Friday, June 03, 2016

Friday Open Thread

Great story about Chief Sealth's water-bottle filling station from the West Seattle Blog.
The CSIHS Green Team has been “recognized as a 2015-16 Conservation Champion for their work to get water-bottle-filling stations.  Not only did they get the green light to purchase filling stations at Chief Sealth, additionally they convinced the school board to pursue a $200,000 grant for filling stations in every single Seattle Public School.”
Garfield is having a yard sale tomorrow, Saturday, June 4th  from 10 am-2 pm- bring them anything you don't want in the garage anymore.
Garfield High School will be hosting a Goodwill Fundraiser. Goodwill will be sending trucks to Garfield and we will be attempting to fill them with your help. Money raised will go directly to Associated Student Body Government to fund student/school related activities. 
Don't forget the Art-In that The Center School is having today if you are around Seattle Center.

At the Everett League of Women Voter's event last night, lead counsel on the McCleary case, Thomas Ahearne, outlined what the Court could consider ordering for the legislature:

A great, great op-ed piece from a departing principal in Ohio, George Wood,  on schools, kindness and what kids remember:
School should be a place for all sorts of kindnesses.  After all, children are forced to attend, with little or no choice over the building, staff, or bus driver they draw.  School is one of their first experiences with government, with strangers in close proximity, with authority outside of the family.  School should be a place of challenge, but also a place where children are supported to try, and try again.  Students should leave us knowing that for this time in their lives they were in the company of people who genuinely liked them and worked in their best interests.
just be niceWhen people ask me about what changes I have seen in the two decades I’ve worked here, I know they expect me to say something about how kids or families or teachers have changed.  Wrong.  Kids are still interesting, if a bit more docile, and interested in the world around them.  Families still want the best they can marshal for their children.  And teachers are here because they think they can make a difference.

What has changed is that it is harder for us to be nice to kids.  With elevated standards and increased testing, we find ourselves with less leeway with which we can help a child navigate.  With ‘zero tolerance’ laws and other Draconian rules, the mistakes some children make can no longer be forgiven. 
 Board Retreat, Saturday at JSCEE, from 10 am-3pm. Agenda.  Looks like they will be discussing community engagement but there are no accompanying documents.
 What's on your mind?


mirmac1 said...

The district's website has been down all morning. Where's that darn survey when I need it!

Anonymous said...

Interesting that the board waits until the school year is basically over before addressing community engagement. To me it seems way overdue, because each of the four newly elected board members rated community engagement as their top priority or near the top.

So what positive improvements have the new board members created in your school?

With all the tough talk I really expected more in the first year!


Melissa Westbrook said...

Disenchanted, the district is like a tanker; you don't just turn the wheel and it changes course.

I see positive change happening, largely because of the new Board majority and the presence of Deputy Superintendent Steve Nielsen.

To note, it has not even been a year since the new Board members have come on; it's been six months.

I wish they had been able to fend off Nyland's extra year on his contract but that happened before they came on.

StringCheese said...

I just want to put a spotlight on another amazing ed blog written by Dr. Julian Vasquez Heilig out of California State University, Sacramento. I had the great pleasure of hearing him speak on several panels during this years American Educational Research Association's annual meeting in D.C. There are links to scores of thought-provoking studies and articles. I suggest adding it to your daily ed blog reading list!

Anonymous said...

The school year dear runs from September to June, minus three months it's basically 2/3s of a full school year. Yes your right, SPS is like a tanker (very overused excuse)and my guess is the new board is the new autopilot.

It's funny how bureaucrats and their supporters defend the lack of meaningful change velocity, but kids are only in elementary school for a short period of time and failures there have a knock-on effect that can have serious consensuses in high school.

I've seen nothing from SPS to assure parents that the numerous issues plaguing SPS are being actively corrected or even targeted for later intervention.

I see mostly the same staffers plowing along and only 2 weeks left in the SCHOOL year.

I will ask you to identify each of the positive changes and the school, please if you will.


Po3 said...

Later start times for middle and high school!

mirmac1 said...

