Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Tuesday Open Thread

Common sense writing on teachers, testing and public education from an unlikely source in the New Yorker - noted film critic, David Denby.  (Yes, the ed reform blogs have not been happy.)

Another of-note writer on education is Erika Christakis whose new book, The Importance of Being Little, asks for more play for younger students.  This via NPR:
That's because, she writes, "the distinction between early education and official school seems to be disappearing." If kindergarten is the new first grade, Christakis argues, preschool is quickly becoming the new kindergarten. And that is "a real threat to our society's future."
 Chronic absenteeism is an issue in many districts and it was just announced that Seattle would be one of 10 districts under a new effort by the White House and the Department of Ed to address this problem.  Nationwide, between 5-7 million kids a year are chronically absent each school year.  The Times reports that in Washington State, 174,000 students are labelled as chronically absent (about 1 in 10 students.)  The program will be a mentorship for 6th and 9th graders who come from low-income families.  As part of the program, there will also be an ad campaign for parents of students in grades K-8 about the concerns for students when they miss school.

The Times' Danny Westneat had a column last weekend about whether Seattle is a great city, based on local writer James Fallow's checklist.  One of them was about Seattle schools:
8. Has unusual K-12 schools."  He means like high-school engineering academies or schools for the performing arts.  We have some foreign-language immersion K-5s but Seattle should be embarrassed by our lack of creativity.  No Science or Tech High here.  Even Tukwila has Aviation High.
I submitted a comment that listed the whole K-12 foreign language chain of schools, two nationally ranked jazz bands, K-8 STEM, high school STEM and IB programs, etc. because while SPS has issues, I would not say for types of schools that SPS should be "embarrassed."  Maybe Westneat should be for not keeping up.  I also noted that Aviation High has kids from many districts and is not just a Tukwila Highline district school. 

Bill and Melinda Gates put out an important letter to high schoolers that's quite lengthy and takes its time getting to the point.  Not so interesting to high schoolers (and I believe they have a couple of their own so I'm puzzled.)

Also, a reader had asked about Pay for K and here's the latest update from SPS:

The Accounting Department is routing a BAR for the Board to approve no tuition for kindergarten students starting next year. Based upon the Board calendar:

· Audit & Finance Committee – March 10

· Board Into – 3/16

· Board Action- 4/6


What's on your mind?  

73 comments:

Teacher Greg said...

I thought Aviation was part of Highline? T

Anonymous said...

Let's remember how much of what you listed is funded largely by parents - music and language immersion. IB is poorly funded by the district as well. My home town has much better public school options than Seattle, including a performing arts school that sends students off to Julliard. Yeah, Seattle should be embarrassed by their public school system.

-lived elsewhere

Melissa Westbrook said...

Lived elsewhere, point taken but my point is that these programs would not exist if the district had not allowed their creation. That they limp along and yet are still there (and, in some cases, thrive) is good. (And kids from the jazz bands also go to Julliard.)

Melissa Westbrook said...

Teacher Greg, you are right. Danny and I both had it wrong; Aviation High is in the Highline district.

Benjamin Leis said...

Speaking of programs, I haven't heard any news about the STEM program at Cleveland H.S. in a while. Does anyone know how its doing / what's occurring?

Anonymous said...

Technically, Aviation High School has a Tukwila address. It's a Highline School District school but is also located within the SPS boundaries.

I don't blame Danny or Melissa for the "error" in calling it a Tukwila school. It's actually located in that city and the article is about cities not school districts.

--- aka

Danny's right said...

I agreed with Danny given Lived Elsewhere's comments as well as the appearance that SPS tries to shut down or ruin every awesome/successful program out there. A good District would replicate desired programs not shut them down. Instead, they move forward 110% with every kid getting exactly the same thing. You also can't tout the language immersion schools given the very little access to them. And, it certainly isn't a k-12 program. k-5, yes, but not k-12, not yet anyway. Our middle schooler can't even take a language since he is in band and needs PE.

