Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Tuesday Open Thread

Teaching info on the issues around Standing Rock and the history of the treatment of Native Americans since our country was "discovered."  I'm going be reading up myself. 

The Puget Sound Educational Service District announced its annual Schools of Distinction list and several Seattle Public schools were on it (some repeating.)  Those schools are:


Academia, Love Me BackB.F. Day* Broadview-Thomson K-8*, Cleveland High*, Hawthorne, Hazel Wolf K-8 STEM*, Madrona K-8, Olympic Hills*, Rainier Beach*, Rainer View, Viewlands* and West Seattle Elementary*

A sad but great essay from a young woman, Tiffany Martinez, who found her professor did not believe the work she turned in was her own.   There's a message in there for all teachers especially about students of color. 

Here's one way to get away from selling cookie dough or wrapping paper - sell guns at your next school fundraiser.  

In talking about how to find the funding for the McCleary ruling, interesting reading from the NY Times on companies not paying their fair share of taxes (that includes state AND federal taxes.)   Boeing, Amazon, Microsoft and Starbucks all make the list.

There's a head-shaking event coming at the end of November that the Seattle Times is putting on at the end of November. The forum is about funding public education and how to improve outcomes.  Microsoft is the lead sponsor, along with UW, ParentMap and a data center business called Sabey.  What's head-shaking is the panel:

Susan Enfield - former SPS interim superintendent and now superintendent in Highline
Steve Litzow - state representative
Steve Mullin - president of the Washington Roundtable, a business group that works on policy issues including public education
Eric Pettigrew - Seattle state representative and friend to charter schools
Shelly Redinger - superintendent of Spokane Public Schools, also a friend to charter schools
Mia Tuan - Dean of UW's College of Education
Michael Fancher - former editor at the Times
Kate Riley - editorial page editor at the Times

See any teachers in there? Principals? Parents? PTA? Students? School board members?  Nope, just a lot of ed reformers.  I think I'll pass on this one.

From the South Seattle Emerald (via Director Harris), a story about comic books for "geeky" kids.
So as this title says I’m going to recommend comics written for young audiences with girl heroes, and as the title further says these books would be great reads for girls, boys, and kids beyond the binary. #BooksHaveNoGender, yes girls need to see female heroes, SO DO BOYS, so do nonbinary kids! Plus these comics are just plain GOOD, all kids should like them, seriously #BooksHaveNoGender.
What's on your mind?

96 comments:

Anonymous said...

Happy World Vegan Day!

Great story on kids and milk:

http://www.pcrm.org/nbBlog/students-send-message-milk-is-garbage

Red Currant

Anonymous said...

"a story about comic books for "geeky" kids."

Trigger word alert!!

Google "geeky kid" images and see how far you scroll before you find a non-white child. Some south asian kids and then a black girl show up. I don't think a black boy will ever come up.

Watch the loaded language please.

Student

Melissa Westbrook said...

Okay, but it's their word in the story. I don't like the word at all.

Anonymous said...

http://www.geekwire.com/apply-geekwire-geek-of-the-week/

-Sigh

Anonymous said...

@ Sigh

Your point is that Geekwire has a black guy in the group of geeks thumbnail?

Click on it and peruse the list of Geeks.

Not a black man to be found!!!

Students

Green Lake Parent said...

I posted this in a different thread, but will post here too.

K-3 classroom reduction, and whether or not there is a disconnect between how it is talked about and how it's technically calculated has been on my mind.

I've been thinking about this during boundaries/capacity conversations. If I understand correctly (and please correct me if anyone knows more -- I'm very curious about how this works) in the end the funding from the state is based on having an average class size of 17 in K-3 across the district, based on the ratio of kids to teachers. First, I don't know how SPS can possible attain this given capacity constraints and the current Student Assignment Plan that guarantees any student who moves into/lives in an attendance area a seat at that school. Second, in the end it doesn't technically have anything to do with space and rooms. (I mean, I get that you need places to put people, but there is nothing about how that is configured.) The goal could be met by hiring more teachers. Hypothetically, you could have a classroom with 34 kids and 2 teachers. Not saying that's a good idea...just thinking about the math. It seems that it all boils down to a ratio across the district. Or, perhaps it's actually one ratio across all high poverty schools, and a different ratio for all others.

Am I understanding this correctly? Does anyone have clarifications or know more details? I'm fuzzy on how the dollars work. Is funding held back or reduced if you don't make the average? Or is it incentive money if you do? Or...?

I'm wondering whether the state will actually hold districts with space issues to this standard in the end. And, I can't help but feel like SPS is using K-3 classroom reduction to push certain agendas around growth boundaries (like "no grandfathering"), when in reality it's not currently attainable anyway.

