Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Tuesday Open Thread

Here's a story to file under "brave new world" in public education - a kid was kicked out of his middle school because of a DNA marker. 

Basically (from Wired:)http://www.wired.com/2016/02/schools-kicked-boy-based-dna/
Colman has genetic markers for cystic fibrosis, and kids with the inherited lung disease can’t be near each other because they’re vulnerable to contagious infections. Two siblings with cystic fibrosis also attended Colman’s middle school in Palo Alto, California in 2012. So Colman was out, even though he didn’t actually have the disease, according to a lawsuit that his parents filed against the school district. The allegation? Genetic discrimination.
From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a story about one high school's reliance on iPad for teaching and learning for classroom assignments.  The catch is that the parents have to provide them (the district has somewhere between 10-50 for checkout and it's only for school use.) 

Interesting (if not entirely clear) essay from the Citizen Ed blog, Education that Patronizes the Poor Isn't Progressive."

The paradox of education is precisely this – that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated.
                                                                                                                          – James Baldwin

I had taped a Seattle Channel show, City Inside/Out on the levies with former legislator and former governor's aide on education, Marcie Maxwell, as well as SCPTSA president, Cassandra Johnson, but it didn't work out as the City felt there wasn't enough of a "con" side.  So it was reshot with Cassandra and the writer of the "con" side in the voter's pamphlet, Nick Esparza.  I haven't watched it yet.

From SPS, a link to their "Technology Service Catalog."
The Department of Technology Service Catalog defines and categorizes information technology services provided to the Seattle Public Schools family. The goal is to allow all customers to quickly identify services and to enhance understanding of what each service provides. A basic description is provided for each service, and some services may also include a link where you can find more information or documentation.
The Enrollment office is now open for NEW students for the 2016-2017 school year.  FAQs for new parents.

Open Enrollment for School Choice begins Wednesday, February 17, 2016; all new students to Seattle Public Schools must be registered in order to participate in Open Enrollment.

What's on  your mind?


State law says all children in Georgia are entitled to a “free appropriate public education,” and forbids schools to “require any pupil or parent to purchase any instructional materials and content; computer hardware, software and technical equipment necessary to support such materials and content.”
Though Cobb school officials say the student iPads are not a requirement, many assignments and activities are directly tied to their use.
- See more at: http://www.myajc.com/news/news/local-education/walton-high-school-rankles-parents-with-classroom-/np55Z/#sthash.S0puZF8P.dpuf
State law says all children in Georgia are entitled to a “free appropriate public education,” and forbids schools to “require any pupil or parent to purchase any instructional materials and content; computer hardware, software and technical equipment necessary to support such materials and content.”
Though Cobb school officials say the student iPads are not a requirement, many assignments and activities are directly tied to their use.
- See more at: http://www.myajc.com/news/news/local-education/walton-high-school-rankles-parents-with-classroom-/np55Z/#sthash.S0puZF8P.dpuf
State law says all children in Georgia are entitled to a “free appropriate public education,” and forbids schools to “require any pupil or parent to purchase any instructional materials and content; computer hardware, software and technical equipment necessary to support such materials and content.”
Though Cobb school officials say the student iPads are not a requirement, many assignments and activities are directly tied to their use.
- See more at: http://www.myajc.com/news/news/local-education/walton-high-school-rankles-parents-with-classroom-/np55Z/#sthash.S0puZF8P.dpuf

35 comments:

Steve said...

Hi. I'm trying to find information about the presence of lead (in paint, etc.) in school buildings, and was wondering if there are any facility audits available that would speak to potential problems. I haven't been able to find any on the SPS site yet, and have emailed facilities.

- Steve

Mom of 3 said...

This is just a random observation. I took my kid who is struggling in math to Kumon last night. I was FLOORED by how many preschool kids were there. Parents talking intently to the Kumon head about their children's progression with reading and number recognition. I so badly wanted to tell these parents to lay off and let the kids be kids. I desperately wanted to ask them why the heck they had their kids at a tutoring center when they were barely potty trained!!! One girl couldn't have even been 4 years old. Unbelievable. So, we will have more bored kindergartners and more parents thinking their darlings are advanced.

Sorry, I had to share more for my own therapy. I was shocked! Poor little things.

Catherine said...

Steve - you would need to ask specifically for the facility conditions reports for a particular building. Yes, the test results exist.