Kathleen S. said...

Tomorrow the House's Executive Committee will vote on SB 6194. The bill is intended to create a charter school "fix". The Senate passed this bill.

The charter bill would allow for a simple majority of parents or teachers to convert the use of a public school building to a private entity. There is NO mechanism to return the building back to the voting public.

I am not confident SB 6194 would pass constitutional muster.

The Supreme Court has charged the legislature with failing to perform their Paramount Duty and fully fund education for Washington state's one million children. The court has imposed a fine of $100K per day. The legislature's highest priority should be funding education for Washington state's one million children.

Please consider opposing this bill and leaving a comment.

http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=6194&year=2015

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kathleen, are you an attorney? I watched you (and Melissa, Catherine Ahl, and David Spring) raise constitutional issues during your testimony last Friday, so I'm wondering if you're an attorney.

I know Melissa is not, Catherine is not, and David is not. So, do you at least have a legal background that would provide the expertise to make such declarative statements concerning constitutional muster.

Citizen Kane

Anonymous said...

@Citizen Kane:

Citizens still have the right to their opinions in regard to a bill's constitutionality in this country. Please refresh my memory if this is incorrect, but last time I checked, three former Washington attorneys general, who last time I checked had pretty extensive legal backgrounds, rendered opinions about the charter bill that the Supreme Court disagreed with rather emphatically.

So although Melissa's, Catherine's and David's legal backgrounds might not have matched those of the three former AGs, in the end their opinions were all of equal standing before the body in whose hands the ultimate determination rested.

So for you to discourage them from rendering an opinion on the state's Constitution that their tax dollars support is not only futile, but just plain silly.

-- Ivan Weiss

Dorthy Gale said...

I think it's time for a 100 day check-in for the new Seattle school board directors.

I'm wondering what work each of the new directors have completed in keeping with their respective campaign promises of "accountability" and "transparency"?

Harris, what work have you completed?
Burke, what work have you completed?
Geary, what work have you completed?
Pinkham, what work have you completed?

Ted

Anonymous said...

Thanks very much for the kindergarten follow-up. If I understand it correctly, it is going through an approval process now and the final vote is set for April. Is this expected to be a formality, or do we need to campaign/urge the board and district to approve?
Thanks again,
Kindergarten mom

Anonymous said...

Westneat has kids in SPS, Washington Middle School and Garfield, both HCC. I would say he is not only keeping up with SPS, he is in the thick of it.

PE

Melissa Westbrook said...

Oh Citizen, really? So you think that because we aren't lawyers, we can't read? Or consult with lawyers? I did and it confirmed what I knew I was reading in Article 3, Section 22 of the constitution. This bill does NOT meet what that section says. It doesn't. Go ask Randy Dorn, I'm sure he consulted a lawyer as well. This has been his main issue with charters is the law per his constitutional duty (not so much charters themselves.)

On that issue, yes, I'm going to be declarative. On Kathy's issue of the public buildings going into private hands, I think you'd have to see what how any court interpreted that. But I certainly think it's worth asking and I'll bet the first school district to lose a building to a charter will be asking.

Ted, the place to ask your questions is at a community meeting. I have no idea who does or does not read this blog (except for those directors who chime in occasionally.)

Kindergarten Mom, it's my impression that the Board will want this. I don't think staff would be bringing it forward if there wasn't support. But it never hurts to give input to the Board.

PE, I disagree with his assessment, whether or not he has kids in SPS or not.

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

More districts in WA state are following Seattle's lead on later start times for high school.

http://www.columbian.com/news/2016/feb/22/evergreen-to-change-high-school-start-times-in-2016-17/

Evergreen District (near VanCouver) is going to later start times for high school too!

HP

Anonymous said...