Let's see:

Greater transparency, no embargo on Friday Memos for a week, mandate to staff to provide the annual reports required by policy

Greater scrutiny of initiatives and decisions (Disenchanted should attend a few committee meetings)

Resolving to work towards an alternative assessment framework, as allowed by the ESSA

Greater responsiveness to community concerns (e.g. EEU, Middle College)

Greater oversight over school, sites and program placement (except for special education, regrettably)

An enlightened approach to district practice re: use of restraints and isolation

Diligence with respect to policy formulation (no more cut and paste from WSSDA)

Ensuring that October staffing adjustments impact students less dramatically

Ensuring that any further expansion of City preschools protects the rights of children and district funds

Planning a retreat to more fully examine district's community and family engagement

Many more... But primarily placing students first in this district, as it should be.

Outsider said...

What exactly is "community and family engagement"? From my experience, teachers and principals work very hard to fend off parental input regarding their own children. Stonewalling Parents 101 is a required course in ed school, as I heard. They "communicate" as much fluff and buzzwords as you can stand, but you would need a waterboard to get any concrete information about what is going on in the classroom.

My guess is, "community engagement" means giving activists and pressure groups a say in school policy while parents have none; and "family engagement" means more fluffy speeches by the principal. Am I missing something? I would love to hear what this actually means.

Anonymous said...

Here's a comment that's included in a thread on the HCC blog related to the idea of switching SPS high schools to a 3x5 schedule, supposedly to account for students who may fail classes and may therefore not meet the new 24-credit graduation requirement (newly mandated by the state, but without any funding).

"Director Burke responded to my lengthy email and said they will be discussing the 3x5 schedule at the board work session this Wednesday, June 8, from 4:30 - 6:00 PM. Now is the time to write the board and voice your concerns. Also consider attending the work session."

Just sharing this so that everyone who opposes this plan knows to contact the board BEFORE next Wednesday to speak out against it. IMO, 3x5 would be disastrous for our high schools.

If you're just catching up on this proposal, check out Melissa's previous post, as well as the many dozens of excellent reader comments:

-Seattle parent

Leslie said...

Disappointed & Oustsider:

I'm sorry you are in fact, distressed.

Disappointed, would very much like to buy you a cup of coffee or have you correspond with me or my colleagues on what exactly you think we should be doing, doing differently, and how in the confines of our overmandated underfunded district we can do things differently? Pls. be specific, please add pricetags and source of funding and sustainability. Please Email me at

Mirmac / Melissa - thank you for your feedback.

Outsider - please come to the Retreat tomorrow - note that it is a FIRST Step - Board/Staff work to design the model and then we engage the community on community engagement - Part two. We have a new Chief Engagement Officer, Carri Campbell, who is most impressive and has a background in working with SPS and our CBOs Community Based Organizations) and non-profits. The purpose and reasoning to bring this forth is to address some of the issues you raise (though I do not necessarily agree with).


Leslie Harris
District No. 6
Ex. Comm., Audit & Finance

Anonymous said...

The State Supreme Court needs to threaten jailing legislators if they do not comply with the Court's decision on McCleary.

The fine means nothing, it's a farce in which all three branches are complicate.

We need an income tax, but even the judges are scared by the anti-taxers.


Anonymous said...

Kids these days report: How to make change

A coalition of Los Angeles high school students and grassroots organizers
just accomplished the unthinkable. After nearly two years of sit-ins and
protests, they forced the police department for the second-largest public
school district in the United States to remove grenade launchers, M-16
rifles, a mine-resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicle and other military-
grade weaponry from its arsenal.

But the coalition did not stop there. Members took over a Los Angeles
Unified School District (LAUSD) board meeting in February to call for proof
that the arms had been returned to the Department of Defense -- a demand
they eventually won in the form of an itemized invoice for every weapon
sent back to the DoD. (more)


Anonymous said...

And more on resistance and the charter wars:

A forum was held in Oakland on "common enrollment", charters, privatization
and racism in the education system. (more)


Anonymous said...


It depends on the school. I have been in schools where teachers & staff immediately answer emails, attend evening meetings, and even organize food to try to tempt parents to come to conversations with them outside of school hours.

-HS Parent

Watching said...

Adding on to Mirimac...the board also worked to save EEU.

We have an excellent and responsive board. I've also found this board to be very courageous. Director Peters and Director Burke put forth a resolution to inform the state of SBAC shortcomings; they stood up and let the state know they weren't happy with an expensive test that wasn't producing timely results. The resolution was supported by Harris, Pinkham and Patu. They also decided to begin questioning the SBAC/ 95% compliance issue. These are the first important steps to change and meaningful conversation. I've not seen any other district have the courage to stand-up to the feds and state.