Thoughts?

-Green Lake Parent

Anonymous said...

You missed this quote I guess,

"And it’s been a bit of a bummer as I’ve grown up to see that so many white boys and men have really taken nerdom’s marketing to straight white men to mean that they are the cultural gatekeepers."

I can't find the word "geeky" anywhere in the article.

Student

seattle citizen said...

Student, the word "Geek" is in the title of the article.
The article is about trying to get rid of the gender and race stereotypes that still exist.
As the article says, and you quote, "it’s been a bit of a bummer as I’ve grown up to see that so many white boys and men have really taken nerdom’s marketing to straight white men to mean that they are the cultural gatekeepers."

The article is explicitly about trying to counter that.

Are you suggesting that the word "geek" should never be used? I would counter that women and people of color can, and are, moving to broaden the definition of the word and the current, narrow demographic it all too often denotes.

Anonymous said...

Something I've been thinking about lately - the fine line between a teacher supporting students and prying too much into their personal lives. When do teachers overstep their bounds and violate a student's right to privacy? When teachers get training in cultural awareness, do they discuss cultural differences in personal space and personal sharing? If not directly related to learning standards, how much should a child be forced to share of their personal feelings or outlook? Why do some teachers feel it is okay to make kids uncomfortable when it comes to sharing what is really none of their business?

-pondering

seattle citizen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I think that student is profoundly misguided in trying to eliminate the word "geek" from the lexicon because of some sort of racist misperception. In fact girl geeks, black geeks are everywhere and have always been everywhere. Listen to Aisha Tyler's podcast (girl on guy) for an endless list of inspiring black geeks. I could go on and on but I think "student" is more interested in limiting discourse than learning. Sorry to be so harsh but we are entering an literal renaissance of black geek-dom. Just open your eyes and ears and don't shush other people.

-sigh

Mike said...

Regular posters on many threads here seem to have forgotten K-12 is a beginning to life overall, not an end in itself.

Lately they yammer and argue about racism throughout America, Seattle, and SPS: ignoring the all day interactions of kids at school and on social media where race, sex, age, ethnicity are largely obscure. These folks gnash teeth arguing over Seattle neighborhoods being racially segregated as if these neighborhoods are meaningful in the virtual and web centered worlds of youth. Posters even harp on the disparity in wealth and physical conditions between SPS school buildings as if the conditions - in any aspect- are as poor as those found in African countries now supplying highly skilled graduates to Seattle companies.

The majority also seem unaware of or unwilling to question the self-righteous bigotry of posters like FWIW, who claims to be a teacher delivering a personal rather than a neutral agenda in the classroom.

Very useful concern about the mechanics of operating SPS have displaced consideration of student views on race, neighborhoods, physical conditions of schools and student thinking generally. That might be because we're adults; but it's no excuse for not keeping up with the times. It seems our adulthood has biased us to look at social issues through outmoded lenses and ignore pro- Black bigotry when our kids would be calling things out for what they are.

Reactions of Franklin High students to a well-meaning but racist pledge exemplify my point. Adults lumped these kids as a group. The students balked because they see themselves as individuals deserving to be seen and treated as such. In other words, they see themselves as individual Americans, not as a group of Americans or a group of anything else. They 'got' what we've been trying to help students learn since the beginning of teaching civics and civil rights.

I'd like to see us ask kids what they're thinking rather than take action based on unnecessary assumptions.

Anonymous said...

"pro-Black bigotry"

Please do elaborate!

pro-Black bigot

Anonymous said...

I'm buying one way tickets....who's first?

BLMS

Anonymous said...

@ sigh Richard Sherman showed up on "Geek Girl Authority" dressed as Harry Potter ...

http://www.geekgirlauthority.com/seahawks-cornerback-richard-sherman-talks-to-the-press-as-harry-potter/

Sherman Geek

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Does anyone have more background details on what has been happening at Emerson Elementary with the suspension then reinstatement of the principal? The article in the Weekly referred to a parent-generated letter to the executive director of the SE district -- would be interesting to know what the letter said. This was also covered briefly in the Times, but the Weekly article is more detailed:

http://www.seattleweekly.com/news/parents-protest-suspension-of-south-seattle-principal-considered-an-advocate-of-racial-equity/

Lake City Mom

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

The letter was posted in Soup for Teachers. If you're a member you can see it there.

Observer said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lynn said...

Last week's Friday Memo was not posted today. I wonder what's being embargoed.

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

You might check out Standing Rock website which provides dontation information. They need money for litigation expenses. It's a worthy cause. Finally prevention rather than response. Civil disobendience and peaceful protest at Standing Rock is the only thing that makes sense in this country anymore.

http://standingrock.org/

Observer said...