This link while long, allows you to read the article:

http://chronicle.com/article/2-Keys-to-Success-for/235377/?key=kiFQV30W4F7ekSbGPoTTtX1be1HUEKYcrzoM-ssEHONkTnFSWmRDRHhoVDZHT0lqRkV6dk5Ic19zQm9pbXROSjhsS3NsbGFhRGlB

2 Keys to Success for Underprivileged Students: When to Start College, and Where to Go

HP

Kathleen S. said...

Citizen Kane,

I actively campaigned against I 1240. At the time, my concerns revolved around the lack of elected oversight, and the fact that I 1240 effectively silenced the voice of the local voter. The Supreme Court agreed with me.

I am/was also concerned about the conversion clause that allows for a simple majority of parents or teachers to petition a public school building to a private entity, and there is NO mechanism to return the building to the voting public. Common sense will tell you this is a problem and this issue needs legal exploration.

There are other issues with SB 6194 regarding a uniform system of education and oversight from the state's Superintendent of Public Instruction. I 1240 came from an ALEC template and must be scrutinized.

I am not an attorney, but I have close connections to a wide variety of skilled attorneys. I am a citizen with concerns and if you have a problem with that- so be it.

Catherine Ahl was amongst those that filed a lawsuit which made it's way to the Supreme Court. She is closely connected with the attorney that fought I 1240 in the Supreme Court; I"d say she has a very good understanding of the bill and legal issues.

As citizens, we deserve constitutional initiatives, and we should expect that our representatives pass laws that won't face a constitutional challenge.

Troll if you like, but I will no longer engage with you. I've signed my name. Will you?



Anonymous said...

Reposting for anon@12:29:

I think that that SPS and much of the parent community systematically kills any program that allows kids to excel. The pre-occupation with "equity" means that any program allowing a small number of kids to excel is considered unfair to rest.

Yep. Additionally, the district seems to focus on everything but having strong academics, and then wonders why there are such disparities in achievement. Subverting the newly adopted elementary math materials, continuing with CMP for middle school math, using Readers and Writers Workshop into middle school, using science kits for science instruction and relying on teachers to fill in the rest, social studies??, the list goes on...

-another anon

Dorthy Gale said...

MW, do know for a fact that all 4 of the new directors read this blog. Some do it on an almost daily basis. I also know that SPS legal and SPS administrators read this blog.

I'm not going to a SPS board meeting. I'm posting the question here to remind the newly elected directors that at least I'm paying attention to what was promised.

Hopefully a few others here will also want to insure the newly elected Seattle school board directors will rapidly follow through on their promises.

Ted

Po3 said...

I agree w/ Westneat .

SPS is embarrassing.

I mean, they can't even test and notify students of their HCC status w/o getting on the 5 o'clock news.

Anonymous said...

RE: another anon

…Additionally, the district seems to focus on everything but having strong academics,..

Schools are adding behavior classes next fall called ‘Ruler’, ‘One Note’, and ‘Advisory’.

These ‘classes’ will take time from academic classes and will be ‘taught’ by teachers not counselors or therapists.

Teachers will not receive additional pay or prep time.

Good-bye grammar and geography. Hello what?

(And where is the Board in all this?)

-McClureWatcher

Po3 said...

or they can't even get the school calendar update for months after the strike so parents know things like, when does the semester end?

I could go on all day posting the crap we put up w/ EVERY SINGLE DAY.

We are just used to it and thankfully have this blog to get accurate info about what is going on. Is there any other district where that happens?

Anonymous said...

And it’s later than you think…

http://www.veteranstoday.com/2016/02/15/military-exploits-school-testing-opt-out-campaign/

Thousands of New Jersey high school seniors may be taking the military’s enlistment exam to fulfill a graduation requirement because they opted out of the controversial PARCC tests when they were juniors...

While the military routinely claims the ASVAB is being shut out of schools, the brass has managed to convince school officials in a half dozen states to make the ASVAB an alternative option…

Historically, about 85% of students nationally who take the ASVAB at school have had their results sent to recruiters. Test results also include social security numbers and detailed demographic information....(more)

-McClureWatcher

Anonymous said...