I'm grateful.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Outsider, go to the Retreat and find out.

Anonymous said...

Thank you director Harris for your response,

I believe you're trying to make a difference in your district. I remember you were especially critical of the past SPS board and promised change. Where you able to convince the majority of the board the need for change? And will we see any positive changes in our classrooms anytime soon?

My original question was, what has improved in schools for the 15-16 school year.

I can tell you I know of numerous issues in special education resulting in law suits and OCR investigations, BTW the findings were against the district. There continues to be a parade of settlements, but only after the students and parents and teachers suffer. I see no evidence of the board working proactively with the Office of civil rights. So I will ask, is the board working proactively to eliminate special educational related law suit and if so how?

Do you or other directors provide any form of oversight to how the district handles IDEA or ADA complaints/violations? Is the board remotely interested in curtailing the steady stream of law suits?

If so, then perhaps the board should investigate the special education legal round table and in particular the SPS documents detailing instructions how SPS conducts settlements and how to avoid using private placement provisions in settlements and how SPS legal dictates IEPs.


Anonymous said...

maybe someone can be accountable to get that gosh awful website fixed. it is such an embarrassment - looks like something created 15-20 years ago. look at any other district k-12 website as a comparison of what CAN be done and what we have not done. Shameful! and a poor reflection of the district.


No 3x5 said...

Thanks for posting that Seattle Parent. As I was reading through this thread I was going to mention my experience with Director Burke but you beat me to it! I was really impressed with his quick response to my lengthy email, and the fact that it was clear he had read it all the way through. One thing I didn't mention earlier was that he then followed up to ask me more questions about our family's plans and wishes for high school. In 7 years of being an SPS family, I've never had a director who actually valued my opinion enough to reach out and ASK me personally for it. That says something. Thanks to Director Harris too, for following this discussion and posting above.

Melissa Westbrook said...

One, there is a survey right now by the district about the website. I've posted it several times.

Two, Disappointed, Miramac gave you a list of things accomplished since the new Board majority has been elected. It seems that you are being specific about what you are looking for, namely, Sped. I would leave that to the directors to answer but I know they are aware of the issues.

Josh Hayes said...

Melissa, thank you for the George Wood piece. I'm kind of old to be starting in the classroom (I'm 55), and a lot of my pals from back in high school say things like, "It must be interesting teaching these days - kids are so DIFFERENT from the way we were," and I always have to tell them, no. They're exactly the same in most of the salient details.

Sure, the props have changed, the phones in particular are a force, but the way kids are, the way they interact, the way they feel and grow and struggle, it's all much the same as it was. Why would anyone expect it to be different? We're all human animals, and the species hasn't changed much in the last few decades. What stuck with me then was the teachers who treated students like people. I try to do the same thing, to understand their lives and treat them with respect, and warmth, and concern. It's amazing how much kids hunger for that sort of regard, that kindness. I suspect it doesn't stop when people stop being kids, either.

As for this district, I am cautiously optimistic. I think things are improving, but as Melissa says, this is a VERY LARGE vessel we're trying to turn here. It takes time and constant application of force (Newton's First Law, everybody!). Keep the faith, everybody.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Thanks, Josh.

1) We're all in this together.
2) Kids need to know that multiple adults in their lives are in their corner.

Anonymous said...

A retreat to discuss community engagement. That's it?


mirmac1 said...

The Board is aware of Sped issues because I keep raising it with them. Personally, I would like to see more responsiveness from some of the directors to the issues I raise. Of all of them, Leslie Harris is the most attentive and proactive. Would love to see Rick Burke, Sue Peters, and Scott Pinkham become more engaged with this. I obs

mirmac1 said...

I observe Staff continuing business as usual: complaining about cost, those parents, OSPI and OCR complaints etc

mirmac1 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Melissa, Could you post the link to the original quote from George Wood? I would like to learn more and cite it.

Thanks, NP

Melissa Westbrook said...

NP, sorry, I thought I had. It's there now.

Benjamin Leis said...

Realistically the district is big and complicated. If a few board directors spearhead one issue and the rest support them on the critical votes I'm happy.

mirmac1 said...

District is contemplating use of the "ThoughtExchange" web platform. Google it.

Anonymous said...

