining your thought process.

I wrote a while back that I want candidates who walk their talk and I will do some research to find which ones do. I see that this crowd easily turns on it's past champions, like Peaslee and McLaren. I find it very interesting that even the current crowd favorite board members continue to vote right inline with the nasties, why is that and why doesn't the crowd turn on them as is has on the others?

In all my years of emailing the school board only Peaslee and Peters ever responded, so I had no problems with Peasley until she stopped holding meetings, but to her defense, she said she was threatened and didn't feel safe and I think this crowd had influence on her feeling threatened.

More about endorsements :

"Data doesn't suggest that endorsements move too many votes," said Pearson Cross, political science professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. "Still, candidates love to be endorsed by people who support their principles."

"Endorsements are important," said Joshua Stockley, political science professor at the University of Louisiana in Monroe, ""If endorsements weren't important, politicians would have sceased seeking them decades ago.

Endorsements do have an impact on elections, the political scientists agree, but not in a way that someone might think.

"An endorsement is not going to change someone's mind" if the voter was inclined to vote for one candidate over another, Stockley said. "They only serve to legitimize how people are already leaning."

The best example, he said, is known in political science circles as "The O Effect" when Oprah Winfrey endorsed President Barack Obama.

"It legitimized how people were already feeling," he said. "It made them feel better about voting for him."

Another example, Stockley said, was the 2013 5th Congressional District election runoff between Republicans Vance McAllister and Neil Riser,

"If a Democrat was going to vote in 2013, he was probably going to vote for Vance," he said. "To hear Jamie Mayo come out and say it sealed the deal." An endorsement makes people feel better about a decision they were likely to make."

But don't count on an endorsement completely changing someone's mind, Cross said. If voters prefer one candidate over another "people will continue to ignore the endorsements and vote for people they like. If you're going to vote for Bill Cassidy for Senate, you're not going to vote for Mary Landrieu because of an endorsement,"

"Endorsements are never THE driving force in an election cycle," said Kurt Corbello of Southeastern Louisiana University's political science department. "Yet, candidates look for any advantage that they can get, and the fact that candidates seek endorsements shows that they, at least, think that such things have value.

"From a political science perspective, endorsements in an election cycle are factors somewhere at the back end of the food chain.," Corbello said. "They are indicators to voters as to whether or not they can feel comfortable with a candidate."

Hale Parent

Anonymous said...

I see Leslie Harris has excepted money from Shannon McMinimee ex SPS attack lawyer and former POG employee. Really Leslie? Are you also taking money from Ron English? Did you really need her money? Please return her money ASAP. Who else at POG are you excepting money from? Did you know the POG SPED data breach cost are around $300,000 and growing. POG is no friend of SPS. I thought only Geary was on the POG legal dole.


POG is proud to announce that Shannon McMinimee, an associate in our School Law Practice Group, has been appointed as General Counsel for the Tacoma School District. Preg O’Donnell & Gillett congratulates Shannon on her achievement and wishes her success in this endeavor.

Disgusted again

Anonymous said...

Here are LEV's strike "FAQs"

http://educationvoters.org/resources/strikes/

--Just Browsing

Anonymous said...

Talks have ended today without a tentative agreement. On Thursday, the SEA membership will be taking a strike vote.

David Edelman

dan dempsey said...

Bay State Parent September 2015
About Gates and Common Core in Massachusetts:

The world’s richest man, Bill Gates, also funds the world’s richest, private philanthropic organization, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, an entity that over the past several years has heavily funded efforts to advance controversial Common Core educational standards across the country – including Massachusetts.

The state Board of Education is expected to vote this fall on a critical Common Core-related issue — which standardized test more than half a million Massachusetts public school students will take: the Common Core-aligned PARCC or the 17-year-old homegrown MCAS test, which has been adjusted to fit the new standards.


The Surprising Backers Behind Common Core in Massachusetts:
The link between Common Core standards and the world's richest philanthropic organization

Anonymous said...

David Edelman -

Has the union offered to bargain on Wednesday and Thursday? What about the district? Why have talks ended tonight and why wouldn't bargaining continue until we get an agreement? I think the goal is to avoid a strike - as a teacher, that is my hope. Why isn't bargaining happening?

Just wondering

Anonymous said...

It is my understanding that the Association would need 48 hours to get a tentative agreement in front of their members before they could vote on it. With no tentative agreement in place going into tonight, the cannot have anything to vote for by the time of their general membership meeting that is advertised for Thursday.

Without a tentative agreement, the Association's options are to vote either to keep working without a contract (which runs the risk of the employer simply imposing their terms), or to strike until an agreement can be reached.

Ustabee Seattleteacher

Anonymous said...

According to SEA bylaws, we must have a tentative agreement 72 hours in advance of a vote by the general membership. The idea is that we should have this short timeframe in which to study the proposed contract before we vote on it.