@GH: And the Stranger asks "Do you want an evangelical Christian running the state's school system?" when referring to Jones. I'm not sure I see your point.

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

The guy has interesting viewpoints.He sure doesn't like the way Ms. Drake runs the school.

Are he and his allies outnumbered by parents who like the uniforms and "just showing up" philosophy?

He wants more academic rigor clearly.

Maybe he's comfortable with Jones because he knows people like her and realizes they aren't so zealous as white Christians can be and/or he'd rather her than a racist. .

GH

Melissa Westbrook said...

Readers, you may have noted a number of deleted comments.

That is because most were referencing back to a blog that will not be linked or named at this blog. The writer of that blog is someone who speaks with no authority and no attempt to even do basic research. That writer made hurtful assumptions about my racial background and upbringing. And, he has frequently attempted to put a link up to that post at this blog.

We don't need that kind of writing attached to this blog.

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

About American Indians ....

The syllabus missed the Boldt decision which effected PNW fishing.

Boldt Decision

-- Dan Dempsey

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

Where is the Friday Memo to the Board? It should have been posted earlier today.

- MemoReader

Melissa Westbrook said...

Thank goodness there are only a few people who are genuinely unpleasant, unkind people.

If you don't like this blog, don't be here. Go start your own blog (and a couple of you seem to realize - sadly - that it's harder than it looks.)

But you have no right to put up personal information about me or any other reader.

Grow up and behave.

That or stop being a coward and sign your name to your comments.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Friday Memos...
I was reading through the Cedar Park Option School Briefing Paper attached to the October 14th Friday Memo, and came across this:

"Since transportation is not provided to option schools,
Olympic Hills families who do not have access to
transportation may not opt to attend Cedar Park due to
having to cross busy streets to get there."

I thought option schools were provided transportation (for students living outside the walk zone, but within the middle school service area)?

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

I'd say our president is pretty geeky. Publishing in a scientific journal?

open ears

Anonymous said...

Agreed open ears! One of the most talented and scholarly (read geeky!) scientists I have ever met is Scott Edwards. He used to be here in the University of Washington Biology Dept. but was recruited to Harvard quite a number of years ago.
http://edwards.oeb.harvard.edu

-sigh

Anonymous said...

Speaking of the Seattle Times event, Melissa, are you forgetting their event last June on school funding that included a teacher, a parent, a school board member, et al: http://www.seattletimes.com/education-lab/dont-lead-with-the-price-calls-for-vision-as-well-as-dollars-at-school-funding-event/.

The next event on school funding will give perspectives from some additional people, including superintendents, business leaders, et al. But they'll probably say things that don't resonate within the echo chamber that is this blog, so you will "pass on this one."

Ostrich

Anonymous said...

Interesting article about how some children see science differently and this impacts teaching strategies.

http://crosscut.com/2016/10/how-native-kids-see-science-differently/

2boysclub

Melissa Westbrook said...

This blog is a lot less of an echo chamber than is the Times or the Gates Foundation.

2boysclub, that is a great article at Crosscut.

Observer said...

Super relevant piece from John Oliver regarding the increase school segregation since Brown Versus Board. There are definite parallels with Seattle Schools.

John Oliver on School Segregation

Anonymous said...

North-End Mom,

That's my understanding of option school transportation, too. Is the district planning on changing that with this year's Transportation Service Standards? (When is the vote on that?)

-ML Mama

Anonymous said...

@ML Mama
I have no idea if cutting transportation to option schools is on the horizon. It would seem as though that would be extremely detrimental for most option schools, and would result in more over-crowding at our neighborhood schools.

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

North-end Mom,

You are correct. Transportation is provided for option elementary and K-8s if you live within the Service Area, but outside of the walk zone.

See number 4 on page 2 of the 2016-2017 Transportation Service Guidelines.
https://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/Transportation/16-17%20Transportation%20Documents/Final%20TSS%20for%202016_2017.pdf

It is very odd that Enrollment Planning did not know this and would issue such a misleading statement to the board.

-StepJ

Anonymous said...

Students writes:

"Your point is that Geekwire has a black guy in the group of geeks thumbnail?
Click on it and peruse the list of Geeks.
Not a black man to be found!!!"

The "black guy" in the thumbnail is Yaw Anokwa, who was honored by Geekwire in 2011 - http://www.geekwire.com/2011/geek-week-yaw-anokwa-uw-open-data-kit-change/.

Didn't bother going back that far? That's OK. Gwen Houston was selected in February of this year - http://www.geekwire.com/2016/geek-of-the-week-gwen-houston-is-microsofts-champion-for-diversity-and-inclusion/.

Roosevelt Dad

Po3 said...

