Monday, August 31, 2015

Updates Coming Fast

Update: Renton's union approved their new contract today with over 95% approval.

As well, word is that the Sisley slums on 65th and 15th are coming down tomorrow.  Good news no matter what but 1) I won't be there to see it and 2) not the ones in front of Roosevelt High.

end of update

Ross Hunter (D-Medina and one of the "roadkill" Dems) is leaving the Legislature to become Governor Inslee's Director of Early Learning.  It's a nod to the prominence that early childhood ed is increasingly taking in public education.  That means he is likely to be a point person for the City's Preschool Program.

The district announced that Ron English - on administrative leave since February - has "retired."  I have seen no press announcement but this from a tweet from KPLU's Kyle Stokes.

Before School Starts, Think About Student Data Privacy

Update:  here's a very good opt-out form from World Privacy Forum to use to opt your child out of some or all directory information in SPS.  Look for that FERPA form in your first-day packet and include this one as well.  (I am checking on the issue of if not allowing directory information will opt your child out of yearbooks.  I do not believe so.)

end of update.

A good article appeared in yesterday's NY Times that "the email addresses and search queries of the nation’s schoolchildren are a hot commodity."  

States are starting to get hip to this fact - with conservatives and liberals both having concerns, not to mention parents.  Unfortunately, tech companies and companies that make public education technology their business are as well and are rushing to create "Parents Bill of Rights" that basically are a lot of hot air and not much else.

I would like to get such a bill in front of the Washington Legislature but I hesitate because of McCleary.  Will anyone listen?  I know some legislators would sponsor it (on both sides of the aisle) but will anyone be willing to pay attention?  I would prefer a state law over any federal law as the feds would water it down to nothing.  

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Rainier Beach Student Speaks Out

A fine article from a Rainier Beach student, Ifrah Abshir, writing at Occupy.com about issues at RBHS.  Ifrah didn't just write this article to complain but had spent the summer working with Children's Defense Fund Freedom Schools at RBHS  to try to address the issues at Beach.

"Help Keep Your School ALL American"

Superman Poster from 1950s.  Worth showing your kids.

Public Education in 2015-2016 - What Will Happen?

I believe that this year is to be a pivotal one in public education - for our district, our state and nationally.
I'll go in reverse order.

New York Superintendent Starts the Year Supporting Teachers




This superintendent seems to understand teachers.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Inspiration of the Day (For Better Things for Kids)

Got this from Facebook (via Leslie Harris) about kids and the arts via a guy named Darryl A. Chamberlain:

We must always remember the importance of giving our best to our kids. Here is the Monti's Czardas played by The Kanneh-Mason kids. This is what happens when you are willing to get music lessons for your kids.

I always tell anyone who will listen - but especially elected officials - that after class size, the arts seem to be the most important thing to parents for their children.   Mr. Chamberlain speaks of getting music lessons for your kids which may be difficult for many parents (time, cost, getting your child there) but if we had more arts in our schools, that would be something most parents would be overjoyed to see.

Not to start a fight but we were having a discussion on another thread about sports in schools.  Which would you rather see funded and finding the time for - sports or arts?

Friday, August 28, 2015

Uh Oh, What Got Said on KUOW?

I like to listen to KUOW's Friday morning round-up of news.  It's generally lively and interesting.

I only caught part of this morning's but the part I caught really bothered me because of what I heard.

The discussion was about the alleged cheating by the Bellevue High football staff who were running a "diploma mill" for students they recruited for the football team.  It is alleged that those students were attending a private school that was being paid for by team boosters or someone else.  It does not appear the students went to real classes or even had teachers all the time.  Bellevue has had a winning football program for many years with, at one time, a 67-game winning streak.

The pundits were asked about what should happen to the Bellevue program, given that Bellevue had won games with these students playing. ( I note KUOW also had the H.G. Bissinger, noted author of Friday Night Lights, about Texas high school football). 

So in jumps Joni Balter who gives a pretty strange analogy and manages to (I think) to disparage someone.  (Balter used to be at the Times but does a variety of writing/advising, mostly on politics.)

She first said that you need high school sports because kids don't get enough PE/exercise and we have an obesity program in our country.  (That's true but I would point out that the kids who want to participate in sports are generally those that would exercise even if there were no school sports.  All kids need PE.)

