Monday, April 24, 2017

Telephone and Network Access at Olympic Hills and Hazel Wolf

From SPS:
On Saturday, telephone and network access to two schools Olympic Hills Elementary and Hazel Wolf K-8 were disrupted. A car accident on I-5 knocked a telephone pole across the highway and in order to move the pole, telephone and network cables were cut.
This means families are unable to call the schools directly until the cables are repaired. If you need to reach these schools, please call the following numbers:

Olympic Hills
  • Attendance 206-310-0198
  • Front office 206-491-4329 (alternate number 206-471-0784)
Hazel Wolf
  • Attendance 206-790-4224
  • Front office 206-471-2809 (alternate number 206-679-1877)
Outgoing and emergency calls from the school to families are not effected. The Department of Technology is working closely with the City of Seattle to develop a plan to restore incoming calls as soon as possible.

Good News from the City on Two Tier Busing

From Liza Rankin at Soup for Teachers:  

It's a go! 

The city is giving $2.3M for us to move to 2 tiers from the Families and Ed Levy, and also giving $300,000 or so to fund crossing guards at 100+ locations around the city! It still needs to be officially adopted by the Levy Oversight Committee and council, but that's a formality. They are all for it!

That seems to mean two tiers, one at 8 am and one at 9 am.

Rankin says in another comment that PTA and Soup for Teachers advocacy helped get this done for SPS families.

No tweets or website announcement yet from SPS.

Grit versus Resiliency

There is this new meme for discussions in public education circles about helping kids - especially those in crisis - find "grit."  To me, this sounds much like a sports idea when a kid gets hurt; "throw some dirt on it and get back up."

It'sa good thing to encourage kids to learn how to rise up against issues and outcomes, big and small.  But we all remember what it feels like - as a child - to not know just how you were going to climb over, dig under or just plain outwait a problem.

A very good op-ed appeared in this morning's New York Times from Sheryl Sandberg: How to Build Resilient Kids, Even After a Loss.   As you may recall, Ms. Sandberg, Facebook COO, suffered the sudden loss of her husband two years ago, leaving her with two young children to raise alone. (bold mine)
As parents, teachers and caregivers, we all want to raise resilient kids — to develop their strength so they can overcome obstacles big and small. Resilience leads to better health, greater happiness and more success. The good news is that resilience isn’t a fixed personality trait; we’re not born with a set amount of it. Resilience is a muscle we can help kids build.
Adolescents who feel that they matter are less likely to suffer from depression, low self-esteem and suicidal thoughts. They’re less likely to lash out at their families and engage in rebellious, illegal and harmful behaviors. Once they reach college, they have better mental health.
And every kid faces challenges. Some stumbles are part of growing up. Forgetting lines in a school play. Failing a test. Losing a big game. Seeing a friendship unravel. Other hardships are far more severe. Two out of 10 children in the United States live in poverty. More than 2.5 million kids have a parent in jail, and many endure serious illness, neglect, abuse or homelessness. We know that the trauma from experiences like these can last a lifetime; extreme harm and deprivation can impede a child’s intellectual, social, emotional and academic progress. As a society, we owe all our children safety, support, opportunity and help finding a way forward.
Then she gets to a point that cannot be said enough in our technology driven society:
We can start by showing children that they matter. Sociologists define “mattering” as the belief that other people notice you, care about you and rely on you. It’s the answer to a vital question that all children ask about their place in the world starting as toddlers, and continuing into and beyond adolescence: Do I make a difference to others?
What can you do?
As parents, we sometimes feel helpless because it’s impossible to solve our children’s problems. In those situations, we can still provide support by “companioning” — walking alongside them and listening.

When children grow up with a strong understanding of their family’s history — where their grandparents grew up, what their parents’ childhoods were like — they have better coping skills and a stronger sense of mattering and belonging.

Talking openly about memories — not just positive ones, but difficult ones, too — can help kids make sense of their past and rise to future challenges. It’s especially powerful to share stories about how the family sticks together through good times and bad, which allows kids to feel that they are connected to something larger than themselves. Studies show that giving all members of the family a chance to tell their version builds self-esteem, particularly for girls. And making sure to integrate different perspectives into a coherent story builds a sense of control, particularly for boys.

This and That

A lengthy and interesting chart of the generations currently living in the U.S. - Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials.  (This came to me via the Horace Mann news feed but has no attribution.)  I note that Millennials seem to span two generations, X and Z.   From Wiki:
Generation Z (also known as The Founders, Post-Millennials, the iGeneration, Plurals or the Homeland Generation) is the demographic cohort after the Millennials. There are no precise dates for when the Gen Z cohort starts or ends; demographers and researchers typically use starting birth years that range from the mid-1990s to early 2000s, and as of yet there is little consensus about ending birth years.
More interesting charts about urban versus rural that could play into discussions about public education from The Conversation.  They name four issues:
  • Poverty is higher in rural areas.
  • Most new jobs aren't in rural areas.
  • Disabilities are more common in rural areas.
  • Rural areas are surprisingly entrepreneurial.
From The Atlantic, How School Start Times Affect High-School Athletics.
The debate in Sag Harbor mirrors similar conversations in districts across the country. Hundreds of schools in 44 U.S. States have already delayed start times in response to sleep-science research. But in more than a few other districts, attempts to push back the opening bells have failed because of the kinds of concerns being voiced on Long Island.

On one side are parents who point to extensive research on sleep cycles of adolescents, effects of sleep on academic performance, and the safety risks associated with sleep deprivation. On the other are those who are worried about what changing start times would mean to their everyday lives—beginning with high-school sports. But given the startling correlation between poor sleep and athletic injuries in teenagers, perhaps those two camps have more in common than they realize.
Interesting article from Teacher Pensions, Why Do Private School Teachers Have Such High Turnover Rates?
Federal data from the National Center on Education Statistics (NCES) offers a potentially surprising revelation: Private school teachers have higher turnover rates than their public school counterparts, and it’s not particularly close.

As the graph shows, the teacher leaver rate is almost twice as high at private schools than it is at public schools. Both have increased over time, but private schools have seen their rates increase even faster. These data call into question many of the common explanations for changes to teacher turnover rates among public school teachers, such as No Child Left Behind, teacher evaluation reforms, or the Common Core. Those reforms, which applied primarily to public schools, simply can't explain the increases in teacher turnover in private schools. (In fact, during the NCLB era, public school teacher turnover did rise a bit, but private school turnover rose even more.)
To note, the rate of teacher turnover at charter schools is also much higher than at regular public schools.  Rate of pay, lack of security and lack of organizing as a group all seem to be factors.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Superintendent's Latest Pep Talk/Boo Hoo on the Budget

On Friday, Superintendent Nyland posted a letter about the budget for the next school year (partial):
Legislative action restored $24 million to our 2017-18 budget. Thanks to the work of central office and the School Board, 88 percent of the restored $24 million went back to support classrooms and academics, including over 200 positions.
Restoration of the $24 million still left a shortfall of $50 million. We prioritized classrooms, restoring all but about 50 positions, which is a 1.5 percent reduction. Central administration was reduced by the greatest percentage amount at 4.7 percent.
The Friday before spring break, central office departments were informed of the specific reductions. These cuts required a combination of closing vacant positions and reducing positions. We have now addressed the $74 million shortfall.