What's up at GHS and lack of staff? I see several people tried to get on the agenda to speak but got waitlisted.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Roosevelt Dad, Yaw was one of my husband's PhD students and one of the finest young men I know. He's going to do great things.

Green Lake Parent said...

The Friday memo from October 28th is posted now:
http://www.seattleschools.org/cms/one.aspx?portalId=627&pageId=12747041

Two things I noticed as I skimmed through:
- The results of the surveys to Thornton Creek and Cascadia families about potentially using Decatur for HCC (and other options) are presented in the Teaching and Learning Update.
- According to the Operations Update the RFP for transportation services next year has gone out for bid. I guess that can happen before boundaries, grandfathering, etc is determined...? At several of the Growth Boundaries meetings we were told timelines couldn't be delayed due to the transportation planning, so I find this interesting.

-Green Lake Parent

Anonymous said...

I looked up the transportation RFP on the SPS site and I didn't see any clues for what the district might be thinking of as changes. There was no reference to either a two tier or a three tier system for 2017-18.

~snooping

Anonymous said...

We have real numbers!
Don't miss a multi-year analysis of 2 long-missing HCC stats. They have been published in conjunction with last Friday's staff memo to the board.

Information about ethnic makeup of HC-identified and breakdown by numbers and ethnicities of appeals test-ins.

Growth in HC eligibility and numbers of kids who join cohort v stay in attendance/option school.

There has been so much speculation, conjecture and thesis-making on these points, with no access to SPS data, for a long time. I am pleased staff has posted something, even if it was hidden in the weekly report area.

A small suggestion, Melissa or Charlie, that you may wish to start a separate thread on these numbers and blogger thoughts. The HCC topics often seem to overwhelm other discussions in Open Tuesday/Friday threads. Thank you.

EdVoter

Anonymous said...

So close to good numbers! I see it says the percentage increase in white students from appeals. We would expect the number of students to go up with appeals. That is the point of appealing. What we need to know is whether and how much appeals make the program whiter. I thought I recalled from a previous one of these it does- pre-appeals there are a larger percentage of Hispanic and Asian students. But I don'the remember how much, and appeals are certainly capturing 2e students as well, so there is a cost to eliminating them.

Interesting that far and away most Asian students join the cohort(89%?), but only about 2/3rds of Hispanic students do. My kids have met many more Asian immigrant students in the cohort than in our NE elementary school. I wish that was reflected in diversity stats, and wonder if these numbers shed some light on these differences.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

The Friday memo also notes that they did professional development on "the relationship between social justice and the AL programs offered and implemented at the building level based on collaboration with the SPS Dept. of Equity and Race Relations." Does anyone have a copy of that presentation? With all the open hostility toward AL by teachers and staff lately, I'm curious to know what message the AL department is promoting.

PD curious

Melissa Westbrook said...

EdVoter, I went to the HCC committee meeting last night and saw this info and yes, I will be writing a thread. There's even more to report.

Anonymous said...

@ sleeper, I think your question was answered in one of the documents. At the bottom is said: "Appeal decisions increase the number of White students in HC by 45% in SY 14-15 and by 77% in SY 15-16." Last year 216 white students qualified via the district's testing, then another 167 qualified on appeal.

That sounds like a lot, but if you think about what it actually means, it's not so clear. These numbers represent real students. If those 167 students really need HC services, it's a GOOD thing they got identified somehow. It those 167 really need HC services, then district level testing does a terribly poor job of identifying HC students, since they only caught 216 of the 383 white students--that's only 56%.

The gut reaction to these data will likely be to assume that those who got in by appeal are somehow less deserving than those who got in via the district testing, but there's absolutely nothing in these data to back that up. Given the errors associated with testing and the ability to retest every year, it's just as likely the district's own testing process is overidentifying students.

HF

Anonymous said...

Upon review of Michael Tolley's T&L update, I see that SPS is moving forward with closing the middle school portion of Madrona but is keeping the K-5 portion in place. That must be sad for the community and it is a waste of nice space although SPS probably has a plan there that it has not announced.

It also says SPS wanted to close the middle school of Orca K-8 but the community pushed back and it will remain open for now.

I have noticed over the years that various people in JSCEE would prefer not to have K-8s perhaps because of cost or logistics? Except for Madrona and poor kicked-around by JSCEE Licton Springs, my impression is that families like and enroll in the middle schools of K-8s but I would have to go back and look at enrollment data to see if enrollment data underlies this.

EdVoter

seattle citizen said...

Why are there 529 newly identified white HCC-eligible students in 2015-16...
But fewer than ten African American?

Anonymous said...

I believe I messed up a link above. This is the path to the document with information on HC-qualified students who stay in their home schools v go into the cohort.

