Friday, January 27, 2017

Friday Open Thread

From SPS Communications:
Leschi Elementary School will receive a $10,000 grant from tech companies, Softchoice and Lenovo in order to expand the school’s technology development and student learning in classrooms. The money will be used to purchase iPad Airs and OSMO kits for all intermediate classrooms. Students will be able to use the educational tools every day.
It's the Lunar New Year (Year of the Rooster); here's Parent Map's list of activities for kids.  I recommend the ones in the International District.

Once again, Washington State is near the top for the number of board-certified teachers, nearly 15% for our state and fourth in the nation.  Congrats to all the teachers who went thru this long and difficult process. 

Know a great teacher?  From OSPI:
2018 Teacher of the Year nominations are now open
Every year the Washington State Teacher of the Year (TOY) program selects one outstanding educator to serve as the Washington State Teacher of the Year. OSPI accepts one nomination from each of Washington’s nine educational service districts (ESDs). A state winner is selected from this group of regional nominees. For more information about the program or to nominate, visit:
Keep those calls going to the GOP senators in the Legislature about extending the deadline for the levy cliff.  My own calls show some interest (especially when I told them how much school districts in their own districts would lose.) 

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said...

National Board certification is almost the same as the new Pro Cert. Both owned and scored (not graded) by Pearson. So what is the difference? A couple of videos for National Boards?

My fear is that this gives Pearson the status as a company that can determine what a great teacher is rather than an elected school board or even a state government. It's one of the few ways teachers can get a raise. Yet, the two processes are extremely similar in depth and submission requirements yet costs and benefits are so extremely different. If you go the state-pearson route you pay a few hundred and get 150 clock hours which go towards your salary scale, you still need more clock hours and it's permanent. If you go National Pearson you get 2.5-5k annual bonus, not having to take clock hours and the certification lasts only a decade.

Why are there two different tiers and costs? It should be one way and locally controlled.

Mr. Theo Moriarty

Anonymous said...

Theo Moriarty, thanks for your thoughts.

I am sure both programs are beneficial for Pearson. The larger question would be how beneficial are either of these programs for students.

While there have been stats compiled that show National Board Certified teachers are "more effective". These stats fail to account for the fact that many of those attaining the National Certification were highly motivated and highly skilled prior to gaining the National Cert. It might be likely that many if not most of these teacher might have been just as effective without the Pearson training.

This looks like another Pearson "one-size fits all" ... whether it actually adds value or not remains in question. Could be interesting if the actual Return on Investment could be found.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

What's on my mind? Next year's start/end times.

Elementary Tier 1: 7:45-2:15
Elementary Tier 3 - 9:25-3:55
Middle School and High School: 8:35-3:25


Anonymous said...

And the proposal for switching to 2 tiers:

MS and HS: 9:00 - 3:50 (!!...goodbye sports)
Elementary: 8:00 - 2:30

Equally Crazy

Charlie Mas said...

A story on the lack of diversity in HCC was broadcast on KUOW.

Anonymous said...

I would like to push for more planning time.

A teacher's day in Singapore ...

length of work week about 37 hours..
professional learning and planning time about 19 hours.

instructional time is less than teacher learning and planning time.

Collaboration increases job satisfaction.

Meanwhile our emphasis in WA State is for 24 credits
completely ignoring improving the system's effectiveness.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

DeVos lied during hearings - also, fyi Focus on the Family supports conversion therapy - which is illegal in Seattle. Call Senators Cantwell & Murray and ask them to vote 'no' on DeVos.

There are many reasons Betsy DeVos’s nomination to serve as Donald Trump’s education secretary could be justifiably quashed by the U.S. Senate. Her long public record indicates she is a religious Christian zealot who does not believe in the actual separation of church and state, wants public monies funneled into religious schools, and has contributed through family foundations to bigoted groups with a militant anti-gay agenda. During her confirmation hearing she gave disturbing answers to questions about her views of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, standardized tests, and school vouchers. She also suggested guns have a place in American schools, though her claim that they were necessary to defend students from grizzly bear attacks was not very compelling….

