Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Tuesday Open Thread

Time again for the Gumshoe Walk in the Greenwood neighborhood.  What's that?
Now Gumshoe refers to the FUNdraising detective walk held every summer in Seattle's Phinney Ridge and Greenwood neighborhoods. Since the event began in 2006, it has raised over $43,000 for local non-profits. This year, all Gumshoe proceeds will be shared by the Greenwood Senior Center, Greenwood Elementary School PTA and Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church Food Bank.
This event runs from August 5-14th.

 Great story from NPR (via KPLU) about a one-on-one effort to save students in academic trouble. 
Unlike most programs that select high-scoring, promising young people, Thread chooses those who are most at risk: high school freshmen from Baltimore public schools who are struggling at school and who lack stability at home. The average GPA is 0.15. 

Those students are given five volunteers chosen from the community. Together they become a Thread Family. 

"So how does it work? The five volunteers act as a team. For example, one drives to the student's house to pick her up for school. A few hours later, another goes to the school to see if she's still there. If she's not, another volunteer goes back to the house to drive her back to school. 

Since 2004, Thread has worked with hundreds of students. So far, 92 percent have graduated from high school and 80 percent gone on to complete some form of higher education. 
I'd love to see this program get started here.

The Republican National Convention starts next week in Cleveland.  Here's the draft platform that includes education.  The Republicans have lumped many issues under one heading, Families, Great Schools and Safe Neighborhoods, and are asking supporters to pick the top three.  
  • College Affordability and Student Debt
  • Higher Education
  • K-12 Education
  • Poverty and Economic Mobility
  • Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform
  • School Choice
  • Substance Abuse
My response is "huh?"

On the opposite side is an op-ed from Arthur Camins, Director, Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education, Stevens Institute of Technology, The K-12 Education Speech We Need from Democrats. 
Almost all parents want the same thing for their children — an education that will prepare them well for life, work and citizenship. They want classrooms in which their children are known and valued. They want a well-rounded education that engages their children to stimulate and expand their interests, critical thinking, and imagination. They want well-prepared teachers who continue to grow in expertise, just like other professionals. They want high-quality neighborhood schools that remain open. They want a say in the governance of schools in their communities.

This is a shared dream that cuts across the racial, religious, socio-economic and geographic differences that too often divide us. The past several decades have moved us away from, not toward this dream. It is time for move forward again. Here is what we need to do.
In a fairly provocative op-ed, conservative George Will, takes the discussion around public education to the role of families.
Enter Coleman, and the colleagues he directed, to puncture complacency with the dagger of evidence — data from more than 3,000 schools and 600,000 primary and secondary school students. His report vindicated the axiom that social science cannot tell us what to do, it can tell us the results of what we are doing. He found that the best predictor of a school’s outcomes is the quality of the children’s families. And students’ achievements are influenced by the social capital (habits, mores, educational ambitions) their classmates bring to school.
I will probably reference this op-ed in a separate thread about the reshaping of public education that I see happened (ed reformers have apparently regrouped.)  

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said...

I find it amazing that you consider George Will's column "provocative". His points are blindingly obvious.

Discussions on this blog tend revolve around what type of band aid to put on problems that are seen in schools, while the root cause - the ongoing collapse of the American family - is almost taboo.

Common Sense

Melissa Westbrook said...

Common Sense, I used the word "provocative" precisely because talking about is usually off the table. It is usually considered criticizing parents and,as a parent, that's one thing I learned you cannot do.

But I believe that some in ed reform - even in this city - believe it is a problem but rather than talking about how we can help, are trying to do an end-run around some parents (without acknowledging that's what they are doing.)

Charlie Mas said...

Common Sense, it may be that people don't talk much about "the ongoing collapse of the American family" because they don't know what they can do about it.

What solutions can you offer?

Anonymous said...

Are MAP scores from Spring supposed to be on the Source?


Outsider said...

Criticizing parents is off the table?? Well, maybe with some parents, but criticizing "privileged" parents is common, orthodox, and almost mandatory to prove your PC bona fides. Wasn't everyone talking at length about a certain teacher at Garfield HS just last week?

"He found that the best predictor of a school’s outcomes is the quality of the children’s families. And students' achievements are influenced by the social capital (habits, mores, educational ambitions) their classmates bring to school." That quote from George Will is a good synopsis of the core and nearly only belief of SPS and all PC education theory. OK, one minor detail -- strike the word "quality" and insert "privilege" to align with acceptable PC language. But otherwise, doesn't that exactly sum up equity and "honors for all"?

For any Seattlite who can stand more than 45 seconds outside your echo chamber (all three of you), this makes a good read:
Trigger warning: this guy thinks everything depends on religion. I am a godless humanist and certainly don't endorse any of that. But it's a good primer on what is agreed and what is debated in conservative thinking in the summer of '16.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Outsider, don't know if the teacher is a parent and we were not talking about her parenting.

Thanks for that link; important, stunning reading. I'm glad this guy wanted to write a book about it.

I think there is shared blame in all directions for the state of our country. We all need to go look in the mirror.

But it's easier to blame someone else.

I will say that declaring that corporations are people was maybe the last step off the pier. We assigned life and morality and judgment and power to corporations.

Charlie Mas said...

I will believe that corporations are people when Texas executes one.

Anonymous said...

Responding to Charlie:

"Common Sense, it may be that people don't talk much about "the ongoing collapse of the American family" because they don't know what they can do about it"

The first thing we should do is to stop punishing parents for doing the right thing. People who raise their kids in two parent families that encourage hard work and achievement should be praised and considered role models, not labeled "privileged" and then ignored by educational leaders.

Common Sense