She then goes onto this comparison between the Bellevue football situation and the Garfield choir field trip situation.  She said that the Garfield teacher needed to go because of her actions but not the entire Garfield music program and that the Bellevue football staff/coach needed to be disciplined, not the entire football program. 

Attention: Roosevelt High Parents

I got this via Sound Transit.

What neighbors were told at a meeting more than a year ago is that when they started this boring activity that there would be trucks hauling dirt coming out onto 12th Avenue NE every 5-8 minutes.

Please tell your children who attend RHS to be aware 
of this activity and take precautions accordingly.  

Ask About Videotaping in the Classroom

Via my student data privacy network of colleagues (via Student Privacy Matters), I have learned that there are teachers doing edTPA teacher certification training who are videotaping their work with students.  Some of the issues noted from my colleagues like Leonie Haimson:

Molly, a NYC parent, tweeted and emailed me this AM about the many videos exploding all over YouTube that were originally submitted through the edTPA teacher certification process showing students being taught by teachers in training. One in particular shows a student who the teacher is trying to train him not to hum during reading. 

Friday Open Thread

Winding down to the last few weekend of summer so it seems fitting that it should be cloudy and rainy.

The "Fools Gold" of Testing Mania

Great op-ed from the Washington Post from the 2015 Superintendent of the Year, Philip D. Lanoue,  as selected by the American Association of School Administrators.  He is the superintendent of the poorest county in Georgia.  As Clarke superintendent since 2009, he is credited with making more gains to close the achievement between economically disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged students than any other district in the state. (highlights mine)


Evaluating the total learning experience for either students or teachers through high stakes testing has no real research base and holds little value for students. Let’s not confuse the high-stakes testing movement with the practice of effective and meaningful assessment.

I believe there is consensus among educators that conversations regarding school transformation must shift from problems and failure to solutions and successes. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Ed News Roundup

Some irony in the story in the Times recently about teaching math in colleges/universities.  The story is about how a Central Washington professor, Dominic Klyve, has been given a grant (shared with six other higher ed institutions) to study using "primary sources" to help students grasp math concepts.

What primary sources?  People like Euclid and Archimedes.  The idea is that students understand not just how to solve an equation but how the method to solve the problem was developed.

I do like this "back to basics" idea (at least in trying to help students see math as a journey and not just a single endpoint of solving problems) but it's a bit of a clash with what K-12 students are learning via Common Core math.  My understanding of how Common Core math is taught does not match up with what this professor (and others) are trying to find out for how college students should be taught math.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Teacher Compensation and Local Levies: Take it Away, Rep Hunter

Very dense and meaty.  I think it's mostly fact-based (rather than party-prone).   Rep. Ross Hunter explains teacher compensation and local levies in his McCleary Phase II.

Rally for Recess

Rally for Recess & Equity, August 27, Leschi Elementary @ 11 AM 

This Thursday, 11am at Leschi Elementary (135 32nd Ave., 98122) Rally for Recess and Equity. 

Half the schools in the district get 30 minutes or less of recess--most of that half are 15-20. All in the name of more class instruction. Kids need to move to learn. They need to let off steam, they need to be outside, they need unstructured time and social skill-building time. 

The schools with least recess? Central and south end. This is an equity issue. And one of many sticking points in the contract negotiations. Bring kids!


SPONSORED BY SEA

Current American Thinking on Testing, Common Core and Taking Tests

Pretty amazing poll - A majority of Americans think there is too much emphasis on testing AND that test scores alone can't judge a student/teacher/school BUT believe parents should not opt their kids out from testing. They reject Common Core.  They believe "lack of financial support" is the biggest problem for their local school.

Americans across the board once again named lack of financial support as the biggest problem facing their local schools — the 10th consecutive year in which that issue has landed at the top of the list.

Tuesday Open Thread

School Board candidate Rick Burke is having an event tomorrow night at the Great Hall at Green Lake from 7-9:30 pm.

Come join us for a get-together so we can eat, drink, and talk about how to transform Seattle Public Schools. Pick up a yard sign and campaign literature. We hope you can stop by. Light appetizers and drinks served.

Parking is limited in the Green Lake area, so look for metered on-street parking near the venue. Carpools encouraged.