Central teams are still working through the realignment process in order to sustain critical functions, and related department reorganizations will be announced in the next couple of weeks.
Okay, but he left out one huge component to this notice - a link to the budget for all to read.  He says that everyone has been notified so why can't we see what was cut where?  I'd bet the cuts at central are not high level but probably around maintenance or kitchen staff but how are we to know if there's no transparency?  

I see there is a Work Session on the budget on Wednesday from 6:00-7:30 pm so perhaps all will be revealed then.

Mayor Murray and His Record

The mayoral race is picking up steam with the addition of activist Cary Moon to the major candidate group including Mayor Murray, former mayor Mike McGinn, activist Nikkita Oliver.  As for the Mayor's legal problems, I'm sure we will all learn more as the court case goes on but his record is what voters should really look at.

To that end, a guest column from parent/activist Carolyn Leith (SPS parent of two students). 
On November 2, 2015, one day before the general election, Mayor Ed Murray held a press conference on the steps of Olympic View Elementary to promote The Levy to Move Seattle.

Students wore their orange safety patrol vests, parents applauded enthusiastically, and the Mayor promised that a YES vote would mean sidewalks, always promised by the City - but never delivered, would finally be built on 8th Ave. NE.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Message to Legislature: Get Off Your High Horse and Get This Done

An update (partial) from one of my reps from the 43rd, Nicole Macri:
It has become clear that the legislature will need to go into overtime in order to get our work done this year. While making decisions about the state’s two-year budget is complicated, I am disappointed that Senate Republicans haven’t even made a good faith effort to begin negotiating so we could adjourn on time. I know you’re tired of hearing about unproductive partisanship. After just my first legislative session as your representative, I’m already pretty sick of bickering that holds back our important work too. Even House Republicans—admirably, in my opinion—want to sit down and negotiate.
Nonetheless, I feel a need to let you know that Senate negotiators are literally not even sitting down at the table.


They’re just not negotiating.


I receive regular updates from our House budget negotiators, and they report that they’ve had conversations with Senate negotiators about Easter and the weather, but are met with silence when attempting to bring up the important work the legislature needs to do. This regular 105 day session will end with much unfinished business.
end of update
No, the Legislature did not finish on time, and yes, the Governor has called a special session.

From The News Tribune:

Friday, April 21, 2017

Friday Open Thread

Two sad remembrances - Mark Twain died on this day in 1910 and Prince died a year ago.  Both brought great art to our country.

It appears that the Legislature will not be getting their job done of creating a budget that includes fully funding public education.  I'll assume the Supreme Court will sit back and just watch it unfold with the rest of us.  I wish they would actually do something but now all we can do is wait.  I don't think any amount of lobbying or advocating is going to make a whit of difference at this point.

Tom Ahearne, lead counsel for the McClearys, told the Seattle Times that he doesn't have a lot of confidence this will get done properly.  As Kathryn Selk said at the Facebook page of WPD:

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Regional Superintendents Send White Paper to Legislature

A letter of interest called "An Educational Funding Position Paper Submitted by the Superintendents of the NW Educational Service District 189 Region" was send to the Governor, State Superintendent Rykdal, and members of the Washington State Legislature on March 23, 2017.

2017-2018 Calendar to be at District Website "Soon"

Thus sayeth Superintendent Nyland at last night's Board meeting.  I would assume "soon" to mean by the end of the week.

He did say it would include holidays and breaks but probably not Early Release days.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Tonight's Board Meeting Speaker List

That list is mighty short, just seven people.

You don't need to call in but just show up and ask that your name be added to the list.

Now's a good time to get in there and tell the Board what is troubling you about the district.

Enrollment and Waitlists

By request, a thread on this topic.  Waitlist link.

I'm going to reprint Kellie LaRue's comments to start it (bold/color mine):

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Tuesday Open Thread

Diane Ravitch writes about Washington state, billionaires and the inability to fully-fund public education.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Privatization of Public Schools

I previously posted the long memo called Real Choice vs. False Choice: The Repercussions of Privatization Programs for Students, Parents, and Public Schools that Senator Patty Murray sent to her colleagues in late March about the privatization of public schools. She does credit in laying out real world examples of how privatization has not worked in the U.S.

Her most basic point?
Privatization efforts provide a false sense 
of choice for many students and families. 

From the Network for Public Education comes the NPE Toolkit: School Privatization Explained
on PrivatizationThere are a variety of topics covered about charter schools as well as tax credit and voucher programs.  They give Washington State a "C" for school privatization.

 Here's some of what Senator Murray's memo says:

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Seattle Schools This Week

I haven't been writing this particular thread as of late but I found something rather interesting in the school board meeting agenda.

This is the last week of the legislative session but I hope no one is holding their breath that the budget (and McCleary) will get done.  It's just beyond the patience of districts, schools, staffs and parents to have to watch the Legislature have to use MORE state money to get work done that should have been finished years ago.  

It looks like this week and next week will be SBAC testing (at least for high schools).  Again, your child only needs to take it once to graduate.  You can opt your child out of the test in any other grade level and the district has to give them some place to be. 

The Board has an Audit and Finance Committee meeting this week.  The agenda is mostly taken over by the purchase of a new point-of-sale system.  But right at the end of the agenda (and the lengthy documentation) is a change to Policy 6022 around the Economic Stabilization Account.   This change would mean two things:
  • Staff can recommend using the account for any reason.  The current policy has clear reasons for using this fund which I believe is basically the district's rainy day fund.  The current reasons are: emergencies for life, health or public safety issues and correcting accounting/budgeting errors.
  • A plan to rebuild the fund (which staff says is not in the original policy but I see something that approximates that).  
If this change does not happen, then the district cannot access these funds in order to shore up the budget for next year.  While I understand that need, I think striking stated reasons to access this fund is a bad idea.

I also note this interesting phrasing from the Monthly Financial Report under Debt Service Fund:

The large fund balance has been established as a sinking fund for the 2010 QSCB ($17.5M) that is coming due in June 2017.
I'll ask but I'm hoping that doesn't mean the district has to pay out $17.5M in June for the QSCB (Qualified School Construction Bonds).

To the Board meeting agenda.  The bulk of the meeting - the Consent agenda, Action and Intro - is largely going to be Capital issues from several BEX IV projects. 

