Sunday, January 29, 2017

HCC and Equity, Part One

It is clear from many, many threads and comments that to talk about the Highly Capable Cohort (formerly known as APP) is to start a discussion about equity.  I think that equity is certainly a part of the picture but to focus only on that is a disservice to all children who would benefit from the program.  

I'll say that again; there are children - especially those of color - who are not being found and served.  THAT is the real issue.  

(Editor's note: we are going to have a calm discussion here, looking for solutions.  If your solution is to dissolve the program, certainly say that but please have a real reason why.)

There are other threads where we could rehash history but let's go to the Cliff Notes and then onto discussion.  (I do plan another thread on race and equity in this district as the issue of HCC seems to be some kind of uniform rallying cry around equity which I find odd.  Like many other issues, it seems to be a confluence of both timing and focus.)

Here are my beliefs right up front:

 -  I think the premise that seems to feed this discussion over HCC (but which doesn't really get said out loud) is the belief that giftedness in academics for children does not exist.   I'm sure most people will agree that there are "off-the-charts in intelligence" students but that those students are few and far between and certainly not the population of HCC.

I'm hoping no one is going to deny this because it is the subtext I hear over and over and I reject it.  The reasons I reject it are :

1) I think there are off-the-charts intelligent kids, across the racial spectrum and,
2) I think that there are very bright kids - across the racial spectrum - who need that talent to be nurtured. 

But I will say, there is no child so bright that he or she will always easily learn everything and will not struggle in a particular subject.  Children only truly learn when challenged (unless you count rote learning and I don't for this discussion.) 

Because you can be a bright child but still have academic challenges.  In fact, I think this is one of the hardest issues for some of these students is that academic work comes very easily to them and when they do get challenged, they aren't ready to rise to that challenge.

- just like many other challenges, this district struggles with getting it right.  Compare this info from the Bellevue School district to the FAQs from SPS.   Now, Bellevue's is not trying to pack everything about the program in this document but you learn a lot more key facts from Bellevue than SPS.

One item that stands out to me right away is that Bellevue says anyone - a parent or teacher or staff or even community member - can nominate a student for its gifted program.  SPS only allows parents.  Right there you immediately shut out some students who would benefit from the program.  It wasn't like that in the past but somehow, that's what it is now.

- This fallacy that somehow these kids are getting "more" or "better" teaching/curriculum.    (I cannot speak to the issue of whether schools/districts pick the strongest teachers to lead gifted classes.  My experience is that it is more the teachers who believe in gifted programming.  That commitment is important.  Naturally, professional development for any kind of teaching is important.)

- There has never been a champion for gifted students in this district from top leadership in the many years I have been a public education advocate.  When you don't have that, you are unlikely to have a well-designed program that teachers/principals respect and has the broadest reach.

I do applaud Director Geary for saying she thinks this should be one of the SMART goals for the district but I am saddened that the Board seems to think taking two years to review the program is okay.  It's not.  But again, no champion, no attention.

- I agree with many readers - HCC is being held up as the worst program for equity when, in fact, the reason it is not a good program is being it is not serving all the students it could.

I'm sure some might read that sentence and say, "But Melissa, isn't that the same thing?"  No,because of the latching on by key staff and a subset of teacher voices who somehow seem to think that putting a scarlet A on the program is the way to make it better.  But that won't help and I think they know that.

The equity issue is a red herring to use for a bigger change that many who don't believe in gifted education at all.  You hear complaining about the lack of diversity in the program but almost no solutions except more teachers of color.  (That is a valid complaint except for the fact that there are many fewer teachers of color and so the competition for them is fierce throughout the country.  It has nothing to do with SPS not hiring them - it's finding them.  Of course, teaching has been so denigrated over the last five+ years, why would a young person choose it as a career?  It's a vicious cycle that needs to change.  But getting rid of gifted education programs is not going to create more teachers of color.)

And let's get to another real issue that needs to be said out loud - why does district leadership talk about institutional racism - that happened in the past - when 1) it seems to be continuing today and 2) they represent that institution.  It's almost as if they want to avoid accountability and culpability for the very thing they decry.

- My last belief is that the Advanced Learning department has done some things to reach more students.  From the SPS AL webpages:
  • It has been said here by some commenters that all second graders in Title One schools take the CogAT Screening Form.  I only find this:  All referred students in grades K – 2 will be scheduled to take the CogAT Screening Form. The Bellevue Gifted Advisory Committee Minutes from December, 2016 says this:  All K and new 1st grade students have completed the CogAT Screener and received scores.  
  • Children whose referrals for Advanced Learning Testing indicated needed accommodations (IEPs, 504s, or "Other") will NOT receive an email regarding testing. Each family will be contacted individually. 
  • Students needing accommodations will not be tested on Saturdays and most will be tested at their home school, during the school day.
  • The SPS testing is done in every quadrant in the city.  Bellevue has four locations, all Title One schools.  Teachers at these sites have helped in notifying families and recommending to parents that they apply for testing. I have no idea if SPS Title One schools are notifying and recommending the program to parents.
  • For families who choose to appeal and who qualify for the free or reduced lunch program, SPS will provide in-house testing during the appeals process free of charge. 
  • Private assessments are not accepted as the basis of initial eligibility; all students MUST participate in the district testing cycle. 
  • I also know that in the past the AL office itself made phone calls directly to families of color with a student whose state test scores/classroom performance made it appear that child might benefit from AL programs.
But is that all they could do?  No, and I have some suggestions.  But getting rid of HCC entirely is not the answer.  

Background on Gifted Students

There are over 3 million academically gifted students in the United States alone, yet there are no federally mandated requirements for gifted and talented students.
Currently, the Jacob Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act is the only federal program for gifted and talented children. This program does not establish rights for gifted children (as IDEA does for Special Education); instead, it focuses on research and advocacy for gifted children in underserved populations. This program funds the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented and is awarded approximately $7.5 million dollars per year. According to the NAGC, funding for the Javits program is “in jeopardy each year.” It is the responsibility of state, local and federal programs to “develop new policies supporting gifted education, to remove obstacles, and to ensure adequate funding.”
These students demonstrate an outstanding or above-average aptitude and/or competence in one or more areas.  

General Intellectual Ability
High IQ scores, a wide-range of general knowledge and high levels of vocabulary, memory and abstract reasoning
Specific Academic Aptitude
Outstanding performance on achievement and/or aptitude tests in one specific content area, such as math or science
Creative and Productive Thinking
Synthesize new ideas by bringing together seemingly abstract, independent or dissimilar elements. Student characteristics include preference for complexity, positive self-image and openness to experience
Leadership Ability
Successfully direct individuals or groups to a common goal or decision and capable of negotiating in difficult situations. Student characteristics include self-confidence, tendency to dominate and ability to adapt to new situations.
Visual and Performing Arts
Demonstrate special talents in art, music, dance, drama and similar studies
Psychomotor Ability
Kinesthetic learners with strong practical, spatial and mechanical skills
There is an excellent article that goes further from the Rhode Island Advocates for Gifted Education:
A new definition of giftedness that highlights the complexity of raising gifted children was developed by The Columbus Group in 1991. The Columbus Group asserts that the contemporary tendency to define giftedness as behaviours, achievement, products or school placements, external to the individual, necessarily misses the essence of giftedness – how it alters the meaning of life experience for the gifted individual. Consequently, the Group offers the following preliminary attempt at a phenomenological definition, which at this point, may apply best to the highly gifted:
Giftedness is ‘asynchronous development’ in which advanced cognitive abilities and heightened intensity combine to create inner experiences and awareness that are qualitatively different from the norm. This asynchrony increases with higher intellectual capacity. The uniqueness of the gifted renders them particularly vulnerable and requires modifications in parenting, teaching and counseling in order for them to develop optimally.
(The Columbus Group, 1991, in Morelock, 1992)
Asynchrony means being out of sync, both internally and externally. "Asynchronous development" means that gifted children develop cognitively at a much faster rate than they develop physically and emotionally, posing some interesting problems.
From the Rhode Island article:
Why is it Important to Know Whether or Not a Child is Highly Gifted? The child of 160 IQ is as different from the child of 130 IQ as that child is from the child of average ability. The kind of educational program developed for the highly gifted child of 160, 170, or 180 IQ often differs markedly from appropriate programs for most gifted children, but usually these programs are designed for the moderately gifted.

It may be nearly impossible for highly gifted children to conform their thinking to the ways in which others think. Some do not ‘group’ well. Some have difficulty developing relations with others. Some argue continuously because that is the way they learn. Some are intensely sensitive. Some have major discrepancies between their intellectual maturity and motor coordination and so appear ‘immature.’ (Silverman)  
A challenging article here from the Calgary Herald, The Dark Side of Being the "Gifted Kid."

What Can Be Done especially around equity issues?

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions including teachers and principals.   However, in general, the overwhelming majority of school districts in this country recognize that these students exist.  They have created programming for them as has Seattle Public Schools. Teachers and principals - no matter their own personal beliefs - have a responsibility to enact and fulfill the programming for gifted students that their district sets out.  If they believe not enough students are being found who would benefit from the program or it creates hardships for schools, they can advocate for changes to support those issues.

What they should not do is try to thwart the existence of programs.  Our district has apparently decided, via site-based management, that principals can undermine the AL programs.  Of course, it does not help that the program specifics for ALOs and Spectrum are vague and that makes it easy to do so.

What is not said out loud but is absolutely the truth is that many teachers and principals fear losing top learners. 

If those students leave the school, there go their scores.

If those students leave the school, there goes academic leadership in classroom via students who are eager learners.  (Note I said "eager" - any honest teacher will tell you that it is a huge help to have students who can drive discussions and ask questions that other kids might be too shy to ask.)

In these heavy-on-testing times, I cannot fault teachers and principals for these feelings.  But it is not their right to make determinations about programs that students could benefit from for those students' parents.  They should (and must) inform parents and help parents to seek out those programs. 

I think this is one very big reason that you see fewer students of color leave their neighborhood schools - the lack of information/encouragement from staff.  Because of this, you will not build a cohort for students of color where they find a comfortable space in a gifted classroom.  Without a cohort, many parents of color would reject that program in favor of staying in their neighborhood.

Naturally, it should go without saying that if each school had a clear ALO/Spectrum program (whichever you want to call it), you would not even need students - except for the HCC students - to leave any school.  But the district has not made that a priority and because of that, you see the uncertainty in enrollment which then affects capacity. Kind of a vicious cycle.

What else?

Looping at schools
Because the staff felt strongly that the wonderfully diverse culture and acceptance of all students was part of the school’s fabric, and should not be lost, initial energy was spent on educating teachers about how giftedness might be identified among students of poverty, those learning English as a second language, and those from different cultures. At the same time, teachers began book studies, article discussions, and team conversations about how to differentiate instruction for all students.

Given the school’s highly mobile population, it was essential to have an ongoing talent identification process that was applicable to linguistically and culturally diverse as well as mainstream students. TAG staff screen all second-grade students with a nonverbal reasoning instrument that has helped identify students who ordinarily might have been overlooked.
Another article on looping:
Although the looping schedule helped accommodate the population surge and facilitated the creation of a master class schedule, it has had a far greater impact than anyone imagined. Becauserelationships build over a three-year period, students in the program are able to develop close friendships with their same-age peers.
They also begin to realize they are not expected to know everything the first time it is presented. By looping over three years, students become familiar with the program’s atmosphere, rules, procedures, and routines, and appreciate that there is no repetition of unnecessary class content. 

We also asked parents of current and former students to complete a brief survey on their experiences with looping. 

The results were enlightening. Asked if looping was a positive experience for their child, 100 percent replied in the affirmative. They also affirmed that the program met their child’s academic
needs (99.3 percent), emotional needs (92.9 percent), and social needs (93.6 percent).

 From the Equity Alliance at Arizona State University:
- Addressing lower expectations of CLD (culturally and linguistically diverse) students through professional learning and teacher preparation that is grounded in multicultural and culturally responsive pedagogy and practice. The National Center for Culturally Responsive Educational Systems has many tools principals can use.

- Building systemic evaluation of under-representation of CLD students into evaluation of all gifted education programs and services. Principals should continuously assess, on a year-to-year basis, the
racial, ethnic, gender, and linguistic demographics of students accessing gifted instructional programming, as compared with the demographics of all students.

-Broadening definitions of giftedness to include those students who under-achieve as well as those who achieve at or above comparison groups. Giftedness should not be reserved only for those students who are achieving high grades or test scores.

- The district began using the Javits Gifted Characteristic Checklist for Underrepresented Students as part of its process of assessing multiple criteria in order to create a“thick picture” (Castellano, 2003) of students’ skills and abilities. This check-list moves beyond collecting evidence of individual academic achievement in school settings by focusing also on students’ abilities to work collaboratively in groups, to question and challenge routine procedures, and to relate well to peers and adults in informal settings and with informal language.

About testing:

To note on the CogAT test from their webpage : Proven by research studies to identify more English Language Learners and minority students as possibly eligible for gifted and talented programs.

From Psychological Testing: Principles, Applications, and Issues by Robert M. Kaplan, Dennis P. Saccuzzo, page 314:

The CogAT was specifically designed for poor readers, poorly educated people and people for whom English is a second language. 

The test authors of the CogAT took special steps to eliminate irrelevant sources of test difficulty, especially those pertaining to cultural bias.  All items were scrutinized for content that might be biased for or against any particular group.  Statistical tests were then performed to eliminate items that might predict differentially for white and minority students.  

However, they have found that black and Hispanic students score lower than white students on test batteries and grade levels.  Therefore, great care should be taken when scores on the CogAT are used for minority populations.

Is there a perfect test? No.  But an effort was truly made to balance this test. That said, I wish that there was emphasis on teacher and parent observations especially for children of color.


David said...

One point that is worth emphasizing is that eliminating the program only causes harm. Children will be bored and no longer learn in school. Families will leave Seattle Public Schools for places that will educate their children. And Seattle Public Schools will further decline.

It would be nice if we could at least agree that Seattle Public Schools should attempt to challenge and teach every child in Seattle regardless of their circumstances. Public schools are not only for some people and not for others. Excellence for all does not mean only teaching some.

HCC parent said...