There is also a picnic on Thursday night at Carkeek Park, Shelter #2 from 6-8 pm to meet candidates Leslie Harris and Jill Geary.  Bring your own beverage.  (Leslie and Jill were the only candidates out yesterday outside the SEA meeting at Benaroya Hall.)

Monday, August 24, 2015

Feds Told NY State that Financial Penalities for Opt-Outs up to State

 Update: well, this is interesting.

I wrote to the DOE on this question of what they said publicly.  Here's their statement(note my highlights):

Here is what we’ve said publicly on this issue, which would apply to any state where districts or schools fall below 95% participation rate:

“It is the responsibility of states to ensure that all students are assessed annually because it gives educators and parents an idea of how the student is doing and ensures that schools are paying attention to traditionally underserved populations like low-income students, students of color, students with disabilities and English language learners. The Department has not had to withhold money - yet - over this requirement because states have either complied or have appropriately addressed the issue with schools or districts that assessed less than 95 percent of students."
I wrote to OSPI, asking them whether they had this information about the feds tossing the ball on "punishment" back into the states' court.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Let's Talk SBAC Scores - Part Two

I watched Superintendent Randy Dorn's press conference last Monday where he reviewed the state's SBAC scores.

I found his remarks somewhat scattered as if he were trying to remember all his talking points.  (The contrast with his unflappable Deputy Superintendent of K-12 Education, Gil Mendoza,was interesting.)

As I mentioned in Part One of this series on the 2014-2105 SBAC scores for Washington State, the big takeway is that people who support SBAC are very happy (or putting on that happy face) on the announcement of these scores.  (Ready Washington - a coalition group of the OSPI, Stand for Children, Washington STEM, Washington PTA, LEV, DFER etc., a lot of people except for teachers - could not tweet out the results hard enough.)

The scores were in the low-high 50s (but naturally, breakdown differently across different groups).  

Highlights from the press conference:

The Source and Schoology

Here's the district's info on the new link to The Source.

The online student gradebook The Source and other student tools will now be one click away.
Beginning Sept. 9, the link to The Source will be replaced with “Student Portal” on the top right side of your school and the district webpages to access The Source and Schoology. See  yellow circle in the image to the left to see where to look for the link.

Let's Talk SBAC Scores - Part One

My apologies for taking so long to get to this.  Our discussion on SBAC will take three threads.  One, an overview.  Two, what was said at Superintendent Dorn's press conference last week on the results.  Three, some topline impressions from looking at the scores.  (If anyone has been looking at the scores in-depth, let me know.  I'm probably not going to be able to deep-dive them myself so any impressions you have would be helpful.)

Overview

The most basic takeaway - both from Dorn and others touting the Washington state scores - is a big fat WHEW.  The scores were not nearly as bad as they could have been.  We can debate why that might be later on.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Nyland on SEA Talks

Washington State Constitutional Showdown Between Legislature and Supreme Court

So much for kumbaya.  In a throwdown to the Supreme Court, the Senate Majority Caucus of the Legislature issued this letter today to Speaker Frank Chopp, and Senate Minority Caucus leader, Senator Sharon Nelson and House Caucus leader, Rep Dan Kristiansen. 

This extraordinary order presents a clear threat to our state legislature as an institution. It demands a frank and open discussion among members and the constituents we represent regarding a proportional response.

Proportional response?  Is that a threat?

Great Idea: Any Seattle Preschooler and City's Program

Now that the Board accepted money to open three of the City's preschool programs (with about 11 others opening in SPS sites previously run by other providers), the Seattle Special Ed PTA has this notice:

Families with preschoolers,

I urge our families with preschoolers to apply for the Seattle Preschool Program (SPP) at any site.

http://www.seattle.gov/education/child-care-and-preschool/seattle-preschool-program

Your child will still be due the services, modifications and accommodations on her/his IEP, of course.  Seattle Schools has partnered with the City of Seattle's preschool program.

At this time the difference between an SPP classroom and a Developmental Preschool classroom is that your child will receive more than double the hours, in an integrated setting.  Lunch is provided.  And of course you get transportation.


Please share this with any families you think may benefit from this new opportunity.


That's a fine idea that ANY Seattle preschooler could have access to a 6-hour day in a "high-quality" preschool classroom.

Even students with disabilities.