Newly elected Democratic Sen. Margaret Hassan pressed DeVos on these claims. She asked DeVos directly if she was on the board of her mother’s foundation during the period in which large donations were made to Focus on the Family. DeVos said that she was not on the foundation’s board. When I heard that, I pulled up the 990 tax documents of the Prince Foundation, which I investigated for my book “Blackwater.” Betsy DeVos was clearly listed as a vice president of the foundation’s board, along with her brother Erik, for many years, at least until 2014. DeVos was a vice president during the precise period Hassan was referring to. (more)


Lynn said...

I hope KUOW also covered the lack of diversity in children raised in poverty in Seattle.

My third grader just wrote a persuasive essay on the topic why we should not have math class first thing in the morning. His reasoning? We are too sleepy to learn. It's true too - I've volunteered during that time and many kids are very drowsy at 7:50.

GLP said...

Republicans have introduced their plan to address McLeary with statewide property tax.


Ebenezer said...

I couldn't get GLP's link to work. Here's the link I found for TNT's article on the GOP proposal:

Anonymous said...

I hope KUOW also covered the lack of diversity in children raised in poverty in Seattle.

Nope. It was the same ol' line as usual these days: institutional racism, segregation, lack of diversity north of the ship canal, etc. There was nothing about socioeconomic factors that make it less likely for students to develop giftedness, so instead it all seems like SPS's fault.


Anonymous said...

Latest on McCleary from Repubs

The GOP-led Majority Coalition Caucus issued the following statement today:

Olympia, January 27 - Senate Majority Coalition Caucus members today introduced landmark reforms that would return state government to the role of primary provider for Washington’s K-12 schools while finally connecting school funding with the actual cost of educating students. .....

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

Repeating that it's all the result of socio-economics won't make it true, even when it makes you feel better and more liberal. As this article shows, in case you forgot, we live in a country where being black has been, and continues to be, deadly.

In fact, you conveniently ignore the research that black teachers are three times more likely to spot giftedness in black students.

"Some gifted children with exceptional aptitude may not demonstrate outstanding levels of achievement due to environmental circumstances such as limited opportunities to learn as a result of poverty, discrimination, or cultural barriers; due to physical or learning disabilities; or due to motivational or emotional problems."

This quote is from NACG (National Association of Gifted Children). "There was nothing about socioeconomic factors that make it less likely for students to develop giftedness" is an alternative fact, used to support the lack of diversity and particularly lack of black students in SPS HCC--and flies in the face of reality and research.

Your comment denies giftedness in these students instead of recognizing the barriers to learning that poverty creates. You got it backwards.

BTW, the percentage of black students in HCC is shameful and a strong invitation to a Civil Rights lawsuit, if it is not already in the works.


Anonymous said...

@FWIW, so you are saying giftedness is innate?


Scott said...

"socioeconomic factors that make it less likely for students to develop giftedness"

Or, maybe, you could say the socioeconomic factors (high incomes, two parents, etc) masquerading as giftedness and an excuse to segregate all the kids with a head start into one class. Depends on your point of view, I suppose, doesn't it?


Anonymous said...

@FWIW, that study is interesting and disturbing. It is not really relevant to SPS though, since our teachers don't play that same gatekeeping role.

The study addresses the assignment gap when scores are equal. What we have is a situation in which scores aren't equal. That's not to say teachers don't have racial biases and same-race teachers wouldn't be beneficial for learning, but teacher bias doesn't seem to be what's keeping underrepresented groups from qualifying. Unless you they just aren't teaching well, which is another issue...


Anonymous said...

Does anyone know SES by race in SPS?

I'm a teacher. I can tell you without a doubt that SES impacts learning. Are there poor kids that are gifted? Of course, but SES is a pretty significant factor in being able to test in as gifted.


Anonymous said...

This is what I am saying, as quoted from NAGC:

"Giftedness is represented through all racial, ethnic, income levels, and exceptionality groups. Underrepresentation is widely spread. It’s estimated that African American, Hispanic American, and Native American students are underrepresented by at least 50% in programs for the gifted."


Anonymous said...

I'm not a savant at deciphering political speak. But, from initial read of the article about the (R) proposal there will be less money for schools than the current system of local levies provide to supplement, 4 million less.

How does that help fully fund education? I didn't read through the bill but I suspect the areas that will receive even less funding than at current will be urban areas? And as a result SPS will have even less funding than current?