But what is of most interest will be the Superintendent's comments.  One notation just says "West Seattle Elementary School" but there is nothing else to give an inkling what this might be.  The other one seems far more serious.

Notice of Public Employee Relations Commission Decision 12672 - Chief Sealth High School

Friday, April 14, 2017

Thing to Do This Weekend (for free)

This weekend is one of the Free Entrance Days for the national parks system.  Here's something else I didn't know about:

Things That Make You Go, Hmmm

Interesting but somewhat concerning article from the Chicago Tribune about students who take the state's free SAT who then find that the score appears on their transcript (whether they want it there or a not). 
While the test is designed to evaluate whether a student is prepared for college, some parents say it's unfair to rely on just one exam. They note that anything from an illness to anxiety could disrupt the test-taking process, leaving students stuck with a score that could hurt their child's chances of getting into their dream school.
Well, yeah. Some kids take the SAT multiple times.  Some do better on the ACT.  Why wouldn't the student and their parent decide what score goes to admissions offices?   Seems like this could be an opt-in thing rather than a blanket item.

Anyone heard of this for SPS?  

Fill Out Your Invoice and Send It to the Legislature

Image may contain: text

Friday Open Thread

Teens Take a Stand: Learning about your rights - a program on Friday, April 21st at the Douglass Truth Library from 4-5:30 pm.

We are now in the home stretch for this legislative session but it's a safe bet that the budget will not be done (because of McCleary).  Good point here from WPD Facebook:
Hypocrisy: WA legislature doubling down on unconstitutional funding of charter schools citing "the will of the voters" in 2016, while rescinding constitutional ST3 funding in 2017 that voters passed. We see you and your voting records. Don't you dare rescind the class-size reduction we all voted for. This is getting ridiculous.
Yes, it's amazing when a majority vote is the "will of the people" when it suits the legislature's purposes but when it doesn't, sorry, your vote doesn't matter.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Inner Thoughts of the Seattle School Board on Assessments

At the last Curriculum and Instruction Committee meeting, head of Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction, Kyle Kinoshita, reported out to the Board a compilation of what staff heard regarding "the Board feedback on the assessment policy draft from the Committee of the Whole meeting"  (See page 44 of the agenda.)

He also states:

We are still sorting through feedback from the Board as well as our continued stakeholder engagement to determine the next set of revisions to the policy draft.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

More Thoughts on Gifted Education

Update:  there's a new movie out about a gifted child called...Gifted.

Also, thank you to reader NE Parent for this link to a NY Times article on finding more gifted students of color.  It makes for fascinating reading.

Tuesday Open Thread

Such sad news from San Bernadino yesterday.  It is almost breathtaking that this teacher's husband signed in at the office and then proceeded to go to her classroom to confront her with a gun.  In a room full of children.  My heart goes out to the family of the child, Jonathan Martinez, who died along with the teacher, Karen Elaine Smith.

Betsy DeVos continues her tour of charter schools, this time with our First Lady AND the Queen of Jordan to an all-girls charter school in Washington, D.C.  Meanwhile, the Texas(!) state house voted no to sending state funds to private schools not even for poor kids.  From the Houston Chronicle:

Monday, April 10, 2017

Does Your Student Know about CTE?

That would be Career and Technical Education, what we used to call vocational education. 
Seattle Schools has really kicked this department into gear.  This follows a national reawakening (finally) that not every student is or wants to go to college. 

Here's how the district describes it:

Sunday, April 09, 2017

PTAs and Sharing Dollars

The New York Times had a revealing article today about sharing PTA fundraising dollars. 
According to a new report by the Center for American Progress, a liberal advocacy group, schools that serve just one-tenth of 1 percent of American students collect 10 percent of the estimated $425 million that PTAs raise nationwide each year.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Opt Out Form

From Seattle Opt Out:

SEATTLE PUBLIC SCHOOLS* 

Decision to Support the Whole Child Form
The unofficial form for opting out of high stakes testing*

Please clearly print the following information and return to your school’s principal.

On Option Schools and Class Sizes

I listened to Superintendent Nyland's explanation at last Wednesday's Board meeting of why class sizes may be larger at Option schools than neighborhood schools.

I also read this letter from the School Board office:

Weather Note

Folks, it is supposed to be a nasty day weather-wise.  The afternoon is to bring very strong winds and I urge you to not be out there unless you absolutely have to be.  In recent years, we did have a father killed in a car traveling through a park during a high windstorm (luckily his child survived). 

Be careful out there.

Friday Open Thread

No directors' community meetings on Saturday; I note from Wednesday's Board meeting that directors are struggling to find spaces. 

From the Seattle Art Museum:
Congratulations to the 200 young artists whose tremendous talent shines through in the 2017 Naramore Seattle Public Schools (SPS) Middle and High School Art Show!  Join us for the reception and awards ceremony on May 5, at 6:00 pm as we honor all participants for their amazing creativity!  Free and open to the public.
A huge congratulations to the Michael James, Director, and the Ballard High School Wind Ensemble which will play at Carnegie Hall in NYC.  
We were accepted into the "New York International Music Festival" through a competitive audition process and are one of eight ensembles chosen to perform at this particular festival on stage at Carnegie Hall on April 11, 2017 at 1:00 pm.
SPS high schools won top honors at the Washington State University's Edward R. Murrow High School Journal Competition in photography (1st place, Ballard), best newspaper edition (1st place. Nathan Hale), feature writing (2nd place, Nathan Hale), best website (2nd place, Nathan Hale) and multimedia (2nd place Nathan Hale).

More congratulations this time to the Thornton Creek Archery teams that recently competed at Central Washington University at the National Archery in the Schools Program. 
One Thornton team placed second out of 14 teams in the Elementary Division. Three girls on that team placed in the top ten of the elementary girls category to qualify for the National Tournament in Louisville, Kentucky, May 11-13th , 2017.
The district is looking for members for an Ethnic Studies Task Force.  This seems a bit cart before the horse given the Board has no approved this effort.  I think the Board approves of the idea but no firm approval has been given.   Of course, most SPS "taskforces" find their work usually shaped or ignored by senior management so this may just be for show.
Focusing on grades 9-12 is the first step in ensuring ethnic studies are part of the preK-12 learning experience for all students in the district. Help inform and shape this important work by applying to join the task force by April 21.
Trying to get your kid into UW?  They just received a ranking of 9th out of 10 among world universities from the Center for Work University Rankings so it may get even more competitive.

What's on your mind?

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Race, Education Reform and Public Schools

A very fine article from NPR from last September about race and charter schools provided a wide variety of thoughtful opinions.  Much of the debate has been around the NAACP calling for a moratorium on the opening on new charter schools. 
Some education leaders are rushing to embrace the newly frank conversation about the racial impact of education reforms. Others are caught awkwardly in the middle. And some — especially conservative — reformers feel alienated.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Still Waiting for McCleary Dollars


Data Privacy Bill in Legislative Docket

Update: it appears that the Legislature is doing even more.  This from a story in the Puget Sound Business Journal.
A bipartisan group of Washington state lawmakers on Wednesday introduced companion measures, House Bill 2200 and Senate Bill 5919, to update the state’s consumer protection act and require internet service providers operating in the state to obtain a customer’s permission before selling data.