Ted, how do you know who reads this blog?


SPED Parent

Anonymous said...

"...the whole K-12 foreign language chain of schools"?

If you're referring to immersion, it fizzles in middle schools. Hamilton reduced its immersion classes a few years ago, such that incoming immersion students end up repeating a level in 7th or 8th grade. Non-immersion students can take three levels over the three years, but the "immersion" track is more limited.

Also, in high school, isn't there a lot of trouble (at least at some schools) getting the language classes you need?

Hardly a stellar foreign language program.

kitty

Melissa Westbrook said...

One, Westneat seemed to be talking about programming, not function. So I certainly can pile on for function. But I have talked to many parents around the country and a lot of programming we get here just isn't there.

Also, Ted? Dorothy Gale? Get a name and just use that. It's clear you're one person using several names and I know you believe yourself to be quite clever but nope, anyone can tell that it's the same person.

I'm with SPED parent, how do you know for certain who reads the blog? I don't know who in SPS does on a regular basis but I've heard on some topics, some people read it.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of programs, I haven't heard any news about the STEM program at
Cleveland H.S. in a while. Does anyone know how its doing / what's occurring?

As one who has seen first hand the ups/downs of the school, this "newer" Principal is doing new things as the STEM program has had a great deal of turnover staff wise with over 40% of Teachers leaving last year, It had a rocky start and is trying to build an AP curriculum to work with the STEM as well. They should look to the Marine program at Ballard emulate its design and try that, unfortunately it becomes a cohort however that is the reality and the diversity comes from those who enroll in that program. Giving kids laptops and projects on laptops is not a STEM school frankly. And their current computer science class is a long term sub.. so there you go..

Read the school newspapers I swear they give you the inside skinny of what is the what in the schools..
- works in SPS

Anonymous said...

Wow. I simply asked if Kathleen was an attorney and if she had legal expertise. Now I've been accused of trying to discourage people from offering their opinions and of trolling.

Citizen Kane

Melissa Westbrook said...

Works in SPS, that's pretty interesting (and I totally concur about reading student newspapers - you get the real scoop there.)

CK,being disingenuous doesn't suit you.

Anonymous said...

Any response on who is leading the multidisciplinary selection committee for AL eligibility?

observer

Anonymous said...

Melissa, in all honesty, I think it's a stretch to suggest that I'm discouraging people from offering their opinions and definitely a stretch to suggest that I'm merely trolling.

I was truly trying to find out if Kathleen was offering an expert legal opinion or a lay opinion. Turns out it's the latter. It may in fact be a highly informed and educated opinion but it is a lay opinion.

And just because I have a lawyer and consult often with her does not make me a legal expert. And just because I have a doctor and consult with him regularly doesn't make me a medical expert.

Citizen Kane

Anonymous said...

Kitty - you said "Non-immersion students can take three levels over the three years, but the "immersion" track is more limited. "

"Can" is the operative word in your sentence. My child did not win the 6th-grade Spanish lottery, so my child did not get three years of Spanish in middle school. Since your post made it sound like the non-immersion track works well, I wanted to point out the non-immersion program is also limited. HIMS cannot run well when it is so overstuffed.

As to your other question, yes, GHS has trouble meeting the needs of some of their foreign language students. I know many kids didn't get the Spanish they needed this year.

-poutine

Melissa Westbrook said...

CK, I said neither thing. I have never called you a troll.

Also, why does Kathleen have to tell you what she knows? After all, you get to be anonymous so she doesn't have to give her profession.

As well, no one here (that I know of) has said they are a legal expert.

That those of us who opposed the original charter initiative and said - from the get go - that it was unconstitutional says something about our ability to read and infer.

It is likely to go the same way if this new bill passes (but I don't think it will.)

Anonymous said...