Please do correct me if I am interpreting incorrectly. It would be pleasant to have a full restful night of sleep.


Lynn said...

Science magazine: Poverty May Affect the Growth of Children's Brains.

Family income and parental education level correlate to the surface area of the brain. Race and ethnicity do not.

If this problem is going to be solved it will be through changes in our economic system.

If diversity is something you value in a school, you have two options; convince the school board to drop the neighborhood based assignment plan and invest much more money in transportation or move to a more diverse neighborhood. You can't live in Wedgwood or Wallingford and complain about segregation.

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

Let us make things better for kids.

Iceland did so, why not Seattle?

Today, Iceland tops the European table for the cleanest-living teens.

The percentage of 15- and 16-year-olds who had been drunk in the previous month plummeted from 42 percent in 1998 to 5 percent in 2016. The percentage who have ever used cannabis is down from 17 percent to 7 percent. Those smoking cigarettes every day fell from 23 percent to just 3 percent.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

In Iceland, the relationship between people and the state has allowed an effective national program to cut the rates of teenagers smoking and drinking to excess—and, in the process, brought families closer and helped kids to become healthier in all kinds of ways. Will no other country decide that these benefits are worth the costs?

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

Still trying to use science to prove why a public school should have a segregated HCC program, Lynn..? There's a long history in this country for doing that type of thing.

Yes, the district is also perpetrating the problem with SAP and option schools.

Playing the childhood game of deflection ("but everybody else is doing it") does not excuse the segregation in HCC.

Racism is why blacks are so overrepresented in poverty in the first place. Continuing to isolate the variable of poverty to explain the stunningly low numbers of black students in HCC is not defensible.

You also contradict your entire premise whenever Rainier Scholars is used to illustrate the unmet needs of unidentified HC students in SPS. You have consistently responded that it would cost too much for SPS to get them up to speed (after consistently blaming their lack of identification on brain damage due to poverty!). Your responses can quickly be found by searching this blog.

Cherry picking facts to fit your narrative is no longer working. You and others keep shamelessly using doublespeak to promote your own children and protect the privilege of HCC, a version that is finally on borrowed time.


Ravitch Fan said...

Who provided Leschi with grant funding for computers?

not mc-t said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

One metric that I would like to see is how many students, of any race, in HCC have extremely young parents. When I visit HCC classes on parent nights there is a LOT of gray hair (including mine). I think that if I had had my child in my 20's rather than late 30's, she would not be in HCC. I suspect that extremely young parents - often seen in struggling socioeconomic classes - are incapable of giving gifted students the support they need to succeed. This is just my theory based on what I have been reading lately including Bill Finnegan's book: "Cold New World: growing up in a harder country".


Melissa Westbrook said...

I have no problem with discussion of a topic but some of you strike out at others personally and use innuendo and incoherent ranting and that just doesn't work here. Find other venue for that.

Anonymous said...

@ FWIW, on one hand you seem to suggest giftedness is innate (it's there, but poverty prevents barriers to achieving to one's potentia), yet other times you complain that HCC students aren't really gifted, they've just been "trained up" to qualify. So are gifted kids made or born? Or is it both---you need to be born with exceptional capability, and also have the good fortune along the way to reach that potential?

Assuming the latter is the case, kids who are in HCC deserve to be there. There are also, unfortunately, kids NOT in HCC who also deserve to be there. Do you agree with both those statements?

If yes, then the question is, how do we best identify and serve those we are missing? Do we lower the qualifications for underrepresented groups? If so, we'd probably need to pick the score threshold based on a target number of students we wanted to admit, so a racial quota. What's the right number to admit? Is the goal to have percentages that match the racial distribution in SPS, even though science--which you apparently don't care for--tells us that exposure to poverty and its associated ill effects hinders child brain development? Or do we look for a middle ground, something that identifies more kids than now but that still acknowledges the harmful effects of poverty? You are fond of quoting that NAGC statement that giftedness exists in all groups, and I believe it's accurate. But notice it doesn't say it it occurs equally in all groups. There's no evidence that giftedness occurs with the same frequency in brains they have developed in suboptimal conditions vs those in optimal. In fact, the evidence suggests otherwise.

Assuming we lower the required scores for some groups, then how should we best serve them? Does it depend on how low the criteria are lowered? Does it make sense to put a bunch of newly-qualified, at-grade-level kids into a program designed to work significantly above grade level? Will the new kids be at a disadvantage and will they be able to make the leap without support or assistance in covering the year or two if missed material? Will teachers and kids treat them differently? Should there be a minimum achievement level required to enter HCC to ensure kids are "ready", even if that means not reaching the quota?

Or is there another approach? (And please don't say "continuum of services"...) What, specifically, do you think SPS should do to both identify and serve these missing students?


n said...

Thanks, Dan, posting Singapore teachers routines. I get forty minutes planning time which is better than some schools but all meetings with principal or head teacher comes out of that time: parents requests for meetings; observation feedback; other diverse issues. Most of us work our thirty minute lunches. Early mornings and late afternoons.

Good teaching comes from good planning.

Anonymous said...

Regarding SES status, it certainly does impact identification and achievement for gifted programs. Being poor can impact test results, but is not the only factor. That being said, I know at least a couple of free and reduced lunch kids in the HCC program, but the parents are also college educated.

This is actually true across races, including those now considered "white". It has been this way for a long time. See article link.

"The immigrant challenge was so daunting that New York City started a special education program to address it. A 1921 survey found Italian children greatly overrepresented in these separate classes for slow learners.Standardized exams seemed to confirm immigrants' inferiority. About this time, I.Q. tests became common. In 1919, the median I.Q. score of Italian 10-year-olds in New York City was 84; for native-born whites, it was 109. But when only those students whose fathers were unskilled or semiskilled laborers were compared, Italian and native I.Q.'s were nearly identical."

Anonymous said...

"Twenty years later, things weren't much better. By the end of the 1920's, Italian immigrant high school students were still graduating at only one-quarter the rate of nonimmigrants. This was a much bigger native-immigrant gap than today's.
"Immigrant Jews performed less well than native whites, but better than immigrant Italians. That was no surprise. Then as now, achievement had a lot to do with families' economic status. In 1910, 1 in 3 Southern Italian adult men in American big cities, and almost no Russian Jews, were unskilled laborers. In contrast, 1 in 3 Russian Jews, and very few Southern Italians, were merchants. As a result, Russian Jewish immigrants averaged about 20 percent more family income than Southern Italian immigrants.Social promotion was hardly the norm back then. The term ''retarded,'' for children deemed to have limited ability, comes from the early-20th-century practice of holding back (retarding) those who read below grade level. A 1909 study found that in New York City, Italian-born elementary students were held back twice as frequently as American-born children.Once denied promotion, many were quick to drop out."

Outsider said...

The KUOW story featured a black student who qualified for HCC but chose not to enroll in the self-contained program. Nothing said the family was unhappy about their choice, or was complaining. Notice what was missing from the story: any case of a black student who wanted into self-contained HCC but claimed to be unfairly denied. That's always missing, because there don't seem to be any such students. Even FWIW can't find any. If you find them, let them in. No one will object. Let black students opt into self-contained HCC freely, with no testing requirement. Who would object? No one.

Don't be fooled. The hostility toward HCC is not about letting anyone in. It's about ending the program and denying that level of education to white and Asian students who definitely do want it.

not mc-t said...

should an immigrant kid get better consideration because of the pigment of their skin into hcc regardless of their preparedness? dr. martin and the dr. who heads the equity and race board say no. fwiw says yes. should we deny asians who are overrepresented in hcc for more whites and blacks?

to lump recent immigrants, some from war torn areas and some with limited primary school should now be hcc qualified based on their skin tone is wrong.

speddie is an immigrant kid more entitled to services because of their skin color?
fwiw how dark does the pigment need be for the start for institutional racism for your lawsuit; sure would be easier to just report these perceivable episodes of racism for your suit to the kuow so they don't have to make stuff up.

finally, the reporter mentioned that black kids are 3x more likely to be referred to hc services if they have a black teacher. ok. hire more black teachers right? oh can't do that. should they be able to? no; ironic.

no caps

not mc-t said...

the hostility towards hcc is that it means there are higher percentage of sped kids in the gen ed classes. same thing for spectrum. self contained isn't white/black it is sped percentages.

look at the those that rail against hcc thread after thread almost all are sped advocates.

imho it is the school district's fault (like michael tolly) that this issue is even being debated. they foster this race baiting dialog by not supporting sped correctly. look at stevens. hell look at merimac and her glee about sped's demise but that means hc and option schools demise is next. ouch.

no caps

z said...

What a great thread. Theo, you rock, keep posting. Yes, Pearson is an out-of-control monster that desperately needs to be reined in. Unfortunately, the new powers that be are not likely to be of the same mindset, so all of us peons need to work together, united. Aggressively fight their tools, especially their online learning / data mining tools, but also the near-monopolistic teacher evaluation tools. Where does it end??

Also, Dan, what a fantastic piece of news in Iceland. Thank you for posting this! Everyone should be spreading the word about the amazing work they've been doing, and the incredible results. I can't believe I hadn't heard about this previously. Even if we can only do bits and pieces here, perhaps in smaller towns, it's all worthwhile.

z said...

Also, can someone at Leschi or with ties to this new OSMO system make sure that the kids are not individually and personally tied to OSMO accounts? Let me explain.

Many of these learning tools are actually programmed to gather amazing amounts of data about the kids that are using them. This data is mostly unregulated, and can end up being sold in back channels. Sometimes thousands of data points gathered every second, everything from how they type to how they hold the devices, let alone all their answers, right or wrong, to all the questions. Much of this can be useful information to guide the software toward better helping the students, HOWEVER, it does NOT need to be connected in any way to individually identifiable students. That should not be allowed to happen!

One easy way for teachers or support staff to ensure this doesn't happen is to simply set up each student as "Student#1", "Student#2", "Student#3", etc. They each get their own account, password, data is collected and used without being identifiable in any way by the service companies. Of course this means that kids aren't allowed to attach things like email addresses or student IDs or take the devices home, all of which would make re-identification possible, and likely.

Melissa, I know you also care about this stuff. If you know anyone at Leschi (I don't), perhaps you could try to enlighten them? If nothing else, just point them to this comment as a starting point.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Morarity.. why am I getting a Sherlock vibe.. you are correct in the absurd dynamics that measure a Teacher's worth.. it is not about actually vetting, learning and observing those qualities and in turn creating a profile and model it is about how well on tests.

In most States now they require all Teachers to take Praxis tests to qualify for a license even after completing a qualified academic program. My personal favorite is History of the World and US 1400-Present. Yes a broad based time frame which I am sure ensures one's skill set to teach the subject. They are laughable and expensive.

And once again the "incoherent" and race card arguments are thrown in as ways to demean or ignore one's opinion. Next up grammar comments as another reliable measure of disregarding one's thoughts as if this is a submission to a literary journal and not a blog.

We are entering a massive dark age here people and this is small potatoes in the bigger picture...

- Just Saying

Melissa Westbrook said...

Z, I will point this out to the Superintendent and Board because you are exactly right about these companies. I think it's a Trojan horse to get into the district and start collecting data.

And Just Saying, if I cannot understand what someone is saying in their comment and/or there are innuendos thrown in that I also can't decipher, that comment is probably going to be deleted. I'm not being literary about it; I'm saying it's not that hard to be clear.

Anonymous said...

On an unrelated topic, my son is currently a 7th grader in HCC at Hamilton, and we live in Magnolia. Does anyone know if Hamilton will continue to host HCC next year with the opening of Eagle Staff? And what middle school Queen Anne and Magnolia HCC kids will attend? I can't find that info on the district site.

Anonymous said...

More RESMS news,

There was another vicious assault this weekend near the RESMS site.

The city is planning opening a "safe" injection site very close to the RESMS site.

The city is moving forward with it's high risk shelter site next to RESMS.

Failed Leadership

Lynn said...

Yes, HCC at Hamilton will continue next year. HCC pathways are listed on page 15 of the student assignment plan
for 2017-18.

Anonymous said...

Kelli Schmidt, from OCR to SPS Legal, has resigned?

It's in this week's Personnel Report. What is that about?


Anonymous said...

While the KUOW story is narrowly focused, I agree that it places the blame on the District. Which is where the blame should be.

