Monday, July 25, 2016

This and That

The Issaquah School Board voted to use eminent domain to acquire property for school use.  From The Issaquah Press:
The Issaquah School Board voted unanimously Wednesday night to use eminent domain to acquire the 40-acre Providence Heights College property as a site for a new high school and a new elementary school.

A majority of the speakers pleaded with the board to repurpose the existing buildings. The Washington Trust for Historic Preservation included the campus on its 2016 list of the state’s seven most-endangered historic properties.

State law permits school districts to use eminent domain to acquire private property as sites for schools. If a district and a landowner cannot agree on compensation, the matter goes to superior court. Stiffarm said the process, if it requires a trial, can take at least a year. 
Interesting article from the Bellingham Herald about how many Democratic legislators are now running for open statewide seats (like state superintendent, lieutenant governor, etc.) 

Eight Democratic lawmakers and nine total legislators are aiming for positions in statewide office or Congress. It’s a miniexodus from the statehouse that some say shows Democratic strength in statewide races in a year when five statewide offices have no incumbent. Others argue it demonstrates Democrats are hoping to land cushy jobs and avoid battling on education funding when they might be the minority party in the House and Senate.
A good gathering of news stories at NPR on music and the brain.

On the other hand, maybe too much of what we hear is noise.  This story from the Washington Post.
In his book “The Unwanted Sound of Everything We Want,” Garret Keizer writes: “Noise is not the most important problem in the world. Compared to the disasters of famine, war, and global climate change, the existence of ‘unwanted sound’ hardly counts as a problem at all.”

Keizer, whose book could be read as a call to arms for quieting our far too noisy world, would surely be gratified to learn that science is finally understanding the impact that noise has on what he calls “the weakest of us” — “a set of members whose only common features are their humanity and their lack of clout. [This] list will include children (some of whom, according to the World Health Organization, receive more noise at school than workers from an eight-hour work day at a factory).”
Does it matter if a kid can tell time from an analog watch?  Something akin to wondering if kids need to know how to do basic calculation without a calculator or if they need cursive writing.  From Raising Austin, other ideas on what kids may need to know.
A recent survey conducted by leading online watch retailer, has revealed that 75% of children across the U.S. are unable to tell time on an analog clock. In a mission to raise awareness of this issue, the watch retailer teamed up with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America to put on ‘Time Telling Workshops’ throughout the country, and has now designed the ‘Easy Time Teller’ - a custom self-learning watch to better facilitate the learning process.
A thoughtful article from The Atlantic, "Students' Broken Moral Compasses
As my students seemed to crave more meaningful discussions and instruction relating to character, morality, and ethics, it struck me how invisible these issues have become in many schools. By omission, are U.S. schools teaching their students that character, morality, and ethics aren’t important in becoming productive, successful citizens?
The founders of this country, Jessica Lahey wrote in The Atlantic, would “likely be horrified by the loss of this goal, as they all cite character education as the way to create an educated and virtuous citizenry.” According to Gallup polling, Lahey added, 90 percent of adults support the teaching in public schools of honesty, acceptance of others, and moral courage, among other character traits.
From Education News, elementary teacher training in "deep content knowledge,"
 The report, “Not So Elementary: Primary School Teacher Quality in Top-Performing Systems,” suggests that gaining a strong foundation in the core subjects at an early age increases the opportunity available to students achieve at higher levels throughout their school years.  Findings show that teacher preparation in countries such as Finland, Japan, Shanghai, and Hong Kong ensure that participants have a deep understanding of the content they are going to be teaching in elementary schools in addition to how their students best learn and understand the content, which the authors say are two of the key components of highly effective teaching.
In case you missed it, there have been huge teacher demonstrations in Mexico City since May over teacher unhappiness with new federal education reforms.  From the LA Times:
Teachers enraged at federal education reforms have occupied the plaza since May, stranding thousands of pupils and transforming one of Mexico’s most alluring public spaces into something resembling a ramshackle refugee camp.  

On June 19, eight people were killed and more than 100 injured when Mexican police opened fire in a botched effort to dismantle the barricade at Nochixtlan.
Should teachers be spies on their students for the feds?  From the ACLU:
Are these the tell-tale signs of kids at risk of committing violence: An 8-year-old who wore a t-shirt saying he wanted to be like a seventh-century Muslim leader? A 17-year-old who sought to draw attention to the water shortage in Gaza by handing out leaflets? A 4-year-old who drew a picture of his dad slicing a vegetable?

Teachers and school officials in the United Kingdom thought so, and they referred these children for investigation as potential terrorists. They were interrogated by U.K. law enforcement. They’re likely subject to ongoing monitoring, with details of their childhoods maintained in secret government files potentially indefinitely.
While there’s no similar government-imposed duty on American schools, U.S. CVE initiatives are based on the Prevent model. Due to this, a core component of the U.S. CVE plan tasks teachers, social workers, and school administrators with monitoring and reporting to law enforcement on children in their care. 

Read more here:


Anonymous said...

Regarding the analog clock thing...

You want to know how/when/why I was finally forced to learn to tell time on an analog clock?

My elementary school had analog clocks in the classroom. We covered "telling time" in a couple of first or second grade lessons, and using the clock in the room every day made the concepts sink in.

Interesting to note that Seattle Schools specs digital clocks in all new / remodeled classrooms. So, what's the point?

Telling time

Anonymous said...

"I had a good talk today with Wyeth Jessee (and I hope to do a write-up at my blog in the next 24 hours.)" - MW

Still waiting for this update.


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

Robert, I promise tomorrow.

I think when we have a major event (earthquake, blackout, etc.) knowing how to read a clock and read a map could be useful skills. Do I think school needs to teach it? Maybe not.

As for that last comment, whoever you are, don't come back. Do not post anything like that again; we are not that kind of blog.

Anonymous said...

If nothing else, I think it's important to understand the concept of clockwise/counterclockwise. -TeacherMom

seattle citizen said...

If you become a tail gunner on a B-17, it's helpful to know what "109s at 3:00 means!

n said...

I had that conversation with my classroom parents and the consensus was that teaching analog served to support understanding of the time and seasons and how the planet works. We agreed it supports a sense of time passing in a mathematical and scientific way. Digital clocks are numbers only without much context.

But,I know many kids do forget by middle school because they've come back and told me. All digital all the time - who needs it? So, I'm on the fence. Perhaps we should all go to military least that would provide a better sense of a twenty-four hour time lapse.

Anonymous said...

I like telling time because in the US we start the concept of multiplication comparatively very late. With time telling you at least are counting by 5's, 15's. It's also a practical introduction to fractions, and as mentioned above there's clockwise and counterclockwise. These things could be taught separately, but it's a pretty handy way to get them all in.


Anonymous said...

Sleeper wrote: because in the US we start the concept of multiplication comparatively very late

What grade do we start it in SPS?


mirmac1 said...

Whenever I've raised the prospect of SPS' use of "eminent domain" for a real, emergent, crisis I get blank stares and pooh-poohs. WTH, if Sea-Tac can claim properties for ancillary buildings and support facilities - you'd think SPS could.