Wednesday, August 31, 2016

District Announces Childcare Plans in West Seattle

From SPS Communications:
Seattle Public Schools (SPS) is excited to announce that starting in fall 2016-17, families will be supported with expanded childcare options in West Seattle. SPS in partnership with Seattle Parks and Recreation will be providing new childcare options in the Schmitz Park building as well as in the Genesee Hill and Lafayette Elementary buildings.

Annual report on sexual harassment

Board Policy 3208, Sexual Harassment, calls for an annual report from the Superintendent. There never were any such annual reports until two years ago. The first one, delivered in August of 2014, was completely inadequate and utterly failed to meet the requirements of the policy.

Thurgood Marshall waiver misstep

The Friday Memo of August 26 includes this FAQ sheet on the new Superintendent Procedure 2190SP and the waiver request from Thurgood Marshall for blended HCC/General Education social studies.

The FAQ sheet includes some strong points. Among them:

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Seattle Schools This and That

I was told by SPS Communications that transportation letters went out this week.  If you do NOT get yours by Thursday, they ask that you call Transportation.

I received an e-mail from a parent that Dr. Nyland appears to have an Instagram account.  SPS Communications tells me he does not have one.  So if you get a friend request from that account, just know - it's not him.

Garfield was to have a 9th grade (parent) orientation on Thursday.  There was a terse announcement that it had been cancelled and will be rescheduled.  (When? Friday? Tuesday? That's all that's left.)

The Stranger Rescinds Its Endorsement of Erin Jones for State Super

Update: well, there is a firestorm of thought on this issue.  Jones has some very passionate supporters and yet there are people who are uncertain/not happy and they fall into two camps.

1) People worried about her stances on LGBTQ issues.
2) People who find her lack of clarity and updating of her positions unnerving.

She led a chapter of Young Life, a high school Christian group, in Spokane for a couple of years. That's fine but some chapters are homophobic but she says hers wasn't. I did check with the regional YL and their leaders all have to sign a "faith and conduct" contract for their own lives which is to embracing their teachings and reject "the gay lifestyle." They also said all kids are welcome and not questioned about their views and the leaders are not there to try to change anyone.

She also said - at her campaign Facebook page - "When I answered "NO" I was referring to both the sexual orientation being a choice question as well as if it (sexual orientation) was a sin question. The answer is NO to both. I do not believe people make a choice in regards to their sexual orientation or it is a sin for those that are apart of the LGBTQ community."

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. 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Thank You to Two People Who Cared

I want to note the passing of two people in our city who were activists.  I applaud anyone who takes on advocacy work, whether it be for community needs, schools or government.

Seattle Schools This Week

Mainly just the calm before the storm of school starting up but there are several happy events; namely, the ribbon-cuttings and tours of new schools.  (I am going to try to go to all of them).

Thursday, September 1
- Thornton Creek K-5 - 11am-noon
- Hazel Wolf K-8 @ Pinehurst School - 1-2 pm

Friday, September 2nd
- Seattle World School @ T.T. Minor School -11am-noon

Saturday, September 3rd 
Community Meeting with Director Peters
Magnolia Library, 2801 34th Ave. W
11 am-12:30 pm  

Tuesday, September 6th
- Arbor Heights - 11 am - noon
- Genesee Hill - 1-2 pm

Update: story from SPS Communications on the new Arbor Heights school.

Minneapolis Principal Speaks Out about Daytime Shooting

From Minneapolis: statement from Lacey Lander Elementary principal Mauri Melander (bold and color mine):

Let's Get McCleary Done

Washington's Paramount Duty is organizing a trip down to Olympia on Tuesday, September 6th to address the Education Funding Task Force that is working on McCleary funding issues.

Yes, I know that's the first day of school but if you can't come, please DO weigh in anyway.