I mean it would seem weird -nay, even illegal - to only offer a 2.5 hour day to a Special Ed preschooler versus a General Ed preschooler getting a 6-hour day.  I'm sure the district and the City would agree.


So good for the Special Education PTA for getting the word out to those parents.  Pass it along.

Friday Open Thread

Two Director Community meetings tomorrow.

Director Peters from 11 am to 1:00 pm at Queen Anne Library.

Director McLaren from 10 am to noon at SW Library.

I see that next Tuesday the Board is first having an Executive Session on "litigation" followed by a Closed Session.  This may be a final decision on Ron English with a vote on what they will be doing.  ( I perceive that Mr. English is not going gently into that good night and will receive a payout to go away.)

 Interesting thought from the NY Times "Education Life" series from a Harvard professor:

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Ed News Roundup

Locally

SOAR Charter Academy in Tacoma apparently did do all the corrections that the Charter Commission had required them to do and SOAR did open this week.  (I note that they already had an early-release day - that was fast.)  The Times is reporting that all eight charter schools opening this fall are full and had lotteries.  (There was no evidence given how the Times knows this to be true.)

States
Speaking of charters, wealthy ed philanthropist Eli Broad is doubling down in LA.  From the Los Angeles Times:

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Seattle School Board Meeting and Pre-K Discussion

Update: From the Board office (thank you to Kathie Pham for the quick reply):

Unfortunately, we did not have audio feed from the auditorium for the first 45 minutes of the meeting. However, there was a backup camera recording the meeting last night and we should have that video posted and also broadcasted on channel 26 by noon today; it will not include the first 45 minutes of the Board meeting. 

You can view the video from the brother of Robert Eagle Staff here: http://tiny.cc/SPSmoc

End of update
 
I left the Board meeting after public discussion, meaning to listen in at home.

Unfortunately, the sound is not working on the videotaping and hasn't been for roughly 30 minutes.  Funny how these things happen.

Also, Jonathan Knapp testified in favor of the pre-K Action item.  The head of the SEA in the middle of hot negotiations over the teachers contract and he has time on his hands.  I hope (cross your fingers) that the videotaping didn't cut out with his testimony because hearing him say, over and over, "This is not controversial" is the GIF of the day.

Then he sat in back with his new BFF, Councilman Tim Burgess. 

Development Group Pays Massive Sisley Fines ($3.5M)

Update: got it wrong from initial news accounts.  The development group - RDG - are the ones who paid the fines for the Sisleys in order to move on with developing the area.  The City had apparently put so many liens on Sisley properties that RDG knew they were unlikely to move on with their development plans.

It's unclear what the City will do with the money.

End of update.

Finally.

I note that the City Attorney's office told me that the buildings in front of Roosevelt High will be coming down by the "end of the month."

1) I see nothing happening on this front so it may be the world's fastest teardown if they are keeping true to their statement.
2) The permitting I have seen  is only for the buildings that face NE 65th, not the buildings that face RHS on NE 66th. 

Director Sue Peters' Letter to Mayor Muray on Pre-School in SPS

I will note that Director Murray has received no answer from the Mayor.

I will note that Councilman Tim Burgess announced this week to an elementary school group that there WILL be 14 classrooms in SPS with the City's preschool plan.  Not "may" or "hopefully" but "will."  He did NOT mention the vote tonight by the Board nor did Director Marty McLaren.  In fact, McLaren said nothing about his statement in her own remarks.

Done deal much?

You will also recall that the Action Item on tonight's agenda has some Exhibits attached and that I had stated that there was no Exhibit "C."  Well, there is but it is not attached.  It's mentioned here in Exhibit B:

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Governor's Statements on McCleary

I attended the Governor's press conference yesterday about the meeting he had with legislative leadership that afternoon about the Washington State Supreme Court's response to the most recent state budget passed.

Summary of his statement

Latest on the SEA Front

 From SEA Facebook page:



These are all of the SEA proposals the district rejected today. 

Then proposed increasing secondary and elementary day by 1/2hr.

 And finally put out a proposal for a raise. 2%/2.5%/2.5%. 

This made it clear to the bargain team, the district wants us (cert., para and SAEOP) to work more for less money.

Tuesday Open Thread

Update: Not to scare you but the Times is reporting that Washington State is one of 25 states where head lice has become "highly resistant" to most OTC hair care products.  And school is starting soon.  Good luck!