What does our national constitution say about our state constitution's language enforcing the right to tax us for someones else's idea of public education. My guess is that it's not legal. I say this because, lately it seems every time I read the paper, the Seattle school district is cooking up some cockamamie plan to serve a select few with special services and asking property owners to pay for the programs that their children will never use or be admitted.

The equity smoke screen has got to end. We need to clearly define what public education is and then only fund that. The continued wasted money and effort is stressing an already fragile system.

LWV goaway

Anonymous said...

Let's be clear, public charter schools are not unconstitutional. It's was the language used in I 1240 that was ruled unconstitutional.

Public charter schools for Seattle will be in place in the next few years, because Seattle can not continue to fund these foolish unproven equity programs.

The reality is, they will find away to fund public charter schools very soon, no initiative Measure required.

The ironic thing is this, it will be all the equity non-sense that will tip the scales and it will be the people who are to receive the equity benefits that will drive the creation.

All the title one funds and every other Obama program funds will eventually fall right into the laps of the charters....you can thank the League of women voters.

Just watch

Eric B said...

LWV, I think you're a little late to the party. The legislature already defined what public education was. I think the bill number was 2261, but it's been a few years so I could be wrong. Unfortunately, the current McCleary debate is how to get to that funding level. We're about $4 billion short, give or take a little.

I don't think you'll get very far with using the US Constitution against the state. The feds give a lot of deference to states, and both education and local taxation are state matters. Plus, the levy funding that actually pays for those "special services" is voted on every three years. Incidentally, we just had a vote, with ~70% plus in favor.

You can move to a place that has very little taxation and little government interference in the lives and education of its citizens. I hear Somalia is lovely this time of year. Otherwise, taxation is the price of civilization.

Anonymous said...

Melissa, it was Ivan who suggested that I was discouraging people and Kathleen who said I was trolling.

And Kathleen didn't "have to tell" me anything. She could have ignored my question or told me it was none of my business.

And while no one may have suggested that they were legal experts, I was curious. It's really that simple. You're making a mountain out of a molehill.

And why you and others have (teasingly, I'm just going to assume) questioned my intelligence in other threads, I have never questioned yours. I'm confident in your ability to read and infer.

Citizen Kane

Anonymous said...

Gee - since when does one have to be an attorney to make a declarative statement of one's own beliefs? There's no prerequisite for professional expertise in expressing one's opinion on Legislative matters. Having worked for the Legislature for many many years a very long time ago, I can safely say, that if that were the case, very few members of that Body would qualify for their jobs ;)

reader47

Melissa Westbrook said...

"Let's be clear, public charter schools are not unconstitutional. It's was the language used in I 1240 that was ruled unconstitutional."

The whole law was thrown out. Charter schools, under that law, were unconstitutional. No ruling was made on charters themselves; that wasn't the point.

You cannot fund these schools and go on. The whole law was thrown out and sent back to its court of origin.

Anonymous said...

Are you saying that all 70% of those who voted pay property taxes? Well they don't. It's hard to tell who is really paying for all those "SPECIAL" programs. Next we will hear from the city just how unfordable Seattle is and why we should enact rent controls. I believe the average single family property tax bill in Seattle is $4,800 per year and set to increase.

I think it would be fair for some level of representation for my taxes.

Also, Eric I find your Somalia reference to be racist. I would like to meet with you and help you work out your racial issues.

LWV

Anonymous said...

Public charter schools are not unconstitutional period. The decision was 6-3 against I-1240, so are the 3 dissenters wrong and unfit to serve?

Scratch at it all you want, but you know what's coming, a Charter school funding public vote. It will pass just like I-1240. Then what are you and Ivan going to do?


Ha

Melissa Westbrook said...

Uh, Ha, majority rules on a court decision. That's court rulings 101. Dissenters just didn't win the day on their constitutional arguments.

So we have Just Watch saying there needs to be no new initiative and now Ha says there will be one.

What will I do? Watch that less than 2% loss go the other way.

seattle citizen said...