I say this over and over. The HCC school is more racially and socio-economically diverse than our neighborhood school. Segregation is part of living in a city. The neighborhood assignment plan showcases these differences between schools based on who lives within their boundaries.
The district makes AL testing very difficult. You have to nominate your child less than one month into the school year. Our first chance to get feedback from the teacher is at the end of November. If your teacher recommends testing, the soonest your child can apply is the next school year, to enter the program the year after that. That's two years out. This favors parents who already know about the program and believe their kids could qualify before really being in school.
My solution would be to allow teacher nomination, even later in the year. They could test nominated kids during school hours and guide parents through the process.
In our case, we knew our child was a couple of years ahead. So we navigated the rocky road to HCC so that she could learn the same thing as the rest of the class instead of being taught by a workbook.

Anonymous said...

Washington state law requires highly capable services. This is a recognition that some students need these services. HC services are, and should be, required.

Washington state law also requires that student performance should be compared those of similar backgrounds and experiences, which is the downfall of the HCC program. It only measures students according to a set of scores which reflect a national norm (and has resulted in a segregated program).

Washington state law also requires that the composition of district HC programs need to be a reflection of demographics in that area.

This is where comparing HCC to your segregated neighborhood school is moot.
There is no state law about the composition of your neighborhood school, as disgraceful as it may be in terms of diversity.

State law also requires a continuum of services which means the service is tailored to the needs of the individual student. The self-contained model which is basically the only service in elementary is a clear violation of the law. Many children should be serviced in their local school in a continuum of services model, including clustering, pullouts, etc.

If the district would follow state law, many problems would be solved.


p.s. The large number of students of a similar demographic who get in by appeals is also clearly adding to the problem.

HCC parent said...

The composition of HCC in the northend is a representation of north Seattle.
I agree with some of your points. The district does not provide services to HC students who stay at neighborhood schools. We tried it. The self contained model is the only way to get reliable HC acceleration. The district has no plans to address this, as they have gotten rid of spectrum and their AL services are a joke.
Regarding the appeals process, it is skewed towards parents who are willing and knowledgeable to go through the complicated process.

z said...

re: I cannot speak to the issue of whether schools/districts pick the strongest teachers to lead gifted classes. My experience is that it is more the teachers who believe in gifted programming. That commitment is important. Naturally, professional development for any kind of teaching is important.

Unfortunately, because our state has no Gifted Ed credentials, decisions about who teaches gifted classes aren't based on which teachers are better, or believe in gifted programming. Instead the process is completely and arbitrarily up to each principal.

This is less true in HCC elementary schools, because of the nature of kids being in one classroom all day. But in middle/high school, principals have been known to jerk teachers around, moving in or out of teaching HCC classes at their whims, and in a couple cases clearly to prove a point. I've heard 2 different principals say "All teachers can teach all students." to justify their arbitrary teacher moves.

The reality is that kind of comment is bullshit. Just as you wouldn't move a regular teacher into a SpEd class, or a SpEd teacher into a gifted class, why would you move teachers with gifted experience out of gifted classes and vice-versa unless you're just doing it to be an ass and try to prove a point? Again, multiple principals! I know there are teachers that can back this up, but it may be inappropriate for them to post here, so I'm doing it.

The best way to prevent this from happening is to advocate for a WA state gifted ed credential system. Melissa, do you know how to best advocate for this? I mean beyond simply sending emails and making phone calls to legislators? They have the power to make decisions, but they are merely the gatekeepers, we need someone to buy the bus, fill the bus, and drive the bus to the gate before they can open it!

not mc-t said...

wow thank you as always mw for your thorough and balanced review of hcc. i would add there is also resistance to losing kids as that will reduce their staffing budget for those neighborhood schools. the whole enrollment/budget thing would be much less complicated without hcc. but it has solved a lot of enrollment/capacity issues too especially for ne seattle.

on institutional racism: i don't see it, sorry. where is their proof? charlie has said in the past because whites are the majority they are therefore more capable to navigate the system and are more wealthy. really? you can tell that from someone's skin pigment? can we challenge that supposition? 1./ i see the efforts you have laid out that al has embraced as proof against those claims. 2./ if someone could come up with a way to get more diversity into the program i am sure that dr. martin would readily embrace it. (i also think that the move to south seattle was not for outreach it had to do with a sup who was trying to pad her resume by raising the test scores at hawthorne and tm if you didn't know the whole story it would have been a fantastic turn around academically) 3./ one tool that has been debated to decrease the perceived "majority privilege" is to get rid of private testing for appeals. the best reason stated for denying what has been as high as a quarter of those applying was it just doesn't look right. that really isn't ethical to refuse services to those that need it because the numbers aren't aligned with the city's population. i might add that the private testing is probably one of the biggest tools if you consider 2e kids being worth including in this discussion on diversity.

no caps

Anonymous said...

This is a great summary - thanks Melissa. Also, great comments. I have only a small point to make.

I think testing these kids in a giant noisy gym (my kid described it as a zoo) is a key problem for identifying all the kids who need the program. This is the reason many people turn in exasperation to private tests. My kid never tested into HCC, always into Spectrum. Spectrum was, at that time, a great program with Spectrum-trained teachers. So we were happy with that. However, her Spectrum program was eliminated at about the same time her test scores began to rise to the point that the district sent the letter inviting her to test for HCC. We figured that would be a waste of time given that it is impossible to concentrate during the HCC tests. However, by chance, we had a prior commitment that forced us to miss the test date. When that happens the school will test the kids on the school site (only one make-up is allowed). Surprise, surprise, when tested at school she passed into HCC with very high scores. From that point on she received little in the way of advanced learning in HCC but that's another issue!

To summarize, I don't think it is the test itself, or the access to testing, but the testing environment that is a problem for many distractible kids. Instead of eliminating private testing - It would be better if the private testing model were more the norm for all kids rather than the exception. Kids should be tested in as familiar and quiet an environment as possible - preferably at each neighborhood school. Students with IEPs and such already receive quiet school-site testing. But I think all kids would benefit from a calm testing environment. I also think it would help increase the number of under-represented kids in the program (although frankly, as HCC parent said, we found our HCC classes to be way more diverse than the neighborhood schools).


Greenwoody said...

I still continue to believe a major part of the problem in SPS is the district's elimination of Spectrum and all other forms of advanced learning. They've created a situation where it's HCC or nothing, and in such a situation, it's pretty much impossible to achieve equity.

Nothing will change until the senior staff in charge of the district are fired and replaced with people committed to meeting the educational needs of every child.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Greenwoody, also a good point. I see the district has quietly just changed the description of Spectrum without any notice.

not mc-t said...

and on the data comparison versus other districts and nationally, does that really matter?!?! time and time again we hear how anomalous seattle population is. the last time i looked at the numbers it was nearly 1/4 of the black students in sps being homeless or ell. i wonder how we compare nationally based on ell, frl and 2e (all objective ratings) in hcc program. if we can't answer that please don't make apple to oranges comparison. oh then there is private school's draw making our school population seem blacker than the city's population. and of course there is the great program, rainier scholars, that takes low frl folks and scaffold them up to be private school and college ready. those could be potential hcc participants but they actually have a better thing going with rs (said with full support to such a worthwhile program).

no caps

SeaMom said...

Funny how no-one stops to ask why we put so much store by giftedness - if, indeed, it exists (in actuality, modern concepts of giftedness are mostly an outgrowth of 20th century eugenics). What is the ultimate purpose of nurturing giftedness in children? To create a race of supermen/women? To prevent some children from developing the capacity to deal with boredom or to interact with a wide range of people? To give my kid a leg-up in the increasingly desperate and brutal race to the bottom that is the modern global economy?

No-one seems to know; more curiously, no-one seems to care. Everyone seems to accept unquestioningly that academic giftedness exists, is a Good Thing and must be somehow "nurtured", preferably in a hothouse environment. But here's the thing: I'm pretty sure the people who developed atomic weapons were hella gifted. Nurturing academic ability without having a specific (ideally, ethical) purpose for doing so seems incredibly foolish to me. And if the purpose is really just to give one's kid an advantage, then, to be credible, one should be honest with oneself and others about that.

Anonymous said...

another chance to defend the program. thank you Melissa you do so much for the HC community.


not mc-troll said...

seamom and aa, posting rules were clear, offer solutions not inane critiques. also facts would be nice but inuendo is never accepted: "in actuality, modern concepts of giftedness are mostly an outgrowth of 20th century eugenics." citation please? as there are complete lines of doctoral dissertations on the pedological aspects of gifted education i think you are full of it.

and "And if the purpose is really just to give one's kid an advantage, then, to be credible." nope just the same old stuff others get -- just faster and deeper. or at least that is the line we get from sps. in fact mostly disadvantages: larger class size, longer bus times, dilapidated buildings, no best practices curriculum, ignorance and insults about being racist to even those who are black the list could go on and on. but where are your solutions? gifted ed is here to stay. why not make it better for everyone.

no caps

Anonymous said...

SeaMom, the HCC program is not about "nurturing giftedness". It is about providing academic challenge for each kid as needed. If kids aren't challenged they have no skills to handle the adversity they will inevitably encounter in life.


KIC Family said...

@ SeaMom. My brother is incredibly smart and has ADHD. Even though he was identified as gifted in elementary he got kicked out because he couldn't keep still enough to appease his teacher. His public education ended with him dropping out of high school in the 11th grade because he was so bored. This is why I fight for gifted education. I'm sure you think that he should just have to "power through" boring and tedious. Public school failed him. The only thing boring all day prepares you for is prison I'm not going to let my daughters end up like my brother.

I'm sorry you haven't met anyone at the tip of the IQ chart, because then you might have an idea of what you are talking about.

Anonymous said...

Seamom, I think about this all the time when people talk about giving an "advantage" to kids are already ahead in the form of hcc. I think the most important thing public education does is to teach children how to learn new things across different disciplines. How to be learners. There are some basic skills, but that is not the main point. So I don'the see the acceleration hcc kids get as an advantage at all. It is an attempt to allow advanced kids the same thing every child is supposed to get, the opportunity to learn new academic concepts at school. Who cares if you learn chemistry when you are 14.5 vs 15.5? But I do care if you learn as a child that the educational system has something for you, most days, and that in school you can expect to learn new things regularly. That was not an option for my hcc kids in their gen ed classrooms. There were too many repetitions of material, and the work was outside their zone of proximal development. It was the case for my gen ed kids in those same classrooms. No, not every minute. But every day.

I would love to see us testing every child. I think it would be cheaper than we think. I am not in favor of local norms. Advanced learning is not a prize, and doing so would treat it as such and mean View Ridge and North Beach need to teach their median students several years ahead of Bailey Gatzert. Absolutely not. Yes, some kids come in affected from trauma, some communities have more of those kids. Direct more services there. Don't radically increase inequality across the system because of it. Keep neighborhood schools similar (only adding in advanced learning in a more systemic way), and draw demand down for hcc with basic advanced learning services at neighborhood schools. Anyone who thinks the solution is simple does not know very much about education. We must use a many pronged approach.


Anonymous said...

"Advanced learning is not a prize."

As long as students do not have the norms adjusted for advantages,
then HC in Seattle remains "a prize".

Any statistician knows that norms are adjusted in order to
make sure what is being tested is valid. As long as the
norms are not adjusted, the students who have high potential
but lack academic experience and concepts will continue to
be underrepresented in HC in SPS.

Testing every child but continuing to use the same norming will
simply not increase diversity--because those who come from
educated parents have an experiential advantage. You can petition
the district to spend money and time but it will result in the
same excluded outcomes for underrepresented students.

In a fair world, students of highly educated parents would
be normed separately in order to remove their built-in
advantage. Many readers of this blog should have had their
own children normed differently than the national average
since they are more highly educated than the norm.

That is why NAGC states this clearly (and why it is part of state law):

"Test norms should reflect the local demographic, not only national norms (important for districts with a greater number of individuals from minority or ethnic groups). In some cases, it is important to review subscores, as twice-exceptional students can be overlooked if only using a general score."

Why should your child (likely of highly educated parents) be given an inherent scoring advantage that is counter to all statistical best practices for scoring?

How can you call statistically fair scoring "a prize"?

Melissa, Spectrum was illegal. period.


Anonymous said...

As usual, when someone publishes something mildly critical or skeptical regarding HCC s/he gets attacked. Sorry, SeaMom that it happened to you. -CapHill

Anonymous said...

So what do you suggest the schools with high concentrations of children from educated, stable homes teach their children? Statistically they will be ready for a more advanced curriculum at a higher than average rate. I believe your plan will greatly increase inequity, unless you require more affluent schools to teach far below their median student. Do all sps schools still teach the same curriculum, then? I don't love the restricted access to advanced learning now, but at least it is not different schools years apart (except for the pixie dust of differentiation. But in reality.)


not mc-t said...

"-Melissa, Spectrum was illegal. period." wow. you have no sense of the law fwiw as it relates to sped and public school districts. providing adequate education is not illegal.

no caps

Melissa Westbrook said...

"In actuality, modern concepts of giftedness are mostly an outgrowth of 20th century eugenics.."

And your data on this is?

Why nurture any child's academically? To help them achieve their full potential. We do not educate children simply to do tasks; we educate children to be human beings and citizens. You may be confusing training with educating.

CapHill, calling giftedness "eugenics" without a source is not "attacking" anyone.

Apparently some of you did not read what I wrote about gifted testing and that I believe there should be other dimensions to looking for giftedness.