Much easier though - any building built prior to 1980 has lead paint in it. It's generally considered a problem unless it's chipped/peeling, disturbed, or a kid chews on painted surfaces.

Is there a particular circumstance about which you are concerned?

Steve said...

Thanks Catherine. No specific concerns. Another parent just wondered about it, and I said I'd poke around. Googling this issue for SPS, I see articles about an audit of lead in the water around 2005 or so.

- Steve

Po3 said...

Mom of 3 -

Not surprised, many parents think the key is quanity over quality. We played card games and messed around with an abacus with our tots. They gained basic math skills and we all have great family memories.

No kid will ever say, "Remember those wonderful afternoons at Kumon when I was four."

Anonymous said...

And then they test into HCC as Ks and voila! "Gifted kids." Which is why HCC is a messed up SPS program. Who doesn't get in? The poor who haven't been tutored since diaper days. When teachers say HCC = inequitable program Kumon for tots is Exhibit A.

NoCharters

Catherine said...

Steve - 2005 is about right - but I seem to recall they did the work over two calendar years (though maybe one school year). I recall one in about 1996 as well - John Stanford days. Before that was "before my time" as an involved parent :-)

Anonymous said...

Besides poor children, guess who else doesn't get into HCC? Black kids.

Question: Why aren't more black students identified as gifted?
Answer: White teachers.

See https://newrepublic.com/article/128980/arent-black-students-identified-gifted.

And this is from the progressive magazine New Republic.

Not Surprised

Maureen said...

From the article Not Surprised posted the link to:

Black students in black teachers’ classrooms have almost the same probability of being assigned to gifted services as otherwise similar white students. However, black students in white teachers’ classrooms are identified for gifted services only about a third as often.

We find no similar evidence that having a same-race teacher matters for the gifted assignment of white, Hispanic, or Asian students.


This is really important.

Lynn said...

Is this applicable to SPS though?

From the article: School districts’ gifted evaluation processes vary, but most begin with a referral for gifted evaluation from a classroom teacher. Students who are not referred by a teacher are unlikely to be evaluated. Teachers failing to recognize (or expect) giftedness in some students can be an important barrier to equal access.
One solution to the problem is to reduce the role of teacher discretion in gifted identification.


In SPS, referrals for gifted evaluation begin with parents. (And the district has made a practice of contacting parents of students whose achievement scores would qualify them for advanced learning to recommend referral.)

Anonymous said...

Question: Why aren't more black students identified as gifted?
Answer: White teachers.

Trump can't get elected soon enough.

TRUMP 2016

Melissa Westbrook said...

Maureen, both statements are important or one more than another. Both are telling.


Lynn, applying to HC used to be by EITHER teacher or parent. I wish they would let teachers nominate.

Trump 2016,not sure what point you are trying to make but 1) yes, Trump will definitely try to undermine/destroy the teachers unions but 2) he is not going to make life any better for black people. Not part of the big agenda he has.

To keep in mind, folks, once they done with the teachers unions, they will come after police and firefighters. Want to see a REAL fight? That one will be a doozy.

Anonymous said...

After SCOTUS rules in favor of Friedrichs (likely), public sector unions like teachers and police unions will no longer be able to charge agency fees from non-members. Most if not all police officers, unlike many teachers, have strong incentives to maintain their membership in the union and continue to pay their dues even if they're not required to do so.

Teachers unions, on the other hand, have seen significant drops in membership when states have transitioned to "right to work" states.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/01/15/public-sector-unions-are-under-threat-police-unions-may-be-a-different-story/

It is unlikely that teachers unions opponents will go after police and firefighters unions.

Citizen Kane

Anonymous said...

I believe SPS is in violation of ESSA amended Section 612(a)(14)(C) of the IDEA.

ESSA amended Section 612(a)(14)(C) of the IDEA to require that a person employed as a special education teacher in an elementary, middle, or secondary school has obtained full certification as a special education teacher (including alternative routes), or passed the state special education licensing examination. Additionally, states must ensure the teacher has not had special education certification or licensure requirements waived on an emergency, temporary, or provisional basis, and that the teacher holds at least a bachelor’s degree. States must continue to comply with these certification requirements during the 2016-2017 school year.

SPED Parent

Lynn said...

Melissa,

I didn't express myself well. Anyone can refer a student for highly capable identification - but a parent has to give approval before the student can be assessed. I have never heard of a teacher referring a student though - so I do not believe that is the source of the demographic differences between HCC and the district at large.