E-mail Tali Rausch, who is the head of WPD, with your funding thoughts. She will be compiling these e-mails to present to the committee. A huge stack of statements from parents and communities really would send a message to these legislators. Her e-mail is:

tali@paramountduty.org

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Learn about Folks (FOCs)

I recently interviewed the head of a great group, FOCs, (Families of Color), which is kind of a PEPS for those families.  Amy Pak is the Founder and Executive Director of FOCs.

This is their mission statement:
Families of Color Seattle (FOCS) is dedicated to exploring racism, and engaging in anti-racist work in ways that are accessible to all people and ages. Families of Color Seattle is a safe space for families of color. Anti-racist work is often approached academically – FOCS incorporates art, play, music, food, and community building in their programming, parent groups and community dialogue series to engage parents, educators, and the broader community in anti-racist work.
They offer parenting groups, arts classes and a bilingual pre-school.  

I interviewed Ms. Pak earlier this summer about her work and FOCs.

Budget Meeting Update

 Last week the district had a "community" budget meeting (I was not invited and had only seen it as a one-line note on the district calendar.)  They invited 400 people and 8 came.  Maybe next time they might just invite anyone from any school community.

Luckily the good people from Soup for Teachers sent a rep and here is Jason Rankin's write-up (thank you to him.)  He asks some good questions for the next meeting and hopefully, this thread will generate some more.  (I have to smile as Jason reports that the next meeting is on September 26th from 4-5 pm but it's not even on the district calendar right now.)

I'll just note that on page 17, it states that the district had carryover funds of $31M. I'm sure those are restricted in some way but that seems like a lot of unspent money when there is need in all directions.  As well Sped spending has gone up 10% in three years. Page 31 has all the groups paid thru collective bargaining but I see no slide for the amount spend for administrative jobs.

Also, page 44 has the chart for spending for personnel for middle school.  Does anyone know what the difference is between an assistant principal and a house administrator?

Jason's Notes

Saturday, August 27, 2016

EpiPen - A Story of a Near-Disaster for Many People

You've been following the Epi-pen story, right?  How the price has gone up and up (just as the CEO's salary went up and up?)

Here's a local side to it from KUOW:
One solution to the soaring price of EpiPens: Build a replacement that costs a fraction as much.
Jim Duren of King County Emergency Medical Services told KUOW’s Kim Malcolm that his agency did just that in 2013, building its own injection kit.

Needle Starting to Move on Opportunity Gap

 A truly compelling article from two researchers on what is happening with closing the opportunity gap. (bold mine)
The enormous gap in academic performance between high- and low-income children has begun to narrow. Children entering kindergarten today are more equally prepared than they were in the late 1990s.
From 1998 to 2010, the school readiness gap narrowed by 10 percent in math and 16 percent in reading. The gaps that remain are still vast. But even this modest improvement represents a sharp reversal of the trend over the preceding decades.
It’s worth noting that the gap in school readiness narrowed because of relatively rapid improvements in the skills of low-income children, not because the skills of children from high-income families declined. 

Seattle Schools Selects New Chief of Curriculum and Instruction

From SPS Communications:

Kyle Kinoshita, Ed.D has been selected Chief of Curriculum and Instruction for Seattle Public Schools (SPS). Kinoshita comes to the position after serving as the Executive Director of Learning and Teaching for the Marysville School District for the past nine years.

The SPS Chief of Curriculum and Instruction position is critical to students’ success. The position provides the district expertise and innovative leadership for all phases of department services, including professional development, standards, and assessments, as well as development of a curriculum and instructional delivery service model for schools to ensure direct and system-wide services to students.

Kyle was selected from a field of 21 applicants through a rigorous interview process that included principals, union partners and central office leaders.

One of the most important reasons Kyle applied for the position is that he is a product of Seattle School District’s central and southeast schools including Bailey Gatzert, Muir, Van Asselt and Rainier Beach elementary schools. 
Kyle’s own experience has fueled a lifelong commitment to the achievement of equity and elimination of opportunity gaps. Working to help Seattle school leaders serve the historically underserved is a powerful personal motivator to join the district and accomplish the successful construction of a strong system of learning improvement.