If Spectrum was illegal, apparently no one ever did anything about it or went to OSPI or the state auditor with the claim that state ed dollars were being used improperly.

not mc-t said...

eugenics, segregationist, appartheid, racist no caphill you are wrong. the only attacks are coming from outside the hcc community. seamom said trollish things about hcc.
oh and sorry your kid has all the same choices as all the other kids. i am sure that is a burden.

no caps

not mc-t said...

sorry mw you missed it -- "CapHill, calling giftedness "eugenics" without a source is not "attacking" anyone."

caphill thought calling hcc eugenics caused seamom to be attacked. i disagree that it is not attacking anyone though. unless they can prove it. and yet how is it different from then calling hcc: racist, segregationist (like strom thurmond), apparthied and now add eugenics. what a mess.

people this is seattle. we flip backwards to be respectful and appreciative of other cultures. we hire folks we believe understand race because of their life experiences (banda, mgj, charles wright, ted howard, susan fullmer and etc) and we vote for minorities to sit on the sb. this isn't alabama. we have a proud tradition of inclusiveness.

i will argue though that stops with gifted kids. free to hate those kids. they are takers. they take themselves out of our class rooms. such self centered little learners. privileged little souls who could stay in the neighborhood schools (if there was truly room) and ride across town for their overcrowded popular schools... where 700 kids share a playground a tenth of the size of your average neighborhood school. such self centered parents who raise hundreds of thousands of dollars just for their school. and who save the district dramatically considering the over crowded buildings/over crowded classrooms and the efficiencies of ability grouping.

no caps

Lynn said...

Here's a Friday Memo attachment that refers to the universal screening of second graders in Title I schools.

Here's the Superintendent's Procedure
that states anyone can refer a student.

The continuum of services includes HCC and services offered in the general education classroom (flexible grouping, acceleration and interventions through the MTSS model).

The large number of parents who file appeals are definitely indicative of a problem - the poor district testing process.

As has been said over and over again, implementing local norms makes sense only if we also provide different services for these newly identified students - a talent identification and nurturing program rather than the two-year acceleration currently offered to students who are already high achieving. Using local norms to identify gifted students also requires schools to teach to different standards based on their students's achievement levels. (This would require Bryant to accelerate math instruction for students who are ready to work above grade level.)

The AL office has requested money for after school services for promising students in Title I schools and were denied. It's easier for staff to rant about equity than to provide resources to solve the problem.

Anonymous said...

It is not a continuum of services because anyone identified can OPT-IN for self-contained.

Continuum of services, as defined by state law, means that the services are matched to the child's needs (by the school, and hopefully, with parent input).

It's interesting, Lynn, that all of these service models are suddenly available when the broad consensus on this blog is that the services rarely, if ever, exist in neighborhood schools.

Placing services at schools would, indeed, be teaching to the different standards. Schools should do this! They already do when they have walk to math and actual literacy instruction based on reading and writing levels. They will have to raise their game at local scores when the district finally follows state law.

BTW, someone referenced a Shoreline memo recently that stated the single area eligible students are now required by state law to be provided HC services, which will actually mandate local school based services since HCC is accelerated in all subjects.

You have also rebutted local norms by quoting Lohman who stated that it works best when students have similar demographics. Bingo! The SAP is putting kids into a similar demographics until SPS changes the SAP.

Poor testing is causing appeals? I doubt if they'd appeal if their child GOT into the program. Didn't Bellevue get enough sense to stop allowing outside of district testing for appeals?

Finally, most good school districts don't base entry on scores alone. In fact, state law requires a committee to make the decision. The entire profile of the child is taken into account. That is best practice as stated by NAGC and many others.

Why do you find it so necessary to protect the status quo when it is blatantly excluding so many children in this district? The earlier these eligible students
are identified, the less make up for lost time will have to occur later (see Rainier Scholars).


p.s. They can "universally screen" until the cows come home. Until they score properly and according to state law and best practices, they will not significantly increase the number of underrepresented students. It's a waste of time and money.

not mc-t said...

well that is all factual non-inflammatory info. thanks lynn for moving the message forward.

what needs to be looked at here isn't the hcc program. it is jill geary and anyone who jumps on the institutional racism train with no proof. show me the actions that are racist, accidentally racist or keystone cop racist. I can tell you that the amount of money we pay to not have a racist al department and the folks who have signed off on the program (black and hispanic) make me say. NOPE.

fwiw will tell you because the numbers aren't right but no there is no number in any school that will show you racism.

test = best for non racial identification able to use.
superintendents = majority black/brown some asians but that should count too.
admins at many of the hcc buildings are black
three departments on the sps web page dealing with race and equity.
hours of professional development to train teachers to identify hcc kids / regardless of color.
frl/ell accommodations for testing and admittance into the program.
(no simmiliar accommodation for testing and admittance for 2e kids probably a lawsuit -- right fwiw).
paperwork is presented in 17 different languages and every family gets notification of the program in their opening day packets.

i could go on. you got to understand regardless of the backflips to try to make it right there will always be critics. doesn't mean their nay saying/name calling should be recognized though. mw said make suggestions to make it better and all i have heard is haters and crickets.

no caps

Anonymous said...

correction: "They will have to raise their game at local schools..."


not mc-t said...

"Why do you find it so necessary to protect the status quo when it is blatantly excluding so many children in this district? The earlier these eligible students
are identified, the less make up for lost time will have to occur later (see Rainier Scholars)."

wow fwiw. the advocate for hcc. hands clapping.

1./ rs is a program to scaffold kids that aren't identified to be gifted but have expressed a desire to go to college which is something that their parents didn't do. that is the start and stop of that. the commit to no acceleration. the commit to total devotion of afternoons for tutoring and other assistance to go to college that is it. you can say it is a hcc program it is not.

2./ continuum of services for hcc. thanks for your concern about this fwiw. it is shallow and i would say that is on purpose. but the continuum starts for those that are identified as HCC and that would be the 98-95/95 percents we all know. to low for a floor i agree. but that is what we have after that HCC kids should receive a services that push them to their ceiling. not happening. why? oh because they are a bunch of entitled self absorbed kids who can be jammed into dilapidated building with no playground. they don't need anything more than the scraps.

no caps

Charlie Mas said...

The basic failure of equity in Seattle Public Schools, when it comes to advanced learning services, is the absence of any meaningful effort to address the needs of students working beyond grade level in the majority (if not the bulk) of schools and classrooms.

Providing all students with an appropriate academic opportunity is an equity issue. When schools decide that they are not going to serve a group of students - no matter how that group is defined - then the school is failing at equity. Historically, schools and districts have chosen not to serve various groups of students including students of color, immigrant students, English Language Learners, and students with disabilities. There are plenty of schools and districts that continue to refuse to serve these students - not due to an oversight or an inability to serve them but as a conscious and deliberate choice. Just as that is wrong and inequitable, it is wrong and inequitable when schools refuse to serve students working beyond grade level - as a conscious and deliberate choice. The inequity is no different.

Let's not get tangled up with questions about giftedness or test scores. Let's not wander into speculation about potential. Any student working beyond grade level in any subject on any day - and that means almost every student in the district at some time in their thirteen year K-12 journey - should be supported in that work.

The Standards, intended in theory as a floor, function in practice as a ceiling. As long as the sole focus of the district, the schools, and the teachers, is to bring all students up to Standards, there will be no resources for supporting work beyond Standards.

If there is some place in the district that supports work beyond Standards, then I understand the desperate need for families to give their children access to that place. If that access were readily available in every school (as the District promises), the desperation would dissipate. Most of the complaints about HCC are founded in the identification process. If advanced learning services were broadly available, the stakes of HCC identification process would not be so high and the process would not be so fraught with anxiety.

The only solution to this issue would be reliable access to support for work beyond Standards for every student in every school. That would be equitable.

The inequity is driven by the artificial scarcity of the support. In that sort of system, of course those with privilege have better access than those without. But it's not the fault of the people who are supporting their children's education. The solution will not be found in removing their advantage. The fault lies in the District and the schools for creating the artificial scarcity of the service.

Anonymous said...

"But it's not the fault of the people who are supporting their children's education."

If supporting your child's education, while partaking in public education, is resulting in a situation where those of less privilege are being excluded and/or shortchanged in the process, then you do bear responsibility.

The desire to promote your own child at all costs may feel instinctual but it is not moral.


Anonymous said...

Nice, so those who choose private or charter or use special ed services are now immoral.

Anonymous said...

Our Spectrum program - before it was eliminated by SPS was inclusive. Students could join either by testing or by teacher selection.

How is this illegal by any stretch of the imagination?


Anonymous said...

I think FWIW's world view reflects an abdication of parenting in favor of institutional care.


Anonymous said...

FWIW has stated previously that ELL kids are systematically excluded from Spectrum. That is patently not true. We had many in our Spectrum class - our school was an Autism magnet school at that time. FWIW's fast loose and inaccurate statements indicate that he/she would be a great addition to the Trump administrative team.


Anonymous said...

ELL and SPED students were in Spectrum at significantly lower percentages than both district and school based percentages.

The district was under civil rights notice recently for not serving ELL students at their own schools. They also were not served proportionally in schools where Spectrum exists. It is not legal for them to be warehoused.

Same goes for LRE and SPED.

Anecdotal experiences, or a very few exceptions to what was widespread in Spectrum, do not "trump" the district demographic data that proves why Spectrum was in violation of LRE and laws protecting ELL students from being overloaded in classroom and/or schools.

Check with district data if you need confirmation of these facts. No need to take my word for it.


Anonymous said...

For the 10+ years we've been in SPS, there has always been an undercurrent of dislike for APP/HCC. It intensified and turned into an all out assault on AL under MGJ. Her work continues through MT, but it now seems even more acceptable for teachers and staff to openly disparage HCC. Teachers, children notice. My child is made to feel badly for wanting to learn and be challenged just like any other student. How is that okay? As a parent who volunteers and tutors students, I take umbrage at the suggestion my presence or that of my child is somehow immoral. Ludicrous. And you wonder why so many families go private?? In hindsight, we wish we had.

SeaMom said...

Sigh. I didn't say that giftedness itself is a eugenic concept, just that it grew out of the same field of study as eugenics. This is not inflammatory rhetoric; it is undisputed history. Psychometric testing (the field that encompasses things like IQ testing, CoGAT and SBAC) was developed for explicitly eugenic purposes, i.e. to identify and label those who should breed and those who should not, based on their innate intelligence. Note that eugenics was considered a mainstream and respectable science for many decades until the Nazis ran with it.

If you are truly looking for sources, you could start with Stephen Jay Gould's masterful work The Mismeasure of Man, which digests the history of psychometric testing as a tool for the application of eugenic science, and delves deep into the serious question of whether intelligence in humans is an objectively identifiable quality at all, let alone one that can be described by a single number or set of numbers.

Charlie Mas said...

"If supporting your child's education, while partaking in public education, is resulting in a situation where those of less privilege are being excluded and/or shortchanged in the process, then you do bear responsibility."

Maybe, but since that wasn't the case the statement isn't relevant.

The families who supported their children's education were NOT the ones who excluded or shortchanged less privileged children. No family's support for their child's education resulted in less for other students. It just didn't happen. The District and the schools did things that shortchanged students, but never the families of advanced learners.

The families of advanced learners did not make the rules. They did not determine the delivery model or the curriculum. They didn't even have influence over them. They didn't dictate anything about ALOs, Spectrum, or HCC. The families had zero authority over the system. More than that, the most strident voices for reform to the system were families of advanced learners.

But let's not discuss this further. This is a distraction that a troll is using to sidetrack the conversation and try to pit families against each other. This is an effort to detract from intersectional opposition.

The real issue of equity remains that the District refuses to serve several groups of students. Among these groups are English Language Learners, students with disabilities, African-American students, students living in poverty, and advanced learners. All of these groups, their advocates and their allies should work together for the benefit of all.

Anonymous said...


I'm not a troll but a veteran teacher of many years in SPS.

My response to your point was valid even if you disagree.
You stated an opinion as fact and I disagreed with you
and still do.

I no longer work in the district but have certainly paid
my dues and have a right to speak.


Honey.cake said...

I hate when this blog picks up things that remotely have to do with race or equity. Because the sight lines are so narrow.

Race and equity aren't the aberrational for of the HCC and Spectrum programs, but it is visual so it's easy to latch on to in this post-racial era. Isn't the main issue with the programs that they're not programs? There is no curriculum for these programs and programs should have programming. They have no standardization or standards from school to school or grade to grade. They're just making this up as they go along. I mean the lack programming for the program should have been the real red flag, but race is way more visual to illustrate its shortcomings. #racecardplayedinreverse

I don't know how many conversations I have to sit through where the parents go on and on about how their children aren't being challenged or walk-to-math or the testing or the appeals or holding back Jimmy for "maturity" reasons, only to find Jimmy is highly capable when he finally enters at school at 6 feet tall.

If SPS was capable of shifting to quality general education instead of gen-pop (yes, like in prison) education, then there wouldn't be sooooo much rah-rah-rah about the precious HCC program. Bellevue (bringing it up, because it was mentioned on the blog, but is a completely different universe from Seattle) only considers a certain percentage of its highest percentile for its HCC program. I've met exceptional children in Bellevue, I mean F-ing brilliant who do not qualify for the Bellevue HCC program because they're not exceptional enough. Seattle parents would lose their ish over this.

Why doesn't Seattle just take the top 2% of children who score the highest on the standardized tests and put them in HCC classes, letting their parents opt them out, instead of in. That eliminates all barriers because of the parent's language or capabilities. That eliminates bias that teachers do have. More about my own childrens' gen-pop education below. It's both elusive and exclusive and no one can blame the parents or the teachers. If teaching highly capable students was the reason for the "program", then that would make way more sense, and then a standard program could be developed.

Also, if you want to get some diversity around this issue talk about why you simply don't want your children in gen-pop because it's so mediocre. Instead of saying, it's not challenging your child (because you sound like an exceptional, elitist asshole), talk about why it's so important for children to get out of gen-pop and into general education.

I walked into my own childrens' classrooms (if you didn't know I'm AfrAm (only African Americans can use the abbreviation, AfrAm, everyone else must use African American with a hard AF)) and I saw the children bouncing off the walls and I wanted my children in solitary confinement as well, where they would not be exposed to what diversity often looks like (a hot mess). But that would involve a teacher seeing something in my AfrAm child. In my majority Blacker (someone used this term in the comments and I'm stealing it for life forward) school they're really more concerned with behavior (schocking), and are fully committed to turning my child into a model prisoner, not so much concern about his giftedness/specialness/capability-ness. Getting them to commit to teaching long division is an uphill battle, so I don't think these teachers, would be capable of recommending any of their students for the program. I'm sorry I'm off topic, please, tell me more about how the schools just aren't recognizing how gifted all the gifted children (who are overwhelmingly white, even in majority Blacker schools) are.