Ragweed said...

@Steve - two or three years ago, one of the Pinehurst K8 Middle School students won an award in the MS Science Fair with a project testing various parts of the school for exposed lead paint. Most classrooms and hallways did pretty well, but the flagpole had badly cracked and peeling lead paint. It is a fascinating project to have the kids do in their school.

Anonymous said...

If you are concerned about potential lead exposure, you might also look into asbestos. It's present in many older SPS schools - in flooring, ceiling tiles, the boiler room...

-parent

Maureen said...

Lynn, Doesn't the HCC form require a teacher to sign off on it? (I remember that was the case in 2005; teacher eye-rolled at me but did sign off.) Also, it seems like tons of HCC parents on the APP blog have said that teachers and principals have told them that their schools cannot serve their kids academic needs and encouraged them to go to the HCC.

Anonymous said...

I am also concerned about asbestos since my kid pointed out the "danger, asbestos" warning signs all over various parts of the Lincoln auditorium/small auditorium. I realize this is only considered a problem if it is damaged (or removed, disrupted during repairs), or if it has deteriorated to the point that it is friable. But who is checking and are they sufficiently trained to assess it - some looks in dubious condition at a quick glance but I'm not an expert. I saw a ceiling tile with a have hole torn it is (is this an asbestos tile?). Kids are spending a lot of time in these areas - rehearsing for plays, doing after school classes. Not to mention teachers/staff - what about occupational health/safety? I would hate to think students and teachers and class providers are breathing in asbestos particles that will cause serious health ramifications in the future. But what to do? So many SPS buildings (not just this one) are old, in disrepair, and have these sorts of issues. Funds are limited, and district management is so poor, that I have trouble believing these sort of problems would ever be identified and addressed appropriately. Don't get me started on earthquake safety...

Worrier

Anonymous said...

few typos here - should say "....ceiling tile with a hole torn in it'

worrier

Anonymous said...

Speaking of out of control PC -
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray on Wednesday proposed a new property-tax levy for affordable housing that would raise $290 million over seven years. That’s double the size of the existing Seattle Housing Levy, which expires at the end of this year.

Maybe the Seattle liberals will be happy when everyone lives in low income housing or works for the UW earning an inflated salary.

Yes, I'm making a joke, but if Seattle keeps taxing home owners they just might succeed.

Stop Taxing

Melissa Westbrook said...

Worrier, the district claims that all the buildings are earthquake safe. To be honest, I know they have put earthquake upgrades in every BTA but I didn't think they got to all the buildings. You'll have to take them at their word, I guess.

Stop Taxing, I bring this up all the time. I know we love our parks, schools, libraries, and need roads and housing but honestly, I think many low-income folks (like seniors) may get priced out of this city that they helped to build.

I just wonder where that breakpoint is.

Charlie Mas said...

I interpreted TRUMP 2016's comment differently.

Here's the comment:
"Question: Why aren't more black students identified as gifted?
Answer: White teachers.

Trump can't get elected soon enough.

TRUMP 2016"

I took this to mean that it was wrong to attribute the dearth of Black students in gifted programs to the ability or willingness of White teachers to recognize them. I think TRUMP 2016 chooses to attribute the dearth of Black students in gifted programs to a dearth of gifted Black students.

It is a racist statement which reflects the racist policies promoted by Mr. Trump and the racist attitudes of his supporters.

Lynn said...

Maureen, No - teachers don't sign the referral form. At some point they do fill out a rating scale but my understanding is that a teacher's input is never used to screen anyone out.

Anonymous said...

Interesting, I see this as a racist statement,

"Question: Why aren't more black students identified as gifted?
Answer: White teachers."

Are you claiming white teachers are holding back black students? BS. Stop pandering to the BW liberals.

Tell you what, let's have black only school staffed by black only teachers and paid for by black only property owners. We can check back in 10 years and see how that worked.

Oh snap, we already tried that with the African American academy. How did that work out....Ohhhhhh snap!

Presley

Anonymous said...

Who sends their teenage sons into the jungle with guns to collect a $500.00 drug deal debt. Is that a white teachers fault? If those boys had been taught by only black teachers do you think they would have known that was wrong to kill those people?

At some point communities have to own it. Why do your type refuse to accept the realities of personal responsibility? I know it's all the schools fault or better yet, it's the gun's fault!

Some people

Anonymous said...