Kyle hopes to develop a deep collaboration around student achievement, the elimination of achievement gaps, and a common language around powerful instruction and rigorous curriculum in all K-12 schools. 

Friday, August 26, 2016

Friday Open Thread

Happy Birthday to the National Parks Service on their 100th.  Free admission to all national parks thru Sunday, August 28th.

A lot of news about schools around Puget Sound.

Happy Women's Equality Day!


Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Final Last Days Before School Starts

Are you glad summer is ending and school will start soon?  Or are you dreading that getting back to the school routine?  Combination of both?

Let's talk about fixing Highly Capable Services

I don’t know about you all, but I’m pretty tired of every discussion devolving into a non-productive back and forth about highly capable services. The discussions have not been very productive because we have been talking to personalities instead of policies. I would like to try addressing policy.

Here’s the idea: it’s not enough to rail against a policy or procedure. Offer a workable alternative. You think something is done wrong? Tell us how it should be done right – and please be thoughtful enough to consider the costs (if any) and some of the unintended consequences of the change.

We’ll try it for HC services first and, if it goes well, we’ll try it for Advanced Learning.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Washington State Students Continue to Do Well on ACT

From OSPI:
For the 13th straight year, Washington students scored above the national average on the ACT exam, according to results released today.

Charter School Updates

Besides the hilarious (and true) account of charter school mishaps across the country from John Oliver, there's this news:

Correction from OSPI on Special Education Student Scores

In our Aug. 16 press release on statewide test scores, OSPI incorrectly reported some numbers.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

State's Response on McCleary Question from Supreme Court

This is my summary and I use only partial quotes from the State's response.  Its tone is respectful and I think that is because of our Attorney General Bob Ferguson.  I suspect if they had left it to some members of the legislature that I would not have the same tone.

 What the State says.   

Community Meeting Today to Explain the Budget Process

You might be thinking, "Gee, Melissa, not much notice."

My thought exactly.

I had seen this on the district's calendar at the end of last week but thought it might be something internal.  But no, it's this:

Seattle Schools New Buildings Opening

As I previously reported, there are to be ribbon-cuttings at each new building that is opening this school year.  I checked and right after the event, there will be public tours of the buildings.

Seattle Schools Statement on Waitlists

From SPS Communications:

School Choice has ended and waitlists have been dissolved for the 2016-17 school year. 

Tuesday Open Thread

Interesting story at Politico on how the Rust Belt is losing teachers.  
It finds that top performers in high schools are more likely to move away — and end up living in an “innovative” labor market, marked by a higher share of college-educated residents driving growth and attracting ever more highly skilled workers. Another finding? Among those who move away, one’s high school and college coursework predicts whether one will move longer distances. “The best and brightest for Austin might or might not stay. The best and the brightest for Seattle might or might not stay. But they always land on their feet in the sense that they always land in the places that have other best and brightest,” Chandra Muller, a sociology professor at the University of Texas at Austin who was lead researcher for the work, tells Morning Education.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Videos of the Day (One Funny True and One Scary Ridiculous)

The video of the day getting a great amount of attention (and it's great that it is) is John Oliver on Last Week Tonight.  He takes on charter schools in his imitable fashion.

The main thing he does is take on both sides. Kinda.  He says he doesn't want to examine the "principle" of having charters but their "outcomes."  What he does say is that charters are in 42 states and D.C. so obviously they are here.  This is at three minutes into the program and the segment is 18 minutes long but luckily, there are many abysmal charter stories from all around the nation.

Amazing how the NAACP and Black Lives Matters have both recently come out against corporate charter schools (which are most of them) and now this from John Oliver.  The stars seem to be aligning but to see the scrambling of charter supporters to try to figure out how to say the NAACP is wrong without saying, well, they're wrong, is fun to watch.