"Realistically the district is big and complicated" SPS is not big by national standards, it's medium size and on has one of the smallest footprints of any major city.

The complicated part is it's own fault. With a annual budget of ONE BILLION DOLLARS and only 52,000 students, there is no excuse for its mediocre performance.

SPED Parent

Anonymous said...

This district would be better off using

SPED Parent

mirmac1 said...

The Deliverables for today's Community Engagement discussion are:

Guiding principals for authentic community engagement
Draft community engagement model
Process to guide engagement level

Anonymous said...

So what was the end result of the Teacher's strike as we end this school year?

What did it accomplish exactly?

- Just Curious

Carol Simmons said...

Many were hoping that the SPS Data Profile would be resumed by now, that Indian Heritage School would be restored, that Middle College at High Point would be re opened, that the Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook would have been reviewed by community members who requested doing that, that a moratorium for out of school suspensions for non-violent offenses would be placed on all grade levels, and that the Disproportionality Task Force's recommendations would have been adopted and implemented in the schools by now.

Director Patu made an impassioned speech for Alternative Education and Programs including cultural learning styles...hopefully, the Board heard it. Also, what does it take to resolve the Special Education issues?? Why haven't we done this?

Perhaps all of these concerns and requests (that have been made since 1978) were resolved (not just discussed) at the Retreat today.

Amy Hagopian said...

Another option the court could use to enforce its McCleary decision is to place legislators under House (and Senate) arrest. No leaving their homes except to go to work on figuring out the (not very complicated) problem of funding schools properly. No restaurants, bars, movies, birthday parties, day jobs, etc. Just get the job done or stay home. Ankle bracelets to enforce it.

mirmac1 said...

I see that the current Goal 1 is "business as usual" (i.e. test, test and more testing). The elements for PBIS and RULER, currently in Goal 1, belong more elsewhere because they address the "whole child" - not scores.

Board directors, via discussion, saw that the draft Goal 3 (SPED) should encompass multitude different learning styles (HC, ELL, ALE, STEM CTE etc). While I would surely go to the mat re: SpEd, I can see how the newly-formulated Goal 9 can work towards reforming the exclusionary and rigid structure with which the District treats our kids with disabilities and those students with different learning styles/needs. I'm good with that.

Here's where I will offer up my personal perspective. The way draft Goal 2 is formulated, it is primarily around race and cultural competency. I see the new "9" as addressing different learners and what SPS can offer them. I believe the groups
consensus re: Goals was: 1 (regrettably), 2, and 9. Lovin' 2 and 9!

We have some amazing directors who take their roles VERY seriously and I am so happy to have witnessed this!

mirmac1 said...

Carole, we got this!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps I'm in the minority, but I don't consider the bell times changes an improvement. On a side note, EdWeek has an article about a newly opened Denver high school that tried several "innovative" approaches, one of which was a later start time, but has since scaled back and, guess what? They are changing their start time to 7:45, from this year's 8:45 start.

-early riser

Anonymous said...

I read the article @earlyriser, but it doesn't say that the later start for the high school was a problem for them. It is saying the lack of planning by their district caused them to revert to previous practices.

I think the later start is great for teens needing more sleep. I just wish our district could accommodate a reasonable start time for all the elementary schools, like around 8:30 am.


Carol Simmons said...

Hi Amy,

and another option would be not to open schools until the Legislature does what the Legislature has been charged to do..........Yes, this would temporarily "hurt" the students....but not as severely as our students are currently being "hurt." SEA and the District and the Parents and the Students and the Community could make this happen.

Anonymous said...

As a lawyer, I know that the WA Supreme Court can do, or at least try to do, whatever it wants in terms of enforcing its order. I also know that the Court will nonetheless be extremely reluctant to pursue most of the remedies I've seen proposed. Closing schools would be contrary to the idea that schools are the State's highest duty. The monetary sanctions imposed so far are squarely within the Court's power, but most other options will seem like an overreach because they get into specifics about exactly what is funded and/or how it is funded. The Court will want to avoid intruding on the legislature's role of deciding how to raise and spend state funds. The Court will worry about the separation of powers and also what happens next if the legislature just continues to ignore them. No matter how strongly the Court feels about this issue, the legislature's defiance puts the Court in a bind. The Court does not have an army or police force to use to enforce its dictates, so ultimately, it depends on its own legitimacy and persuasive power. As a result, I believe the Court will be very careful to ensure it is on solid legal footing when it takes its next step. To my mind, option 2 in the photo above is the most legally sound but only the general idea, not the red commentary listing specifics. The Court is enforcing the Constitutional provision that establishes schools as the State's paramount duty. The Court cannot direct the State to cut specific programs or legislative salaries because that intrudes into the province of the legislature. The Court can, however, order the State to stop funding everything else until schools are adequately funded because that follows directly from the Constitutional requirement that schools come first. Don't close the schools. Close everything else.