Hi [Citizen kane], are you an [educator]? I [read] you (and [other pro-charter commenters]) raise [education] issues during your [comments on this blog], so I'm wondering if you're an [educator].

I know [most pro-charter commentors] are not. So, do you at least have a [education] background that would provide the expertise to make such declarative statements concerning [education]...
; )

Anonymous said...

Washington voters struck down charters 3 times before narrowly approving them in 2012 (passed by a margin of some 2%), and that was after a collective $11M was raised by I-1240 backers (including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation).

I wouldn't call that strong support from the voters of Washington State.

-watching

Anonymous said...

Hi seattle citizen, I have a bachelor's and a master's in education. I taught for several years and have worked in public education for over 20 years.

I've taught education policy and practice at the university level.

Citizen Kane

seattle citizen said...

Oh, well, you're qualified to discuss education, then. As am I. But few of the other commentors on this blog should be here, right? After all, they're not educators...
: )

Anonymous said...

11 million is nothing when you have over 50 thousand million!

Hell, he might just fund a couple of great schools right here in the lair. Regular folks getting a great public education without the guilt. I think more than 2% will go for that.


Ha

Anonymous said...

"After all, they're not educators..."

Hell neither are a lot of SPS teachers.

Whipped

seattle citizen said...

Wow, Whipped...That's BS and uncalled for.

Anonymous said...

seattle citizen, I see you're trying to torture yourself to make a point. If you're suggesting that I called Kathleen, Melissa, or anyone else unqualified to comment on constitutional issues, I'd like for you to quote me.

Citizen Kane

Anonymous said...

Ha - Bill Gates did essentially exactly what you said: "Hell, he might just fund a couple of great schools right here in the lair."

His three kids have never attended public school, and he paid a lot of money to have private school his younger kids attend "improved" so that it would be worthy of his children.

Bill Gates has done some amazing things, but his education meddling isn't one of them.

-BD

Anonymous said...

Seeking help with protocol. If we email an SPS staff member about an issue, should we expect a reply? Is in unrealistic and/or unfair to expect them to get back to us? If the expectation of a response is reasonable, what sort of timeframe is fair?

I've written to a couple SPS administrators over the past month re: different issues, but nobody ever responds... If they don't respond, is it uncool to go up the food chain and pose the questions to their boss instead? Is there an SPS org chart anywhere, so we can see who that is?

Or is it best to follow up with a Board member instead? If yes, better to go with your regional director, or one who is more interested in the issue?

Protocol Protocol

Anonymous said...

Thanks for following up on the vote for no tuition for K!

- B

seattle citizen said...

CK, at 11:16 you asked I'd Kathleen:
"are you an attorney? I watched you...raise constitutional issues during your testimony last Friday, so I'm wondering if you're an attorney...do you at least have a legal background that would provide the expertise to make such declarative statements concerning constitutional muster?"
Sounds pretty much to me like you're calling her unqualified to comment on constitutional issues...
But I'm done torturing myself. Good night!

Anonymous said...

@Protocol Protocol - If you have an issue, you should generally start low on the org chart and work your way up. Concern with a teacher? Email the teacher before talking to the principal. Met with the principal and still have an unresolved issue? Email the Executive Director for your region. And so on...

-parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

Protocol, it depends.

Are you asking for your child about your school? You need to follow a chain of command from teacher to principal to Ex Director (and cc your Board director on any e-mails with principal/Ex Dir.)

Are you asking for specific information on a program or issue? You could go to the Ombudsman and ask for help.

Are you asking to advocate for something? Better to go to your Board director and ask.

There is an org chart but it does often change. I'll try to see if I can find the latest one for senior management.

Eric B said...

LWV, I give that a 3/10. The racism canard was a nice try, but undermined by poor reasoning in the rest of the comment. Next time, put it first so it distracts the reader from the rest of your statements.

Everyone in Seattle except the car campers pay property taxes. Some just do it more directly than others. Every time there's a levy on the ballot, the argument against is how much this is going to cost the average taxpayer and how egregious tax bills are becoming. Somehow they still pass. It's like voters support public education and transit and libraries and the like.