But it's fun for about those 18 minutes until the gravity of the situation becomes clear. There are a lot of people who think they can run a public school and can't.  They are experimenting on children's lives with taxpayer dollars. It's hard to believe there are this many failures and thefts of money in so many states in the name of "choice."  And why more states aren't clamping down is something of a mystery.

Guess What Comes Out Today?

Update: here's the State's reply.  I have not read it thru yet.

end of update

From Summer Stinson of Washington's Paramount Duty's Facebook page:

The State's brief responding to the Supreme Court's questions is due today. 

Such anticipation! What do you think the State will say?  

My belief is that the State will say:

1) look at all we HAVE gotten done 
Which basically, was backfill for money lost during the recession, a point that gets lost all the time. Districts have not really moved forward with current McCleary money because of the cuts they took during the recession.

2) trust us
With no evidence as to why anyone should

3) Dear Court, you're a bunch of idiots so leave us alone.
(That would be if Rep. Matt Manweller and Rep Chad Magendanz wrote the response.)

Are You "Bracing" for New Bell Times?

That's what the Huffington Post thinks.  Maybe the schools are but it seems quiet on the parent front.  Have you talked to your high school kid about this?  Is it a smile or a shrug?

Yay or Nay?

One school's message to parents.  So what say you: Yay or Nay? 

I was trying to remember if I had done this much but not really.  If one of my sons had forgotten an important report, maybe, but I certainly wasn't going to bring their regular homework.  (Also, we didn't quite make it to the age of kids with cell phones so I'm not sure the office would have allowed them to call me.) 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

On Quoting Others

There seems to be some misunderstanding about the use of quote marks when you writing about what another person has written.

You should only use them if the writer - be it me, Charlie or any commenter - said EXACTLY what you are quoting.  Otherwise, please do not use them.  The reason should be obvious but I will state it: others may then read your comment and believe the other person said exactly what you are quoting. 

And they didn't.

Now you are free to say:

- I think I'm hearing you say....
- Sounds like you are saying...

Or something along those lines.

If every single time someone quotes someone else, I have to go back and check the quote, I will be annoyed.  I don't have time to do that nor should I have to.

There is something of an honor system here and if you can't write in a respectful manner, don't comment at all.  If I see this to be a problem, I will just delete the comments from those people who will not follow a rule of common decency.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

School Board Meeting on Wednesday; What's Missing

Here's the agenda that I previous reported on with one key omission:  they have removed the
Principals contract from the Action part of the agenda.  Until September 17th.  After school has started.

Something's up and it can't be good.  Month after month of not approving a contract?  I don't think there will be a principals' strike but it's odd to start the year with no contract.

There are two other items being pulled from the Action portion of the agenda; one IT (purchase of Cloudbooks) and one capital (waterlines at Ingraham.)



Friday, August 19, 2016

KUOW Looking for Input

Parents: Does your child's school have a long list of back-to-school supplies that includes things your parents never had to provide (like a year's worth of kleenex, glue sticks and markers for the class)? Teachers: I'd love to hear your thoughts! I'm working on a story for KUOW Public Radio. You can comment or email adornfeld@kuow.org. Thanks!

100 Black Parents Meeting on Garfield

 Before starting this thread I want to acknowledge that long-time (and beloved) staffer, Joe Bland, died on August 11th.  From the Garfield PTSA Facebook page:
Joe was a cherished presence at Garfield High School for almost 30 years where he worked as a teachers assistant in the gym (basketball, volleyball and wrestling), with the kids in detention and the incoming freshmen in the Bridge Program. His warmth and kindness touched so many.
I went to this meeting truly not knowing what to expect.

Friday Open Thread

I attended the 100 Black Parents meeting last night; quite interesting.  I'll try to have a write-up today.  As I previously reported, the parents have a survey going and presented their early results.  One of their top items was no more suspensions with other ways to address behavior issues.  I recently read this two-sides to the issue article on this topic from the conservative American Enterprise Institute.  As well, the Daily News had an op-ed about what Mayor de Blasio is doing on this issue from the president of the teachers union, Michael Milgrew.
Too often, Tweed adopts policies without understanding how they will play out in schools and then ignores its responsibility for turning policy into reality. Past promises for training and support have not arrived at many schools.
I agree. Teachers need the supports that would allow them to get help for a student AND protect the learning in the classroom.  Suspension should only be for violence issues.