EdVoter

Anonymous said...

What will happen to the students in 6th and 7th at Madrona and orca? I hope they can move as a cohort, if they want.

HF, what that says is that x number of white students were identified, then y got in on appeal, and the total is an increase of z percent over x.

What I think would be useful is- before appeals, the demographics of newly identified students would be x, y, z. After appeals it is a, b, c. Is a, b, c less diverse than x, y, z? Assuming so, how many 2e students were identified this way? If the district wants to eliminate appeals, there are clearly costs and benefits- what are they? If getting rid of appeals will make hcc more diverse at the cost of 2e kids, what then? I think it's hard either way, but at least want to know what gain we are talking about.

Seattle citizen, I know that's not a serious question, but I think systemI effects of intergenerational poverty, schools that support no advanced learning, educators telling black students hcc is racist and not for them, and, well, a lot of reasons. So long as we keep achievement testing as one of the metrics, a lack of advanced learning in local schools is going to keep a diverse group of outliers from being identified. I actually see a positive trend in the data- a lot of newly identified biracial students. And i'd like to help them accelerate their work.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

the chart allows a FERPA violation in that the number of students in the less than ten groups can be calculated using the percentages.

Also, why don't white families change their kid's race to biracial or even black to make the numbers look better in the HCC? Is that illegal; what if your DNA test shows some other race? It might.

Holly

Anonymous said...

Because I don't want hcc to look more diverse on paper. I want it to become actually more racially diverse.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

Sleeper- If you DNA test for example shows you are 25% African or Asian, you are actually multiracial, even if you have light skin etc. previously identified as "white". What the heck is "white anyway? It is a broad category and not an ethnicity. It includes middle eastern, armenian & mediteranean people etc. I get confused when I hear people (& media) refer to Latino as a "race". It is also a broad group that also includes those with predominant European Spanish heritage.
- confusing

seattle citizen said...

Sleeper, my question was rhetorical but serious. Thanks for a thoughtful answer.

Green Lake Parent said...

The following information has been added to the Growth Boundaries page on the SPS website:

Highly Capable Cohort (HCC)

North Elementary Pathways:
Cascadia is temporarily located in the former Lincoln High School building and serves HCC students. The school will move into its new building at the Wilson Pacific site in 2017-18. The new building is planned to have a capacity of approximately 660 seats, which is not sufficient to serve all of the students currently at Cascadia given the growth the school has experienced. As of Oct. 3, 2016, Cascadia had 754 students currently enrolled for the 2016-17 school year.

A survey was provided to Cascadia families, Thornton Creek families, HCC eligible but not enrolled families, and staff at both schools regarding their preferences for the potential split of Cascadia and use of the Thornton Creek Campus or Cedar Park building to serve HCC students. The majority of respondents between the two communities preferred the use of the Decatur building with a geo-split. The district is moving forward with the recommendation to use Decatur to serve elementary HCC students in the north end. This recommendation will be part of the changes to the Student Assignment Plan, which is scheduled to be introduced to the Board at the Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016 meeting.

Northwest Middle School Pathways:
It was previously determined that Robert Eagle Staff Middle School would offer HCC if needed. Given the enrollment at Hamilton, another HCC pathway is needed in the northwest, thus Eagle Staff will offer HCC.

The current northwest pathways are as follows:
Whitman, McClure and Hamilton middle school HCC students are all assigned to Hamilton.

The recommended pathways for the northwest when Eagle Staff opens are as follows:
Whitman and Eagle Staff middle school HCC students will be assigned to Eagle Staff;
McClure and Hamilton middle school HCC students will be assigned to Hamilton.

https://www.seattleschools.org/cms/one.aspx?portalId=627&pageId=9017326

-Green Lake Parent

Anonymous said...

I just looked up that page, Green Lake Parent, and they have taken most of that down. Now it says this:

Highly Capable Cohort (HCC)

Modifications to the HCC pathways as a result of school boundary changes will be included in the updates to the Student Assignment Plan. The Student Assignment Plan is scheduled to be introduced to the School Board on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016.

-sleeper

Melissa Westbrook said...

I do love that you all are keeping careful track of what comes and goes at the SPS website. Take screenshots, too.

NEP said...

The majority of respondents between the two communities preferred the use of the Decatur building with a geo-split.

Well the TC survey had limited options: sharing the school or having a separate APP school at Decatur.

A grade-level split to Decatur and a geo-split to CP also got a decent amount of support from Cascadia.

Question to those supporting the geo-split to Decatur : have you considered how that boundary will be drawn?



Green Lake Parent said...

Wow! I should have taken a screenshot. Did not expect it to get taken down like that.

-Green Lake Parent

Anonymous said...