Are you going to blame $500/month rent increases on $50/month increases in property taxes? Because that sure follows.

Anonymous said...

Eric, your analogy is flawed and here's why,

Renters can simply move out and at most lose their deposit. Home owners could do the same, but lose all their equity and destroy their credit. Home owners are tightly bound to their property. Home owners invest money, effort and time in their properties, renters do not.

Home owners on a fixed income (not elderly, just fixed) can not easily sell and buy to negate the rise in their property taxes. Sure they can appeal the taxes, but that only works for inflated assessed values.

Then there is the problem of perceived value or what we get in return for our taxes. SPS's perceived value is below average and sinking.

I could move, but why should I move? I choose to fight back.

LWV

Eric B said...

LWV, I'm not sure my analogy is flawed. Renters leaving are in exactly the same situation as a homeowner leaving. They have to find a new place to live and be able to afford it. Any argument you might apply to renters (eg they'll just move out to Tukwila for cheaper rent) applies equally to homeowners. You're right, a homeowner walking away from a house would suffer significantly. However, with less than a month's supply of housing on the market at any given time, this is a market where buyers are hunting for sellers, not vice versa. It would be stupid to default on a mortgage rather than just selling the house. I suppose the mortgage could be underwater, but my understanding is that's pretty rare now with the increase in housing values. I'd be happy to be corrected, though.

I'm not telling you to move, but you don't seem very happy here. With levies winning 70-30, that doesn't seem like it'll change much soon, regardless of your efforts. In a way, you make my point for me. You want to live here in Seattle for some reasons. Most likely, those reasons in part have to do with the social climate here. Like I said before, taxes are the price of civilization.

Teacher Greg said...

Looks like another 52 Charter students bailed out in the month of January. Nearly all of them from the 6th and 7th grades. I'm guessing Excel's number are plummeting? http://www.k12.wa.us/safs/rep/enr/1516/33207h.pdf

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, TG, the "1300 charter students" number has been used over and over when those numbers have gone down. If I had to guess, there's maybe 900. I think some parents are finally asking some hard questions.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I just got a robo call from a Washington charter PAC group saying "1000s" of families would be affected by this "mess" if the legislature doesn't vote in the charter bill.

I think it would be an even bigger mess if that bill is voted in. Tell Chopp and Rep Pat Sullivan (Pat.Sullivan@leg.wa.gov) to vote no.

Teacher Greg said...

Its only thousands of families if every student enrolled has two to three sets of parents...and they include the "families" of the consultants, employees and wealthy benefactors... :)

Teacher Greg said...

...and a before/after calculation of additional ALE students in Mary Walker yields 777 "charter students" as of February 1st...

Anonymous said...

Dear Nathan Hale families,

I wanted to inform you that five high schools in our district received what Seattle Police are calling a hoax “robo-call” threat this afternoon. The call came in after the other high schools had already dismissed for the day. We were still in session and the Seattle Police Department told us to evacuate the building and we sent students home at 3:05 PM.
Seattle police responded immediately to all the schools that received the call. No students were involved. Police will continue to investigate and secure our campus.
All afterschool activities have been cancelled for today. We expect evening activities to resume.

Please know that we take safety in our buildings very seriously; the well-being of our students is our top priority. I realize any talk of violence is a cause for concern and we will continue to investigate to assure you that we are committed to doing everything we can to keep our students safe at school. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me. I will be happy to speak with parents and guardians directly.

Sincerely,

Jill
Jill Hudson, Ed.D., Principal


-North-end Mom


Anonymous said...

Is the Source down? I can't seem to access it.

HP

seattle citizen said...

Try again, HP - district had power outage to main server starting at 4:00 or so. I think they've mainly fixed it and were bringing things back online as of 5:00 or so.

Anonymous said...

I still get the same message.