Internet service providers including Comcast, Verizon and AT&T released statements since Congress appealed the FCC rules, claiming they don’t intend to sell customers’ browsing histories.
end of update

The Times had an op-ed today from State Rep. North Smith, R-Clinton, who serves as the ranking Republican member on the House Technology and Economic Development Committee about a bill - HB 1904 - that she is sponsoring.

In her op-ed she says,
The protection of your personal data and privacy is crucila, which is why I want to make one thing very clear; while contressional Republicans may be making it easier to sell your data, lawmakers in Olympia have a strong recrod of accomplishment in protecting your personal information. 
She goes on,
House Bill 1904 has bipartisan support in the House, and is one of the few revenue bills that will be on the table during final budget negotiations this sessions. 
The bill hasn't even made it out of the House committee so I have to wonder.

I looked at the bill and here's what I see:

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Work Session on the 2017-2018 Budget

For this Work Session, all of the directors were present in person except for Director Blanford who was there via phone.  The Superintendent was there as were several senior staff members.

President Peters did seem to set a good tone for action when she stated, "We are going to have to make decisions tonight."

I actually don't want to do a complete detailing of the work session but I'll just summarize and give some highlights.  Also, some of the nitty-gritty of the details of what pots of reserves that are actually going to be used went over my head.  I felt like I must have miss that discussion somewhere.

Agenda

Option Schools and Larger Class Sizes

I hadn't intended to write about this yet as I am still waiting for some answers from the district but here's what is being said at the Soup for Teachers Facebook page:
If you are at one of the option schools listed below -- you will have LARGER class room sizes in 2017/2018.

Tuesday Open Thread

I went to the Work Session on the budget for next year.  More to come but spoiler alert: the majority of the Board went along with everything staff wanted.

From Senator Jamie Pedersen's newsletter:
One of the bright spots this year has been the bipartisan agreement on the capital budget, which funds a variety of building and maintenance projects throughout the state. I was very pleased to see a large number of projects that I advocated for funded in the proposal. In particular, the capital request for Seattle Public Schools that I led for our Seattle delegation was approved in its entirety! 

Seattle Public Schools - $22M (including expansion of West Woodland Elementary)
Over in Bellevue, their schools' foundation raised over $700,000 at their annual luncheon.
Ardmore Elementary School Principal Chas Miller told guests that in his 11 years as a principal in other states, he’s never seen anything like the community support for education that is a cultural norm in Bellevue.

“It’s not as if I came from a place that didn’t care about the schools, but the sheer coordination and the sheer will of so many people at the same time saying, ‘We’re going to support public education,’ was something I had never experienced in my career,” Miller said.

For the district’s youngest learners, particularly in the Title I Ardmore student population, the benefits are striking.


“In Kindergarten last year the number of students scoring ‘far below proficient’ dropped from 74% in September to 10% in June—a 64% change,” he said.
 The Times reports that $800,000 has been raised to cover testing costs for low-income students who are taking AP or IB tests this year.  

What's on your mind?

Monday, April 03, 2017

Getting Unpleasant at House Budget Hearing

From WPD Facebook via Robert Cruickshank
If you watched today's testimony, you saw numerous people, including business owners, who would pay the taxes in the House budget (capital gains and B&O) step up to say they supported it because our children come first. 

But one lobbyist for our state's biggest companies, including Walmart, Shell, Uber, AT&T, Blue Cross, and more, claims in this tweet that it was just a room full of "spenders" (as if you can reduce parents and children to that) and no "payers". 

Just a sign of what we're up against. But we can and will win this battle, because when it comes to ensuring every child has an amply funded public education, losing is not an option.
I would remind Mr. Gano that every adult in that room pays taxes.  Appalling.

Early Education Promises from Mayoral Candidate Nikkita Oliver

I'll be trying to have interviews with all the mayoral candidates but I did see this article from Capitol Hill Seattle with some of candidate Nikkita Oliver's education ideas.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Money Matters

SPS
The cancelled Work Session on the 2017-2018 budget is scheduled for tomorrow, Monday, April 3rd from 5:30-7:00 pm at JSCEE. 

(Immediately preceding it is the Curriculum & Instruction Policy committee meeting from 4:00-5:30 pm.  Agenda.)

McCleary

Remember that Crosscut article that pointed out that the Senate GOP numbers were off?  The News Tribune finds another issue:
What has now become clear is that the education plan introduced by Senate Republicans doesn’t put as much new money into schools as GOP leaders would like people to believe.

Senate leaders have said their budget would put about $1.8 billion in new state money into K-12 schools in the next two years — a number that, on its surface, comes close to matching the $1.9 billion investment promised in a competing plan from House Democrats

But that Senate estimate of $1.8 billion doesn’t reflect the actual amount of new funding that would go to school districts under the GOP proposal.

Senate leaders now acknowledge that — after factoring in how their plan would reduce local dollars for schools — their approach would add significantly less than $1.8 billion to the state’s K-12 system in the next two years.
Two policy wonks, Barbara Billinghurst and Nancy Chamberlain, at the Washington's Paramount Duty Facebook page have really done yeoman's work on this issue.  Thank you! 

Underenrolled Schools Taking It On the Chin: Why?

News about underenrolled schools in several regions of the district (plus one update at the end of the thread on high schools).

Saturday, April 01, 2017

The Annual "Who Can Wear What" Discussion

There were two stories in the news around the clothing that girls are choosing to wear.  (And I hope everyone sees that I'm leaving the comments section up.)

The first story - very widely publicized- came from an incident last weekend where girls traveling with an adult who works for United airlines got stopped from boarding the plane because of the leggings that they were wearing.  There was a high-profile mom activist in line who saw this and started a Twitter frenzy that included a couple of actresses who stepped in.  United answered back but left out a key point (which hurt them).

The point was that for flyers using United's "buddy" rates, the airline requires a higher standard of dress (for men and women, boys and girls).  It was not that that what the girls were wearing was objectionable but that it was not up to the code.  The airline didn't explain how they created their code and frankly, I don't think they have to. 

They make their employees wearing uniforms and I would think that getting a big discount for your family might be worth dressing up more than you normally would to fly. 

One key issue here is this debate over whether leggings are pants or not.  To me, they are not.  I noticed at Facebook that many adult women say yes, they are pants and worn with a long tunic and boots are an acceptable outfit in public.  I would agree but the majority of women and girls who wear leggings are not wearing long tunics. 