Can Universal Screening Increase the Representation of Low Income and Minority Students in Gifted Education? http://www.nber.org/papers/w21519

"We use the experiences in a large urban school district following the introduction of a universal screening program for second grade students to study this hypothesis. With no change in the standards for gifted eligibility the screening program led to large increases in the fractions of economically disadvantaged students and minorities placed in gifted programs. Comparisons of the newly identified gifted students with those who would have been placed in the absence of screening show that blacks and Hispanics, free/reduced price lunch participants, English language learners, and girls are all systematically "under-referred" in the traditional parent/teacher referral system."

LisaG

Anonymous said...

Lisa G, we already have universal screening to some extent. We have 2-part eligibility criteria, including both achievement and cognitive components. The achievement portion (e.g., MAP, SBA) is administered across the district. Students who meet that bar are invited for free cognitive testing to help finish the eligibity determination process.

Moving from a system in which teachers refer kids for gifted services to one that uses test scores as the basis will likely increase diversity. But that's not applicable here, since we already have such a system. Our racial gifted disparities are due to socioeconomic disparities.

Lynn said...

Here's a non-technical summary of the paper Lisa refers to.

Disadvantaged children were identified based on an IQ score threshold one standard deviation lower than advantaged students. In addition, those disadvantaged children identified as gifted through the universal screening process scored lower on standardized achievement tests.

bubba said...

Cryptic. What are referring to, exactly?

bubba said...

So, let's flip it... Why are black students, in particular black male students, over represented in special education programs? Why are they over represented in regards to discipline issues starting in grade school and ending in... School to prison pipeline. This is the flip side of the issue. And there IS an ISSUE. The above comment seems to deny that institutionalused racism and white privledge still exist. As much as we'd all love to believe that we live in a post-racial world... We all know that's just plain ignorant and we all know that the discrepancy between being "recognized" as " highly capable" and/or as a "behavior problem" or in need is "special education" can be linked to and reflective of a system that is sometimes broken, unfair, and full of prejudice

Anonymous said...

Lynn, the two threshold levels were in place before the switch to universal screening. The only change in this study was method of identification.

From the page you linked: "to offset economic and linguistic disadvantages, a lower threshold of 116 applied to students who received subsidized lunches or were designated as English language learners. Despite this effort to level the playing field, enrollment in the gifted program was skewed toward white students from higher-income families. Blacks and Hispanics made up fewer than 30 percent of the students in the program, although they accounted for 60 percent of the district's students overall.

In 2005, the district introduced a universal screening program to supplement the more informal referral process. All second-graders were given a standardized test that assessed cognitive ability through questions composed of symbols and shapes. If students scored above 130 – or above 115 for those classified as disadvantaged – they were referred to a district psychologist for free IQ testing."

And yes the "disadvantaged children identified as gifted through the universal screening process scored lower on standardized achievement tests". That is why they hadn't been identified with the previous method.

That is also what is wrong with Seattle's method of using achievement tests for screening. Screening should be done on cognitive ability. The students who score high on cognitive ability, but low on achievement are the students who are least being served by their current classes. They are the students who most need a gifted program.

LisaG

Lynn said...

LisaG,

That is one thing you and I agree on. Lower achievement scores in a child with high cognitive ability should be considered evidence of need for services rather than a reason to screen the child out of the program.

I did realize the two threshold levels had not changed in this study. I pointed out the difference because I don't think they were actually studying the identification of gifted students.

Lynn said...

The end of Spectrum at Lafayette announced here: http://lafayettees.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_12179/File/Communications/SPECTRUM%20Notice.pdf

Anonymous said...

Lisa G, do you think SPS should have a lower bar for ELL and FRL students to qualify? I am inclined to think so, but politically it might be controversial. Simply lowering the achievement bar wouldn't do the trick. The CogAT cut scores would also need to be lowered.

It's questionable, though, whether students who score high on cognitive ability (or relatively high, in this case) but low on achievement are those who most need Seattle's gifted program. Our program is not tailored to the needs of gifted students--it's just a somewhat more advanced version of general ed. It's unfortunately more designed for high achievers, not the intellectually gifted. It would offer these kids exposure to "the cohort", but as FRL or ELL students with lower cognitive and achievement scores it would be interesting to see if that ended up a plus or a minus from their perspective. If it were a real gifted program, those kids would probably do fine. But I'm not convinced (yet) that it would make sense given what we have now.

DisAPPointed