And Charlie Mas, you are one articulate individual. I love you.

Anonymous said...

@ FWIW, statements like that actually aren't worth much.

You said: "If supporting your child's education, while partaking in public education, is resulting in a situation where those of less privilege are being excluded and/or shortchanged in the process, then you do bear responsibility. The desire to promote your own child at all costs may feel instinctual but it is not moral."

By your logic, reading to your kids is bad, since not ALL parents read to their kids. Providing adequate nutrition is bad, since not all kids get the same. Providing health and dental care is unfair if all kids don't get it. Tutoring services are immoral. Helping your kids with their homework is also immoral, since not all parents have the time or education or language skills or even inclination to do so.

Are you for real? We should all do as little as those who do (by choice or necessity) the least to support their kids, in order to make it "fair"? Wow, talk about lowering the bar.

Teaching your kids to read does not exclude others. Supporting your child's health and development does not exclude others. Providing tutoring or HW help does not exclude others. Heck, even signing you child up for HCC does not exclude others, since they, too, can sign up for HCC if qualified. (Some kids from underrepresented groups can even sign up if they DON'T meet the eligibility criteria, since the eligibility team considers things like FRL and ELL status.)

Shaming parents for meeting their children's needs is a new low.



Anonymous said...

Sorry, that "FWIW" at the bottom is a typo, left over from my cut and paste. That was me, not FWIW--although that should be apparent!


Melissa Westbrook said...

From Anonymous (no anonymous comments, please):

"For the 10+ years we've been in SPS, there has always been an undercurrent of dislike for APP/HCC. It intensified and turned into an all out assault on AL under MGJ. Her work continues through MT, but it now seems even more acceptable for teachers and staff to openly disparage HCC. Teachers, children notice. My child is made to feel badly for wanting to learn and be challenged just like any other student. How is that okay? As a parent who volunteers and tutors students, I take umbrage at the suggestion my presence or that of my child is somehow immoral. Ludicrous. And you wonder why so many families go private?? In hindsight, we wish we had."

"This is not inflammatory rhetoric; it is undisputed history..

Again, citations, please. Because people were recognized as being gifted for centuries, whether tested or not. As well, no district worth its salt uses one test score to determine this. Even SPS doesn't. But go ahead and put that out there like it's the truth.

At least you are honest that you don't believe there are any gifted children or adults.

"More than that, the most strident voices for reform to the system were families of advanced learners."

Ditto from me. It's been more than a decade for me so to say that AL families are selfish and never speak up is simply not true.

Honeycake, are you a teacher or parent? Because that would help with the credibility measure of your remarks.

Why doesn't Seattle just take the top 2% of children who score the highest on the standardized tests and put them in HCC classes, letting their parents opt them out, instead of in.

They could but the problem is that then people would say that one test score is not enough and I agree. If you read my thread, there are other kinds of giftedness. I guess you could do what you say and pick out just academic giftedness and/or smart kids who take tests well.

I would also say that many here have advocated for better Gen Ed but I would agree that many parents worry about the low bar of Gen Ed and behavior issues that seem more consistent with Gen Ed. Meaning, large class sizes with more teacher control issues. (I will categorically state, though, that there are behavior issues in EVERY classroom. It's a myth that gifted students are all behavior models.)

Anonymous said...

Just reading Trevor Noah's "Born A Crime" in which he describes his upbringing in South Africa. Fascinating book. He tested into the advanced class but after one day chose to leave it for the "regular" class, because it was highly racially segregated and he wanted to be with his friends.

We can't underestimate kids' need to be with peers who "get them". The experience of being black in our society is very different from that of the white majority. When I sub at high schools around the city, I see kids segregate themselves into racial groups. This is the time when they are forming their identity, and they want to be with people like themselves. Some also report not wanting to be some sort of "exemplar" for their entire race within predominantly white HCC-type programs.

Institutional racism definitely impacts who is ready for what at school. When Land Grant colleges were being formed, legislation specified that there be black colleges or programs for blacks within white colleges. But the federal money that these colleges relied upon was not distributed evenly: the white colleges got much more. So white colleges were able to focus on liberal education as well as vocational: math and literature as well as classes to prepare them to work in industry and agriculture. In the black colleges, the focus was on vocation only, usually manual labor. That is a racial disparity with a "long tail impact". Education of someone in the late 1800's or early 1900's still has an impact on that person's descendants. It becomes a family value.

Mass incarceration is another factor. Black men are more likely to be stopped, more likely than white men to be arrested for the same infraction, of those arrested black men are more likely to be prosecuted, of those prosecuted for the same crime black men are more likely to be found guilty, and, you can see this coming, of those found guilty of the same crime, black men get longer sentences. This impacts their families and communities, their socio-economic status, and their family stability, all of which feed into a child's readiness for school and the support they get at home.

There are other forms of "long-tail" institutional racism--like red-lining--that have an impact on SES long after they are discontinued, like red-lining that prevented blacks from owning property in certain neighborhoods, and from benefitting from the value increase in those neighborhoods.

So you get an group of people who *on average*, and due to unfair treatment going back centuries, are less ready for school and get less support at home, who's families are less likely to value education, and who if they do test into HCC, may not want to go. It's a system problem, not a problem with one race, their intelligence or work ethic.

I can see why we don't want to perpetuate centuries of unfair treatment, and why some see HCC as doing that.

But HCC demographics are the result of racism, not the cause of it. Eliminating HCC may make everyone feel better, but it doesn't help close the opportunity gap. In areas where this happens, the gap increases because people of means flee the public schools.

I don't know the answer, but I believe we need affirmative action, resources focussed on populations that need it, and maybe we need a better understanding of how to support kids of color in their identity formation, to listen to them more, to respect them more, and find out what THEY want, rather than being the great white hope swooping in with solutions.


Anonymous said...

To start - I am a supporter of tracking. I know it is not perfect, but I am not aware of anything else that consistently can challenge those who need to be challenged. A few teachers can do that in a general class, but they are rare.

I am appalled at the level the HCC kids are separated from the rest of the population. I think both populations would be better served if HCC seemed more accessible to everyone else. I think they should be in mixed schools where they share resources, music class, gym class, after school programs, etc.

This would benefit the general population as the step to try HCC classes, maybe even just one math class or one English class would not be as big of a first step.

This would benefit everyone because some mutual empathy and understanding and friendships even would make it more difficult to have these conversations descend into us v. them scenarios. It may still exist, but hopefully not at the level it does today.

-NW mom

Melissa Westbrook said...

But HCC demographics are the result of racism, not the cause of it."


HCC at Thurgood Marshall is in a shared building as are the programs in middle school. When HCC was at Lowell, the district had a medically fragile Sped program there and the kids all interacted. It was a great thing.

At some high schools, all kids are taking an AP course so that's happening.

I will say that I think this issue of making friends throughout the school is interesting. My sons made friends with kids in their classes and on sports teams. To believe that kids are going to make a lot of friends throughout their schools is not my experience.

Outsider said...

I think it's not actually true that psychometric testing was developed to promote eugenics. It was developed more as a practical response to military mobilization in WWI. Historically, military hierarchy just mirrored social hierarchy: the rich and "gentlemen" became officers, while the poor and low-caste immigrants became foot soldiers. But the scale and complexity of 20th century warfare required a new approach. IQ testing was developed to quickly mass-screen hundreds of thousands of conscripts to identify those with the cognitive ability or trainability to take on organizational, logistical, or intelligence roles, or roles that required substantial training. It's a long story after that, but because IQ testing was viewed as successful in the war effort, and because it yields a normal distribution same as height and foot size, IQ came to be seen as an innate, measurable thing which could be used to promote both meritocracy and eugenics.

Nowdays, it's fashionable in PC circles to piss on the concept of "giftedness," as some commenters have done above. But I would interject another item from the day's news. Trump has rattled the tech sector with talk of an executive order to scale back the H1-B visa program. You know, the program that brings in well-educated foreigners to do the jobs Americans are too dumb to do because they, well, because they went to American public schools. So here is a definition of giftedness for the 21st century: anyone who could, if given challenging work in school rather than being held back in service of PC and equity, do the jobs that currently go to foreigners with H1-B visas. Who thinks there are no such students? Are Americans innately just too dumb?

Anonymous said...

To bring personal experience into it, I went to a racially and economically diverse, but academically tracked school. For the most part, yes, the kids I hung around with did look like me.

But my reading partner in 2nd grade, Kenya, did not. My favorite person in my 8th grade gym class was a member of a gang. But she was nice (to me) and smart, and I liked her. The kid I sat next to on the bus on the way home from swim team got dropped off at the projects. We would talk about it some times. Was my life a constant testament to diversity? No. Did these small experiences make it easier to relate to people who didn't look like me, act like me or live like me? Absolutely.

NW Mom

Anonymous said...

Outsider brings up a good point. I do not support Trump's nationalistic point of view, but I would rather see companies like Microsoft do more to support public education, especially in WA, and less to recruit employees from other countries.

We should not lump all of our kids into the same hum drum classroom and teach to the middle. Different kids have different needs and interests. That is not the same as different kids have different potential.

Every thread that heads down the toilet bowl direction of trying to flush HCC should also include statements of hoping for sameness for those enjoying the special programs at our various option schools.

SPS needs new leadership and with the new plans coming in response to McCleary, there will have to be a much needed efficiency implementation at our huge district office with unnecessary/redundant jobs eliminated.

The mission of SPS should be to help every student achieve their full potential.

Raise theBar

Anonymous said...

An appropriate method for universal two tier pre-CoGAT screening needs to be implemented in SPS. Since everyone is tested with the screeners there is no need for the vagaries of referrals.

I believe that since SPS has created a divisive culture that predicates one group not being served in order for another group to be served that we have to opt-out of that paradigm. It only serves to harm everyone since we know that the money to serve the 'winning' side will go primarily to $200,000 a year staff at the JSCEE and not to books or project materials or support staff for students who have extra needs.

Genius exists. What do we do when genius is young and needs guidance and education? We teach them how they need to be taught. Sometimes genius is Mozart and sometimes genius is Salieri. We teach every student how that student needs to be taught to be the powerful and successful people that they want to be.

If we think about high performing students of color and if their leaving will destroy the test scores of their schools if they leave...then find a policy work around. We just have to opt out of the zero sum mentality.

Mr. Theo Moriarty

Honey.cake said...

Melissa, I'm a parent. Chile, you don't have to be worried about my credibility as a parent or the first teacher of my children. My credibility on both of these issues is solid. Thanks for checking in though. Head tilt.

And I've got to question the idea that HCC is being currently administered in a way that allows anything but academic giftedness. How so? And who has benefited from these non-academic qualifications?

Of course they don't take the top 2% because people would say things. My child doesn't test well. My child is not outgoing in that way. My psychologist/doctor/rabbi said...My child, my child, my child. We get it your child is extraordinary, but is not an extraordinary test taker.

I see you, boo. I read your blog on most occasions, though I only chime in on race issues, because I love to see what my liberal Seattle has to say when race may be interfering with their child's education. Even though race has always been interfering with mine.

Parents who are concerned about the erosion of HCC as a "program" are not also fighting for better general education. You know that. They are two very separate issues, with two very separate audiences. I didn't say that there weren't behavior issues in EVERY classroom. But how behavior issues are handled in EVERY classroom aren't the same. I don't have to tell you that either. You know that. You know that very well. Do I need to go out here and get citations (I love that there's an academic piece to these blog comments) on the treatment of AfrAm girls and boys in classroooms where the behaviors are the same, but the punishment for such behaviors are different? C'mon let's not make this about race. Too late.

Why can't we just admit that hey, we have had a hard time treating people in a fair and equitable way and that just because we have now have the language to form the dialogue about mistreatment doesn't mean that the disparities in treatment have subsided.

They don't have to disband the program, if they lower the barriers that make it difficult for children to get in, even if it means YOUR child doesn't get in. Because the reality is that it's not a problem that my child doesn't get in ("we have advocated for better Gen Ed....", while AfrAms and Latinos still linger behind everyone else). AfrAms, Latinos haven't been getting in for 10+ years and it's cool. But when I say take the top 2% and YOUR child may not make it, it's like well wait a minute, they're gifted in other ways. See how that works. No I really want you to take a moment and see how that works. It's been inequitable, unbalanced, crazy one-sided for 10+ years and it's the parents fault that they're not doing everything they can do to get the best for their child (paraphrasing another respondent), but you say hey maybe all of these kids aren't gifted, and it's like, now hold up one second here. Do you see why I'm looking at y'all side-eyed?

z said...

IMHO, your post above at 10:31am should be required reading for everyone on this blog. It's fundamental (though uncomfortable for some) knowledge that underlies so much of our public education system. I've wanted to write something similar for quite some time, but you did a better job than I would have. Thank you.

But HCC demographics are the result of racism, not the cause of it. Eliminating HCC may make everyone feel better, but it doesn't help close the opportunity gap.

This too, should be echoed wide and far, because it's the truth that so many people are ignoring.

kellie said...

No conversation on HCC and Equity can be complete without some reference to capacity, private school and the City's demographics.

The demographics of HCC match the demographics for the City of Seattle as a whole very nicely. That then begs the question, why does the rest of Seattle School look more like HCC, not the other way around.

The answer is private school. National private school enrollment is about 10%. Seattle's bounces between 20 and 30%. That is a huge difference and that means that all equity and demographic conversations are missing a critical data point.

Also capacity has a huge impact on advanced learning. When you look at Advanced Learning programs over decades and across baby boom dynamics, there is a clear pattern. When there are more school facilities than school aged population, advanced learning program flourish in a wide variety of formats. When school aged children outnumber capacity, advanced learning program decline.

This is because advanced learning programs are wildly attractive to the middle class and upper middle class. The truly wealth are immune to this type of program and are firmly part of the 10% minimum private school enrollment that is constant over time.

However, the part of the middle class that is strongly focused on education as an upward path, is more flexible. They are more flexible about how they get on this path but are firmly committed to that path and move with their feet to places and program where they will get appropriately challenging curriculum.

Anonymous said...

Parents who are concerned about the erosion of HCC as a "program" are not also fighting for better general education. You know that. They are two very separate issues, with two very separate audiences.

Respectfully disagree. HCC students were in gen-ed first. Many have siblings in gen-ed. Parents are advocating for improvements across the board.


Anonymous said...

Kellie your analysis is right on target. I agree with you completely that one must consider the private school enrollment, 30% is very high and impacts the discussion. There are also a few HCC families (whom I know personally who are FRL) but they are likely not the norm.

Anonymous said...

First, we need to define equity. Some people seem to equate it with equality, but they are quite different. Equity does not mean that everyone needs to receive the same thing. In fact, it means just the opposite. Equity recognizes the barriers that some groups face, and attempts to help level the playing field by providing support or services to mitigate them.

Equity does not require that highly capable children be served in regular GE classrooms only. In many cases, trying to serve them in such settings will be inequitable, because the curriculum is designed for average students and the teachers are focused on students at and below grade level. It is inequitable to educate some children in the class but not others.

Equity also does not preclude cohorted programs like HCC. Typical students can learn just fine in a classroom of students that doesn’t include those at or above the 98th percentile. They do not benefit from asynchronously developed students in their classroom, and some of the research suggests they are actually harmed by it. Equity means everyone has the opportunity to learn in class, and that doesn’t have to be dependent on who sits next to you.

Equity should mean that all students who are highly gifted have access to HCC, regardless of race, income, language, etc. Most think that’s not true in SPS now, and data indicate that certain groups are underrepresented in HCC when compared to our district's racial makeup. However, the idea that the racial makeup of HCC should perfectly mirror that of our district is unfounded. Given all we know about child brain development and the negative impact of poverty, the expectation should be that HCC eligibility is somewhat lower in groups with higher rates of poverty, lower parental education, etc., and that IS what we tend to see in SPS. But how large should the disparity be? There's a general sense it's too big now, and I agree. But EQUAL rates of qualification are not to be expected, not until our socioeconomic disparities are eliminated.

So how do we make sure all students who are highly gifted can access HCC? One approach is to modify the eligibility criteria, lowering score thresholds for underrepresented groups. How much lower depends on many things. If trying to achieve a target percentage, look at the data and lower the score accordingly—which might mean lowering some the score cutoffs significantly. But this has to be weighed against another factor, the likelihood of success in HCC. If eligibility scores are lowered TOO much in order to get the numbers we want, we risk enrolling kids who aren't really ready for the accelerated work. Since we lack appropriate support services to help bring students up to speed, lower score requirements might not really "level the playing field" as intended.

A measured approach might work. We could lower cutoff scores a little bit for certain groups (e.g., FRL and ELL), then see how kids do. It might not be enough to get equal rates of eligibility by race, but it would provide important information about how to keep moving in that direction. We might find that FRL students who score at the 95th percentile do well in HCC, in which case we could conclude that they really are HC and their poverty was a barrier to demonstrating it on the test. We might then try a lower cutoff, hoping to catch more such kids. Or, we might find that these kids really struggle in HCC--either because they aren't as highly capable, or maybe because of their poverty and its associated challenges. I’m not sure how many kids could be enrolled through somewhat-lowered requirements, though, since previous reports suggest scores might need to be reduced pretty dramatically in order to get proportional numbers. But it might be a good start. It might already be the unofficial approach to some extent, but we'd be better off formalizing it and coming up with justifiable numbers and a plan to look at the outcomes.


Anonymous said...

Another key part of any discussion about HCC and equity has to address the purpose of the program. Is it to serve academically advanced students, or intellectually gifted students? The distinction is important because it impacts both the nature of the eligibility testings and the delivery of services. HCC, as it currently stands, does not deliver gifted ed. It's a program for high achievers. Students receive the same curriculum, just ahead of schedule.

This distinction has implications for the racial disparity in eligibility. If the program truly provided education tailored to the unique needs of gifted students, it would make more sense to try to ferret out intellectually gifted students who might not be high achieving. However, since the program essentially throws eligible students into more advanced work without much preparation, it might not make as sense to throw academically unprepared students into classes that they aren't ready for.

I'd love for our program to be more of a gifted program than a high achieving program. We are doing a disservice to our truly intellectually gifted students, who really do need something different. We are also doing a disservice to our high-potential GE students, who deserve local programs that push them to achieve at high levels. Advanced instruction using the regular curricula (including access to materials a grade or two ahead) should be accessible to all, and for those who are very highly gifted, there should be a somewhat smaller program that addresses their unique needs. The standard curriculum and pace, even a couple years ahead, is a joke.


Anonymous said...


Are you saying that the HCC SES matches up with SES in the city?

Also, the KUOW report said that HCC has 1 percent black students.
They said there is a 16 percent black student population in SPS.

Are you saying that Seattle is one percent Black (or one percent black
student eligible)?

How does it match up by Hispanic, Native American or Pacific Islander
by city demographics and not just SPS (because the KUOW report referenced
the underrepresentation of these groups, too).

You said it matches up nicely. Where can this data be accessed?


Honey.cake said...

Thanks -parent for checking me on my generalization of audiences.

HF, I appreciate your measured approach to measuring and your defining equity. While I can see your shaving of the test scores to meet a more diverse population, I still don't understand why all children who meet the threshold aren't sent an invitation to participate by the school district, or auto-enrolled. It seems funds would be better spent on that, then trying the piece-meal outreach that they're using now, with the hopes of reaching through cultural and language barriers that the parents have, not the children.

Anonymous said...

"We could lower cutoff scores a little bit for certain groups (e.g., FRL and ELL), then see how kids do."

You seem to not understand norming. It is not about lowering a cut-off score but scoring accurately by removing advantage from what is being tested.

You aren't doing anyone favors by doing this. It would not be a real sociology field test on kids. It would be the statistically accurate approach to isolate for measuring potential.

And to be really accurate, the cut-off for students of highly educated parents should be around 1%.


Anonymous said...

Honey.cake, I hope you stick around and add to the conversation. Fresh voices and all that. I do think that as HCC has grown to its ridiculous size there is more reality to your mocking impressions of HCC parents now than there used to be. Just be careful when you generalize.

The kids who are really truly "out there", as most APP kids used to be when it was a fraction of its current size, really do need it (or something like it), whether their parents are annoying or not. Lumping all HCC parents into the same "obnoxious bin" isn't any better than stereotyping all Asian parents or all black parents or all SpEd parents with a common set of undesirable characteristics. Every group is comprised of people with a variety of opinions, needs, shapes/sizes, personality types and even likability.

But more to the topic at hand, I tend to agree with what I think you're saying in a roundabout way, which is that HCC has a lot of kids who aren't really all that special. And I agree. But because the district has robbed families of any other reasonable options for their children, this is the mess we have. And the dissolution of HCC, which is clearly what some staff want, would leave all these families with nothing at all, including the "way out there" kids that the program was intended for. Instead, we need to introduce new, better, local programs to help kids who are able to do work beyond grade level, but don't need a program like HCC. But who is willing to support that? Not the district.

As for not HCC families not fighting for better general education, on this one you're just wrong. As "parent" said above, virtually every HCC student was in a regular classroom prior to APP/HCC, and many of us have had or do have children in both HCC and neighborhood programs. I see the same HCC parents out fighting for both HCC stability and fighting for better programs and educational materials and fundraising for their neighborhood schools. The common thread is that education is their #1 priority in life, period. It should also be no surprise that parents for which education is their #1 priority tend to have kids who are well-prepared, do better in school, value education themselves, and surprise (!) are more represented in the HCC program.

This is no surprise, right? But what many people don't want to hear is the flip side of that coin. As IMHO touched on above, families who do not highly value education are not going to have children that are as well-prepared for school and value education as those that do -- regardless of race. It starts at (or even before) birth, and unfortunately, there's nothing that our schools and teachers can do to fix that problem in a systemic way. They can chip away at the edges, but this is deeply societal, and it's the problem no one wants to wrestle with, because it's messy and uncomfortable, with issues of race, history, prejudice, institutional racism, etc., but very few people want to take any responsibility on either side. So here we are.

Melissa Westbrook said...

"..there is no need for the vagaries of referrals."

Totally agree. Universal screening. Don't care about the cost because 1) if you are striving for equity, it's one more step in the right direction and 2)the optics of fairness.

"SPS has created a divisive culture that predicates one group not being served in order for another group to be served that we have to opt-out of that paradigm."

But, not sure I agree with that as their end goal, it's just poor implementation.

Honeycake, you seem to take offense at me asking the question. The point was that teacher see and talk to many more parents and students than a regular parent would.

I'm glad Kellie took up my point about how things do ripple out in this district and any plan should be looked at holistically.

"Another key part of any discussion about HCC and equity has to address the purpose of the program. Is it to serve academically advanced students, or intellectually gifted students?"

I would say that Spectrum was the former and APP was the latter; they created two programs for that purpose.

I still don't understand why all children who meet the threshold aren't sent an invitation to participate by the school district, or auto-enrolled."

The district had been doing this some years back. If your child of color scored well on the state test, you would get a letter or phone call. That didn't seem to move the needle.

Joseph Rockne said...

I just googled eugenics and gifted education. Wow. There may be something to the argument that gifted education has roots going back to the eugenics movement. I'm not saying that this is at all relevant today but it is certainly interesting and is probably worth some further study.

See, e.g.

z said...

Also, to be clear, I totally understand that there are many reasons education might not be a parent's absolute #1 priority in life. For some, merely trying to get food on the table and clothing may take almost every waking hour. But even in that situation, a few parents still manage to impress upon their children the importance of education. They may not be able to provide all the benefits that middle and upper income families do, but their children stand a much better chance of success. And in turn, THEIR children stand very high chances of success. Unfortunately, the process is not only imperfect, but very slow. Measured not in years, but in generations.

How to address this? How can we accelerate this process? I wish I knew. And again, it's messy and complex. It's different in different regions and communities. And it's way, waaaay bigger than something a school district can solve.

Honey.cake said...

FWIW- I think I apologized for the generalizations, and people who always talk about their children's exceptionalism suck, HCC are not.

Anonymous, did you just say that people who value education more tend to be more represented in the HCC program, without considering or acknowledging barriers and access? We can't start that way. Where they do that at? That's my issue. It's an SPS issue. So I'll restate it. If my child doesn't get in, it's me. If your child doesn't get in, it's the system. No. No. No. That's not how this gets to work. You can't say the program works at all, if the numbers continually show that it's only working for a certain demographic. And when questioned why it is, say it's because we just value education more. In what ways does a child's ability to get into HCC, show the parent's value of education, especially when there are all these caveats to access particularly when they have both the time and money to do so. The program's access and I would say accountability is flawed.

And I'm not stereotyping HCC parents. I am completely guilty of mocking the voices of those around me. I can't apologize for that because those voices are real. I'm just re-stating them with all the mocking I can muster. Anonymous, they're not obnoxious to me, they're shrill. I also exaggerated a bit for affect. The child wasn't 6 feet, the child was 4 feet. You will not be reverse-racism me here.

Melissa-of course I take offense at your questioning credibility, in a context where you have few decidedly AfrAm voices. Are you OK?

"The district had been doing this some years back. If your child of color scored well on the state test, you would get a letter or phone call. That didn't seem to move the needle."

How many years back was this? And how long did it continue? Forms weren't returned I'll assume. But if they had to opt-out it wouldn't even be an issue. Just let all the top scorers in. Let those who are "gifted in other ways" fill out all the paperwork. I'm disappointed in the necessity to make this an exclusive process and not an inclusive one.

Joseph-let go of Eugenics. Let it go. It has some very dark divisive dangerous undertones that will not help a conversation where race is involved.

Anonymous said...

...people who always talk about their children's exceptionalism suck, HCC are not.

Okay...but most families aren't out there talking about how extra super special they think their kids are. Sheesh. Hopefully we don't judge or disparage children because of their parents.

Anonymous said...

Relevant article:

Anonymous said...


All children who meet the initial threshold (i.e., SBA or MAP test scores) ARE sent an invitation to participate by the school district. They get a letter along the lines of "based on your child's performance on x, they may qualify for and benefit from advanced learning services. To sign up for additional testing to see if they meet the requirements..."

They aren't auto-enrolled in HC services because parents need to consent to further testing (e.g., CogAT) and to program placement, per state law.


Honey.cake said...

HF- Thanks for that. Is there follow-up with parents with respect to their home language? Have they found home language to be a barrier. Just wondering, because I would hate to think that they just don't value education.

Though I admit to knowing parents of color, who would rather their children not be in HCC because of its demographics.

Anonymous said...

@ FWIW, you said "You seem to not understand norming. It is not about lowering a cut-off score but scoring accurately by removing advantage from what is being tested." Really? How, exactly, does one go about removing the advantage from what is being tested? The test doesn't have some magical ability to detect advantage and modify the questions based on perceived life circumstances. Test administrators don't handicap privileged students by exposing them to trauma or denying them breakfast prior to the test or such. The way to account for disparities in advantage among those testing is to interpret the scores accordingly. If certain groups are not reaching the 98th percentile based on national norms--which we are using--then we could require a slightly lower percentile. That has essentially the same effect of developing local norms, but we don't have to test everyone in order to create local norms. Testing all students in order to try to capture the top 2% or so is a big waste of money.

Why is this any less valid of a way to estimate potential than it would be to develop sub-group specific local norms? What, specifically, do you think the local norms would show for the groups in question, if not somewhat lower average scores?

As to the 1% cutoff, I'd be fine with it myself, if (1) our testing were accurate enough to really identify just the top 1%, and (2) we had a program designed for gifted students, as opposed to high achievers.


Anonymous said...

@ Honey.cake, do you mean home language as a barrier to children meeting the qualification scores, or home language as a barrier to further testing (i.e., parents don't respond to the invitation letter because it's not in their language)?

I don't know if the letters go out in the home language or not, but they certainly should. I suspect it's a lot harder for ELLs to qualify, since they are still learning the test language. Hopefully HC ELLs will pick up English more quickly than other kids and then be able to qualify, especially if the scores are interpreted in that context (e.g., lower cutoff). If English is still sketchy, though, acceleration is probably not the best bet quite yet, unless there are extensive supports available.

I, too, have heard that parents of color are hesitant to send their qualified children to HCC, so that's something that would need to be teased out. The AL office is notoriously bad at doing meaningful data analysis, and the required evaluation they do (as a requirement of the annual state Highly Capable grant) is a joke. Truly. A well-designed survey of HCC families and HCC-qualified families would go a long way toward answering many questions about HC services, but the district has little capacity or interest for such an undertaking.


Cap hill said...

Read through this all. Depressing. No wonder people just opt out entirely.


Charlie Mas said...

There are equit problems with HCC and they are not hard to see.

In no particular order...

The barriers built into the nomination/eligibility process exclude any child whose family isn't fluent with English, facile with bureaucratic systems, highly motivated, and sufficiently connected to become educated about the program and the process from sources beyond the information made available by the District. These are all barriers created by the institution that serve no legitimate purpose. Those barriers do not have to be there at all and could be eliminated overnight if the District wished to do so. State law does require parental permission to administer the CogAT, but does not require any of the other hoops that the District makes families and children jump through. This is the bias in the process. I don't care what you call it. You don't have to call it "institutionalized racism" if you aren't comfortable with those words, but please don't feign ignorance of the barriers and the varying ability of families to overcome those barriers. THE DISTRICT DID THIS AND THEY DID IT INTENTIONALLY.

There is no "farm team" or "development league" like there used to be. This is an equity issue. A lot of the kids who were in APP started out in Spectrum and, thanks to the enrichment they got there, developed into APP-eligible students. Kids can't know things that they haven't been taught, so they can't work beyond grade level until someone grants them access to material beyond grade level. Some kids get that at home. That's wonderful, but it doesn't do anything for the kids who don't have that kind of support at home or from Rainier Scholars. For equity's sake, HCC needs authentic advanced learning in the attendance area schools so the ceiling can come off for all kids and they can be supported in their explorations beyond Standards. Then some of them can grow to qualify for HCC. THE DISTRICT DID THIS AND THEY DID IT INTENTIONALLY.

As absent and empty as HCC may be, it is a better effort to address the academic needs of students working beyond Standards and a more reliable effort to address those students' needs than anything else in Seattle Public Schools. Therefore a thirsty city is desperate for a sip from this brackish fountain and the desiccated who couldn't reach the fountain hate the inequities that granted access to those who could. The program is not only set up to be inequitable, but also to be a target for its inequity. We see all kinds of people make the HCC community the scapegoat and the effigy for all of the inequity in the District. The District staff do it. School administrators do it. Teachers do it. They encourage other interests within the Seattle Public Schools community - those who should instead make common cause with the advanced learning community - do it. HCC is everybody's favorite punching bag. To be clear, the District sets the tone for this and bears responsibility for it. They can hardly contain their contempt, not only for the program, but for the community and for the children. It's very ugly and it is, itself, an equity problem when HCC is identified as a White/Asian program. THE DISTRICT DID THIS AND THEY DID IT INTENTIONALLY.

There are equity problems with HCC, but they can be solved. Unfortunately the first step to solving these problems is for the District to want to solve them. Right now I find it very hard to believe that the District wants to solve them. I don't see anyone in the District leadership who will even acknowledge these problems.

seattle citizen said...
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Anonymous said...
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not mc-t said...

"You don't have to call it "institutionalized racism" if you aren't comfortable with those words, but please don't feign ignorance of the barriers and the varying ability of families to overcome those barriers."

no charlie i refuse to as i know black families and they don't think the color of their skin is a barrier to any program in sps. sorry. in fact you saying just that is what racism is. color = ability. nope sorry.

i agree though the selection process is arcane with ever changing rules and too much over selection on achievement versus iq/talent identification. all of these will keep frl, ell and 2e kids out. anyone of them could be fixed why haven't they? too much work i'm afraid. no one wants to do the heavy lifting on transportation, sped, ell, hcc, behavior issues, lack of rigor and etc. so it isn't just hcc but they are the only ones being called names. ((look at the eugenics bs added to this thread - get my drift))

no caps

Honey.cake said...

I just thought about this on the train. I don't believe I'm opting in to smarter balance tests or map or any of these. I can opt out but I never opted in. Why is it necessary for parents to opt in to this secondary test? I'm asking because I have a feeling u will know. Thanks.

not mc-t said...

"You can't say the program works at all, if the numbers continually show that it's only working for a certain demographic. And when questioned why it is, say it's because we just value education more. In what ways does a child's ability to get into HCC, show the parent's value of education, especially when there are all these caveats to access particularly when they have both the time and money to do so. The program's access and I would say accountability is flawed."

okay then honey cake please define that demographic characteristic. i hope you aren't going to say skin color, right? can skin color make you perform less well on the cogat/map/sbac etc? i would say again that demographic isn't RACIAL it is frl, ell and 2e. ((we would also need to account for the 30% drain by private schools for a real demographic discussion.))

now assuming we all can agree that frl, ell and 2e are the missing demographic what can sps do to scaffold those groups into the hcc? especially when they can't solve much less weightier issues. i am all ears. but until then don't stop providing services for those kids already identified and in the program.

would be simple for sps to put these numbers out. just as it would be simple to evaluate the psat hcc performance longitudinally since michael tolly came to seattle to see the devastation he has orchestrated on AL services.

no caps

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Tests like the SBA or MAP are tests the district uses to measure performance generally, not for HCC specifically. I don't think we have any requirement that families opt in to all testing. The AL office isn't required to use SBA or MAP results for eligibility--and arguably shouldn't, since they don't measure giftedness--but for the sake of cost and expediency, and because our program is really geared toward high achievers anyway, they've used those as one component of the eligibility requirement. They don't refer to them as screening tests, but they kind of serve that purpose. Kids who score high on those get invited to apply for further testing. Others can, too, but this is how they target testing to those they think are most likely to qualify.


not mc-t said...

cogat is not an achievement test honey cake which are mandated by state/fed.

i am not sure if sps isn't being "too smart by a half" with the se title 1 schools universal screening. i like the idea, but is it universal if it is only in the se and then only t1 schools? oh well if it helps wouldn't help all 2nd graders?

no caps

not mc-t said...

Kellie, it would be nice if you could share more data that you may have and directly address fwiw's blatherings about norms. my dream would be to get the ell,frl and 2e data.

my look at it last time was that sps was not even close to the demographic of the city. but at nearly 70% white, which is what hcc is, is it is very much in line with seattle's demographics... the difference being the large percent of white kids that go private here.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 4:30-- She said she is a pre-school teacher.

not mc-troll said...

regardless the blm video is way off topic and should be deleted from this thread.

no caps

Charlie Mas said...

Boy. It sure is a good thing that movements are not defined by the most extreme statements by the most extreme members. Otherwise we would be convinced that all of Mr. Trump's supporters were White Supremacists.

not mc-t said...

can we get back on topic charlie - jeeeez

Anonymous said...

I think one of the issues with using the term "institutional racism" is that many people see it think that this means HCC families are racist. That's when we end up with things like the APParthied stickers on HCC school grounds.

As I understand it, institutional racism doesn't necessarily have to be based on race-based policies specifically. Rather, it's more about the racial disparities in the impact of policies. So to the extent that SPS's policies and procedures and systems create a situation in which students from certain racial groups are less likely to be able to participate in a program for which they are equally qualified, that's institutional racism in my eyes--even if the the specific policies in question aren't specifically based on race. A policy, then, that requires travel to a distant location for testing, on a weekend, with little notice, can disproportionately impact access for some groups than others. If it negatively impacts some racial groups more than others, it's institutional racism. If it creates equal access barriers for all groups, it's just a barrier.

I think where things get complicated is in understanding the extent to which the differential barriers occur re: HCC. It's likely that some racial groups are more negatively impacted by the AL office's chronic failures when it comes to the testing process, but it would be good to see data. Are black, Hispanic, or Native American families less likely to follow through with testing, even though their kids have met the initial criteria that suggest they might qualify for services? If they are in fact less likely to sign up for and complete further tesing, how much of this is due to systemic barriers (e.g., transportation, work schedules, child care, language barriers re: invitation letter, lack of understanding re: application next steps, etc.) vs. how much is due to a lack of interest in the program or a desire to keep the student in the neighborhood, or a lack of familiarity with the program or a feeling that their kid isn't welcome? If underrepresented groups have less interest in moving their kids to the program, that's their right, and a lower "uptake" rate isn't institutional racism. If they aren't as familiar or comfortable with the program, however, that might be a result of institutional racism in the form of poor outreach and education to groups that need it most.

If, on the other hand, black, Hispanic and Native American students who meet the initial criteria ARE following through with testing at similar rates but are not qualifying at equal rates, is that still institutional racism? Is that creating a situation in which students from certain racial groups are less likely to be able to participate in a program for which they are equally qualified, or is it that they are not equally qualified? If the testing is racially biased and we aren't able to detect giftedness as well in certain racial groups compared to others, then it is institutional racism. But if the testing is fair and the kids just aren't as qualified--due to disparities that have nothing to do with school--is it really institutional racism? No. Just because the results are not equal does not make something institutional racism.

In SPS, we likely have a mix. Some of the disparity is probably due to SPS institutional racism, while another part of the disparity is due to differences in the conditions in which kids have grown up. We can--and should--still tackle the latter and attempt to mitigate the disadvantages (by assisting the disadvantaged, not by harming the advantaged), but component of the achievement gap or HCC qualification disparity or whatever is not necessarily reflective of institutional racism in SPS.


Anonymous said...
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not mc-t said...

not on topic troll. don't change the subject. mw this obvious that a hater is not liking the discourse and wants to jettison this thread. take some control or explain to us why you allow such trolling.

not mc-t said...

for their to be institutional racism there needs to be proof. we can't look at the numbers and go damn... that is racism; there has to a mechanism. what i see is some accommodations in place for frl, 2e and ell. could there be more sure. can they add more black kids like fwiw is saying absolutely not. there are no facts to support racism, structural racism or even institutional racism.

you are saying mgj was a racist or banda was? how about dr. wright? there are whole departments at sps to eradicate racism many with leaders of color. are you saying they are the problem?

this is program persecution plain and simple. appartheid, segregation, institutional racism, eugenics. folks you ask us to look deep to see the racist elements of the program and i have... but all i see is a ton of haters. many who can't rub to facts together without spewing babbeling incoherent hypotheseis and some are just transparent hcc hating sped parents. facts are facts folks too bad some of you will not review them with an open mind.

show me causation not correlation and i will work with you to eradicate it. saturday test is a real start. that is new with michael tolly. get rid of it. let's go folks

no caps

HCC HighSchooler said...

HCC Blog

To those commenters suggesting something akin to the dissolving of the HCC program, or who question the purpose of the services it provides, I would love to provide a first-hand account.

As a student who entered the HCC program in third grade and has gone up through the ranks, feeling firsthand the struggles it has undergone, as a student who spent time in General Education, I am here to rally for HCC all the way to the end.

I spent my early elementary years as essentially a teacher’s assistant. I would finish my math worksheets in mere minutes, and spend the rest of the class time assisting other students with theirs. The only solution my teacher could offer was a more advanced textbook that sat unopened in my desk because I was too nervous to ask for help with the higher level work, since my teacher was busy trying to bring the rest of my class up to minimum grade level standards. I was reading at a higher level than anyone else in my grade, higher even than some of the upper grades. I felt isolated from my classmates, unable to relate to them, bored out of my mind, and frustrated. I loved to learn, but I wasn't allowed.

Entering the HCC program was a gift. I immediately found peers to connect with, classmates that are still my best friends almost a decade later. With the self-contained model, I wasn’t afraid to express my love of learning and relish in my intelligence instead of trying to hide it. I was at last challenged in my classes, surrounded by students who understood and teachers who cared. As a child, I didn’t always understand all the issues with the system. I just knew I didn’t even want to return to where I was at before.

I 100% agree that the program is not perfect. Rather than reiterate what has already been said (nearly perfectly) by HF, I will rather second exactly what they said. Resolving the issues is not a matter of abolishing altogether a flawed program. Rather, it must be a series of solutions and improvements to bring the program to as close to its optimal form as possible. It would be, I feel, a terrible thing to altogether eradicate a service that is a salvation to many a child.

It is a tangled web we weave, but, I strongly believe, a worthwhile one.

HCC HighSchooler

Anonymous said...

The issue with HCC diversity in Seattle has likely more to do with income than race. This is true nationwide. Middle and upper class blacks would likely qualify and may be leaving SPS to go to private school. I highly bet there are low numbers of FRL white and Asian kids as well.

kellie said...

@ FWIW, you can access demographic information for the City of Seattle on their website, under the office of Planning and Community Development.

Seattle is approximately 70% white, 14% Asian, 8% Black, 6% Hispanic. Mixed race and mutli-racial is a pretty big variable.

Seattle Public Schools as a whole does not match those percentages at all. The slice of the Seattle population served by Seattle School is less white and less affluent as a whole.

Anonymous said...

I used to live in Seattle, so I still follow this blog. I now live on Mercer Island--which I know is totally different sizewise and demographically--BUT all second graders are automatically tested for placement in the accelerated program. They have cogat and ITBS scores that are then input into a matrix. I believe the only way to skip this is to fill out a form to waive the testing. I think removing barriers to qualifying for HCC is a good start.

-just a thought

Anonymous said...

Interesting Kellie. I guess it is not the HCC that has the race problem then. It is the gen ed that is racist. Obviously thy must be descriminating against white kids. Sometimes I really feel that way- like when parents are called immoral for caring about their children's education at school.

When medical professionals discriminate against patients because their families are advocates, then they are doing a disservice to their patients. We all need to listen carefully to those advocates who raise our hackles, often they are at least partially right. They are the closest observers. We need to always serve our patients, and students as individuals rather than a stereotype and see parents as partners in care, and education. I wish the teachers on this blog would act like professionals rather than petty gatekeepers.

FWIW, This sort of stupidity is what is driving private school admissions.


kellie said...

@ FWIW, Thank you for being a teacher.

I understand your point that self contained advanced learning programs contribute to disproportionality issues in the remaining general ed classrooms and that the optics of this are powerfully felt in many corners of the district.