On that note, great idea in Baltimore - instead of "going to the office," kids get sent to the Mindful Moment Room.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

100 Black Parents' Survey

In advance of the meeting tonight at Mt. Zion Baptist Church at 6 pm with Garfield principal Ted Howard and black parents at GHS,  I thought I would put up their short survey.

I'm putting it up for two reasons.

One, if there are any black Garfield parents who haven't seen it, they might want to weigh in.

Two, I note the list of items that is their wish list of 17 items.  Know what's NOT on it?  Blended classes.  It's a long list and that's not on it.  What they do say on honors is this:

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Seattle Schools Kindergarten Info 2016

New and clarified information on kindergarten enrollment from the district:

FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL – September 12
The first day of school for ALL kindergarten students is Monday, September 12.
The three-day delayed start enables teachers to launch “Family Connections” and meet with each family on September 7, 8 or 9 to answer questions families may have and better support our youngest learners as they join our school and classroom communities. These teacher-parent visits will be available at every elementary and K-8 school, are an opportunity for teachers to hear families’ hopes and dreams for their children and shape instruction accordingly. Your conference will be scheduled by your child’s school.

JUMP START, August 22-26
It is not too late to get a jump on the school year! This free transition-to-kindergarten program is offered at most Seattle elementary and K-8 schools. Jump Start offers children a chance to get comfortable in their new school, meet teachers and staff, and feel ready and confident when school starts in September. If your child is registered at a school offering Jump Start, please bring your child to school by 9 a.m. on Monday, August 22. All children are welcome! Check the SPS Kindergarten webpage for a list of participating schools.

FREE ALL-DAY KINDERGARTEN
In addition, for the first time, Seattle Public Schools is providing free full-day kindergarten for all students!

To learn more about SPS kindergarten supports visit the SPS Kindergarten webpage

 

Conflicting Beliefs on Consistency in Board Policies

I'll just start by saying that I'm not surprised.

You cannot have a district policy and/or a procedure about a program that does NOT clearly define all the elements/parts of that program.  If you are going to have ill-defined parts of a program, then at least the policy and/or procedure should say, "At this time and place, we are allowing principals to define the Spectrum program and/or ALO program at their school as they see fit for their community."

Because that seems to be exactly what is happening.  Advanced Learning, as an office, seems now to only exist to test.  That's it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Washington State SBAC 2016 Scores Released

OSPI released the SBAC scores today.  Scores increased but then again, you have to see where they started.

The high school scores for LA went from 26 to 76% which is quite a wild swing but the scores for math are dismal.

Tuesday Open Thread

I believe the waitlists dissolved yesterday.  Any thoughts?  Any successes?  I will have to ask the district the question about space at schools.  If there is any space at a school, can a parent ask to have their child there?  Or, are any open spaces to be held for anyone new who moves into the district?

Monday, August 15, 2016

Girls Who Get It Done

Throw like a girl.
Swim like a girl.
Jump like a girl.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Seattle Schools Updates

Seattle Schools This Week:

Monday, August 15th

100 Black Parents Announces Event

What's Next for Black Students at GHS?

A Talk With Ted Howard.
Parents of African American students at Garfield High School will be meeting with Principal Ted Howard to present a proactive platform of goals and expectations for the 2016-17 school year.
This platform will be a living, guiding document that will be a tool to enhance the Black Student Experience at Garfield.

Starting a School Year with Hope

I remember these last weeks of summer before school started for my kids.  You get the stuff from the teacher's supply list, new shoes and yes, have hope that your child AND your child's teacher both have a great year together.

A wonderful video and a great idea.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Feeling a "Distraction"

There are many who are unhappy about the new lawsuit against the new charter school law.  This includes several editorial boards across the state with some exceptions.  What's quite telling about their arguments are three things.

