Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Tuesday Open Thread

Big night for Seattle for election results.   We could see a major shift in the make-up of both the School Board and the City Council.  Any predictions? 

It is also a hugely important election for Colorado and, in specific, Jefferson County, where a recall election of several school board members is being attempted.  From Aljazeera America:

But this battle has ramifications far outside the school district, and it’s drawing attention on a national scale. It is a battle pitting heavy hitters like AFP, the small-government advocacy group founded by billionaire businessmen Charles Koch and David Koch, against teachers’ unions and their supporters.

It’s a battle being closely watched by educators and political operatives across the U.S. because JeffCo is the ultimate swing county in the key swing state of Colorado. That means success — or defeat — there could be replicated across the U.S.

Interesting article about tweens/teens and use of digital projects from the NY Times, "The Digital Disparities Facing Lower-Income Teenagers."  This is scary:

Black teenagers spent a daily average of eight hours and 26 minutes on screens for entertainment purposes, according to the report. That was two hours and eight minutes more than their white peers. Within that screen time, black teenagers spent most of their time — an average of about four hours daily — on smartphones, compared with about three hours for Hispanic teenagers and two hours for white teenagers.

And teenagers in lower-income households typically spent about eight hours on daily screen media use compared with less than six hours for those from higher-income families, the report said.

The Seattle City Council Budget Committee is considering a bill that involves amending:
the proposed bill reorganizing DPD into a new office (OPCD) and a new Department (SDCI) to add a function to work with Seattle Public Schools when planning for growth.
5. In coordination with the Department of Education and Early Learning and in partnership with the Seattle School District No. 1, OPCD will develop planning strategies that support the District’s public school facility needs for anticipated student population consistent with adopted comprehensive plan policies and growth forecasts.
This would involved coordination with the Office of Education and Early Learning.  I believe that SC PTSA Board member (and professional whirling dervish) , Eden Mack, was involved in getting this to happen.

Have you seen these Star Wars in the style of NW Coast Indian Art?  Pretty cool.

Also, hilarious news - Amazon is opening its first bricks-and-mortar bookstore at U Village today. 

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said...

My prediction is that we won't know the results of close races like Geary/McGuire, Maddux/Johnson, et al by the end of the night.

Citizen Kane

Anonymous said...

Citizen Kane,

It is not exactly Maddux/Johnson but in Olympia we have:
Johnson & Maddox Construction Co., Inc.  
Excavating Contractor

Septic Server

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, CK, I dread that as well but since our system is "get the ballot postmarked, not at the elections office, by election day," we're stuck.

I just checked and my ballot is not at KC elections and I mailed it last week. I have to wait until they open to ask.

Anonymous said...

Front page article in Wall Street Journal today: “Cost Woes Plague Common-Core Rollout.” Many states are finding these standards extremely expensive to implement. Typical Bill Gates rollout of something where they dangle enough money and then leave schools holding an expensive bag.

What I have read elsewhere about these standards is that they promote ineffective reform math. Vicki Phillips of the Gates Foundation is mentioned in the article and I remember her as an advocate of poor math. No wonder SPS is weakening its own efforts in math to prepare for Common Core.

S parent

Anonymous said...

Vicki Phillips is actually leaving the Foundation Vicki Phillips stepping down as Gates Foundation's head of K-12 education

She's apparently "considering offers"


Watching said...

Who do you think will fill Vicki Phillips position? I've got a few ideas and there was no shortage of opportunities to put this individual into the spotlight.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I heard that Susan Enfield might be interested. Or maybe Michelle Rhee; she's looking for a gig.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I'm sure they'll come up with someone - Isn't Arne Duncan up for a new job soon? ;o)

Interesting article in the Wall St. Journal on the high costs of implementing Common Core Standards.