Hope to get up threads on Dorn and Inslee today.  They both had interesting things to say that weren't exactly covered by the regular media types.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Update on Agreeement with City on Pre-K

 I'm first going to say that this is all complete nonsense that NO board in its right mind would agree to.  

Second, I had a pretty long public ed day (Watching entire Dorn press conference on SBAC, interview with Dorn, attending Governor press conference in Sea-Tac and going to Highland Park Elementary.)  It ended with me attending a Town Hall at Highland Park Elementary over their status as an "intervention" school.  (HUGE shout-out to the parents and teachers - in a full library - who showed up on a hot August night. More on this to come.)

However, to the point of this thread, there were a couple of City Council members there; Tom Rasmussen (who no one but me seemed to recognize) and Tim Burgess (the so-called Godfather of Preschool).

Want to know what Burgess said?  Well, first, it was "sorry to run" but he stayed long enough to tout the F&E levy and all the great things that Highland Park is getting (and that's true but he left out one thing that I'll get to in that Highland Park thread) AND that arrogant guy said that there would be 14 City preschool classrooms opening this fall in our district.  

No "hopefully" or "maybe" or "possibly."  He didn't even look down the table to Director McLaren (also in attendance) to give a thumbs up for her approval.  Because, really, does he need it?  Apparently not.  McLaren stayed silent.  The whole time.

Seattle Preschool Agreement with Seattle Schools - No

I'll lead with this - I urge you to write to the Seattle School Board and tell them to say NO to the agreement witht he City's preschool plan at Wednesday night's Board meeting. 

SPSDirectors@seattleschools.org

I'll say right now that if this is approved, the district will rue the day they signed onto it.  It is NOT in the best interests of the district and gives the City much more power and control than is necessary.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Charter Commission Puts Summit on Notice

At last Thursday's Charter Commission meeting, the Commission approved two new charters.  (Between Spokane School District and the Commission, there were a total of two approved this year.  The law allows eight a year and any spots not used in a year will then roll over into following years.

Thoughts On Social Media in the Classroom

This from Edutopia (the public ed blog from George Lucas' educational foundation - they are not political but all about making the classroom better).

Thoughts?

Saturday, August 15, 2015

FTC Seeks Public Comment on Parental Consent for Children's Online Privacy

The Federal Trade Commission is seeking public comment on a proposed verifiable parental consent method that Riyo has submitted for Commission approval under the agency’s Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule.

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.)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

WA State Supreme Court Fines Legislature over McCleary

Update: KPLU's story.

Kyle Stokes of KPLU is reporting that the Washington State Supreme Court is fining the Legislature $100,000 a day for not fulfilling McCleary.  This from a tweet; more details to come.

Update: He says that the $100k a day fine will go into an account for public education needs.

Further, the Court is urging Governor Inslee to reconvene the Legislature in yet another Special Session.

Stokes reports Court as saying, "further promises but no concrete plans."

The News Tribune is tweeting that by the time the Legislature would reconvene at its regular schedule in 2016, the fines would be at $3M.

Meetings Galore Today

Update 3: Summit Seattle #2 application was approved by the Washington State Charter Commission.  They will open in Fall 2016.  (There was some interesting discussion here that I will report on.  I continue to be pleased by the thoughtfulness of both the Charter Commission members and staff.)

Update 2: SOAR charter in Tacoma is scheduled to open on Monday the 17th. However, SOAR's benchmarks not been satisfied.  They include a lack of Sped policies and procedures, staff qualifications (4 of 7 don't have proper certification or emergency certification), child abuse/neglect training not done as well as other school safety/health.  Staff says these items could get done in time but if not, SOAR will not open its doors.

Update 1: the Washington State Charter Commission unanimously approved the charter application for Willow School in Walla Walla.  They will open in Fall 2016.

end of update

I'm at the Charter Commission meeting today as they vote on the final approval/disapproval of two charter applications - Willow and Summit (in Walla Walla and Seattle respectively).  Summit will be the second charter in Seattle (in the ID WestSeattle) and would share in any BTA IV levy dollars (along with First Place Scholars, if they stay in business) if BTA IV passes in Feb. 2016.