Their arguments seem to be on the notion that this is a frivolous lawsuit and we should just leave the charter schools to do their thing. 

Friday, August 12, 2016

McCleary Talk From Two Good Thinkers

Yesterday, Rep Reuven Carlyle had an opinion piece at Publicola.  He says that Sound Transit and public education funding cannot be done at the same time.  In 2015, he says he supported the financing for the light rail system.  (partial)
And yet, as I review the updated financing plan in more depth, I continue to grapple on a deeply personal level with the genuine burden the Sound Transit proposal places on public education. It is unsettling at best to serve as a state legislator while Olympia is under a contempt order by the Supreme Court for failing to meet the state’s paramount duty of fully funding public education. This is historic and unprecedented and we are recreating our educational finance plan for the next generation in real time. After putting an additional $2.5 billion into K-12 funding over the last three legislative sessions since the McCleary ruling, Democrats and Republicans are struggling to find a final path forward for the last $3.5 billion approximately. It’s virtually impossible to reach that level of new education funding without reform to the state property tax and local school levies. The transportation finance plan makes that difficult but essential project dramatically more complex.

As a state legislator with a passion for building the best education system in the nation, I am unsettled that the package consumes the oxygen in the room on taxes for virtually all other public services at all levels of government for years to come. The plan moves to among the very highest sales tax in the nation along with a major property tax increase. We need to be honest that the ability of cities, counties and the state to utilize the sales tax in the future as a new revenue source is effectively ended with this plan. The impact on property taxes at the city and county level is more uncertain but clearly substantial. In economic terms, the opportunity costs are extraordinary for years to come.
 Robert Cruickshank replies to Carlyle in this piece from The Urbanist. (partial)

Friday Open Thread

I tried to watch the meteor shower last night but I didn't see anything.  Hoping to try again tonight.  Story here from KUOW.

One early item I can report from the Charter Commission meeting yesterday is that nearly all the charters the Commission oversees are full but only one has a waitlist (meaning only one had to have a lottery - that would be Rainier Prep ), Soar Academy will be the most overenrolled, while the Summit schools report very good MAP scores but neither has a waitlist.

Important reading from a Teachers College survey of parents on opting out.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The fallacies of Corporate Education Reform

Corporate Education Reformers may have a lot of business expertise, but that knowledge and skill does not translate to public education. They don’t seem to realize that almost nothing they have learned from the private sector is applicable in the public sector.
  • Competition doesn’t work the way they think it does.
  • They don’t seem to understand that schools have finite capacity.
  • They don’t seem to understand what it takes to start a school.
  • They don’t know what drives academic achievement.
  • They don’t seem to understand the needs of students.
  • Their focus on productivity is misplaced.
  • They don’t recognize teachers as professionals.
  • They don’t seem to understand that all teachers need the union to protect their jobs.
  • They don’t seem to understand which school costs are fixed and which are variable
Their first and fundamental mistake is that they have trouble understanding is that the profit motive, which is the force that drives everything in the private sector, is absent from the public sector. All of the rules, practices, models, and incentives that they know and espouse are predicated on the presence of the profit motive, and are therefore invalid because the profit motive just isn’t there.

Washington State Charter Commission Meeting

I'm off to the Washington State Charter Commission meeting this morning.  I'm most interested in the discussion about the latest lawsuit against the latest law.  I'm also interested to learn more about how Green Dot is going to provide free management services to Excel Charter School.

I'm unlikely to stay for the entire meeting but I do want to learn about the Commission's
funding and appropriations so I'll be there until just after lunch.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Cracks Starting to Show in Ed Reform's Veneer

It's not entirely surprising to see this slippage happening in the ed reform world; indeed, with the deep and moneyed pockets they have, it's almost a surprise.

But my theory is that they tend to believe that they 1) know all the answers and so 2) they exist in an echo chamber.  As I read my Twitter feed daily, I'm astonished at the same 10 subjects, rehashed and repackaged over and over.