They also had the 1-2, 3-5 option, and a question about their interest in an option school at Cedar park. They were not asked about their preference between geo splits to Cedar Park or portables at the Cascadia site, as those options don't affect them.

I think many people are having trouble throwing their support behind any one option because as you say, the devil is in the details. Where is the boundary? Do we get a say in principal hiring? Not all principals support hcc, and clearly this one would need to. Typically new schools are allowed to hire early in the process, since they are creating a staff whole cloth, and starting a school takes more energy than continuing one- would that also happen here? Shouldn't that be, uh, soon then?

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

Discussions about phenotype and genotype are great in making people sound like they are all on the same level playing field. You know- we all bleed red and are human.

Except when none of that matters. Put it another way, a great many blacks, as in those whose families were here before the 1965 immigration bill, have white forebears. Did looking black, but having a great grandfather who was white, helped blacks buy homes in all white neighborhood 50 years ago or be less feared today? Did it help HR or landlord treat blacks who looked black the same as whites by having that bit of white gene? As for treatment of Latinos. People like to go on about how Latinos aren't a different race from whites. (Except in cases like George Zimmerman, when he becomes less white, and more Hispanic or a Latino.). Well Latinos are and they aren't. Many, many people south of our border are mixed. Mixed as in having African and indigeneous and white forebears. You just need to work or live in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Guatemala, or Brazil to see the varying hues and languages (besides Spanish and Portuguese) present. Spanish may very well be their 2nd language. How you are treated depends very much on the history and power/wealth distribution. Funny, how much of that also falls along the color line. When I watch Telemundo and Univision, it's painfully obvious there's a lot of work which needs to be done here too.


None of this is confusing. History and today's statistics are great clarifiers. Not knowing or being ignorant does make thing confusing.

Mayberry

Anonymous said...

I'm very sorry to see the situation at Ingraham be blown out of proportion. The teachers seems like he admires Michael Jordan, who is black, and dressed like him. This has happened for many years with no complaints. Now in our hyper-sensitive culture, with kids feeling extra power by complaining of "micro-aggressions", he is put on administrative leave.

This is a teacher who is reported to have taken off the costume as soon as he heard a complaint and also gave a public apology for offending anyone.

I've heard some pretty polarizing and anti-police statements made at Ingraham by the newly popular Black Student Union. This is too much. This climate makes white and Asian students either afraid to say anything to African-American students for fear of committing a racial crime or drives them to stay away from African-American students. Both options polarize our schools and society even more.

Mom

Melissa Westbrook said...

I don't think the situation was blown out of proportion. It just got well-known very quickly.

Anonymous said...

This comment is from the Stranger article. I really hope this teacher does not lose his job over this. "Mom"'s comment deserves to be taken seriously as well.

Hey everyone, I had Mr. Colino as a geometry teacher and I think I should provide some context for people. (1) Mr. Colino is a really nice guy despite being a little awkward at times. He's always kind to all of his students, he never yells, and he tries to get to know his students on a personal level. He emphasizes fun in his classroom frequently (like bringing pie in on march 14th, teaching trig functions through karate moves, or assigning fun extra credit assignments). (2) Mr Colino LOVES basketball, on average he'll spend at least half an hour a week talking about it to his students. One of his extra credit assignments was to make an NBA bracket for march madness (he even gave out prizes for those who got close to the real results). And Micheal Jordan is his favorite basketball player. (3) Mr Colino has always cared about global issues such as race relations and puts a lot of effort into encouraging thought and discussion in the classroom. Every year he spends MLK day talking about what MLK did for our country and makes us reflect on how our lives were impacted by him. He does the same for 911 every year. He really takes pride in the diversity of the ingraham community and makes an effort to make sure everyone feels significant. Everyone has the right to their own opinion I just thought context would be important to know before making judgements.

essayist

Anonymous said...

About the situation at IHS:
I know this teacher who was put on administrative leave for wearing Michael Jordan's outfit for Halloween.
He is a really nice teacher, an amazing XC coach who loves his students and appreciate all of them for who they are.
I don't understand how his costume (and not a blackface!) could "cause disruption to learning and discomfort among students" when he knowingly admires Michael Jordan and he not only wore his costume but played a 5 mins video about his greatness in his classes, also.
For the last 18 years.
I really hope that he is not going to loose his job because of this event.
- too much PC?

Melissa Westbrook said...

First of all, I'm not (and I doubt anyone else) is saying Mr. Colino is a bad teacher. He sounds like a great teacher.
Second, I appreciate he loves Michael Jordan and basketball.
Third, I don't agree with his choice of Halloween costume. (Yes, I know what the difference is between blackface and a mask but it's not that big.) I'm sincerely surprised that in all his years of teaching, no administrator said anything to him about it.
Last, he should not lose his job nor should he be sanctioned. He seems very understanding about how it might feel to black students and is acting accordingly.