However, the removal of advanced learning does not change this disproportionality issue. Seattle's extremely high private school enrollment has a far bigger impact on disproportionality for sped, ell, etc. If 100% of advanced learning just disappeared overnight, disproportionality issues would only get worse because the majority of families will make decisions OTHER than returning to the gen ed classroom.

Seattle Public School as a whole is not proportionate to Seattle. Advanced Learning programs bring in a demographic that improves the overall disproportionate issue on a macro level.

I know that doesn't mean much at the classroom level. However, this does matter, becasue there is a point where the middle class abandons public education and then you have really bad problems and an entirely different climate to try to solve those challenges. This is what happened to Seattle in 80s when the education levies failed. This has happened to many urban school districts that turned from mid poverty to high poverty districts once the middle class went elsewhere.

not mc-t said...

n said "I highly bet there are low numbers of FRL white and Asian kids as well."

i agree. who would know that though? i will add ell and 2e white and asian kids. i am sure that those groups are lower than gen ed.

how to better target those kids that would benefit from the hcc should be every services goal. i am sure sped would agree. pay for those services that the kids need.

the fact that we don't know:

-what is the per student cost for hcc versus gen ed and option schools?
-% of student applications that are rejected every year by race, frl status, ell status and sped and versus options schools?
-how many students in hcc are 2e,frl, or ell versus gen ed or options school.
-the loss of students to private ever since mgj/michael tolly started to dismantle spectrum and hcc.
-why central admin has only grown while they were closing schools, and since. it seems if you need to close schools you need less bean counters, right.
-who controls the institutional racism (ir) gadget such that hcc can be ir but white coop-sped program on qa can flourish, as well as white options schools and language immersion schools.
-why we fund equity and race departments because according to many that don't know jake when it comes to equity and race. many= jill geary, charlie, fwiw, any who has ever said segregation, apartheid or eugenics as it relates to hcc.

no caps

Jet City mom said...

Originally, and forgive me if I am misremembering, I thought qualification for an enriched program depended on your rank determined by test score for your race.
( Although perhaps socioeconomics would be less problematic)
So the program would consist of the top say 5% of district, but by race/ income which would be in a mainstreamed program, while the top 2% would be a self contained program.

It seems that now the cuttoff is the same for everyone?

Is that accurate?

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

" It seems that now the cuttoff is the same for everyone? "

oh yeah as long as they are human they are all treated equally.

15+ years and what you described seems like fools folly for admission.

no caps

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

Thank you, Kellie, for this information. As I stated above, I strongly support WA state HC services. When SPS follows the law, many of these issues will be resolved. I'm still unclear what you meant by SPS HCC reflecting Seattle demographics given these percentages, particularly for African Americans.

Medical professional, good teachers encourage and, more than a few times, teach parents how to advocate for their children. On the contrary, "parents who promote their children at all costs" looks something like this:

As you can also see by these articles, threatening to "go private" is a well-worn tactic by a certain demographic of public school parent. Most of us know it's akin to "if I can't get my way, I'll take my ball and leave this field".

Nothing new under the sun.


not mc-t said...

fwiw and anyone else who has a browser. stop. stop. stop. you have a meaningful article that relates to the topic state the information then cite your article. like hemorrhoids every ass has an article eventually.

threatening to go private "big wow" says fwiw nearly incoherently as always.

30% of kids who could be in your gen ed classes that you think need more participation are going to private. you need to understand that private is the issue. it takes the national merit scholars (5-1 now versus sps).

you are such a joke i have stopped laughing when i see the the letter F.

no this thread isn't about parents threatening to leave because i was there in 2006 with the first splits. you know what they left?!?!?! they left in droves. and since the housing correction.... they continue to leave. those that didn't leave is because of finances and/or principle and we are here to stay.

what does that look like for the future??? if jill geary can't state what boogey man she see lurking around hcc we will fight to get her gone. funny though it is good enough for her kid??!!!?

blandford. same why is he all about inequity at hcc when he sends his kid to one of those fancy language immersion schools. that is 1K a kid more than everyone else but sped.

fwiw you are so wrong and in so many ways. and i am so glad so so so glad we don't have to interact. now if you could get your no longer teaching hands off of tm that would be a benefit. last i heard is that a kid who was in a soc studies class at tm ran out after reviewing their grade compared to the hcc kids. someone didn't get the memo and my heart goes out to that kid. i hope him well. been there and it is devastating. katie may. fwiw. failed.

no caps

Charlie Mas said...

There is a reasonable truth and it lies somewhere between no caps' rejection of any kind of bias in the system and FWIW's insistence on an assessment that measures students' innate potential at birth rather than their ability at school.

The nomination process is byzantine and opaque. There are families that find that process a greater barrier than others. Can you accept that as a fact, no caps? Lots of families don't even know about the program. For some families the process is so difficult that they can't get past it. Can you accept these as facts, no caps? I appreciate that you learned about the program and the process may have been manageable for you and those you know, but that's not everyone.

You disagree when people label this effect "institutionalized racism" because this is not due to any explicit race-based rules. So let's not use that label. Instead, we'll just call this "Subjective Ease".

The difficulty of navigating the HCC nomination/eligibility process is easy for some student families and hard for others. It suffers from subjective ease which keeps some children out of the program who really belong in it. We don't want children excluded from the program based on their family's ability and willingness to negotiate the process. That shouldn't be a criteria, yet that is an undeniable effect of the current process, right?

This subjective ease is an inequity that needs to be addressed and can be addressed by simplifying the nomination/eligibility process and putting more responsibility for it on the district and demanding less of the student families.

Is that a place where we can find accord, no caps?

If I understand FWIW's perspective, it's that some children are well prepared for school by their families and therefore achieve high scores on the CogAT and the academic achievement tests. Other children are not as well prepared by their families. Some children are actually hampered in their intellectual and academic growth by their home situation. Therefore, the test results reflect this level of preparedness as much or more than they reflect the children's native potential.

We all acknowledge that as true.

Here's where we differ. FWIW believes that only those with native talent - whether it has been fostered or not - should be in the highly capable program. We need to remove the students who got their scores due to coaching. Furthermore, we need to add the students who would have gotten the scores if only they were properly supported.

While there is an intellectual purity to this idea, it's completely unworkable. We cannot quantify the positive or negative effect of family support and we cannot assess latent potential. More than that, we aren't interested in doing it. The program is not for students with high potential; the program is for students with high ability. It's not about what you would be able to do if raised in some theoretical neutral state, it's about what you are actually able to do in the current reality.


Charlie Mas said...


The effort that FWIW prescribes, local norming, would only makes sense if the test scores were what were responsible for the disproportionate representation in the program. I'm not convinced that's the case. no caps suggested that the data isn't available for analysis, but we actually do have some data that speaks to the question.

Years ago a former Manager of Advanced Learning told the Board that even if every Black student with a Level 4 score on the state tests were admitted to the program they would still be under-represented. That's no longer true. More African-American students are achieving Level 4 scores. If they were all enrolled in HCC today, the representation would be very close to proportionate.

We have heard, from Lynn, from me, and, in way, from FWIW, the idea that the ravages of poverty are the reason for the disproportionality in HCC demographics. So I checked to see what share of students from low income homes achieved a Level 4 score on the state proficiency tests. I discovered that, while the share was lower than the total population, it was not so low that it accounted for the disproportionate representation of low income students in HCC. There must be something else.

The something else is the subjective ease of the nomination/eligibility process. It is creating a real barrier to entry for families living in poverty and it needs to be simplified.

We cannot undo the impact of poverty. That's not something the District can do. It serves no one's interests to place children in the program if they are not prepared to succeed. The solution we need is just to simplify the nomination/eligibility process. That should go a long, long way to fixing the inequity. The rest of the inequity can be addressed with authentic services for students working beyond Standards is every attendance area school. That's where and how kids with untapped potential can be fostered.

kellie said...


I don't know what additional information you are seeking from me.

Here is a link to a demographics update from Natasha Rivers, SPS's demographer. The pages are not numbered but towards the end, there is a breakdown of both Seattle and SPS by year.

kellie said...

Based on 2013 data, Seattle is 2/3 white and 1/3 persons of color. Persons of Color is the phrase that the City of Seattle website uses to discuss diversity. They contrast white vs persons of color, so I am using that same phrasing.

By contrast, Seattle Public Schools are 46% white and 54% persons of color. Self Contained HCC looks more like Seattle than Seattle Schools overall.

The demographic shift before and after the NSAP is striking. In 2000 SPS was 40% white and 60% persons of color. The largest demographic shift has been with Black. While the City of Seattle percentage reporting as Black has been pretty consistent, for SPS, the percentage has steadily dropped each year from 2000 at 23% to 2014 at 16.5%. Multiracial has increased substantially, in large part to changes in reporting.

The poverty rate for Seattle is about 15%. The poverty rate for SPS is 34%. It was 40% before the NSAP and the FRL numbers have declined every year as enrollment has increased.

HCC enrollment does not look like the rest of Seattle Public Schools. However, HCC enrollment does make SPS a more accurate reflection of the City of Seattle as a whole, as Seattle is also home to a very educated population. 56% of adults over 25 in Seattle have a bachelor's degree of higher and 23% have a graduate or professional degree. This is significantly higher than Seattle Metro area, where 37% of adults over 25 have a bachelor's degree or higher. Seattle's tremendous love of libraries is nationally known.

Closing the achievement gap and providing advanced learning opportunities should be natural allies. I am baffled by the constant rhetoric that somehow these two groups are enemies.

Anonymous said...

It seems that upper and middle class people of all races (black, white, Asian etc) are sending their kids to private schools in Seattle...30%! That is huge and impacts any discussion about demographics. Who is left in Seattle Public Schools? Many who cannot afford private, even with aid. Why are people targeting middle class "whites" (like our family) based upon skin color who might be the first in their own families to have gone to college, limping along in a very expensive city, one generation away from poverty? Please stop making assumptions all whites come from generational wealth. Do you really want just a rich/poor divide with the rich in private school and only the poor in public? What happens to inner city public schools when middle class people leave? There is clearly a socio-economic issue that has a huge impact on who is enrolled in programs, not unlike most places in the US. We who are just middle of the road in Seattle financially (and do not make six figures )support our public schools financially, bringing alot of public schools etc. Meanwhile 30% of Seattle, affluent upper middle class families with their kids in private school are not involved in this conversation, not the targets of hatred due to being white or asian. People need to look bigger picture (as Kellie has provided stats) and realize this is HUGELY a class related issue.

Anonymous said...

"FWIW believes that only those with native talent - whether it has been fostered or not - should be in the highly capable program."

Actually I have never said that and I don't believe that.

It is contrary to state law, which mandates that those who are working considerably above grade level should get HC services if the district team determines eligibility by looking at the whole profile of the child.

However, since SPS uses a narrow eligibility criterion--with essentially the CoGAT as a gatekeeper--I believe it clearly is not being scored accurately (in agreement with state law, the CoGAT author, NAGC, etc.). This explains the segregated program quite succinctly. That's yet another reason why SPS needs to follow state law.

Also, I have never called it "native" talent. From birth, every child is interacting with his/her environment. Children given many responsbilities at a young age, for example, can develop quite acute and measurable cognitive skills.


Anonymous said...

"The something else is the subjective ease of the nomination/eligibility process. It is creating a real barrier to entry for families living in poverty and it needs to be simplified."

Charlie-- What is your suggestion for simplifying the process? Is there evidence your suggestion works to make a difference in other districts?

Anonymous said...

Correction: CogAT


Anonymous said...

Simple. All those in Gen Ed scoring in the top quartile of achievement tests are then given the year ahead achievement test. Those in the top quartile are sent home a letter giving the option to parents between grade advancement at current school gen ed or HCC program for next year. Done.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, M. It reminds me of a discussion with my child after they had read something in class meant to somehow teach HCC kids about their collective advantages. The character's living conditions were not too different from our own, and our child identified with them, yet the class teacher went on to say something to the effect of, "don't you feel sorry for so-and-so?" My child was left to think, hmm, that's my reality. Such a disconnect, based on assumptions of who qualifies for HCC. Rather than breaking down stereotypes, the teacher was creating and perpetuating them.

big picture

Pro Bono said...

I'd like to point out that HCC parents are in Olympia right now fighting for education funding for all Washington State children and fighting to stop teachers from being laid off due to the levy cliff. They are doing it with their law degrees and their pro-bono amicus briefings and their testimony before senate committees. They are a force to be reckoned with and if your child attends public school in this state, they are working on your behalf. Rock on, awesome HCC parents. I am not a lawyer and I couldn't afford to hire one if I wanted to, but God bless you HCC parents and your activism for working on all our behalf.

Anonymous said...

Of course walk to math mandatory at all schools.

Lynn said...

What kind of walk to math should be mandatory? At Bryant kids walk to math but they're all working at grade level - no acceleration. Apparently learning arithmetic in a deeper way is a thing.

Anonymous said...

@lynn-to finish your sentence...apparently learning arithmetic in a deeper way is a thing THAT WORKS when you need to manage capacity and hope the advanced learners will spend hundreds on tutors/Kim on, go to private or HCC.

Fix AL

Fix AL

Melissa Westbrook said...

Interesting article from KQED about grade skipping for gifted children.

"Skipping grades used to be a common strategy to keep gifted or very bright children engaged in learning; it was a simple intervention that worked well when schools were smaller, more flexible and lacking enrichment programs. But today, according to a recent report by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, just 1 percent of students jumps a grade level.

Several studies indicate that grade skipping is largely beneficial for able children and devoid of significant drawbacks. A 2011 review of 38 studies on grade skipping asserts that gifted students who passed over a grade achieved more academically than their equally qualified peers who remained in the “appropriate” grade level. A 2015 study on gifted children carried out at the University of Iowa, A Nation Empowered, concludes that accelerating children helps them academically and socially. The worry that grade-skipped kids will fall behind or slip to the middle is without merit, Matthews said.

As much as proponents of grade skipping encourage families to consider the intervention, they also recognize that it won’t suit every child, and that schools have work to do before they embrace the idea on a large scale. Research shows that the social and emotional development of children who skip grades is usually not harmed—and might even be helped—but some children might not be ready for it.

She recommends that parents and teachers evaluate a child’s social, emotional and intellectual readiness using a tool known as the Iowa Acceleration Scale. ("

Anonymous said...