The district has missed two deadlines. The first was August 21st, three days before our first scheduled SEA general membership meeting on August 24th. On the 24th, we decided to give them a second deadline. They have missed it, and now we'll be taking a strike vote on September 3rd.

The reason that I say the district missed the deadline is that its bargaining team hasn't taken this process seriously. Here is what has been reported to us:

The district's bargaining team is not unified. They have delayed. They have not shown up for meetings. During one meeting, a bargaining team member introduced a proposal, and their chief negotiator halted the meeting and told our Executive Director that they had a different proposal. On other occasions, they have offered proposals and withdrawn them on the same day.

What we are seeing is confusion, chaos and incompetence on the district's bargaining team. Where, one wonders, is leadership in the district?

The strike will end when the district gets the message, from educators and parents alike, that it's time to bargain in good faith.

David Edelman

Anonymous said...

From the SEA:

Major unresolved issues haven't changed:
 Professional pay: We need to attract and keep caring, qualified educators in Seattle, which is one of the most expensive cities in the United States. We've gone six years with no state COLA and five years with no state increase in funding for educator health care.
 Guaranteed student recess: Recess time varies wildly across the district, and we believe all students benefit from a guaranteed amount of time for play and exercise.
 Fair teacher and staff evaluations: Teachers should be evaluated fairly and consistently, and the focus should be on providing the support all teachers need to be successful.
 Reasonable testing: Too much standardized testing is stealing time away from classroom learning.
 ESA workload relief: Education staff associates provide students with crucial services and support, but their current workloads mean many students aren't getting the help they need.
 Office professional workload relief: Office professionals do crucial work and play many roles - and they should be compensated for the extra work they do.
 Student equity around discipline and the opportunity gap: We need to focus on equity issues at every school in Seattle, not just some.
 The administration's proposal to make teachers work more for free: It is unrealistic to expect teachers to work more hours without additional pay, and the district administration has been unable to explain how their proposal would help students.

David Edelman

Anonymous said...

Isn't one of the issues on the bargaining table the use of test scores in teacher evaluation? Does anyone know how that issue is being tackled?

Curious

Anonymous said...

Just wondering, from emails it seems as if the district has stopped bargaining and is already at a take it or else stage. Obviously from a union perspective, but if reasonably accurate it's disturbing (I've seen a few ridiculous JSC strategies up close over the years to find this plausible, although there are some great people there too).

Curious, none of the updates I've seen suggest any real negotiation over test scores... not that it isn't important to some members, but it honestly still impacts very few teachers, so between the minimal wider impact and a district refusal to budge there appears to be no update.

Personal aside - the only year I ever had a bad review the state test scores showed 18% more of my students passing than my peer teacher (of course we learned this late August after I left that extreme-math-reform-or-the-highway principal). The real focus is unfair evaluations - SBAC scores still aren't out so even if scores could theoretically help prove a teacher had a successful year it's not in time for an unreasonable principal seeking victims to prove how tough he/she is. I should note my peer was/is an excellent teacher and I was surprised it was that big a gap (I taught a little more closely to the standards, but...). Validates for me why test scores should be reviewed but not a mandatory part of an evaluation.

Waiting Teacher

Anonymous said...

"I see Leslie Harris has excepted money from Shannon McMinimee ex SPS attack lawyer and former POG employee. Really Leslie? Are you also taking money from Ron English? Did you really need her money? Please return her money ASAP. Who else at POG are you excepting money from? Did you know the POG SPED data breach cost are around $300,000 and growing. POG is no friend of SPS. I thought only Geary was on the POG legal dole." "POG is proud to announce that Shannon McMinimee, an associate in our School Law Practice Group, has been appointed as General Counsel for the Tacoma School District. Preg O’Donnell & Gillett congratulates Shannon on her achievement and wishes her success in this endeavor."

Ok Scary. Anyone who lived through the McMinimee scorched earth attack families brand of "school law" era, can let Leslie Harris know how foolish her actions are in taking contributions from this person. And that this person is giving contributions, what's with that. SPS in about families and at the end of the day it is about relationships with families. McMinimee could not care less about this. I guess that is why she was promoted.

Unbelieving

Anonymous said...

Waiting Teacher wrote:

" The real focus is unfair evaluations - SBAC scores still aren't out so even if scores could theoretically help prove a teacher had a successful year it's not in time for an unreasonable principal seeking victims to prove how tough he/she is."

With a small sample size it is impossible for SBAC scores to prove anything.

It was ridiculous that the SEA union gave any credence to "Test Scores" being used for evaluation of a teacher back in 2007 and ridiculous is exactly where this type of thinking belongs today.

There is a large enough sample size for test scores to be used in evaluation of the Superintendent... Is the Board or district making such a proposal? Why not?

Inquiring Mind

Anonymous said...

I got an email from a member of the SEA bargaining team on the Monday session. The team showed up at 8:30am to meet with the district reps - and the admin reps showed up 11:30-12:30 with no proposals. The SEA submitted some new proposals and the district people left, saying they'd be back at 2:00pm. They didn't come back to the table until 7:20pm. They came with counters to some items, but not on the new compensation proposal or anything on ESA caseloads.
Any wonder we are headed for a strike vote?

Cameo

Anonymous said...

I've been troubled with what's going on with SPED PTSA. I don't think the president should be pushing board candidates. I've filed a complaint with Nathan R. Monell, CAE, Executive Director about the political agenda.

Mirmac1 is pushing for Rick Burke, Jill Geary, and Leslie Harris without consulting the membership. Rick Burke stated how impressed he was with how SPED has improved and how Nyland handled the data breach. I made a PRR about any information about Geary making settlements or ALH or even PRRs....SPS has nothing from 2010 until present, no emails, no PRR and no settlements. Now we find out Harris is taking money from lawyers who screwed over SPED students.

Mirmac please stop whatever you are doing, it's not helping us. You are out of control and should resign. If you want to help invite your friends to the SPED PTSA meeting and we will find out what's really going on.

Cathy Thomas

Anonymous said...

just wondering - this is my 4th bargain as a seattle teacher. I've had other careers. IF you read the SEA blog every week, or, if you had signed up for the email updates, you would have read that the SEA bargaining team has been submitting proposals since May. You would have read how the district slapped REJECT on everything 2 weeks ago, and came up with these last minute garbage proposals. I honestly don't understand your question - how can you 'bargain' with people who lie and who aren't actually bargaining?
It would be difficult to find someone more fed up with Knapp & Hagopian & the WEA 'leaders' & all their incessant last minute insider back room tactics and garbage. The district blew this one.
Please sign up for the email updates from SEA. Open a fake google or yahoo account if your worried about the NSA ... Come on, you're not doing

YourJob

Lynn said...

Cathy Thomas,

PTSA officers are free to endorse, support and campaign for school board candidates as long as they do not use their PTSA title while doing so. Were you really unable to figure that out without contacting the organization at the national level?

Anonymous said...

Arkansas rejects charters expansion

http://www.salon.com/2015/09/02/billionaire_charter_advocates_get_schooled_inside_an_arkansas_education_dogfight_partner/

CCA

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

Reposting because forgot to sign post.

I'm disturbed by the people who have been using this blog to attack
mirmac1. If you have problems with how Sped PTSA is being run, I don't understand
why you don't take your concerns to the membership of the PTSA instead of making what sounds like personal attacks on this blog. At least Cathy Thomas is using her name, unlike most of the others who are doing it anonymously. It is ugly and distasteful, the attempts for public shaming, so much like how women have always been treated throughout history. Most of us here don't know enough about Sped matters to make informed judgments about the legitimacy of your claims or mirmac1's actions/abilities, so why vent/rail here? Why not take your opinions/concerns to Sped PTSA members? Makes it seem like you are in the minority in your objections to what mirmac1 is doing for Sped and you are angry about that. Run against mirmac1 then you can do what you think is better, don't hide and throw rocks anonymously.

CCA

Anonymous said...

"I got an email from a member of the SEA bargaining team on the Monday session. The team showed up at 8:30am to meet with the district reps - and the admin reps showed up 11:30-12:30 with no proposals. The SEA submitted some new proposals and the district people left, saying they'd be back at 2:00pm. They didn't come back to the table until 7:20pm. They came with counters to some items, but not on the new compensation proposal or anything on ESA caseloads.
Any wonder we are headed for a strike vote?"

Exactly, Cameo. This is how it's been going with the district's bargaining team.

If any of you would like to join us, we'll be picketing today from 3:30-5:30 pm at Ingraham, Ballard, Nathan Hale, Garfield, Chief Sealth, West Seattle, Franklin and Roosevelt high schools.

David Edelman

Anonymous said...

I paid $25 at Ingraham for my student to do XC. I don't recall what the fee was called.

tami

Jet City mom said...

Ray Willis?
Whose idea was that?
Im amazed he even is working as a counselor with his history, and I have not heard what he has done to redeem himself enough to warrant the responsibility of guiding some of our most vulnerable students.

Anonymous said...

The ST story about Ron English's retirement notes that:
"English was put on administrative leave in February for undisclosed reasons and was on leave when he notified the district of his retirement. The investigation was closed upon his retirement, with no findings, school district spokeswoman Stacy Howard said."
Now he can pen his memoirs, "My 18 Years in SPS," a tell-all expose of one general counsel's dogged and relentless defense of SPS against all of those know-nothing staff and parents.

Adam

Anonymous said...

CCA in keeping with the spirit of your response could I please know your name?

Ms. CCA with all due respect Mirmac1 has been using this blog and the list serve to push her personal agenda as either a PTSA board member or the SPED PTSA president.

She has done so without consulting the membership and is using her position to endorse politicians without membership approval. I simply provided information about her endorsements. These are facts that I urge people to verify for themselves.

Lynn, please inform us how we discriminate between Mirmac1 and Mirmac1 PTSA president.


Cathy Thomas

Eric B said...

I agree with the posts above that endorsements are not very helpful for partisan races where people have made up their minds. I disagree on school board races. An awful lot of people in Seattle don't have kids in school and don't really know much about the district. If you don't know someone active in the district, there's not much to go on other than endorsements and voter's guide statements. I'd be interested to see a study on the impact of endorsements on low-information/non-partisan races like Port Commission, school board, etc. Whether you like it or not, I think the Stranger endorsements hold a lot of weight for those races, perhaps even more so than the Times.

Anonymous said...

Eric have you read the vile stranger endorsements? No offense to you, but the stranger is basically giving a big F-Y to the whole election process.

There are a few very interesting psychological studies about voters choices and they all break it down to three things,

1. The candidates photo in the voters guide.
2. The candidates statement in the voters guide.
3. The order listed on the ballot.

The political endorsement process is a joke, because first you can't be non-partisan to receive a parties endorsement. This is true even for non-partisan positions.

Outside of the voters guide the next biggest influence is door to door campaigning. The problem is how do you meet all predicted 190,000 voters? It will be interesting to see how the endorsements pan out.

Hale Parent

Robert Cruickshank said...

In Seattle the endorsement that matters above all others is the Stranger. It doesn't guarantee victory, but it provides a significant boost.

Marty McLaren seems like a nice person, but she's had 4 years on the school board and has accomplished nothing. She no longer listens to parents and won't stand up for teachers. I can't see any possible justification for re-electing her, especially when Leslie Harris knows the district inside and out and has shown she will do her job as a board member and hold district staff accountable.

I am always impressed with Jill Geary's knowledge of not just the district but of education needs more broadly, her commitment to kids who often fall through the cracks, and her experience as an advocate for kids and families. Lauren McGuire is much too close to the usual "ed reform" crowd for my liking and has already said to the Times in her endorsement interview that she's concerned about the board "micromanaging" the district staff, when in fact the board isn't managing at all - and they need to be. So Geary is the clear choice there.

Rick Burke is great, and though I will be the first to say I'm unfamiliar with SpEd issues, he strikes me as someone willing to sit down and listen - and I hope SpEd advocates get the chance to have an in-depth conversation with him. I haven't seen or heard anything from his opponent, but I do hope she'll at least make it clear why she is running and what she hopes to achieve as a candidate.

I know nothing at all about the folks running in the other seat and I haven't the slightest idea how I'll vote there.

Anonymous said...

Seattle teachers taking strike vote Thursday

The SEA said last week that the two sides remained far apart on:

Professional pay
Guaranteed student recess
Fair teacher evaluations
Reasonable testing
Student equity around discipline and the opportunity gap
The district's proposal to make teachers work more for free


There is a lot of me me me in this from the teachers, seriously the #2 issue is recess?

Teachers you are being set-up for a big fall, if you strike.

Take theoffer

Lynn said...

Ms. Thomas,

OK: I believe Scott Pinkham is the most qualified candidate for the school board in District 1 - Lynn

Not OK: I believe Scott Pinkham is the most qualified candidate for the school board in District 1 - Lynn, PTSA president.

It's not too complicated.

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

Take theoffer,

Guaranteed recess is a benefit for children. How do you justify characterizing that request as selfish on the part of the SEA?

Jet City mom,

Yep. They are assigning students and counselors by race and Garfield's African American and Hispanic Males and students who receive special education services got the short end of the stick.

Anonymous said...

Adam--
Correction to Seattle Times comment:

“During his time at Seattle Public Schools, he provided legal guidance and direction to the District on complex business, procurement, construction, municipal, environmental, property and school law issues."

During his time at Seattle Public Schools, he lead the school district through a series of deplorable and unlawful actions that earned the district a Title IX investigation.

Know-nothing

Anonymous said...

I love it when the SPED crown gets riled up...never ending entertaining passive aggressive.

Especially those that hate the district like Lynn or Mirmac1 or SPED (fill in the blank) Lynn, why the sour grapes?

Why do you even care who makes it on the school board, do you think they are going to listen to you....NOT.

Take theoffer

Anonymous said...

Adam regarding Ron English's legacy:

https://www.scribd.com/doc/241835733/REDACTED-Correspondence-With-the-Seattle-School-District-Regarding-Sexual-Assault


Ben

Anonymous said...

It looks like the SPED leader was stone cold busted and her choices are not as SPED friendly has she thought. It looks like she is missing in action and has sent in the &*)(% to do damage control. Trying hard not to name call here, but they make it so difficult not to.



Take theoffer

Melissa Westbrook said...

Curious, I don't think the use of test scores for teacher evaluation is an issue as much this time simply because they addressed it in the last contract.

I have always said that School Board races in Seattle are unlike any others and Eric B. is correct that many people don't know the players or issues well and look to endorsements (as they do for judges and port commissioners).

Cathy Thomas, if the Sped PTA president signs her title after her endorsements, that is wrong. But she is free to endorse anyone privately. The way most candidates handle it on their endorsements page is to put the person's name followed by their title (if any) with an asterisk that says "for information purposes only). You can go see this at many candidates' webpages.

I do not like the tone that is being expressed in this thread and ask that it be toned down.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion and please do not challenge people's right to express it (albeit in a mostly civil matter - politics, after all, is a challenging subject).

Po3 said...

Seems like the district is forcing the strike in hopes that parents will be outraged and shame teachers into going back to work.

I hope I am wrong, but cannot think of any other reason why the district is clearly not at the table.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

A strike thead would be in order if you or Charlie are up for it Melissa. Teachers are rallying today and sounds like they're ready to strike. I don't blame them.

Aghast

Anonymous said...

I personally don't think the teachers will strike because public opinion is not on their side.

This will be one more embarrassment in a never ending string of problems leading to more pressure for a city take over of SPS. SPS will also lose teachers, as many new teachers will take up positions with other non-striking districts and also possibly kill any chance of voters approving the next levy.

SEA should back down now ,take the offer and get back to work.

2 CENTS

Anonymous said...

I've been reading on the SEA site to try and learn more about the probability of a strike. One thing that stood out is that the School Board is being called out/blamed for all of the failures in negotiating.

My understanding is that the School Board actually has nothing to do with the contract negotiations, other than their oversight of the Superintendent? If this is true why is the SEA press distributing false information? Why is the School Board being presented as the reason a strike might occur vs. the Superintendent?

-StepJ

Anonymous said...

An interim superintendent, a disorganized district bargaining committee, a do-nothing board in an election year- a split philosophy board at that, SPS pushing for a not-paid longer school day, less recess for kids, no plan for getting more resources to schools and an offering of a pittance in makeup salary let alone a raise despite the easing of state budget issues.

Hell yes the teachers can and should and likely will strike.

Watcher

Robert Cruickshank said...

interloper, where did you find that particular description? It's at least 5 years out of date. I currently live in Greenwood, Seattle, and have a young son who will be attending SPS in the next few years.

Anonymous said...

I am a parent and I will support the teachers if they strike. I also pay attention to the Stranger for endorsements. I do not listen to the Times for endorsements. In fact, I am inclined to vote against anyone they endorse.

HP (the original Hale Parent)

Anonymous said...

Watcher, SEA should not be trying to manage the district. They should negotiate their working conditions and that's it. Work calendar, hours, pay and benefits. Leave the rest to the administrators and the school board. For the kids sake they should start school and continue to work it out. Anything else is just selfishness.
If all district employees understood and followed their roles and responsibilities to our students, this would run much smoother at SPS.


No Strike

Anonymous said...

@ Step J: It is true that the board does not get involved in the bargaining process. However, the superintendent and staff go into bargaining knowing what the priorities for the district are. Those priorities have been vetted by the board prior to the beginning of bargaining.

"veteran"

Anonymous said...

Robert Cruickshank try clicking on your name. Are you here to take my state and city into the 21st century? More importantly when are you going back!

interloper

Anonymous said...

So, what do Peters and Patu have to say about this fine mess they have gotten us into? Aren't they this crowds favs? Shouldn't Carr be saying something to the voters?

McLaren, hello what do have to say?


As expected

mirmac1 said...

Re: Lynn's example

OK: I agree with you and firmly believe Scott Pinkham is by far the most qualified candidate for the school board in District 1 - Cecilia

Not OK: I agree with you and kinda believe Scott Pinkham is the least loathsome candidate for the school board in District 1 - Cecilia, PTSA president.

Not rocket science at all

Eric B said...

I read the Stranger endorsements every election. They drop f-bombs and they have a clear editorial bias, but at least the endorsement staff appear to read their own paper, which is more than you can say for the Times. A lot of voters are looking for anything that's useful in making that decision because there's an information vacuum out there.

I'd bet on SEA's side on the recess issue in public opinion. There are a lot of people very upset about loss of recess. I work with a person who pulled their child out of SPS because of lack of recess time.

Anonymous said...

Ah. Thanks @Veteran. That makes sense.

Another wondering...Are any of the teachers at the pre-schools within SPS that have been converted to the City program represented by the SEA? Would a strike interfere with the launch of the City Pre-K program? If yes, that would entwine the City and the Council in the strike from day one. The City's PR seems to be pretty robust. That will be a lot of negative noise directed at teachers and their union.

-StepJ

Anonymous said...