When the District expanded HCC (then APP), it opened spots to increase diversity in the program, but the where was the follow up so that would happen? It's true that No Child Left Behind didn't help, because if an elementary school student left for APP, then that school would lose that student's high test score, and be marked down because of it. But NCLB is dead now, and the District could be testing all students for the program, and being more creative and aggressive in identifying students for the program.

Of course, the District has since essentially wiped out Spectrum and ALO, severely reducing Advanced Learning opportunities for students of color who aren't in HCC. I think HCC has survived in large part because it's easier to mobilize parents and students when they're a large part of a few schools, instead of a small proportion of each non-HCC school spread throughout the District.

- Ebenezer

Anonymous said...

Spectrum left most sped/ell students in the other general ed. classrooms, a clear violation of LRE in IDEA. Another lawsuit waiting to happen. Apparently, SPS finally got that memo.

HCC is a lawsuit waiting to happen on several fronts, also potentially as a violation of LRE since the district is using a blanket self-contained model instead of the state mandate of continuum of services.


Anonymous said...

FWIW, we have a continuum of services. Maybe not the continuum you want, or one that's ideal, but a continuum nonetheless. repeating yourself over and over doesn't make it true.


Watching said...

The bill to delay the levy cliff could have passed, but Senator Mark Mullett- the Assistant Whip of the Democratic party- missed an incredibly important vote!! This is NOT acceptable.

I encourage individuals to contact his office and express dissatisfaction. His number is 360-786-7608.

For what ever it is worth-- Mullett was heavily backed by Stand for Children and Democrats for Education Reform.

Anonymous said...

90% of the cohort could and should be educated at local schools. it gives an unfair advantage to give all those kids a separate school with no kids below grade level and very few poor or black, hispanic or other brown kids. very unfair.

but that's what parents want and it's unfortunate that they are so scared of regular kids mingling with theirs.

if they wish to be with an elite crowd then pay extra and go to private school.

granted, some number of kids need the intellectual segregation, but it's 10% of those currently cohorted

and yes, I have two students HC qualified and, yes, I have had to ask for some higher standards for them, but rarely and was accommodated to my satisfaction and my kids are excelling and being bombarded with literature by as many colleges as my friends with kids in the cohort.

I also feel their ability to engage with other students of vastly different abilities and interests will not only get them into the schools they want but will help them in later life.

I hope the district drastically changes the cohort model for the well-being of all students in Seattle.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Spectrum left most sped/ell students in the other general ed. classrooms, a clear violation of LRE in IDEA."

And again, on the district. I do happen to know of several 2E students who were in Spectrum, my son being one of them.

AA, I'll have more to say in a separate thread but I'm fairly certain fear does not drive most HCC parents. It's your own decision to not place your own children in the program but not your decision for other parents to make their own.

Anonymous said...

"Kelli Schmidt, from OCR to SPS Legal, has resigned?

It's in this week's Personnel Report. What is that about? "

Yep, there was a investigation started by Cantwell's office back in November into the circumstances around Schmidt leaving OCR and being hired at SPS.

No coincidence

Anonymous said...

"Kelli Schmidt, from OCR to SPS Legal, has resigned? "

WTF...More churn ,where can I see this report?

I had a very important issue being worked by what?

Ms. Daisy

Anonymous said...

Schmidt Kelli L Office of Civil Rights Student Civil Rights Compliance Officer
1.00 01/19/2017

Looks like she was terminated on the 19th. Perhaps she couldn't stand the BS.

Step B

Lynn said...

Here's a link to the personnel report from the agenda for next week's board meeting.

Does anyone know how students are assigned to a particular SPS special education preschool location? I'm wondering how often they remain at the same location for kindergarten.

K.S. said...

Kelli had NO PROBLEM with "the BS". Trust me.

It was covering for E.D.'s, that got old quick.

Anonymous said...

What do you mean by "covering for the E.D.s" In what official capacity was Schmidt covering for the Eds?

Step B

K.S. said...

Scapegoating to cover failure to report actions for which E.D.'s are "mandatory reporters" (except the one that has no experience or training in "education").

Anonymous said...

Ok, do you have proof of unreported violations ? I would like to pass them on to the appropriate authorities.

Step B