--Legal Perspective

Anonymous said...

Kansas has the same beef, except the governor and legislative republicans are being extremely aggressive in fighting the Court, with Gov. Brownback being urged to pardon members if they are held in contempt. Good editorial from the Topeka Capital Journal.

My question to Legal Perspective; would Gov Inslee comply and shut down the ferries and Child Protective Services and the blueberry commission if ordered by the Court?

The editorial above illustrates what the Court may be trying to avoid.


Melissa Westbrook said...

I would echo that closing down schools by the Supreme Court probably would backfire in the court of public opinion (even though, like a teachers strike, it could be highly effective in getting funding done.)

Here's the thing - it's not like legislators on both sides having been talking behind closed doors within their own party already. They have their lines in the sand but hey, it's just sand.

If the legislature were pushed hard, they could get this done in days.

Push on,Supreme Court.

Anonymous said...

I vote for locking all the legislators up in a room with water, bread, one bathroom, and no internet or cellphone access. They won't be let out until they fully fund PUBLIC schools. Not charter schools, and not by some sleight of hand that robs Peter to pay Paul. New revenue, no gimmicks.


Anonymous said...

@DR, I don't have any expertise that would allow me to predict how the governor or legislature would respond to a shutdown order. I suspect, however, that they would respond in the same manner as with a government shutdown for budgetary reasons, i.e., only essential services would continue to be funded. The Court might specifically allow for this in its order, reasoning that the entire budget needn't go to schools, so there is room to fund other essential services. They could just order that nothing other than those services could be funded until the government adequately funded schools. If the Court were to issue such an order, I also suspect that they would make its order effective at a specific date in the future to allow time for legislators to fix the problem prior to a shutdown.

--Legal Perspective

Anonymous said...


- Simple Logic

Anonymous said...

Thanks Melissa for adding the link to the George Wood piece. Even better in full version!

z said...

mirmac1 said: District is contemplating use of the "ThoughtExchange" web platform. Google it.


For staff? Teachers? Board Directors? Families/communities? Please tell us more.

Watching said...

I've not read this entire thread, but I hope those pushing for the court to impose greater sanctions on the state are VERY careful. Seattle has A LOT to loose. The district is in the midst of preparing for a $70M-$80M shortfall. With the exception of a sales tax, I think Seattle has a good chance of loosing in the "funding" of education scheme.

Issues related to Levy Swaps and Levy Reform should be considered.

Anonymous said...

So I see no one answered what was the end result of the Teacher's Strike? Good to know

- Just Curious

seattle citizen said...

Just Curious - "Good to know" no one answered about the strike? If you want to say something, just say it. Use your words. What exactly is bothering you?

From my perspective, what was gained was
a) a rallying of the community (parents, citizens, students) around teachers and the creation of at least one potentially effective parent/citizen support group;
b) recognition that educators have some insight as to best practices, with the issue of recess time;
c) a relatively fair raise, long-awaited...
d) increased cohesion and connection between educators; a reinvigoration of educator efficacy vis-à-vis the "reformers" and THEIR agenda.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Thank you, Seattle Citizen.

We seem to be getting a spate of readers who seem upset if their questions aren't answered and/or their comment gets no response. Sometimes that will happen; no one here is obliged to answer anything. A non-response doesn't mean someone doesn't have an answer or doesn't care; there's a number of reasons they might not respond.

I absolutely think the teachers strike rallied the community, lead to the creation of Soup of Teachers (a great parent advocacy group), lead to discussion of recess time (something of great benefit to students) and yes, a raise.

Anonymous said...

"High school girls in Alaska are crying foul after a male sprinter took home all-state honors in girls’ track and field. According to local reports, it was the first time in Alaskan history that a male athlete competed in the girls’ state championships.