@interloper, Robert Cruickshank is currently a Seattle resident and voter. But beyond that, you should give his endorsements ZERO credibility. He's a Democratic Party hack and former communications strategist for Mayor McGinn. He has absolutely ZERO experience in K-12 education --- he's not been a teacher, principal, administrator, board member, or anything else that would provide him working knowledge of the K-12 system. He doesn't have a school age child. In other words, he has absolutely ZERO practical knowledge or experience of public K-12 schools.

And his suggestion that a Stranger endorsement matters above all else is laughable. He's simply trying to persuade you to support the far-left candidates he and the Stranger support. His politics line up virtually lock-step with the Stranger.

Don't take his positioning of himself as a K-12 expert with any real seriousness.

However, if you are anti-testing, anti-accountability, anti-neighborhoods/NIMBYs, anti-police, etc. or are pro-neighborhood density, pro-higher taxes, pro-militant unionism, pro-neoMarxism, your voting probably already aligns with his.

Citizen Kane

Anonymous said...

Please help me understand the bargaining/strike process and correct me where I'm wrong or answer the following questions:
-There's a vote on Thursday for either A.) a strike, or B.) continue working without a tentative agreement.
-Does bargaining continue over the weekend/holiday? Is it happening today and Thursday up until the vote?
-The next vote would occur a minimum of 72 hours after a tentative agreement was reached?

Interested

Anonymous said...

Citizen Kane, you made my day.


interloper

Watching said...


"Another wondering...Are any of the teachers at the pre-schools within SPS that have been converted to the City program represented by the SEA? Would a strike interfere with the launch of the City Pre-K program? If yes, that would entwine the City and the Council in the strike from day one."

Step J makes a very good point. The district will be hiring prek teachers and SEA wants to represent these individuals. I've consistently stated the board majority did not fully vet the city's prek program, and city/union issus were amongst my concerns.

I want to see whether or not SEA's contract will involve the city with prek/teacher negotiations. Don't forget: The city's prek is actually P3 or P5 alignment- depending upon whether you are looking at the Gates Grant- or not. We're looking at a slippery slope.

McLaren was part of the Executive Committee that rammed through the prek agreement and she needs to be voted out of office for oversight failures.

Anonymous said...

Here is a serious question,

If the teachers strike will central administration close down?

Nick

Melissa Westbrook said...

Interloper, cease and desist - immediately. I don't know what your beef is (Cruickshank has explained that he lives here) but there's just no reason to pick a fight with someone who is both a future SPS parent and a current taxpayer. You can disagree with anyone's opinions but no, you cannot bully anyone here for having one.

Cut it out.

Again, the Board can say NOTHING about the negotiations except a simple "we look forward to both sides coming to a mutual agreement before school starts." And no one Board member, except Carr as President, should say anything on their own.

Central Adm will NOT shut down. There is no reason for their work to stop. If anything, they need to be ready when schools DO open and, of course, senior management, especially the Superintendent should be working to prevent this strike.

Melissa Westbrook said...

One last thing - if someone has the courage of their convictions to sign their real name and you don't, I'm not sure your trying to tear their opinion/work to shreds is worthy of any consideration.

Any more of this and you will be deleted and then blocked.

mirmac1 said...

Unfortunately the same person is posting under multiple names again. It's best just to tune him out. I do.

Anonymous said...

StepJ and Watching:

Good point ditto! What is the relationship between the new SPP preschools, SPS and SEA? Who determines class size, staffing, provides subs; who evaluates teachers (they are hired by SPS, the most recent 2 being Certs, I believe)? Whom do teachers report to? Do they use school district supplies, facilities and staff to provide meals, nursing, etc? Is the district compensated for this or is it costing the district money and staff time?

Always curious

Anonymous said...
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GarfieldMom said...

Ray Willis? Ray Willis? The very worst counselor at Garfield, the one students find useless? Is going to be counseling SPED students? And black and Latino boys? Oh my God, I don't know who the hell thought that up, but parents -- if your child ends up with Ray Willis for a counselor, be prepared to have to help them, advocate for them, make sure they are getting done what they need to for graduation and college apps, etc. I'm so sorry. :(

Benjamin Leis said...

This threads reminds me again why I really hope Scott Pinkham is a reasonable candidate.

Anonymous said...

Well Citizen Kane, all the young people I know who vote, read and listen to the Stranger. The Stranger is their newspaper of choice and they take those endorsements seriously. They are a saltier version of John Stewart and Stephen Colbert on the local side.

HP

Anonymous said...

@HP, in the fall 2014 elections, young people (aged 18-29) made up about 13% of total voters. I don't see The Stranger and their young people affecting the outcomes of many (if any) elections, especially down ballot school board elections.

Well, check that. They'll probably get Kshama Sawant elected in her district but young people actually make up a larger percentage of the total voting population in her district than districts in other parts of the city.

Citizen Kane

Maureen said...