The nature of leggings is that they are very clingy.  I think some of that is because in some activities, like yoga and ballet, the line of the leg is important to see.  That's fine for those activities.  And yes, they are super comfy but then again, so are pj's. 

The other story was about a high school that created a "do and don't" list for prom dresses.  To make matters worse, it came out just a week before the prom when many girls had already purchased dresses. It was pretty patronizing BUT I do see the point somewhat.  

SEA Will Not Be on Strike on May 1st

From the SEA Facebook page:

Unofficial returns indicate that SEA members will not be striking on May 1st. A record turnout for the vote indicates that SEA members are still very disappointed with the state legislatures inaction on education funding the timing of the strike appear to be problematic but future action remains very much under consideration by our members. (sic)

Friday, March 31, 2017

Let the Mayor/City Council Know You Want Two Tiers

From Liza Rankin at Soup for Teachers: 
Apparently, the Mayor is considering contributing the one-time cost of $2.3M from the city’s coffers to make it happen. If the money is committed by May 1, SPS will be able to implement a two-tier bell schedule for THIS FALL and spare us from a 7:40am tier one start and a 3:50pm tier three end time. Please write to the mayor and your city council members to encourage them to contribute this money to benefit students and families in every SPS community!
Here is my letter to Mayor Ed Murray (http://www.seattle.gov/mayor/get-involved/contact-the-mayor) and to the Seattle City Council members (lisa.herbold@seattle.gov, bruce.harrell@seattle.gov, kshama.sawant@seattle.gov, rob.johnson@seattle.gov, debora.juarez@seattle.gov, mike.obrien@seattle.gov, sally.bagshaw@seattle.gov, tim.burgess@seattle.gov, lorena.gonzalez@seattle.gov):

Read it and Weep

Thursday, March 30, 2017

SAT/ACT: Tell Your Kids to Give Only Five Data Points

From Parent Coalition for Student Privacy and the Washington Post's Answer Sheet:
If your child takes the SAT or PSAT, is his or her personal information being collected, profiled, licensed and sold?

That is the question that Cheri Kiesecker, Colorado parent and member of the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy, asks and attempts to answer in the following important post. The Parent Coalition for Student Privacy is a national alliance of parents and advocates defending the rights of parents and students to protect their data.

Summary: do NOT let your children answer any questions on the PSAT or SAT other than five obligatory questions: name, grade level, sex, date of birth, and student ID number.
If they've already shared the info you can opt out of the CB disclosing it any further here: https://student.collegeboard.org/student-search-ser…/opt-out
To note, the Trump administration just rolled back data privacy protections for all of us this week:

Friday Open Thread

(Editor's note: yes, I knew it was Thursday when I put this up.  I had thought I was going to be unable to get it up early Friday morning and chose to post it on Thursday.)

Update report from the Times about the widely-lauded Road Map Project with some modest success and extension of their goal timeline.
Seven years after setting the goal of doubling the number of students in South Seattle and South King County who finish college or earn a career credential, the Road Map Project is increasing the target to 70 percent — and extending the deadline from 2020 to 2030.

Created in 2010, the Road Map Project is a regional partnership working to dramatically boost college-completion rates in seven school districts.
Interesting article from Spokane's KPBX about why some children of immigrants excel in STEM.
As the Times of India pointed out, Das was one of five Indian Americans among the competition's top ten finishers. In last year's contest, according to one study, more than 80 percent of finalists were the children of immigrants

For a new study published in the journal Demography, Rangel, an economist at Duke University, and his co-author, Marigee Bacolod of the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, looked at U.S. Census data for young adults who arrived in the United States before age 18. The data covers in detail the relative skills required for different occupations, such as physical strength, communication skills, social skills, math and reasoning. For those who went to college, they were also able to see what major they chose. 

What's unique about this study is that Bacolod and Rangel subdivided the immigrants in two ways. First, whether they arrived in early childhood, before age 10. Second, whether their native language was linguistically close to English — say, German — or less similar — say, Vietnamese. Most linguists agree that these two factors have a dramatic impact on someone's chances of becoming perfectly fluent in a second language.
Use of medical marijuana in schools?  It could happen.  From KOMO News:
 Lawmakers in the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee heard parents like Holt speak about the benefits of medical marijuana and how it has helped their children function without pain or other issues until their next dose. House Bill 1060 would allow a parent or guardian to privately administer medical marijuana to a child while at school, on a school bus or at a school-sponsored event.
According to the Washington Department of Health there are 87 children registered for medical marijuana since the roll-out of the database last year, but the DOH doesn't know the circumstances surrounding each child or if they're enrolled in school.
Fun idea for a "March Madness"in an environmental science class from KNKX.

C is for César (Chávez) - a new book about the activist.

Twenty-five particularly funny tweets from parents - you may recognize yourself in one or two. Caution: must like sarcasm.

The Board Work Session scheduled for yesterday was cancelled due to a lack of quorum.  They were to discussion Health and Safety and the 2017-2018 budget.  I was a bit puzzled by this as the Board does not regularly vote on anything at work sessions.

What's on your mind?

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Tuesday Open Thread

Interesting op-ed from several major charter operators in USA Today, speaking out against Trump's budget.
We realize that expressing concerns about a budget that benefits our schools may seem counter-intuitive. But we want to join with all those who are fighting to defend public education as an essential pillar of our democracy. We will ask Republicans and Democrats alike to reject these proposed cuts.
If only the Washington Charter Schools Association was speaking out like this about McCleary fulfillment.

May 1st Strike?

In case you were not aware, there is a debate/discussion - among teachers and parents - about a May 1st strike/walkout.  May 1st is International Workers' Day and one that is hugely celebrated throughout the world (although not so much in the U.S.)

Let's Keep Public Education Public

Monday, March 27, 2017

House Dems Release Their Budget

Here's a link to the entire thing

Here's an assessment from the Tacoma News Tribune:
The state House released a $44.7-billion spending plan Monday that relies on $3 billion in new revenue over two years, mainly from new taxes on capital gains and tax hikes for some businesses.

The House plan would spend about $1.6 billion more than a rival proposal put forth last week by Senate Republicans, who proposed rejecting state worker contracts and making some cuts to social services to balance their budget.

Your Kids and Their Future

I've read a couple of good articles over the last week that I wanted to share.

Now It Will Get Real on McCleary Funding

The Dems will be releasing their proposal for the budget, including McCleary funding, today at noon. It will be televised on TVW.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

What's Next for Seattle Schools?

I'll ask that question because apparently, the district isn't going to ask you.

I bring this up after reading thru the presentation for last week's Work Session with one section about SMART goals and the other about the budget.  Here's the title for the SMART goals:

Selection of the 2017-18 Board Governance Priorities & Superintendent SMART Goals ... for next year.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Postcards for Education

Community Postcards for Education - A Kid Friendly Event!

DeVos Attempts to Undermine ESSA Requirements

Betsy DeVos is all about parent power via "choice."  She says this over and over, that the feds should allow parents to have the biggest power over where their child goes to school.

Apparently, that power stops at the schoolhouse door because it seems she doesn't believe in that power as far as what actually happens inside the school.

This and That

Great story from NPR -
A High School's Lesson For Helping English Language Learners Get To College

Friday, March 24, 2017

Washington State School Funding Updates

Update:  great analysis from the Washington Budget and Policy Center on the GOP bill.

Friday Open Thread

Want to see what a condo in the old Queen Anne High building looks like?  Here you go.

From the "hmmm" file: I have found no stories on Amazon's gift of music instruments to Rainier Beach High School except for this blog and the South Seattle Emerald.  Not the Times, nor tv stations.  Ditto on the Paul Allen donation to partner with the City and the district for more arts for students.  I know SPS put out press releases.  Two of the biggest philanthropists in our city give money to help public education and neither gets any notice from mainstream media.  Hmmm.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Huge Win in Supreme Court for Special Education

Update:  Father of autistic kid Gorsuch ruled against will testify to Senate against his nomination.

end of update

From NPR:
School districts must provide students with disabilities the chance to make meaningful, "appropriately ambitious" progress, the Supreme Court said today in an 8-0 ruling.

Personalized Learning; What's Happening Out There

I've written about "personalized learning" before and I will continue as this becomes an ever-growing story.  There is absolutely every reason to consider new and better ways to use technology to increase academic outcomes and hopefully that drills down to each and every student's learning style.  But there are many factors to consider like:

What the Plan is for Your Child's Education?

Here's an event you might consider attending:

Parents Across America Presents Alison McDowell 
"Future Ready Schools: How Silicon Valley is Reshaping Our Schools"
Saturday, March 25th from 10:30 am to noon at the Lake City library branch., 12501 28th Avenue, NE
This talk is free and open to the public.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Walking to School May Get Safer

The Times is reporting on how Mayor Murray's proposal to the City Council on how to spend some of the money from the $930M Move Seattle levy.  Here's a map of the sidewalk projects.

Amazon Sends 50 Musical Instruments to Rainier Beach High

More to come but from SPS:

GOP Senators Release Their Budget

In not-good-news, the Senate Republicans in the Legislature released their budget.  From The News Tribune (partial):

Healthy Youth Survey Results

OSPI reports results from Healthy Youth Survey:

Results for the 2016 Washington Healthy Youth Survey (HYS) show that teen rates of substance use in our state have remained mostly unchanged since the last survey was taken in 2014, and that most teens avoid alcohol, marijuana, tobacco and other drugs.

Paul Allen Family Foundation Shores Up Arts Education in Seattle Schools

I'll have more news about CTE later on but here's the good news:

From SPS Communications:

The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and Seattle Public Schools (SPS), in partnership with the City of Seattle, will open up new career and college pathways for city youth to graduate from high school “Seattle Ready,” by establishing new media arts courses in the Seattle Public Schools Skills Center. Skills Center courses, taught by industry professionals, will enable students to be competitive in the local workforce and provide the opportunity to live and work in Seattle.

SPS has received a grant of $395,000 from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation to fund the creation of new Media Arts courses offered through the Seattle Public Schools Skills Center. The grant will be supplemented by an additional $175,000 from the City of Seattle. Providing an initial investment, this external financial support will lead to a sustainable program. The new Media Arts courses will begin in July and students can apply today.

Tuesday Open Thread

Interesting article from Mosaic about what Iceland is doing to curb dangerous teen behaviors - In Iceland, teenage smoking, drinking and drug use have been radically cut in the past 20 years.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Gates Foundation and Their Education Failures

When thinking of the Gates Foundation's work in the public education arena, there are not many wins to point to except for Common Core.  Of course, that's quite a large win even though many publications either don't know Gates funded that whole mission or they just leave it out of their writing about Common Core.

I may have printed this editorial that appeared in June of last year in the Los Angeles Times  before but it bears repeating because of what the Gates Foundation says about itself.  About Common Core:

The Gates Foundation strongly supported the proposed Common Core curriculum standards, helping to bankroll not just their development, but the political effort to have them quickly adopted and implemented by states.

Bill in Legislature -

This will affect several hundred Seattle High School students.
There are two bills currently moving through the legislature that would require 4 year colleges and universities in the state to grant credit for AP exam scores of 3 or better.
SB 5234  and HB1333
The bills do not mention IB.

Friday, March 17, 2017

SAT Problems at Roosevelt (Again)?

I'm hearing rumors about this.

Anyone with on-the-ground info from their student?

Friday Open Thread

What's on your mind?

Dr. Nyland's Letter to Staff on the Budget

Dear Seattle Public Schools Staff:

Seattle Public Schools faced a $74M budget shortfall for next school year. Recent bipartisan action in the Legislature reduced that shortfall by $24M. Thank you to the Legislature and Governor Inslee for delaying the Levy Cliff and for restoring dollars, already approved by our local voters, to our 2017-18 budget.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Starting the List

Thinking about the comments in my thread about coming changes in public education, there was the issue of textbooks.  The thought is that hard-cover textbooks will go away and on-line curriculum will be the norm.

Except that it isn't playing out that way even in 2017.

Big Shout-Out to Brian Rosenthal

Well, I feel just like a mother hen.

zheadshot photo
The New York Times is reporting on the hires of three new reporters and one of them is former Seattle Times education reporter, Brian Rosenthal.

Thoughts on the Future of Public Education, Part 1

Pearson, the education publisher, suffered a huge loss in February of this year.  From The Guardian:
Pearson has reported a pre-tax loss of £2.6bn for 2016, the biggest in its history, after a slump at its US education operation.
The profit warning was prompted by the collapse of its US higher education business, which is struggling with a decline in textbook sales and the transition to digital learning. The US business accounts for two-thirds of Pearson’s revenues and profits.
I point this out because even as Seattle Schools struggles with textbook adoptions, are textbooks on the way out?  I think that may be true in years to come but until every single child has a tablet or access at home to a computer, I'm not sure how that could be mandated.  It would seem to be a real cost-saver to districts as well as add to the variety of curriculum available.

From The Atlantic, What is the Future of Public Education?  Four agendas beyond school choice the new administration might look to advance:

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

School Board Meeting Tonight

There are a couple of items on the agenda to note.
1) Public testimony is full and "ethnic studies curriculum" dominates the roster, including teacher, Jon Greenberg and former school board director, Marty McLaren.

A Facebook group around this topic said they would have a "rally" during the Board meeting.  I'm thinking they mean holding signs.  I'm sure it will be lively.

2) There are also two people who will speak to a budget transfer that is to happen in capital funds for "energy efficiency projects." 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Tuesday Open Thread

Hearing that the Magnolia Community meeting held last night had someone handing out flyers for a charter school on Queen Anne.  Anyone there who might tell us what it said? I have to say that if you tried to hand out flyers at a charter school meeting about regular public schools, you'd likely get asked to stop (or leave).

It's Pi day! And Albert Einstein's birthday!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Badmouthing Public Schools When You Have no other Argument

Remember when I put up this meme on Education Savings accounts that compared it to parents asking for park savings accounts?  I thought it was pretty clever.

Well, the folks over at the Washington Policy Center don't think so.  And that's fine. But man, do they swing waaay too far over the line in their assessment of the current state of public schools.  To wit:

Seattle Special Education PTSA Meeting on Tuesday

From Seattle Special Education PTSA:

Tuesday, March 14 from 7:00-9:00 pm is the next scheduled general meeting of the Seattle Spec Education PTSA at the John Stanford Center

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Who Are These Groups?

In my effort to keep up with who's who in ed reform in Washington State, here's a list of some groups you may run into.

Letters to Betsy

That's Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

Washington State Charter Schools Update (Plus a New Private One)

Where are we with charter schools in Washington State?

Ethnic Studies in Seattle Schools

Update: there is to be a rally during (?) Wednesday's School Board meeting for ethnic studies in Seattle Schools.   Not certain how that will work but that's the plan being put forth.

There is also a petition for ethnic studies in SPS but it has no author or sponsor noted.

end of update

Update 2: See end of thread for information on this topic from last month's Curriculum and Instruction meeting.  The C&I committee meets tomorrow.

 (Editor's note: you are welcome to chime in with ideas, feedback, whatever.  You are welcome to disagree with my viewpoint.  You are not welcome to personally attack me.  I should not have to say that but there are a few people who have made it their mission to deny my own ethnic background for their own purposes.  This thread is about this subject, not me.)

You may have seen the article on KUOW that the district is considering a proposal from the NAACP for ethnic studies throughout Seattle schools and that it be a graduation requirement. 
"In Washington state, it’s mandatory that you have to teach Native American history, but it’s not mandatory that you have to teach ethnic studies for other cultures," said Rita Green, the NAACP Education Chair. (Tribal history became mandatory in 2015.)
Given that Native Americans were here for a much longer time than anyone else, that 2015 date is not all that impressive. 

Friday, March 10, 2017

Spring Forward this Sunday


Feds Make It Harder for Students to Access Financial Aid

From Politico:

FEDS DISABLE KEY FINANCIAL AID TOOL, CITING DATA SECURITY CONCERNS: 

The IRS and Education Department confirmed late Thursday that the federal government purposefully shut off an online tool used by millions of students each year to apply for federal student aid. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool, which allows students to automatically import tax information onto their Free Application for Federal Student Aid, will be “unavailable for several weeks” as a result of concerns about security of student data, the two agencies said in a statement.

Arts News

From OSPI:

State Superintendent Chris Reykdal will announce formal adoption of Washington state’s arts standards at Elk Plain School of Choice in Spanaway, Wednesday, March 22, at 10 a.m.

Reading Days for Kids

Not sure if SPS is doing this but it doesn't look like it has to be a district-based activity. Let your teacher know if you'd like a "superstar" in your classroom.

Governor Inslee to Visit Highland Park Monday

From the West Seattle Blog via the WEA:
Gov. Jay Inslee is visiting Highland Park Elementary in Seattle Monday to visit classrooms and discuss his K-12 funding proposal with Seattle educators. …

Seattle This and That

To Do with the kids on Saturday

Numinous This light show will pop up one weekend every month for six months at the Seattle Center from 7-11 pm. Bring the kids for illuminative after-dark wonder. "In keeping with the theme of exploration," the installation will be hidden and it's up to you to find it. Check their Facebook page for hints.

Friday Open Thread

As I wrote elsewhere, Muir Elementary is closed for a second day.  The district says the school has been scrubbed of the norovirus but that many students and staff are still ill.

First it was Trump's love affair with Twitter and now it appears Bill Gates thinks it destroyed Common Core.
This, presumably, is why his foundation paid for this recent study (on top of the $2.3 billion he has already invested into Common Core) analyzing the amount of artificial activity on Twitter opposing Common Core. The study claims the activity managed to “skew” the debate.

Yes, tweets — tweets! — are what brought down Common Core. $2.3 billion down the drain because of 140 characters. Damn you, Twitter!
Speaking of Common Core, let's bribe those kids to take the test.
Jewell’s particular incentives: a raffle and a party in which kids can participate only if they have shown up to school on all PARCC testing days and “who have tried their hardest.
And, the school asks parents to donate items for raffle baskets.  
Hundreds of thousands of parents have opted their children out of these tests, and in 2015, an Indiana superintendent of the year, Rocky Killion, actually suggested to parents that they home-school their children during testing week because he was so opposed to the exams. In Colorado, PARCC tests are used in part to decide whether struggling schools should face state intervention.
 What's on your mind?

Thursday, March 09, 2017

For Your Reading Pleasure

I have not yet perused this document on School Allocations for 207-2018 but thought I would put it up for folks to see what the district is thinking.

Despite the happy victory that the levy cliff bill was passed last night by the Senate (and then onto the House for this version to be ratified), the district is still in the hole.

Something to think about.

Also of interest is the Capacity Management Task Force webpage.  Here you can see many useful maps such as where portable currently are AND how many more each site can support.  There are also density maps, inventory maps and attendance area maps.

Please Let Congress Know It's a No on HB610

From the Network for Public Education:


In late January, HR 610 was introduced by Steve King of Iowa, with representatives from Maryland, Texas and Arizona signing on.

You can read a summary of the bill here. HR 610, the School Choice Act, would eliminate the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, which was passed as a part of Lyndon B. Johnson’sWar on Poverty.” 


 Federal funds would be used instead to create “block grants” to be used to “distribute a portion of funds to parents who elect to enroll their child in a private school or to home-school their child.” It would also roll back nutritional standards for free lunches for poor children.

Repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act will hurt school funding for disabled students. Write Congress and tell them to preserve Medicaid school funding for kids.*

Muir Closed Today Because of Norovirus

 Update:  Tweets from SPS:

The building is clean and ready for students, but many staff and students still sick.

John Muir Elementary will be CLOSED on Friday 3/10 in an effort to limit further spread of germs.

end of update

I received word that Muir Elementary is closed today due to a discovery of norovirus at the school.
The district has brought in a team to clean the surfaces of the entire school.  No word yet on when it will reopen.

Talking with union officials, I learned that SPS has one of the lowest standards for cleaning schedules for school districts in the state.  The custodians are on a timed scheduled for each room and only put up chairs and vacuum/sweep.  They are not required to wipe any surfaces and only dust about six times a year.

