Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Tuesday Open Thread

The Times is reporting that John Muir Elementary's PTA is buying school supplies for all the children at that school this year.  They had taken a survey and parents said this was a big issue for them.  Buying in bulk allowed the cost to drop from $75 per child to $15 per child.
Across Washington state, schools are dropping their supply lists or trimming them down amid increasing costs of supplies — and an increasing number of families in need. 

The PTA also asked the John Muir teachers what they needed for their classrooms for the upcoming school year and then ordered all those supplies, too. 
The Times is also conducting its own annual drive for school supplies for low-income students.  Bravo to the Muir PTA for listening to its membership about how to spend that hard-earned fundraising pot of dollars. 

The state provides dollars for supplies but districts can use that money in many ways.  Some districts, including ours, use dollars for personnel like counselors or nurses.  That might be a good question for the next community meeting on the budget - where do those dollars go? 

The Haring Center announced that it will pilot a program with the City's pre-k program at the EEU. 
The EEU will be the only site in the 2016-17 school year to combine SPP with the state’s Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) and special education all in one classroom. This is considered a pilot program to determine the finer points of including children with special needs in the SPP model. Items to be explored in the pilot project include curriculum, class size, and evaluation, among others.
This is good to hear because one issue around the City's new program was that they were only providing half-day services to special needs children, not the 6-hour day that other children are provided.

Remember how Americans don't like Congress but like their own congressperson?  NPR reports that it seems to be the same for schools.  This according to two polls. 
 In the EdNext poll, Americans' opinions of their local public schools have risen considerably over the past decade. More than half — 55 percent — give the school in their community an "A" or "B" rating, compared with just 43 percent a decade ago.
However, public opinion of the nation's schools overall, as opposed to one's local school, is much lower: Just 25 percent would give an A or B grade to American schools as a whole.
 Other findings:
  • People like the idea of standards but say "Common Core" to them and they don't.
  •  In the Gallup poll, just 32 percent of Republicans approve of the nation's K-12 education system, while 53 percent of Democrats feel the same. Just two years ago, both were tied at 48 percent approval. Gallup authors suggest that Common Core rhetoric is part of the reason.
One charter supporter group has put out a bounty of sorts - $100,000 -  on John Oliver after his scathing review of charter schools last week.  From Curmudgucation:
Yesterday the Center for Education Reform, Jeanne Allen's pro-charter advocacy group, announced the "Hey John Oliver, Back Off My Charter School" video contest, in which your charter school can win $100,000 for creating a video that will show John Oliver "why making fun of charter schools is no laughing matter..."
Or as the contest website puts it:
Here is a brief summary of Mr. Oliver’s presentation: “Some charter schools have been mismanaged. Ergo, ipso facto, presto change-o, all charter schools are bad, bad, bad.”
That's a sloppy misreading of Oliver's piece, which actually bent over backwards to include the opposing views of charters. What Oliver pointed out is that the charter school business is an unregulated playground for folks who are far more interested in making money than educating students. But to refute that would be hard; better to fashion a John Oliver-shaped straw man that can be easily defeated. "He said that all charter schools are bad. Here's one that isn't. Boom!"
 And yet somehow there's $100,000 out there to toss at a contest from something a political comedian said.  

What's on your mind?

17 comments:

Po3 said...

" And yet somehow there's $100,000 out there to toss at a contest from something a political comedian said."

Wouldn't it be great if a film program from a public school took this on---and won!



Bus info said...

Can anyone tell me when I can expect a letter from transportation regarding my child's bus stop/route/time? There is nothing on the transportation page that links to this information. I read that SPS bus drivers have been out getting familiar with their routes. If this is so, I would think that they have the schedules worked out and that notifications should have been sent. I appreciate any insight anyone can give. This is the first time that we have lived outside a walk zone and have no clue as to the expected timeline. With only a week to go before school, I am beginning to worry. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

It's irritating they haven't sent letters yet. I'm trying to figure out carpooling and general scheduling. Someone probably sent the letters to highline school district families. :-/

Hit Ormiss

maje said...


A friend of mine says she was told bus letters were put in the mail yesterday.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Po3, you have to be a charter school to enter.

I'll try to find out about the transportation letters.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Thank you for that, Click Bait. It's just a person who pops up periodically from under their bridge because no one reads their blog.

Anonymous said...

I'm up in Bellingham and buying in bulk and supplying all students is one of the only smart things this district has undertaken lately. I'm pretty sure the supplies are still organized and distributed using volunteer labor so the only costs are for the actual goods and that cost is so much less than parents would spend individually, especially when you include the wasteful car trips to various stores to get everything needed.

Unlike other district initiatives like one-to-one tech, no fee athletics and calendar and start time manipulations, this one actually seems to help all kinds of kids and families and not just have the veneer of increasing equity or improving outcomes. It's just such a relatively low-cost expense and easily implemented with a benefit for everyone. Also, with this expenditure, unlike others, there's nothing like increased PD or transportation costs associated with it and it doesn't benefit just a subgroup of students such as the select few who have the aptitude, time or desire to participate in after school athletics. It's better for students, for families and for the planet.

If I'm remembering correctly, the way it started in our district was the PTA at my kids' elementary school collaborated with a few other elementary PTAs to buy supplies in bulk and the results were so well-received by staff and families that the district decided to take it over and expand it to all elementary schools. This was several years ago and the district has gradually transitioned to providing almost all needed supplies for kids at all grade levels, including high school. To me, it's a no-brainer.

-Buy in Bulk

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

CANCELLED: There will be no 9th grade parent orientation this Thursday. The school will reschedule it for the beginning of the school year. They plan to expand what is offered and be more inclusive of all 9th grade families. Please spread the word and remember to check the school website for updates.
2016 GHS

Anonymous said...

Garfield High School message above.
2016 GHS

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, school is starting soon. I find all this Garfield fussing around to be troubling. And what about kids who don't have internet access? This is yet another issue with "engagement" - the belief that all homes have computers and internet and all a school/district has to do is put it up there and they are done.

JLardizabal said...

Transportation letters were mailed Monday. You should have received today.

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

Great resignation letter (and blistering condemnation of Mayor Emmanuel Rahm) from the former principal of one of Chicago's top public schools. We don't have mismanagement on the Rahm scale (yet -- there are those working to foist mayoral control of schools on Seattle as well, since they have been unable to buy the School Board directors that they want) -- but it was heartening nonetheless; and I suspect there are many principals and teachers over past years who can identify with some of his sentiments. Chicago is lucky to have him. I have forgotten how to post live links (Sahila once explained it -- but years ago) so anyone wanting to read it will need to either copy and paste the link, or go to Diane Ravitch's site and link to it from there.

https://troylaraviere.net/2016/08/30/dear-mayor-emanuel-i-resign-my-position-as-principal-of-the-1-rated-neighborhood-school-in-chicago/

mirmac1 said...

We got our transportation letter today. Ironic because my student has not needed transportation for over two years.

Melissa, a correction on the EEU/SPP preschool story. First, it isn't the City that is offering inferior benefits of preschools to preschoolers with disabilities; it is the District. But, given that both agencies receive federal funds, they cannot maintain the separate and inequitable structure in place in SPS/SPP programs.

In my capacity on the District Preschool Task Force, I've approached the EEU to obtain specifics as to their contract and plans with the City. This is all public information but I am giving the EEU the opportunity to present the information to our group. I would hope that modeling a proven program will jumpstart the improvement of SPS SPP PreKs and elevate the quality and benefit of developmental Preks (those that remain after we've maximized access to typical peers and SPP programs). In my mind, there is no need to re-invent the wheel where there are successful, inclusive high-quality preschools around us. I hope the EEU will step forward to help the Task Force in this important work.

Anonymous said...

Girl standing up for wearing her hair natural.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/31/africa/south-africa-school-racism/

piano

Darlene Alderson said...

Schoology's adjusted my kid's userid to reflect the new school, but my parent account is left behind at the one the kidlet's just left.

Amazed we remember our passwords though, and miffed that we couldn't halt the empty daily updates Schoology automatically emailed during the summer.