All of what I want to discuss in this thread will be leading to another thread on what the new "story" is for ed reform and it comes around "equity."

Here's the latest news on this front.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Vermont: A Leader in Public Education


We ask for leadership from Washington that celebrates the glories 
of what we can accomplish rather than unrelenting dirges.

I am going to send this post to the two candidates for state superintendent of public instruction - Chris Reykdal and Erin Jones - and ask them some questions about it.

From Diane Ravitch:

Dorn to Release Spring Test Scores Next Tuesday

From OPSI:
State Superintendent Randy Dorn will release spring 2016 state testing results at 10 a.m., Tuesday, Aug. 16, at the John L. O’Brien Building in Olympia.

Tuesday Open Thread

Interesting article from The Washington Post on boys and sleep.  Thank you to reader, Dan D.
For much of history, of course, most girls couldn’t even get a decent education. But as soon as girls joined the classroom, they revved ahead. These charts from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development show that in developed nations, girls started outpacing boys in educational achievement starting in the 1960s. These days, girls earn 57 percent of bachelor’s degrees, and 51.8 percent of PhDs.

Monday, August 08, 2016

Charters: the News Across the Nation

The news is not good.  In fact, there's quite a lot of rumbling across charterland.   Get a cup of coffee because there are many stories to read.  These stories create quite the crazy quilt of the landscape of charter schools.

Let's start with the NAACP and the resolution brought forth at their national convention recently.  When you see the NAACP saying things like:

Charters Weakening (and hence, the double-down)

From the Cloaking Inequity blog (it references a convention in late July):

This and That

To note, the Seattle Times has brought on former AP reporter, Donna Gordon Blankenship, as a member of their editorial board. Ms. Blankenship's reporting for the AP was largely around education so she may inform their editorial writing (for better or worse - I always found her reporting less-than-balanced on education with a leaning towards ed reform.)

Last summer week for the district with just one meeting this week.  Friday, August 12th, there is a meeting of the BEX Oversight Committee from 8:30-10:30 am at JSCEE, Room 2750.  No agenda yet available.  Next week will see a real pick-up of activity as there all four of the Board's committees will meet plus the first meeting of the Community Engagement Task Force.

Also worth putting on the calendar are upcoming ribbon-cuttings for the following schools:
- Thornton Creek K-5 - September 1 - 11am-noon
- Hazel Wolf K-8 - September 1, 1-2 pm
- Arbor Heights - September 6 - 11 am - noon
- Genesee Hill -September 6 - 1-2 pm
- World School - September 2 - 11am-noon

Washington's Paramount Duty has NOT been sitting on its hands on fully-funding public education in Washington via McCleary.  They have filed an amicus brief on McCleary to the Washington State Supreme Court and submitted a white paper to the Education Funding Task Force in response to their request for proposed solutions from the public. 

From the white paper:
“We strongly believe in public education as a critical service provided by state and local government. Education is, at its core, the root of our democracy and the cornerstone of our economy.”

“We must be clear. There isn’t a way around the fact that new statewide revenues from wealthy individuals and large corporations are needed to solve this problem. This is not ideology—it’s arithmetic.”
WPD also had this to say on the Supreme Court's order to the legislature this summer:
The questions the Court presents to the parties (mostly to the state) to address in briefing and oral argument constitute most of the order.  The questions are exceedingly specific.  The questions range from how much investment is required and where will the money come from to what is the actual deadline.  (The parties and Court have been sloppy when referring to the deadline, so we're glad the Court will clarify. We believe that the deadline that the state first set for itself is the beginning of the 2017/18 school year.)  