Anonymous said...

If you take the position of "Mom", then yes, it'll remain polarizing. It'll be just war of words and attitudes in endless recycled conversations, festering emotions and nobody moves any closer. Add in clumsy SPS admin and current political climate, and people just have that many more layers and excuse to stand farther apart.

These are learning moments. Anybody at any age can learn. Good people make mistakes, sometimes unintentionally. Once they know, there's the opportunity to rectify. That's learning. There are people who'll want to make hay of such situation. It comes from both ends. But if this teacher is the kind of man who gets it and the affected students who understand their role in listening, forgiving and teaching (and those acts reflect developing maturity), then many can learn and move on. In the real world, these are baby steps forward accompanied by inevitable stumbles. It takes resilience and courage to stay with it.

It's a universal condition, learning to get along. One positive is when you have people interacting from varied backgrounds, there are going to be boundaries crossed and mistakes made, often from not understanding or knowing better until you get the big reveal. That's the beauty of experience and getting outside of the familiar and safe. And in making mistakes. Remain entrenched in thoughts with like minded people and stay in the safe zone and people can build themselves a comfortable prison.

Mayberry

Anonymous said...

I want to add that the comment that white and Asian students will stay away from black students because they are afraid to start a "racial crime" is pretty awful. It places the burden and blame on the Black Student Union and black students for being the ones to cause fear. If many parents have this mindset, then the school and student body do have a huge problem.

That attitude assumes white and Asian students are afraid and couldn't possibly understand microagression. I believe many do get it. Why? Because somewhere in this world, there will be someone or group of people who'll be making hurtful assumption about you and treat you accordingly- be it about gender, sexual orientation, appearance, age, race/ethnicity, intelligence, body size, race, religion, income and so forth. We've all been there, both in the dishing it out and in the receiving end. Students don't have to experience the same form of discrimination or hurtful act to understand and be empathetic.

Mayberry

Melissa Westbrook said...

Good thoughts, Mayberry.

Anonymous said...

Mayberry-- "Many, many people south of our border are mixed. Mixed as in having African and indigeneous and white forebears."
People from Malta, N African and Sicilians are also very mixed genetically and culturally (sicilians in many ways have more in common with N africa than Italy they are closer to Tunisia than Rome) as well due to their geography and history. My ethicity for example is 30% N African/Middle eastern, 1/4 Hispanic, 1/4 Ital/Greek. I identify as white, but some relatives identify as mixed race. Many many other groups may be mixed but considered white or not in the US. Depends on who you ask and when. Some of my relatives emmigrated to the US and others to Latin America. In the US many identify as white category in the US but many are darker skinned than many Latino's who also share a mixed heritage. You need to understand a place's history to understand who is multicutural and many in the US have not learned a place's history. That's what I meant by confusing.
-confusing.

Anonymous said...

P.S" Many, many people south of our border are mixed. Mixed as in having African and indigeneous and white forebears."
Look at Cuba and Venezuela as well. Many people have predominant & possible all European DNA. Any Spanish speaking country (including Spain)is hispanic and differentiated (currently) on US forms from "white". But the US forms change with time is also my point. Years ago my ancestors fell into a different box. And how people identify and are classified varies depending on the country.
-confusing

Anonymous said...

Mayberry- A friend who is from Spain tells me in Spain she is "white". In the US she is not considered "white", but is hispanic white.In south america some people with European heritage consider themselves "white". But in the US they are hispanic.
-confusing.

Anonymous said...

Maybetrry-last point- Many countries are actually multiracial and multiethnic. Not just the US. This includes many spanish speaking countries, the mediterranean etc. They may have their own identity. Immigrants come to the US and are lumped into categories the US creates and that category shifts with time as well. In addition, people in the US may or may not consider some people who are mixed as "white". I have found this also varies place to place. To clarify this is what I meant as confusing.
-confusing

Anonymous said...

I take exception with the "blackface" description in the title. Blackface implies a stereotype of black people, while this teacher wore a mask of a specific black person who he admired and often talked about during the year - according to the two students' comments above.

Would wearing an Obama mask qualify as "blackface" and therefore be offensive by anyone who isn't black, even those who admired him? That's ridiculous.

@Mayberry - the teacher in question has been put on administrative leave and an e-mail and apology from the principal was sent out last night, along with phone notifications to every parent to read the e-mail. If that doesn't strike fear in all staff and many students who might possibly commit some future offense, even though they have strong civil rights reputation in the classroom and even when their actions were about someone they truly admire, then they wouldn't be human.