Five years into the biggest transformation of U.S. public education in recent history, Common Core is far from common. Though 45 states initially adopted the shared academic standards in English and math, seven have since repealed or amended them. Among the remaining 38, big disparities remain in what and how students are taught, the materials and technology they use, the preparation of teachers and the tests they are given. A dozen more states are considering revising or abandoning Common Core.

full text Financial Woes Plague Common Core Rollout


Watching said...

My bet: Enfield.

CrapsShoot said...

I predict Kshama Savant could lose her seat. Her Council District has the highest percentage of returned ballots as of Nov 2 8pm, and the highest number of voters.

Among the seven Seattle Council districts, District 6 has the highest discrepancy between rank of voter population and early ballot return. Predicting Mike O'Brien wins here.

Of the School Board candidates, Jill Geary is the one who's posted onto The Stranger's site her party announcement: Varlamos Pizzeria 3617 NE 45th St, Seattle, WA 98105 206-522-8515

CrapsShoot said...

One more prediction, as I'm feeling particularly clairvoyant at this moment:

Goodspaceguy is not going to be Port Commissioner.

(How do you make Craps Shoots? You go to bed with a megadose of Natural Calm magnesium powder...)

Melissa Westbrook said...

I think Leslie Harris will be will the Herbold campaign and Burke's is private.

I don't think Kshama is going anywhere but it will be interesting to see all the final vote counts.

Anonymous said...

I see Mary Alice Heuschel taking over for Vicki Phillips. She's already at Gates.

Citizen Kane

OnceBitten said...

Was anybody able to attend the debate/forum last night? The one at the Queenanne Comm Center?

Robert Cruickshank said...

The higher turnout in D3 is the result of Sawant's GOTV efforts. She will win.

Geary/McGuire may be close on election night, but late ballots will favor Geary (though I wouldn't be surprised if she did well among the early ballots too).

IzzitJuneYet said...

I was there, lots of mixed emotions. From a pragmatic POV I really wish peole could keep their questions short and I *really* wish candidates like McGuire could answer at least one question without restating her past positions. You gave us your CV in the intro, now just answer the question! And Chirstophersen (sp?) had to mention sped every other sentence. Very distracting and felt like they were going for the sympathy vote instead of stressing their ideas and beliefs.

Anonymous said...

My husband went to the QA debate forum last night. Most of the parents there were advocating against the removal of the principal at QA Elementary.

He spoke to Leslie Harris about the changeover in elementary math. She called it insubordination by the staff members to overturn MiF and replace it with Scope and Sequence. Burke is also in favor of fundamentally sound math.

My husband came away thinking the candidates will move aggressively to improve relationships between the public and SPS. New sheriffs are coming to town.

S parent

HayGrad said...

It felt to me like the entire thing was staged as an attempt to push the candidates to stand up for reinstating the QAE Principal. All of the moderators were QAE and at the end of the evening at approximately 9:05, despite many reminders that there was a very hard stop at 9:00 pm, they recalled one gentleman and gave him the microphone, even though they'd already begun to wrap up and it was after 9:00. This man was clearly there to push for Mr. Elliott's support. I believe the person who recalled this man and handed him the microphone is the QAE PTSA VP. I found it quite transparent and unfortunate.

HayGrad said...

"My husband came away thinking the candidates will move aggressively to improve relationships between the public and SPS. New sheriffs are coming to town." I hope that is true and that the candidates were not blowing smoke. There is much work to be done in mending these relationships.

Anonymous said...

I'm very glad Christopherson is taking on the SPED issue right up front. Good for him.

SPED Parent

Anonymous said...

The Great Gates Political FAIL on Jay Greene's Blog.

"The Gates Foundation’s education reform strategy is in the midst of the most catastrophic failure since the Annenberg Foundation blew $500 million in the 1990s. The wheels are coming off Common Core, the center-piece of the Gates reform strategy. Today’s front-page Wall Street Journal article documents how states and districts are abandoning the standards and their aligned tests and/or backing away from making the necessary expenditures to implement the new standards. At this point only 23 states are still using one of the two Common Core assessments, putting me clearly in the lead on the Greene-Polikoff Wager. The WSJ article paints a devastating picture of Common Core’s collapse.