I'm sure most teachers pick up the slack if only for sanitation but that's not really what we want to be paying them to do.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Levy Cliff Bill Passes

 Update from WPD:

Levy cliff delay bill on its way to Governor Inslee for signature!

end of update

From Washington's Paramount Duty:

What an evening! The Senate passed Lisa Wellman's levy cliff delay bill! 

UW Equity Summit on Gifted Education

This is the final segment of my series on gifted education in Seattle Schools.

UW's Robinson Center for Young Scholars held an Equity Summit on Gifted Education on Thursday and Friday, Feb. 9/10th.

No Bills Until Levy Cliff Bill Gets a Vote

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

No Levy Cliff for Any District

No automatic alt text available.

Tuesday Open Thread

Did you call Governor Inslee yet and request that he signs NO bills until the levy cliff bill (SHB 1059) is brought to the floor of the Senate for a vote?  If not, please get on that.  360-902-4111.

The Board is going to have a nearly three-hour Work Session on Wednesday all for the Superintendent's evaluation.   I get that the Superintendent's performance IS a big report card for the district but it hard to understand - with all that needs to be examined and done in this district - that it takes this amount of time.  He didn't get a contract extension again and I doubt that even if he does get a good review that you would see that change.

I learned that the union that represents classified staff, IUOE Local 609, has decided to not be part of the district's Classified Employee Week which runs from March 13-17th. From an e-mail to Dr. Nyland:
I’m afraid we will have to take a pass this year.  Our membership has been under a tremendous amount of pressure and abuse all year long and have been unable to find relief from your administration.
The issues are varied but the one constant has been a lack of support from Labor Relations to step up and partner with us to address issues that are recognized by both sides.
With this current climate we cannot in good conscience participate in Classified Appreciation Week activities with you. 
You may recall that there have been several findings via district investigations mostly against principals (see Emerson Elementary) who mistreated classified staff.  It seems a sad thing that the district has done so poorly in labor relations to the point that the union wants to withdraw from what should be a week to acknowledge the hard work of classified staff.   will celebrate its members without the superintendent.

Interesting poll results from Seattle Metropolitan magazine (and good for them with teasing out data points) called Who We Are.

27. Of the following, what is the number one issue facing Seattle today?

  • Rising cost of living 33.8%
  • Homelessness 29.4%
  • Rising property taxes 7.3%
  • Quality of public schools 7%
  • Traffic 6%
  • Crime 4.5%
  • Police overreach 2.9%
  • State government leadership 0.9%
  • Illegal immigration 0.6%
  • Taxes 0.5%
  • All of the above 2.2%
  • Prefer not to answer 3.5%
  • Other 1.4%
Looking closer: Those under 35 are more likely than those 35 and older to think the cost of living is the city’s most pressing issue (40.1% to 30%).
I'm a bit surprised at that ranking as I thought traffic would be near the top and with a higher percentage.

Stanford University made this announcementStanford Will Now Be Free To All Students From Families That Earn Less Than $125,000 Per Year.  As well,

Students whose families make less than $65,000 also won’t have to pay for room and board, which can run about another $14,100. That is really great news.  

For a reality check, we all know that tuition is only one piece of the financial need for attending college but it's sure a big break.
But Stanford isn’t the only place offering free tuition. Princeton offers free tuition to parents who make less than $120,000 and free room and board to those who make under $60,000. Harvard and Yale make tuition free for families who make less than $65,000, while Harvard asks those who make between that level and $150,000 to contribute between 0 and 10 percent of their income.
 What's on your mind?

Levy Cliff Impacts and GOP Senators

It can't be any clearer than this.

Levy Cliff Impact: School District loss listed by Legislative District

Dems Try Again on Levy Cliff; Republicans Say, "Time to Go"

Here's how it played out (with the two major players here being Senator Marko Liias (D) and Senator Joe Fain (R). 

From Washington's Paramount Duty:

Thank you, Senate Democrats! Yesterday afternoon, they tried AGAIN to bring the Levy Cliff Delay Bill (SHB 1059) to floor via a 9th Order. How did the Senate Republicans respond? Instead of allowing a vote to save school districts from losing $500 million, the Senate Republicans adjourned at 5:09pm to avoid the vote. 

Here's what they recommend and I agree with one additional thing:

All state legislators need to hear from us: Democrats need a thank you and ask to NOT allow anything to pass until the Republican Senators allow a vote. Republicans need to hear: • It is inappropriate to hold our kids hostage like this.

The Senate Republican plan requires $2.5 billion in unnamed cuts to other state services. That's unacceptable! It’s not a serious plan.
• We are not going to even consider the Senate Republicans’ plan until they pass the levy cliff bill.*
We weren’t asking you to vote for it. We are telling you to vote for it, and we reject your reasons for not doing so.


*My change to that is to allow a vote.  It will pass if there is a vote.


My add-on is that we should call the Governor and ask that he make it crystal-clear that he is not signing ANY bill until this one gets a vote.  

There is NO reason for this.  Voters HAVE already spoken on these levies and said yes to them and yes to their levy rates.  

And ANYONE who allows districts throughout the state to be hurt - with no good reason - should be ashamed of his/her self.   

How to find your legislator - Yes, DO contact your legislator again and lay out what the WPD is saying. 

Please call the Governor - not e-mail - call.   360-902-4111

Update: Senator Reuven Carlyle on Facebook on what happened yesterday:
Your state senate GOP majority voted 25-24 today to reject same-day registration and voting in Washington. They conducted unnatural rhetorical yoga moves arguing it is riddled with fraud.
And they again prevented a vote on the levy cliff to avoid millions in cuts to schools.
Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

Monday, March 06, 2017

Legislature: Get on the Good Foot and Get It Done

Image may contain: 1 person, meme and textImage may contain: cat, meme and text

Superintendent Nyland's Letter on Budget

I assume that many of you may have seen this but in case you have not, here is
Dr. Nyland's March 2 Letter to Families Regarding Budget Update.
(The highlighted area in red is mine indicating where I think the most people will see the impact.  I will have to ask about the class size reduction situation as I thought K-3 was protected.)
2017-18 Potential Budget Deficit Update

Dear Seattle Public

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Friday, March 03, 2017

Tukwila Teachers Vote No Confidence in Superintendent

Former SPS staffer (Executive Director) and now superintendent of Tukwila Schools, Nancy Coogan, has received a vote of no confidence from her teaching corps (on a vote of 290 teachers, 240 voted no confidence).  From KING 5:

Friday Open Thread

Fun vote for your kids this weekend - Google's Doodle contest. 

It's one way to talk to your teens about patience; one mom's frank talk to her son.

Vouchers are a No


Thursday, March 02, 2017

OSPI and Lt Governor's Office Get It Done

From OSPI (bold mine):

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction announced today that, thanks to a public-private partnership initiated by Lt. Governor Cyrus Habib, low-income students in Washington state will be able to take Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) exams for free this year.