I'm also going to the Board's Executive Committee meeting this afternoon (I'd like to drop into the A&F Committee meeting but I think the Executive Committee meeting will take most of my focus).

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

CDC on Later Start Times for Middle/High School Students

Thanks to reader, Alison, for this info from the CDC MMWR (Morbidity and Morality Weekly Report) of August 7, 2015.

Seattle Schools This Week

Update: here's the Executive Committee meeting agenda.  There are no links to any documents but the agenda packet is 90 (!) pages.  Kids, that may be a record.  Highlights include the City's preschool program.

SEA Contract Negotiations

The Superintendent put out a rather bland assessment of the issues of the teacher contract negotiations.  I say bland not because the issues he states aren't important - they are - but there is nothing new to see here with a few exceptions.

HALA Committee: should any advisory committees act in private?

There is a letter to the Seattle Times from the co-chairs of the Mayor's HALA Committee (on housing which put out a report recently with 65 recommendations). The Committee has not been happy with Seattle Times' columnist, Danny Westneat, who put out some advance news on their recommendations. The Mayor blamed the media for overblowing one recommendation that would change single family neighborhood zoning.

Then, the Committee got really mad when Westneat exposed that all their meetings were held in private.  Westneat stated that the Mayor had the legal right to do this but for a committee making such major changes, it seems an odd thing to do.  Many, like state Rep Gerry Pollet said this in Westneat's column of July 31, 2015, "Had Murray set this up in a public fashion, it never would have imploded on him like this." "you would have had people watching and commenting throughout."  He noted that he thought "... people wouldn't have been totally blindsided by it."

This brought to mind when I served on the Seattle School Board's Closure and Consolidation Committee in 2006 to determine what schools to close because of the high costs of too many underenrolled, low-performing schools.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Tuesday Open Thread

I guess Melissa is unavailable today, so here is an Open Thread.  What is on your mind?

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Garfield Choir Incident Updates

I went back and reviewed my notes and the public disclosure requests I made about this case.

- Beryl Miller, the SPS staffer who was the Civil Rights/ Title IX Compliance Officer at the time of the incident is no longer in that position. She was the SPS Behavioral and Emotional Team Supervisor. Whether she still has that position within SPS, I don't know.

- My question to SPS: Beryl Miller said she spoke with Student 1's doctor and psychologist but she only references notes about the call to the doctor. Are there any notes/documentation about Ms. Miller's call to the psychologist? (Please note: I know under FERPA/HIPPA I cannot have the notes or documentation. I am ONLY asking if they exist - meaning did she call both Student 1's doctor and psychologist?)

SPS Answer: Ms. Miller has confirmed that no additional documents exist beyond the email records provided as exhibits to the investigative report (see pg 54-57 of the previously provided “GHS Exhibits Final” PDF).

Friday, August 07, 2015

Garfield Choir Field Trip Update

From SPS Communications:

Seattle Schools News

The agenda is up for the Curriculum&Instruction Meeting on Monday at JSCEE from 4:30-6:30 pm. At the bottom of the agenda, there is a note explaining that due to the new website, they can't attach links and so the documentation for the agenda items is contained in the agenda link.  Among the topics:

Friday Open Thread

I am going to allow comments to go up without moderation but I may have to go back to moderation if I see problems.  (To that end, SpedParent, I accidentally deleted your comment/question on SBAC.  Please resend it.)

Did you watch the GOP debate last night?  Very entertaining and I give FOX credit for asking some truly pointed questions.  Yes, Common Core DID come up and guess what?  Not much love on that stage for it.  (Speaking of presidential candidates, a checklist for progressive candidates on public education from Gadflyonthewall Blog.)

"What are THOSE?"  Do you know this new kids' meme?  I didn't until I saw this article.  Read and learn so that you won't be like Michael Jordan and be mystified.

PBS Newshour story on teaching students the realities of war via telegrams and love letters.  I myself have a couple of telegrams from WWII my father sent to his first wife and children, telling them that he couldn't wait to come back to them.

From the Wait, What? public ed blog, coverage of WA BOE's decision on SBAC.

Great NPR story on the guy who's the head of the Mars EDL (entry, descent, landing) team - he had a tough time in school before he found his way.  Good story to tell the kids.
Steltzner's path to becoming team leader for this new Mars lander was hardly direct. Unlike many successful engineers, he struggled at school. An elementary school principal told him he wasn't very bright. His high school experience seemed to confirm that.