Haines senior Nattaphon Wangyot–who self-identifies as a girl–advanced to the state finals in the 100-meter and 200-meter events. He won fifth place in the 100-meter dash and third place in the 200-meter. In both events, he competed against girls as young as ninth grade."

Title IX issues?


TwentyFiveFifty said...

NE Parent-
Complete Title IX issues. Beyond that it's a clear issue on how in certain sports being a certain gender can be a 100% advantage. What's next? Identify-as-female golfers tearing up the LPGA? Rowing? Soccer? Etc. Especially since the article stated that Alaska doesn't require hormone therapy before they can sign up for a sport. Riiiight.

seattle citizen said...

Too bad the story is brought to us via this tabloid, the Daily Caller, but an interesting and important issue, nonetheless. Certainly a topic the feds will have to address in discussions and policy around Title IX.
It's unfortunate that we get it through a tabloid because it immediately portrays it as a "shocking" thing, a "terrible" situation where boys are trying to rip off girls, when, in fact, it appears this girl does, yes, identify as a girl and wants to compete with girls....the Daily Caller trivializes the issue, and even insists on calling her "him" and "he" when the person evidently identifies as "she."

Relevant points of discussion:
1) if a person self-identifies as a girl, that is certainly their right, whether they have boy bits or girl bits;
2) it's true that, as a generality, those people born boys are typically more muscular and have denser bones, among other "advantages" in physicality;
3) that difference could impact competition;
4) for generations, "boys" and "girls" have been separated in many, if not most sports, sometimes for no apparent reason.
5) women have proven that they can do most things, physically, that men can do...

Maybe in many sports we need to do away with the boy/girl split. Golf, for instance - maybe a longer drive for guys? but really, isn't it about precision, not power? Soccer? Aren't boys and girls equally capable? Baseball? Basketball?
Some sports might require a split, for equity's sake, but many don't.

Once you have a split, yes: Title IX issues - is it unfair for someone born a boy to compete as a girl? maybe so. But if that person identifies as a girl, Title IX would, apparently, protect her rights as a girl, as well....Interesting quandary. I'm glad I'm not a judge in that case. But I'm so glad these discussions and decisions are coming up: more and more people are more and more free, and that's a GOOD thing!

Melissa Westbrook said...

SC brings up some good points but I think for many sports the issue is strength which is where biological boys have more ability.

Again, a brave new world and yes, I can see Title IX issues.

And to the person who was crude to SC - go away and stay away. You are not welcome here.

Charlie Mas said...

@Just Curious, another result of the teacher strike was assurances of 30 minutes of recess for elementary students.

Funny, but I don't think that you are just curious. I think that you're trying to make a point, but you're doing it cryptically.

mirmac1 said...

Seattle Citizen
I want to know what the 17% increase in costs (versus 5% reduction in sped enrollment) brings our students. If not this first year of the CBA, then the next few years. Because I'm hearing the usual whinging about the costs for sped. Yet there's no indication of actual improvement plans.

mirmac1 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Why are special Ed costs increasing? This is simple. 3 reasons: 1. Failure to embrace inclusion. 2. Out of control administration. 3. Robbing funds.

1. Even though the district has opened Access programs, it is filling them up with students who have minimal or no disability. Previously, inclusion programs were for students with significant disability. Now, this most expensive program, Access, is for students who are the least disabled. The explosion of growth is in another expensive program, Focus or SM2, a maximum restrictive environment. So, by filling all the Access slots with students who are simply "odd", they actually fail to provide inclusion services to students who would be excluded, and they drive costs way up. Access is very expensive with 3 IA's. It needs to be reserved for students who need that level of support and who need this to "access" general education. Eg. They would otherwise be excluded in self contained.

2. Explosive administrative costs. This needs no explanation. With a truckload of new consulting teachers - they don't consult, they simply wait around to become really expensive supervisors, which takes about a year, they drive up costs.

3. Robbing special Ed funds. Using special Ed funds to to teach general Ed students. This happens everywhere. Special Ed teachers teach actual gen Ed classes, the robbery is blatant. IAs are used for every duty under the sun - bus duty, recess duty, hall monitor, lunchroom. That means they aren't providing special Ed service, and more special Ed funds are needed to do that. The provision of special Ed funding for seats in general Ed seemed like a good idea - but expensive. This is only a good use of funds, if it means special Ed students get their rightful inclusion. They don't.