Even local efforts by the Gates Foundation to implement its teacher quality strategy are falling apart. Gates pledged $100 million to the Hillsborough School District in Tampa, Florida to make it the model of its reform strategy. As the district is running out of Gates money and discovering the unsustainability of its own financial commitments, the whole effort of using new teacher evaluation methods, mentoring, and merit pay is about to be dismantled.

Despite all of this investment, Hillsborough is getting lousy academic results."

... and more


Ed Week: Drop in U.S. NAEP Math, Reading Scores Prompts Blame Game ..(Serious CYA game begins)

Blame Laid on Economy, Demography, Standards

With U.S. students' math and reading scores showing statistically significant declines on a national test for the first time in more than two decades, advocates on all sides have begun pointing fingers. It is the CYA game that is really beginning.

.... U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a separate media call about the results that this sort of "implementation dip" is fairly common. He pointed to Massachusetts, which saw a temporary drop in test scores in the early 2000s after changing its standards. "This is the ultimate long-term play," he said.

But Brookings' Loveless dismissed the idea of a post-implementation drop being the norm. "I don't buy it," he said.

Arne Duncan is leaving this crap shooting soon but the nation's children are stuck with it.

The president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, Mr. Michael Petrilli, says wait two years until 2017. So when grade 3 students are in grade 5, then we can think about changes. You must be kidding. Right?

Perhaps Tolley, Heath, and Box would care to comment on the K-12 Math Scope and Sequence at this time. Shall we wait until 2017?

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

In SPS good news:



Joe Wolf said...

Melissa - thank you for highlighting the JeffCo election and why it's important. I lived and worked in suburban Denver for awhile, the demographics really are a proxy for what's in store at the national level.

AlsoSPEDMom said...

SPED Parent were you at the meeting last night? I'm sure you can appreciate a difference between taking on an issue up front vs. bringing it up in literally every answer. And in his answers he often talked about his own dyslexia vs. how he would support SPED. It felt very much like he was trying to grab the sympathy vote.

Lynn said...

Melissa, Is there a place to live stream the School Board meeting or is it somewhere on public access tv? Just wondering since I can't attend in person.


-Interested Party

mirmac1 said...

Lynn, there's a link on the board webpage

Anonymous said...

Chrsitopherson wasn't going for the sympathy last night, were you there?

I clearly heard him definitively target central administration as the main problem with SPS. As he said, the SPED problems touch every facet of SPS, effecting operations and the budget. I thought he was clear in pointing out those issues by integrating his personally experience and spoke to how things haven't improved since he graduated from SPS many years ago.

He clearly understands creative approach schools, having said his own children attended one.

We strive to serve all students and have a lower budget than every other school of our size. We use fewer IAs than any other school with a similar SPED population.

He brought and shared with us several compelling documents he obtained through public information request. These documents showed some of the tricks the district has used against alternative schools like QAE.

No other candidate bothered to do this for us.

QAE family

Melissa Westbrook said...

Lynn, it's also on Channel 26 which is basic cable.

HayGrad said...

Sorry for the lack of knowledge but what time does tomorrow's board meeting begin?

Lynn said...

Thanks everyone! I missed it on the Board's page.

Lynn said...

Just to be clear - the comments above are by a new Lynn - not me.

Anonymous said...

SPS has gone off and hired yet another deputy superintendent. At a cost of what? Has to be a 6-figure salary. Why can Nyland and Co. not get the message that the inflation of downtown staff at the same time they are crying poor in paying the people in the trenches is odious?