We all know that the state has resisted answering these very questions.  The AG used broad terms when relying on the legislature’s purposely amorphous promise in 6195—this is because the legislature has no actual plan yet.  In this order, the Court signaled that they are going to call the state (the legislature) to the carpet for continuing to delay and not plan.  They are slowly and intentionally plodding along because no one intends to make any actual decisions until after the election.  The Court is rejecting that approach.  We hope that the Court will act in a consistent manner by ruling before the election.
Also, FYI on the latest lawsuit against the latest charter school law on the plaintiffs in that suit - you'll hear over and over that "it's the teachers union."  No, it's many other groups and individuals as well:
El Centro De La Raza, the League of Women Voters of Washington, the Washington Association of School Administrators, the Washington Education Association, the International Union of Operating Engineers 609, Aerospace Machinists Union IAM & AW DL 751, Washington State Labor Council AFL-CIO, United Food and Commercial Workers Union 21, Washington Federation of State Employees, American Federation of Teachers Washington, Teamsters Joint Council No. 28, and parents Wayne Au, Pat Braman and Donna Boyer.
There's a good opportunity to see some of the big ed reformers exit the Legislature.  From The Issaquah Press:
In Wednesday afternoon’s update of election results, (Mark) Mullet, the incumbent Democrat, leads Republican (Chad)Magendanz by 199 votes. Mullet has tallied 50.49 percent of the vote counted so far against Magendanz’s 49.4 percent.
Mullet leans ed reform but Magendanz is one of the biggest supporters of ed reform. 
In the District 41 state Senate race, Republican incumbent Steve Litzow holds a 214-vote lead over Democratic challenger Lisa Wellman. Litzow has received 48.7 percent of the vote compared to Wellman’s 47.58 percent.
If Magendanz is the smug face of charter schools (and he is), Litzow is the genial, smiling face.  It would be a good thing to see both of them defeated in the fall and replaced with Mullet and Wellman.

"High School of the Future"

My only comment at this point is that, sans the technology, this sounds a lot like what Nova does.

Friday, August 05, 2016

Should PTAs Reveal Their Budgets?

At the Tuesday Open Thread, I noticed a discussion going on over this Facebook post from some members of Soup for Teachers (partial):
We need your help. We are a small group of parents with kids in public elementary schools in Seattle who are seeking some data from parents from all public elementary schools in the Seattle School District.

Friday Open Thread

From Seattle Schools:
Community Engagement Task Force
Community stakeholders are invited to participate on the SPS Community Engagement task force hosted by SPS School Board Director, Leslie Harris and Chief Engagement Officer, Carri Campbell.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

SAT Questions Revealed

From Reuters:
Just months after the College Board unveiled the new SAT this March, a person with access to material for upcoming versions of the redesigned exam provided Reuters with hundreds of confidential test items. The questions and answers include 21 reading passages – each with about a dozen questions – and about 160 math problems. 

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Washington's Latest Charter School Lawsuit Filed

The Associated Press is reporting that a lawsuit has been filed in King County Superior court over the new charter school law passed by the Legislature in the spring.
Teachers unions, parents and other groups filed a lawsuit Wednesday over Washington’s new charter school law, a measure that was enacted last spring after the state Supreme Court struck down the old law. 
The group includes the Washington Education Association, League of Women Voters, El Centro de la Raza and several labor unions.

Reading and Shaking My Head

 This column appeared in the Puget Sound Business Journal (that fount of public education knowledge) and was written by Bob Wallace, a columnist at the PSBJ.  It is called, "Education Union Holds State Hostage."  Mr. Wallace dissects the issues around McCleary and it would probably have served him better to bone on issues before commenting on them.

This and That

In election results related to education, it looks like it will be Erin Jones versus Chris Reykdal in the general election for state superintendent of public instruction.  I think it will be an interesting race as they both are qualified and yet seem to be coming at the job in different ways.  There was not a huge difference between first and second place so it's a very competitive race.

Free Books for Teachers


I wish the Seattle Goodwill was doing this but at least any teacher can go to the locations they do have open for this event. 

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Tuesday Open Thread

The race for Supreme Court justices continues to heat up with the news that yet another billionaire has teamed up with a legislator to target Justice Barbara MadsenFrom KPLU: