Friday, November 18, 2016

Friday Open Thread

Community meeting with Director Pinkham tomorrow from 3:45 to 5:15 pm at the Northgate library.  To note, Director Pinkham said he was coming from a South Seattle event and may be late but "hang in there."  Director Harris was not able to find a library with space and said she may join him.


So now that Ben Carson and Eva Moskowitz have turned down the president-elect's offer to be Secretary of State  Education, who's next?  Word is it's Michelle Rhee.  It's hard to know how much worse she could be than Carson or Moskowitz but she probably would be.

Yesterday, I attended the Mayor's press conference at Garfield on his Education Summit Advisory committee's work.  I'll have a write-up about it but there isn't a whole lot to say because it's a lot of good intentions without committed dollars.   

There's Lego Hogwarts at the Pacific Science Center and the start of the newest Harry Potter movie franchise, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, has also started.

What's on your mind?


29 comments:

Anonymous said...

Melissa, you meant head of Department of Education not Secretary of State, right?

One hope to keep Rhee out of D.C. is her marriage to Kevin Johnson, ex NBAer and outgoing mayor of Sacramento. On the more left wing news sites there have been stories about child molestation claims against him. Whether true or not, he has chosen not to run again and have to believe a session in the spotlight with him in this climate is something Rhee would be wary of. Fingers crossed we don't have another round of Rhee on magazine covers. Not what public school students need.

EdVoter

Anonymous said...

Re-posting a question from another thread that I did not see get any response or answer.
I am curious about the context and justification for this.
-Mark

Anyone have more details on the option school class size issue they blindsided the board and parents with? After all of the work this year to lower class sizes, which has been great, did I really hear them say they are going up to contractual maximum (26, I believe) for option schools only next year?

- MemoReader 11/17/16, 8:08 AM

SPS Mom said...

I'm totally guessing here, but I'm guessing it's because of the language immersion option schools. New students can't join after 3rd grade, I think, unless the student is a native speaker in the target language, so if the class sizes are the lower ratios in K-2, then those same class sizes continue up through 5th grade. In this case, it makes sense, but for option schools where children can enter at any grade, it doesn't make sense. The higher ratios should only be for dual language option schools, in my opinion.

kellie said...

I concur with SPS Mom.

One of the challenges that Greenlake has faced has been a huge increase in K enrollment related to the lower class sized at JSIS and McDonald. Historically, those schools tried to overload K, often having 30 K students, so that there would be reasonable class cohort at 5th grade, because outgoing students are almost impossible to replace.

I suspect that enrollment took the request not reduce K-2 class size for Language Immersion to mean, not reduce K-2 for all option schools.

The board was very surprised by this as this information would have a direct impact on the boundaries changes. In other words, several of the staff proposed changes would become unnecessary with this change.

I'm very grateful this board maintained all of the elementary boundaries.

alicia said...

Melissa -- or anyone else at SPS -- Have you heard of any schools who opted out of the new start times this year. I swear I heard one school had received an exemption. I want to know more about that but am having a very difficult time finding the information.

Anonymous said...

Why is it so hard to get an answer to my question? How many slots will be open for HCC at Ingraham. All the community wants is an approximation to give us a sense of the odds of getting in. The longer Seattle schools refuses to give an answer the more I suspect they don't have a process or they have one that is so unfavorable to HCC kids that they don't want to give a straight answer. Is downtown going to point to Floe and Floe going to point to downtown in the usual Seattle schools passing of the hot potato?

When will we have an answer?

North of 85th

Melissa Westbrook said...

Alicia, I'll ask. I have not heard this.

North of 85th, I didn't go to the Operations meeting yesterday where the SAP was to be discussed. However there are upcoming community meetings and you should plan to attend one and get someone to answer your question.

Anonymous said...

North of 85th, based on what happened this year with incoming 9th graders and waitlists, I'd say the IHS principal was at the mercy of enrollment and was just as blindsided as parents by the sudden capping of IBX numbers. It was even more surprising given that many are opting into IBX from Roosevelt and Ballard - neighborhood schools which are over capacity already. HCC Students choosing IBX helps both Garfield and BHS/RHS. So why is the district wanting to limit enrollment?? I'd be asking if the district is planning on phasing out IB/IBX.

-tinfoil hat

Anonymous said...

Look for Larry Arnn to be chosen.

Larry Paul Arnn has served as the twelfth president of Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan, United States since May 2000. He is a political conservative who has been influenced by the thought of Leo Strauss and his teacher Harry V. Jaffa

Sanity finally

Richelle Dickerson said...

Update on situation at Emerson Elementary:

Kelly Aramaki sent a letter to families on Tuesday saying Principal Drake would return to the school on Monday, December 21. In anticipation of that, a community meeting was held at the school last night for parents and guardians to "share our questions and concerns, as well as our hopes and dreams for our children at Emerson Elementary." According to two parents I've spoken with who were there, the meeting was mediated by a person who introduced himself as having coached Principal Drake since June, which immediately put into question his appearance of impartiality. It was also attended and hijacked by Rita Green (NAACP), Several members of Ms. Drake's church, and Kevin Amos, the activist who has taken to social media and showed up at the school board meeting to harass and intimidate anyone who is questioning or disagreeing with Principal Drake. He was allowed to speak nearly first at the meeting, and then continued to try and grab the microphone when others were speaking.

According to one of the translators present to assist the large contingent of ESL and non-English speaking parents & guardians, they were all were intimidated into silence - and told the translator they wanted to speak but felt uncomfortable doing so.

This is so completely unacceptable. If an outside group came to a predominately white English-speaking school and hijacked a community meeting, it would not be tolerated by the community or SPS representatives. This school has been in crisis for so long, prior to Drake - what the heck were they thinking??? Are we supposed to believe they care AT ALL about the families at Emerson? What were they thinking?

Anonymous said...

Bizarre. Did the translator speak for concerned parents and relay their discomfort to SPS staff following the meeting? Second hand accounts are just hearsay, yes? People at the meeting need to file a letter of concern or complaint.

Why was the Executive Director not present?

Melissa Westbrook said...

I had thought of attention the meeting at Emerson but I thought that it was clear this meeting was just for the Emerson community and I certainly did not want anyone to feel uncomfortable speaking. I am quite surprised that outsiders were allowed to speak during the meeting.

This is one more example of how Executive Directors are not doing their jobs properly.

ConcernedSPSParent said...

Why is it when Dr Nyland thinks that it is possible that in the future teachers may not do their job properly he prepares legal action, and yet when his own staff do not do their job it is business as usual?. Leader or figurehead?

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

This is Carol,


I just have to ask, why does every issue come down to being about race and somehow the problem is due to preferential treatment of white people. This is exactly why it will never get better.

I just can't listen to all the race baiting and will just stick to advocating only for my students.

Anonymous said...

Is the option school class size increase because of the waitlist issue? I know some option schools have much smaller class sizes because they don't have new kids come in after the first day of school, unlike assignment area schools.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

This is Carol, you might want to examine your privilege. Only those with privilege call it race baiting. They aren't asking for special treatment but rather equal treatment which they have not received.

HP

Anonymous said...

This is Carol,

There are many different positions regarding treatment, but it's surprising you are assuming I'm white and privilege. Regardless of what you say, I'm still just looking out for my own and refuse to be involved your race war of words.

Anonymous said...

The King County Court judge ruled today that most of the charter school plaintiffs such as El Centro, the League of Women Voters, and the labor unions without members operating in public school have no standing in the case and have been dismissed.

Also, the judge found the claim that charter schools harmed the ability of the legislature to meet its McCleary obligations speculative at best as well as the claim that the ALE emergency rules were unlawful to be moot. Both claims were thus dismissed.

While the case will continue to move forward, these are major blows to the plaintiffs. Curiously, the judge found the funding of charter schools out of the Opportunity Pathways Account to be compelling in ruling against the plaintiffs' McCleary claim. This does not bode well for the WEA and the other opponents of charter schools and charter school families.

Oh, happy day!

Horace

Carol Simmons said...

Hi Everyone,

I do not know who "This is Carol" is and I do not understand the posts from Anonymous. I always post under my name "Carol Simmons"

My position has always been and will continue to be about achieving equity in education.

I continue to trust that by recording and addressing the disproportionality in Academic achievement and disciplinary sanctions that exists between certain groups of students of color and white students in schools, someday disproportionality will be eliminated, and equity will be achieved.

Carol Simmons

Melissa Westbrook said...

As the moderator of this blog, I will not stand for insults to others. In particular, to Carol Simmons whose steadfast work and support for students and families of color makes the rest of us look like amateurs.

Cease and decease in make any type of unkind remarks.

NO 1240 said...

The lower court won the battle, but not the war.

Oh happy day!

Anonymous said...

NO 1240, you're having a war on kids and families? How do you sleep at night?

Horace

Melissa Westbrook said...

Horace, you get to believe however you want about charter schools. Choice is NOT the only issue in public education, despite what ed reformers want you to believe and yes, everyone has a voice, especially and including taxpayers.

If you want to use an emotional argument in this discussion, go ahead. But insulting others' POV while doing it greatly weakens your argument.

Anonymous said...

MW, I've read your response a couple of times and I have no idea what you're talking about. Did I say choice is the only issue in public education? Did I say taxpayers don't have a voice? And you think I insulted someone?

Again, I truly have no idea what you're talking about.

And let's be clear. Referring to an issue concerning children and families as a war is really objectionable. And it's telling that you chose to address my language and not NO 1240's. Appreciate your selective concern.

Horace

Melissa Westbrook said...

Horace, no, you didn't say choice was the only issue for charter schools but that's the charter party line. Why do you think charters are the good for public education.

I toook No on 1240 to mean, by using the word "war," the battle in the court, not against families about charter schools. And sorry, but nearly every single court case, at some level, involves human beings, including children and families. You don't get to say all those cases are off-limits for discussion.

The issue now, as it has been in the past, is making sure every single law passed is constitutional. The current law does not support Article 3, Section 22 of our state constitution.

You did insult someone making it personal and by saying "how do you sleep at night?" If you said that to me, I'd be insulted.

NO 1240 said...

There is a war on public education and many court battles along the way. Some charter schools are operated by out of state entities. They lack local and elected oversight.

I will not engage with Horace.

Anonymous said...

@Dickersen
I was involved in a situation where parents took on the teachers' side between teachers and leadership and honestly the parents didn't have a clue. It was actually a power struggle between a good principal trying to clean up a mess and a small but powerful group of teachers who had taken over a school. Politics is ugly sometimes and it happens even in schools.

This situation may or may not be such an example but those of you who are involved, I sure hope you are looking beyond the superficial playground gossip between teachers and parents. Leading a school today is one of the most difficult jobs one can have and I sure wouldn't want it. And parents are not experts. Finally my school is running well and that small group of intimidating teachers has been dissolved. It took a long, long time.

Been thru-it

Melissa Westbrook said...

Been thru-it, that is true. But I have always found that there is a certain tension between parents and staffers with each believing they have a bigger investment in the school.

It is hard to lead a school but the district has a duty to make sure the leadership is sound. (See my latest thread.)