This new deputy superintendent is a Student Civil Rights Compliance Officer. Any blog reader knows this function is needed downtown. But as another Deputy Supe? C'mon. Title and salary inflation at JSCEE - on our students' dime - knows no bounds. Nyland is the buck stops here guy on compliance. As is in-house counsel. We need a body to do the work not another powerpoint generator. Basta!



Linh_Co said...

Woop woop.

It looks like Harris, Geary, Pinkham and Burke are in.

Anonymous said...

Closest vote is Geary 59% McGuire 41%

Burke, Harris, & Pinkham are all in the 75%+ range.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

@districtwatcher you aren't far off, well that job starts at $95,000 but ends at $ 135000 ish. :)


Linh-Co said...

There's a vote to extend Larry Nyland's contract to 2018 and to give him a pay increase of 5%.

This board is really trying to do a last minute push.

Anonymous said...


That is very disturbing. Nyland has done NOTHING to earn an extension. He is a placeholder.

Vote no on Nyland.

Melissa Westbrook said...

District Watcher, we also have a new hire in Talent Development (which may be a better sound than "Human Capital" but really, why not just HR?)

Anonymous said...

Talent Development? Yes! Maybe JSCEE can put on some fancy talent shows to earn money to pay for their building!

Half Full

Anonymous said...

Grabbed coffee to read the Seattle Times vote recaps and scrolled down to the opinion section. On display: Long piece with finger shaking aimed at SPS to 'make up' with The Alliance aka The Borg and play nice from here on out.

No. Just no.

I need to think of something pithy to put in the reader comments. Maybe other blog readers are more creative than I am today. I am worn out by the asinine student enrollment 'updates.'


Melissa Westbrook said...

District Watcher, that the Times put the Alliance editorial out on election night shows you the importance they put on it. I think it is just a nod to the Alliance as they struggle to figure out their relevance in Seattle. If only there were charters for them to support.

I hope to see another foundation rise up to be a true partner to the district AND to the schools.

mirmac1 said...

District Watcher. My understanding is that Charles Wright is the new Student Civil Rights Compliance Officer, which is a *^%#%$@!$% in itself!

Anonymous said...

If anyone is interested - HERE IS the job description for the Student Civil Rights position DistrictWatcher notes above

Here's another 6 figure job up for hire

Business Analyst Senior - Student Systems

Or maybe this one?
Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) Prog Mgr

Or this one
SAP - Business Analyst Senior -1.0 FTE- Department of Technology

Or, just in case,this one
Title IX Coordinator - 1-0 FTE

Which is not to say that maybe they don't NEED some of these positions, but man, does the salary have to be so high in a time of budget issues?


mirmac1 said...

reader47, your first link just goes to NeoGov. I could swear they had a posting at that link. Think they took it off.....? The one I saw said a lawyer was preferred...

Anonymous said...

Ack - they've change something because it was working just spiffy but now going someplace different. Apologies - the joys of technology

Yes, there was a posting, just a bit ago and it's still there at this link, which is what should have posted above but didn't.



Anonymous said...

How was the board meeting Wednesday night? Did anything substantive get decided - since the Bell Times and Assignment Plan issues were both postponed?


Anonymous said...

Kasich Signs Law to Increase Ohio Charter School Accountability, Oversight

House Bill 2 will improve oversight of the publicly-funded, privately-operated schools, some of which have suffered poor student performance and financial mismanagement, writes Randy Ludlow for The Columbus Dispatch.

Kasich said the bill would “profoundly benefit our children.” Broad bipartisan support ensured the bill would pass, and in 90 days it will take effect. Ohio has approximately 120,000 students in charter schools and spends about $1 billion each year to support the alternative educational organizations.

Details of the new law include more public accountability from sponsors, the elimination of conflicts of interest in operations, and the creation of tools to address school problems. It will also prohibit sponsors of low-performing schools from opening new schools; tighten the rules surrounding poorly-performing schools shopping for new sponsors; and ensure that any property purchased with public monies remains the property of schools and not the school’s operator or management company.

-- Dan Dempsey