Is Ray Willis an ADDITIONAL counselor for these young men, so they have him as an option? Or are they required to go through him as a counselor? If the latter, it seems really odd that none of the other Garfield counselors will work with any young men of color or Special Ed students. It's not clear to me from the Garfield web site which is the case. I hope the students and parents understand whether or not they have a choice.

Maureen said...

Gotta say, all of the High School home pages are really boring and ugly now. I'm very familiar with Ingraham's (4 years) and I'm having a really hard time navigating it. I'm assuming this was another top down decision. Sigh.

Far less said...

Most of my friends and co workers and acquaintances are between 20-50 and the majority of them are childless and the vast majority of them rely on the Stranger's endorsements come election time.

Eric B said...

@CK, I'd be surprised if the Stranger doesn't carry more weight with voters 30-39 than the Times, not to mention the more liberal voters over 40. The Times is more conservative than the city by a fair margin. If you need proof of that, the Times endorsed Herb Krohn for Port Commission #5 in August. The Stranger endorsed Fred Felleman and mentioned Norman Sigler. Final results: Felleman 25%, Sigler 7%, Krohn 8%. Note that four other candidates (notably Yoshino 18% and Pope 16%) did better than the Times-endorsed candidate.

Port Commission is exactly like School Board in lack of informed voters and a job the voters don't necessarily understand very well. You can go back to Mike McGinn, Kshama Sawant (running city-wide) and more where the Stranger appears to have more influence in endorsements than the Times, or at least a better sense of the City's political mood.

Jet City mom said...

According to last years website, it looks like Ray Willis is perhaps an additional counselor for males who are considered AA or Hispanic. And all those who are considered SPED,
I still do not think that choice is doing any of those groups special favors, and considering our district really falls down on the job regarding transition plans for students in SPED, I cry to think about families relying on him to get them the help they need, especially those families who may struggle with English.

Anonymous said...

Re: assigning all African American Males, Hispanic Males and Special Ed to a single counselor - I think its is a huge issue for those families. I like to believe that the counselor in question's heart is in the right place most of the time, but the fact is I don't believe that he actually has the skills required to be a good counselor. They should make the assignment optional and not mandated, in my opinion. Its great that he would like to be a role model for minority young men (which I guess is why the change was made?) as long as those students understand that they will not be receiving the same level of counseling that other students are receiving (which everyone knows is already the bare minimum based on # of students/counselor ratios).

-GHS Parent

Anonymous said...

RE the Stranger endorsements:

I'm a 54 year-old Catholic mother of 4, and pretty square. I take these endorsements seriously. I'd say I take them with a grain of salt, but they're already pretty salty.

They have a better record than the Times does as far as who gets elected. It would be stupid to ignore their influence, just as it is stupid to ignore this blog's influence in Seattle school board elections.

-Vote Smart



Charlie Mas said...

It has been my observation that an endorsement from The Stranger is worth about 10% of the vote.

Lamplighter said...

I don't know this counselor or work at this school. But teaching, counseling, therapy, etc. is already an impossible job. Now we have to put up with unlimited anonymous internet attacks on us as we all try to do our best? This is intolerable. And I always thought that this website would never allow such behavior.

If you have a problem with a particular school district employee, take it up with their supervisor. This should not be the place for people to stage cowardly, anonymous attacks.

Lynn said...

Lamplighter,

Meet Ray Willis http://www.seattletimes.com/sports/high-school/ex-sealth-coach-willis-now-garfield-counselor/

Maureen said...

I don't know this counselor either, but it feels wrong to me to REQUIRE all of the male students of a certain race to be with one counselor. (Not like the random by last name approach that they generally apply.) If it's a choice, I'm fine with it. If it's extra, I still feel a little weird (Ted Howard's son needs an extra counselor? Really?)

What if they put all of the white boys with Ken Courtney? Would that be ok? Of course not.

mirmac1 said...

Something seem's off-balance here:

School Name Percentage FRL
Ballard 15.4%
Cleveland 66.7%
Franklin 69.6%
Garfield 36.2%
Roosevelt 13.6%
Chief Sealth 60.7%
West Seattle 33.7%
Ingraham 29.2%
Rainier Beach 75.0%
Nathan Hale 29.8%
Nova 26.5%
Center School 16.8%

Anonymous said...

Have another drink and I'm sure it will make more sense.



AA

Patrick said...

Mirmac, is it a guessing game? Is it that the list isn't in order, either alphabetically or by increasing or decreasing percentage?

mirmac1 said...

The huge disparities between % FRL among high schools.

Anonymous said...

I am truly puzzled about the district's behavior in the bargaining process, if what David E is posting is accurate (and it seems like it is) in terms of a description of what is going on. Hours late to bargaining sessions? What's the strategy? SPS asking teachers to work extra for no pay? It's not even a professional conversation.

What puzzles me about SEA, though, is that they stick around waiting. And in Nyland's letter SEA has agreed to mediation. That's ridiculous. SPS ONLY uses mediation when it wants to run out the clock.

