end of update
Neither Roosevelt nor Garfield placed in the top three for the Essentially Ellington competition in NYC but congrats to all these musicians for getting there and representing Seattle.
The Times has two articles of note on Seattle Schools.
One is about librarians and libraries in SPS. A group of SPS librarians did their own research on funding for libraries and the fruit of their work is troubling. For many libraries, the library fund is very dependent on the PTA. From the article:
While Seattle Public Schools provides money to each school that could be used for libraries, the principal and other school leaders decide whether to spend it that way.It would be interesting to know what other categories the schools feel are more important. The article states that for 2015-2016 38% of Seattle schools didn't use that money in their libraries. (It's not clear if they didn't use any or just not all.) Each school pays for a part-time librarian at each elementary schools (but many schools raise money for a full-time librarian.)
Students who attend schools with certified teacher-librarians and high-quality facilities performed better and were more likely to graduate, regardless of school size and student income level.Overall, Seattle's district office provides only about a quarter of the $535,096 - the rest apparently came from PTAs, book fairs and grants.
The average spent is about $2.55 per student for the year. That's below the national average of $10.
The SPS librarian researchers asked the following questions district-wide:
- how much each library gets from the district, parents and grants
- number of books in the library
- condition of the books
- how often books are checked out
The librarians did not name schools in their research (not wanting to raise an issue over the funding but rather, to call attention to these disparities.) But Craig Seasholes, the president of the state library association and the librarian for Sanislo Elementary had a good quote:
"Book reports on Pluto being a planet don't happen in well-funded schools."Danny Westneat's column in the Times was about the choral music teacher issue at Garfield High School. He calls the situation there, "adults behaving badly." He writes about a Garfield student, Julia Furukawa, who testified at the board meeting this past Wednesday, about how she is teaching three sections of Garfield music classes.
Strangely, the Seattle School District denies that Furukawa is teaching these classes - even though she plainly is.
It's a sore point because the district is astonishingly employing three adults related to these classes.
Most every adult at every level - from the original choir teacher to district staff who didn't warn the school of a student with behavioral problems to the superintendent who has seemed more concerned with legal liability than getting these kids a teacher - all failed these students to one degree or another.Yes, the district is concerned with liability at all costs. Sometimes this makes sense to me but at other times, it is the tail that wags the dog.
He asks what she learned from this situation:
"That relying on adults to get things done can be a dead end. They have mottos - 'Every student, every classroom, every day - but they don't really mean it. You have to make it happen for yourselves."Westneat ends like this:
Well, you can't say you don't get an education in Seattle Public Schools. It's just often not the one advertised.I'll end like this:
Won't someone in top administration at SPS please make this a week that this issue is done?