There you have it. The obvious reasons that special Ed costs are increasing. All avoidable with oversight. Where is the director?


Anonymous said...

So 30 mins of recess was it. Wow well good to know

Not cryptic just amused. Snide might be more appropriate

Don't read more into something that doesn't exist dude.

- Just Curious

seattle citizen said...

There WAS more to it, you just didn't say it. You feel that recess time was the only gain and you feel that that is not worth it. You could have just said that, but you didn't; I had to tease it out of you because you were cryptic. You MEANT to insult (with your "amusement") teachers and the union, suggesting they wasted a week, but you couldn't get the words out.

Just say what you think, JC, no need to set up an elaborate verbal puzzle to tease us.

Why you think recess was the only gain when I listed at least three others is beyond me, but to each their own....


Melissa Westbrook said...

Just Curious, there were more items listed about the strike but you, dude, are choosing to ignore them. Don't ask a question and then ignore the answer; it wastes people's time. Definitely moving on.

Speddie, those are some big claims (including kids in Sped classification that have no disability - how would you know that?) And how could Access be the most "expensive" program - is that size?

If you can document all this, you should and take it to the Board.

Anonymous said...

Hey I just was curious. My kids don't go to Seattle Public Schools and if the most of the strike was 30 mins of recess and some wage increases great.. as for the cohesion and all that, that is not measurable and just another layer to the Seattle "process" so I have to take your word for it that those are good things.

Wow must be grads of SPS to think this is more than snark.

- Just Curious

seattle citizen said...

Just Curious, I'm with Melissa: You're just wasting people's time with your trolling snark. Good luck with that; I'm done bothering to respond to your immature inanities.

Anonymous said...

Spoken like a true Seattle Citizen, the scold and then stomp off!

Man I love this system of the Seattle Process.. you either are with us, repeat the talking points and if you don't you are a meanie genie. Yes I am the immature one totally like for sure.

Ah diversity means what in Seattle, just the color issue, opinions not so much.

Thanks for playing kids

- Just Curious

Anonymous said...

Melissa - I prefer not to disclose "How do you know ...". Let's look at the direct evidence Mirmac has provided in another thread, which show a clear pattern of enrollment. First of all, all types of special education beyond resource room - is expensive. Access is staffed with 3 IAs and a teacher for 10 kids. The other non-resource room programs are similarly expensive - 3 adults for a handful of students. Expensive. Access has 4 adults. Most expensive. It is not grossly out of line, but still quite costly.

Students in self-contained (intensive services) used make up about 30% of special ed enrollment. (you can verify with 2007 audit) Now they comprise 40% of enrollment, a 33% increase. That is indeed a huge increase in costs - shifting resource students - to more expensive programs. That means the growth of expensive special education - has come from students formerly served in the resource room. About half of those students in expensive programs - used to be in "autism inclusion programs", or about 10-15% of the students with disabilities. Now about 20% of the total "expensive", or 8% of the total kids in special ed are now in Access. But that is almost the exact reduction in the resource room. Perhaps I overstate the case: "not disabled", but the evidence clearly shows "not developmentally disabled", or disabled with significant disabilities. Access was supposed to be for students who had no access to general education, not just extra services for students in resource rooms. We also see a whole new program that is huge: Focus. That is a self-contained program, and relatively expensive. We didn't have that before. SPS used have SM2, which was similar - but very few students were enrolled. Bottom line - if you want to know where the costs are - look no further.


Ramona H said...

Check out Ann Ishimura, researcher at UW. Really interesting work on what engagement is, could be, and why it is important in the context of equity and working with diverse students.

Ramona H said...

Correction! Ann Ishimaru for information on family engagement and equity.

Ramona H said...

On funding for 24 credits, it is not correct to say there is no additional state funding.

The state adjusted its model to pay for 1080 hours of instructional time in grades 9-12 (80 extra hours). The state also budgeted for more hs counselors and funded to support additional science lab requirements. (All this is in the state operations budget, if you're curious.)

BUT ... that funding is based on the state's salary allocation model. Locally, teachers negotiate tri pay as a raise. State funding does not cover tri pay, or any other salary/benefit modifcations negotiated locally. So that gap in funding remains.

Lynn said...

Is 240 extra instructional hours over four years enough time to earn three additional credits? I don't think the state can realistically claim they've funded the increased credit requirement.