"I passed my geometry class the second time with an F plus, because the teacher just didn't want to see me again," he says.
But then something happened. As Steltzner tells it, he was on his way home from playing music at a club one night when he became fascinated with the stars, especially the constellation of Orion.

"The fact that it was in a different place in the sky at night when I returned home from playing a gig, than it had been when I'd driven out to the gig," he said. "And I had only some vague recollection from my high school time that something was moving with respect to something else, but that was it."

As crazy as it sounds, that experience was enough to motivate him to take a physics course at the local community college. That did it. He was hooked.
What's on your mind?

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Geary Surges Ahead of McGuire

You just never know with our system of "postmarked, not at" Washington State mail-in system.

Jill Geary                47.14%  7668 votes
Lauren McGuire     46.33%  7535 votes

A difference of 133 votes.

Leslie Harris          47.87%  6,970 votes
Marty McLaren      38.12%  5,551 votes

A difference of about 1400 votes.

It's going to be an interesting election.

And just to note, it is illegal to take down campaign signs.  I have seen this in one campaign and it really shouldn't be happening (especially if it is on private property).

Garfield Choir Teacher Says She is Going to be Fired

Reader Lynn sent me the link from the Times with this announcement.

Washington State Board of Ed Struggles with SBAC Cut Scores

Update: Here's what the BOE had to say about yesterday's meeting and its outcomes. I think BOE head, Ben Rarick, has done a very good job in explaining the Board's thinking.

The Board followed through on its equal impact philosophy, adopting a mid-Level 2 score requirement for the English Language Arts (ELA) portion of the Smarter Balanced (SBAC) assessment (scale score: 2548), and followed the same philosophy for the Math End-of-Course exams. The SBAC math score (2595) was set to be commensurate with the ELA requirement. These minimum scores are just a little more than half way up the Level 2 scale; about 60% of the way between Levels 2 and 3.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

The Ed Reformers

I thought it might be a good idea to review who's out there and what they have been doing.

Seattle Schools Kindergarten Kick-Off Event

From SPS Communications:

Get ready to join us for at the first ever Seattle Public Schools Kindergarten Kickoff!

Seattle Schools is celebrating all the new adventures of learning that await our youngest students and we are spreading the word.

Kindergarten Kick Off will be held at Van Asselt Community Center this Saturday, August 8, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. All are welcome.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

School Board Election Results

Update from the 4:15 pm drop today by King County Elections:

Lauren McGuire    6004  (47.24%)
Jill Geary               5817  (45.77%)

Geary has closed the gap between the two candidates to less than 200 votes.

Leslie Harris            5,240 (46.76%)
Marty McLaren       4.338 (38.69%)

Harris has increased her lead by about 200 more votes.

end of update

Tuesday Open Thread

The Seattle Times is reporting that the previously-desired-by-the-District Federal Reserve Building may somehow rise taller under its new owner, Martin Selig.  The article also corrects/contradicts earlier reporting that the roof was part of the historic landmark status; it's not.  Reading what has to be done in order to build higher is pretty much convincing evidence that SPS could not have made this into a school.

Monday, August 03, 2015

Until Further Notice...

All comments will be moderated.

This has absolutely nothing to do with anything said here at this blog.  And, this is the first time I have ever felt compelled to do this. 

I will explain soon but I wanted to get this up now.

Thank you for your understanding.

Seattle Schools Starting to Power Back Up

This is the last week of real downtime for the District.  Next week sees the Board and staff with several meetings.  However, some calendar items are at Marty McLaren's campaign website and not at SPS.  Given some of them are next week, I'm trying to get clarification.  I'm also hoping that agendas will be available soon.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Have You Voted?

If not, then get on the good foot and get it done.

If so, good for you.

City's Preschool Program

The Times had big news this morning that preschoolers can learn math but nobody in preschool teaching ever knew this before.

Naturally, I'm being facetious as most parents do know this (even if they don't know the best way to teach their own children).  As well, I would think most bonafide preschools do know this (and I certainly know Montessori and Waldorf do).

This article seems a bit of a cheerleading piece for the City's preschool but then, the City extended the deadline for parents to enroll so maybe they need the help.