Parent

seattle citizen said...

Patrick, the disparities between FRL lunches between schools is astonishing, and dramatically highlights the "Ship Canal Divide," the difference between the north of the city and the south. There is a LOT of poverty in this city, poverty that impacts students in many ways. This chart raises the obvious question of what society is doing about that.

Jet City mom said...

a few years we qualified fir FRL, but the food was so horrible, she didnt use it.
The cuttoff was also VERY low, so folks that qualify are really in need.

Re Garfield, there is one counselor for 9th graders, another for 10th graders, and for 11th & 12th grade, it is split alphabetically. Ray Willis is an ADDITIONAL counselor who will take AA/Hispanic males but they can also see another counselor depending on what grade they are in.
Except for all the SPED kids, they don't have a choice.

mirmac1 said...

Interesting. The students in special education do not have the same choices as others (again). These administrators don't get it. Students with disabilities have strong civil rights protections. This is at the point where we need a full blown investigation into SPS practice.

Anonymous said...

@Seattle Citizen
Society seems to be doing it's darndest to keep disparity growing.

But let's talk about our district.
This year the district got rid of busing outside of our beloved 'neighborhood schools' catchment areas, for all who didn't have the resources to drive their kids every morning.Because - fiscal responsibility! Not a peep from the peanut gallery.

And don't forget about the push earlier this year by Pettigrew and Santos to completely leave the south end to the dogs (read charters). Luckily enough people raised a stink about this one.

But hey, let's do another Equitable Access study!

Under Bus

Anonymous said...

Parent, the union sticks around due to a combination of really not wanting to strike (we'd rather be teaching) and to prove we've been bargaining in good faith.

To that point, the report that (here or email, I don't recall) Monday night the district reportedly proposed resuming bargaining on Saturday so bargaining team members wouldn't miss their TRI days due to the difficulty in making them up, but now Nyland's email paints the union as the ones giving up negotiating infuriates me. We're supposed to have 72 hours to review any tentative agreement, and the union bargainers sitting around one extra day was already slightly violating that by a few hours, but at some point when clearly no deal is being reached they truly have to stop negotiating for a couple days to allow the membership to vote and determine the next move. If we strike, or not, obviously impacts how the next bargaining proceeds so it makes sense for the union to stop bargaining for a couple of days for this vote. When the district had from May 20th to bargain and waited to reject ALL the union proposals on August 15/17, and then now accuses the union of not negotiating, I clearly get that it's just a speaking out of both sides of the mouth attempt to once again blame teachers for everything that is wrong in Seattle (that's why I cringe when I hear pious PC we-value-our-teachers quotes from district admins).

I'm glad mediation is being started ASAP - this sounds like the most ridiculous non-bargaining bargaining by the district in my teaching.

A Teacher

Patrick said...

Mirmac and Seattle Citizen, sure poverty and wealth are not at all evenly distributed in the city and the school populations reflect that. I guess I thought that was so well-known as not be a surprise to anyone.

Very unequal distribution of wealth is something I see as a problem, but apparently the voters don't. Measures like a state progressive income tax keep failing at the polls. The schools can help, but it's unrealistic to expect the schools to erase the effects completely.

Anonymous said...

Washington Post reports "SAT Scores in decline".

SAT scores at lowest level in 10 years

The steady decline in SAT scores and generally stagnant results from high schools on federal tests and other measures reflect a troubling shortcoming of education-reform efforts. The test results show that gains in reading and math in elementary grades haven’t led to broad improvement in high schools, experts say. That means several hundred thousand teenagers, especially those who grew up poor, are leaving school every year unready for college.

Why is education reform hitting a wall in high school?” asked Michael J. Petrilli, president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a think tank. “You see this in all kinds of evidence. Kids don’t make a whole lot of gains once they’re in high school. It certainly should raise an alarm.”

WA State ranks around 20th from top in percent of class tested with 61 to 70% tested.

The top scoring 12 states tested 10% or fewer students.

WA State score of 1496 / 2400 ranks it 7th among states that tested at least 50% of class.

Massachusetts tested 81-90% of class and scored 1552
Arizona tested 31-40% of class and scored 1552

Massachusetts has an initiative to dump testing of Common Core and revert back to the home grown Massachusetts MCAS.

-- Dan Dempsey

mirmac1 said...

Patrick, that doesn't explain why, in my frequent observation of SPS decision-making and priorities, the HSs will high FRL get kicked to the curb on a semi-regular basis...

Anonymous said...

Kicked to the curb how, mirmac1? It seems like lower FRL high schools get their share of SPS nonsense as well, but most of us only see a portion of what's going on. What sort of district-level policy and practice discrimination are you seeing that isn't directly related to neighborhood income differences? Details are helpful--rather than mere suggestions that FRL disparities must signal something other than the obvious.

HF

mirmac1 said...

A few that come to mind are resourcing for restorative justice, IB and AP.

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