This site can’t be reached

The connection was reset.
ERR_CONNECTION_RESET

I'll try clearing my cache.

HP

No 1240 said...

Thanks for the update, Teacher Greg. I'm wondering if some parents are starting to realize this is a mess.

Interesting the PAC is still going wild with their campaign. The Democrat's budget shows charter funding on the decrease and "The largest single investment in this K-12 budget is for charter schools." said in OSPI's testimony on the Senate's supplemental budget bill at today's State Senate Ways & Means Committee hearing"

Anonymous said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/23/opinion/the-secret-to-school-integration.html


--about time

Charlie Mas said...

This could be a bit messy, because I'm responding to a number of earlier comments.

Danny Westneat was simply factually wrong. He specifically cites the absence of a STEM high school when, in fact, Seattle has one. He appears unaware of the option schools in all parts of the city, Montessori programs, and a lot more.

I don't know how fair it is to ask a School Board Director how much they have completed in 100 days. What should they be able to have completed in that time frame, given that none of them can act independently?

The question "where is the Board?" in regard to RULER is a very good question. If RULER is a part of the course of study for students then it requires Board approval. Is it a class? Do students get a grade?

Did STEM at Cleveland really have 40% teacher turnover? That's a red flag. What has been the response of the Executive Director of Schools in that region?

@LWV goaway, the US constitution says that anything not covered by it is in the authority of the states. That includes the definition of basic education, which was defined by the state legislature some years ago. So your guess is wrong. Special services - cockamamie or otherwise - that fall outside of the definition of basic education are funded by grants or local levies. I'm not sure what you mean by an "equity smoke screen". Are you saying that there is no inequity to be addressed or that the programs that claim to address it don't actually do so?

@Just watch, let's be clear, there is no such thing as a "public charter school". Ownership and governance are what determines whether something is public or not, and charter schools are neither owned nor governed by the public, so they are not public schools. That said, you are correct. The Supreme Court did not rule that charter schools are unconstitutional; they don't make that sort of ruling. While we're at it they didn't rule on the attorney's fashion choices. They did rule that I-1240, as a whole, was unconstitutional. In the absence of that law there are no charter schools in Washington State. Are they inevitable? I can't say - and neither can anyone else. I see the irony you propose with your idea that efforts to bring equity to public education will be the catalyst for the inequity that charter schools represent. I'm not sure what "Obama program funds" you mean - Race to the Top? I guess we will all have to just watch.

@Ha, all nine justices found the funding scheme in I-1240 to be unconstitutional. There were three members of the Court who thought that the funding scheme and the declaration that the charter schools were common schools could be extracted from the rest of the law. Six saw it the other way. Here's how that works - the majority rules so, yes, I-1240 is unconstitutional. That doesn't make the dissenters wrong or unfit to serve. Why would you suggest such a thing? It just makes them a minority.

@LWV, You asked, in your comment of 5:11PM, "Are you saying that all 70% of those who voted pay property taxes? Well they don't." Eric responded that "Everyone in Seattle except the car campers pay property taxes. Some do it more directly than others." Your rebuttal to Eric, however, was not on point. Instead, you argued that renters were less committed to the City. Since you chose to shift the discussion away from that point, are you conceding it?

Also, LWV, you wrote: "Then there is the problem of perceived value or what we get in return for our taxes. SPS's perceived value is below average and sinking." This perception is highly personal. Your view is not the majority view.

Anonymous said...

Charlie, the board only needs a majority to act. As I recall the four new directors ALL repeated ad nauseam that they where going to bring "transparency and accountability" back to the Seattle School district. I'm simply asking each to explain what work they have completed in fulfilling their respective campaign promises. I think it's reasonable to expect that they could collectively accomplish something. Maybe it's just a road map on how to get to transparency?

I have also noticed Sue Peters seems to be aligned with the four new directors making it five directors in possible lock step.

So directors, are any of you going to be transparent and answer me ?

Ted Willis