Mom

Melissa Westbrook said...

If you read the Stranger article, they asked an expert. That expert said the mask is a form of blackface.

I am sad that the district has overreacted and put this teacher on leave. I felt that he and Principal Floe had expressed their concern and remorse over this and had taken solid steps forward.

Anonymous said...

I am also sad this teacher was placed on leave. I hope he is not fired. That does sound like an overreaction. He sounds like he really cares about his students, more than some even. This does not help us understand each other. He handled it correctly by apologizing because it was a teaching moment and he offended. Let's be clear, it was a mask worn on halloween of a person he admired. It was not painting his face. Lesson learned if you are not black, don't dress up in a costume as any black celebrity, be it obama, Michaal Jackson, Michael Jordan etc. It was not intended by him to be black face. But his response was to immediately apologize. He should have been put on leave if his reaction was to continue to wear the mask, not for this situation.
- an observer

Anonymous said...

So can a black person dress up as a white person for Halloween? Can a Hispanic person dress up as an Asian character? Can a man dress up as a woman? Can a straight man dress up as a gay male figure? If I"m a white atheist woman, can I dress up as Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is Jewish?

What are the appropriate lines???

The SPS statement seemed off to me. "Seattle Public Schools does not tolerate staff behavior that reinforces racial bias or stereotypes. We take this commitment very seriously. While we can't discuss personnel matters, we are investigating and taking appropriate action."

What are the racial bias and stereotypes that were reinforced by this teacher, who was dressing up as one of his most admired figures? If his costume was a generic black basketball because "black men are good at basketball", I could see it. But it's not really bias or stereotyping to say MJ was a basketball star.

blurry lines

Anonymous said...

Blurry Lines-- Dressing up stereo-typically as a member of a race is offensive. Example people dressing in a burka for halloween. Dressing up like a specific famous person and using ready made masks etc. more fuzzy. I agree with you. But if some state they find a costume offensive bottom line is that a person should react with sensitivity. The teacher responded with sensitivity. He did not challenge how people felt etc. He did the right thing.
-an observer

Anonymous said...

P.S. I also think it was deemed offensive due to the history of "black face" in the US. So even a ready made mask of a specific famous black person is offensve to some. Lesson: Best to not dress up as any African American famous person if you are not African American. Even if you love Michael Jackson, please be sensitive and leave your Michael Jackson costume home.
-an observer

Melissa Westbrook said...

Or, you just wear a costume and not a mask. Anyone who wears MJ's famous red leather jacket, black pants, white socks, black shoes and one glove is going to be recognized as MJ without any need for mask.

Anonymous said...

Melissa- Exactly great point. People can wear the clothes without a mask etc.
-an observer

Anonymous said...

When my kids did Night of the Notables at Washington Middle School, there were a lot of people dressed as someone who wasn't the same race (my daughters are white, and portrayed Mae Jemison and Mumtaz Mahal), but no one used skin-darkening or -lightening makeup. That's the way I would expect such matters to be handled these days.

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

Helen- I think all would agree about the makeup. Some are arguing a ready made famous person costume with mask is different. The teacher wore a ready made mask of a specific person. But that is ALSO considered offensive as well to some and was a teaching moment. The teacher responded in the correct manner with sensitivity and apology.
-J.Y

Melissa Westbrook said...

JY, exactly. Principal Floe and Mr. Colino did just what they should have; I don't get why the district is getting involved.

Helen Schinske said...

The fact that it had gone on so long provides some justification for the suspension in my opinion. If Martin Floe had stepped in the first time he saw this, the whole matter could have been settled with no particular fanfare.

It is never any fun to own up to a mistake in public, but done right it is a very honorable thing to do.

Helen Schinske

seattle citizen said...

Owning up in public is necessary if we are to get pas the isms. And the owner-upper can't be torn to pieces each time or they won't do it.
Conversely, the owner-upper would do well to recognize that it's an uncomfortable, even painful place to be, and be ready to push forward in accepting respobsibility regardless.

Those that tear people apart, chastise their attempt to be forthcoming, damage the attempts at healing.

That doesn't do any good.

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

@seattle citizen. I really agree with you. It was a mistake. He owned up. He learned. Ripping him to shreds after he has owned up doesn't serve any benefit. I get being furious about incidents that occur where no responsibility is taken. I also get being angry when it is just a fake apology done to get out of a situation. In this case it seems to be a sincere apology. Isn't that the point?

Who would ever want to admit to making a mistake if you are ripped apart whether you accept responsibility or not? I thought the idea in dealing with racial issues is to learn, acknowledge, change, and move towards more unity.
Teacher

Melissa Westbrook said...

Exactly, Teacher.