@FWIW: an you please explain specifically how you would apply the CogAT and achievement norms to use "statistically correct local norming" at a school like Bryant?

Not every family there is of the same SES or background. A student may have highly educated parents but their family may still not be able to afford tutors or Kumon, which is what the majority of advanced learners at Bryant use to stay "advanced."


Anonymous said...

I think all most parents want is an education for their child where there student is learning and making progress toward college or career. If faced with a test score that shows your child has already learned next years curriculum, I think it would be a rare parent that would appeal a grade advancement, or HCC placement. Of course there should be an appeal process to grade advancement, but it should require some justification, letters filed, meeting with education team and principle etc., extra optional readiness testing at parent request etc..

Yes walk to math should be accelerated as appropriate always. Say, 80% mastery score of a grade level standards, and a study plan to fill learning holes etc. Simple, short, pencil and paper test first week of school year and again at Semester perhaps? Allow student to request standards test ahead or behind also if desired. If a student does not do well on a test this would give them a glimpse of the learning goals for the year, not a bad thing.


Anonymous said...

@west-sounds great. Try meeting with leadership at Bryant to discuss what seem like simple changes to make classes more appropriate and interesting for advanced learners. You will spend years banging your head against a wall.

What is the point of walk to math if there is no acceleration? Will someone please enlighten me? Does anyone care about advanced learners flailing in gen ed schools like Bryant? These kids don't have a lot of options--Hazelwolf is too far north and HCC isn't for everyone. It's too bad more energy isn't spent looking at the utter lack of effort to support the students at ALO schools. The current template doesn't work.

Fix AL

Anonymous said...

The something else is the subjective ease of the nomination/eligibility process.

@ Charlie, that's probably PART of the "something else," but I doubt it's all of it. Negative perceptions of the program, not wanting kids to face long bus rides, etc. are probably additional aspects of that component. We really don't have data on how big any one barrier is--although by removing one and seeing the impact, we might be able to get a sense of how big it WAS.


Anonymous said...

I don't know why our district is so hateful toward students who have succeeded in learning. Many seem to be less interested in education, and more interested in preventing education. As above, 30% of parents have given up on these bureaucrats already.

Anonymous said...

...since SPS uses a narrow eligibility criterion--with essentially the CoGAT as a gatekeeper--I believe it clearly is not being scored accurately (in agreement with state law, the CoGAT author, NAGC, etc.). This explains the segregated program quite succinctly.

Actually, that doesn't explain it so clearly. This suggests that a lot of high performing students from underrepresented groups qualify based on MAP or SBA scores, but are being kept out by lower CogAT scores. Is there data to suggest this is the case? Or are MAP/SBA scores also lower? Charlie mentioned that old data on these statewide tests showed black students were also underrepresented in terms of level 4 scores, but he said that's no longer the case--or more accurately, he said that if all black students who scored 4 were admitted to HCC, the disparity would be less. However, that's probably only true if NOT all Asian and White students who score level 4 are admitted, since the cut scores for Level 4 don't necessarily represent a score in the highest percentiles. In most cases, you only have to score around the 70th percentile to get a Level 4. In other words, a Level score does not necessarily mean "highly capable."


Anonymous said...

ALO ... Amazing Lack of Options.

Anonymous said...

ALO...accept learning obstacles.

Fix AL

Anonymous said...

Why is there so much outrage in SPS over letting kids with superior academic performance work at a challenging level? No one seems to complain when the best performers are selected for the school play, the most athletic kids are kept separate on the football team, or the best musicians are kept separate in the higher level band. All these other activities segregate higher performing kids in a specific activity. Why is academic performance any different?

Enough already

Anonymous said...

Why do we have 2 tests? All we need is 1 achievement test accelerated a grade ahead. We don't need an IQ test.

Our HCC program is not a "gifted" program. It's academic acceleration.

It alleviates some of the age disparities seen in unfettered grade acceleration. That is why HCC should be a choice alternative to grade acceleration for kids who have mastered the next grade level standards already. It answers the concern of parents who are worried about high-school concerns hitting their children before emotional maturity is sufficient to meet he challenge.


Anonymous said...

@West-the preference would be to change the HCC program for the better, so it is not a cop out simple acceleration program, and add gifted education curriculum and teaching methods. This is a pipe dream considering the lack of support for advanced learning within SPS, but I would not support perpetuating more of the same.

Fix AL

Fair Punishment said...

Firstly, I really enjoyed reading your comments, so thank you for participating. Secondly, you say, "Do I need to go out here and get citations (I love that there's an academic piece to these blog comments) on the treatment of AfrAm girls and boys in classrooms where the behaviors are the same, but the punishment for such behaviors are different?"

You could not be more right about this. Ding, ding, ding! This is a HUGE problem. I don't believe that it's so much a huge problem for the 4 black kids at Cascadia, though. Why don't we work to fix the way black kids are treated at all the schools? The way children are treated is actually an issue that is of critical importance for all children in the district, not just children in the HCC program.


Children should be reprimanded, mentored, and/or punished the same for the same behaviors across the entire district. And that is absolutely not the case today. But this is a much bigger issue than the HCC program. The way kids are treated at school doesn't just affect the 3,000 kids in the HCC program. It affects all SPS students. Some more than others. And we need to fix it. That is the same beast of racism this country has been waking up to since Ferguson. And it has nothing to do with education for gifted kids. And it is a way more important issue. But also a separate post from this one.

Anonymous said...

Acceleration is a proven strategy. Here's a WAGC position paper on it:

Unfortunately, skipping a grade--even if SPS allowed it--isn't always enough. A gen ed class that works a couple years ahead may still move at the same slow pace, with coverage still shallow. Many of these kids need radical acceleration (3+ yrs) in order to be appropriately challenged. The research on radical acceleration is also positive, although there are additional issues that need to be addressed. A separate program that provides radical acceleration while also addressing the age difference/maturity concerns is necessary. HCC seems to be an attempt to do that, just poorly executed. If SPS were more open-minded and flexible and had a program that allowed more individualized programs for students who really need them, that would be a good start.


Charlie Mas said...

@HF, I absolutely agree.

As mentioned in the KUOW story, the absence of other brown-skinned students in the program was a deterrent to participation.

The bus ride is a well-known deterrent. The program grew dramatically when it came closer to families' homes. Each new location fills more quickly than expected because the shorter commute draws out more students.

A few sniffy remarks about the program by the staff at the attendance area school can deter folks from participation.

A few rude statements from members of the HCC community could also do it.

Everyone has a story and their own way of making decisions.

BN asked for a suggestion for simplifying the process and asked if there were evidence that the suggestion works in other districts.

It's a tricky question because other school districts don't share Seattle's open and vicious contempt for advanced learning. I know this is going to sound weird, but other school districts are actually proud of their highest achieving students, rather than ashamed of them. We have already heard the example of Bellevue.

I would advocate for a process that sends an opt-out letter to the home of every child in grades 3-8 who earns a Level 4 score on the SBA, or a comparable result on the achievement tests used in grades K-2. Following the close of the opt-out period, I would have the CogAT administered to the students at their school during the school day. Then, if the student is found in need of HC services, they would get a default assignment to HCC in open enrollment. You'll notice that this process does not require the students' families to do a thing.

In addition, there should be an auxiliary process for referral via MTSS. HC would be the Tier 3 curriculum for advanced students in MTSS.

HC, however, is not enough. There must also be Advanced Learning opportunities in every class in every school. These opportunities should be available on a self-selected basis. No barrier to access other than asking for it.

In addition, there should be an auxiliary process for referral via MTSS. ALO would be the Tier 2 curriculum for advanced students in MTSS.

I honestly don't know if this is done anywhere else. I have heard that Shoreline uses self-selection for their advanced learning opportunity equivalent. My web search only found Madison, Wisconsin using MTSS to identify and serve advanced students.

Anonymous said...

Charlie - well thought out and well said. Fingers crossed that people are listening.

-NW Mom

Anonymous said...

@ Charlie, unfortunately the WAC requires written permission from parents before students are tested for highly capable services and before HC services are started or placement is made. While opt-out makes sense for increasing participation in both testing and intervention, it does not seem to meet the legal requirement for active consent.

As for your MTSS suggestions, while they sound great in theory, there's no evidence that anyone plans on actually delivering advanced instruction via MTSS, is there?


Charlie Mas said...

@HF, There may be ways around the written permission obstacle - perhaps asking for the permission universally as part of the enrollment packet. I wonder how they do it at Title 1 schools.

As for the MTSS idea, it's strictly a back up and, has I have said countless times myself, it's not reliable or even intended for that purpose.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it could be something that went home in first day packets along with the gazillion other forms for us to sign our lives away. Here is the FERPA form. Here is the medical info for the nurse and the four times you write your home address in 3 pages. Here is the form to sign for highly capable testing consent, and to acknowledge you have the right to opt out of services if your child is found to need them.

I am really, really in favor of a more opt out scheme. In addition to meaningful advanced learning at neighborhood schools.


Detracking Question said...

Does detracking help all children? Are there studies on the effects of detracking specifically on gifted students?

To me a lot of the hatred and disdain and scorn and disgust teachers hold for the children in the HCC program stems from a misunderstanding about whether detracking applies to gifted kids. Detracking is widely held to be a remedy for racially measured achievement gaps. A lot of people loved Carol Burris's lecture because they are genuinely moved by the hope of the possibility of improving outcomes for lower achieving kids through detracking.

So HCC kids appear tracked because if it looks like tracking (too white) and it smells like tracking (doing too well on tests), it must be tracking in the minds of people who want to tear down tracking in the name of progress and civil rights and improved scores for low achieving kids.

But detracking doesn't apply to every category of student. Carol Burris didn't consider HC students at all, did she?

HC kids are a special category of student that requires its own unique consideration, like other other legally defined classes of children (ELL, SPED, HCC). There are laws about how these groups should be treated and what they should have access to for a reason. And the reason is that they have unusual needs that differ from the general population of students in a district. And they are at risk in a standard basic education setting. At risk to the point that legislation is necessary to protect them.

So, what I see happening is that proponents of detracking erroneously believe that in order to detrack, all the HC students need to be put back into the general education classrooms ASAP. They do not believe that detracking can be accomplished and its benefits reaped until those kids are put back in.

They don't want to put back in the thousands and thousands of students in option programs, dual language immersion programs, Montessori programs, dedicated special ed classrooms, medically fragile programs, etc. Those students can somehow be left out of the mandatory detracking-for-the-greater-good campaign. But somehow without the 3,000 HC students, detracking can't be fully realized.

If all the children in SPS need to be detracked for detracking to work, that would have to include the students in option programs and dual language immersion programs and Montessori programs and HC and dedicated special ed classrooms and medically fragile programs, etc. If, however, detracking does not require all those students to go back into the same pot, then HC is not standing in the way of detracking.

So: does detracking work for HC kids? Does not including them harm the benefits of detracking?

Anonymous said...

@ sleeper, I like that idea in theory, but from what I've seen, schools do an awful job of keeping track of those "required" forms. I don't think they all track who turns them in, nor do they follow up with those who don't. Just another lovely example of site-based management at its finest!

But maybe that doesn't really matter, since it's probably not too likely that someone would sue the district because their kid got tested for HCC when they didn't want them to. We have so many data breaches (or "breeches" in Nylandese) and mishandling of records as it is, what's another?


Anonymous said...

Even though my children are both HC qualified I am one of those with "vicious contempt for advanced learning."

The cohorted program is bad for kids in the program as they get no academic interaction in core subjects with any children below grade level and the GE kids lose the chance to interact in core subjects with the HC kids.

My kids are doing very well in normal schools and are challenged academically and socially in ways not possible in the cohort.

I'm glad the program is popular and large, it shows we have lots of motivated parents and well-prepared students. I look forward to them returning to neighborhood schools and the program being reduced to one that serve the true outliers.

change goin' come


not mc-t said...

yeah kitty the t1 only screening seems like a violation as it is far from universal and only in se seattle. (i know there is no such thing as reverse discrimination but if there was that is a clear case of it.)

detracking should review the 100 year study review (duke/nw) that says ability grouping is the way to go especially for a district our size.

and no charlie i have never argued that it doesn't look bad and we should try increase the number of black students into the hcc; i have just argued that it isn't because they are BLACK that they are not getting in.

i get where honey cakes is coming from though. i see that the system is flawed and that the disparity is too shocking to blame on simply the achievement piece being too tight for the frl, 2e(sped) and ell populations to enter (with sps black kids making up a large percentage of those groups. nor is it cultural whatever you meant by that and i am sure honey cakes wouldn't agree with you on that either. but i can't blame it on racism for all the reasons i have stated and you have ignored.

racism is real. institutional racism leaves tracks too. show me the tracks and i will work with any of you to get rid of the perpetrator. is it the equity and race department not doing their job? is it the scores of admins, supps and district staff of color doing this? not likely.

hcc is as brown as seattle.

the committee who decides who enters into hcc are very sensitive to the issue at hand and has tried initiatives to give black students a better chance to get in than white students (se screening initiative).

the major thrust of racism call come from transparent haters (mostly sped parents), ignorant hypocrites (in hcc but unwilling to really look at the issues at hand as to who is really supporting the program) and the completely whacked ( "send less whites advocates" to equal out the numbers); this furthers their goals and has no consideration for sps in its whole or the black students that seem to be missing assignment to hcc.

no caps

Melissa Westbrook said...

The cohorted program is bad for kids in the program as they get no academic interaction in core subjects with any children below grade level and the GE kids lose the chance to interact in core subjects with the HC kids.

It is "bad" because...., you'd have to expand on that.

And you know for a fact that your children are "challenged academically and socially in ways not possible in the cohort" how? If your children were not in HCC, how can you make this comparison with accuracy? You can certainly say you are satisfied but you can't apply that to all children.

Anonymous said...

@ Sam, care to clarify why academic interaction in core subjects with children below grade level is good for HC kids? What does my child learn by seeing others struggle with concepts they mastered years ago? How to doodle, how to cope with boredom, to learn that school doesn't value their education, etc? On the flip side, why is academic interaction with kids above grade level good for kids below grade level? So they can see just how far behind they are? Is it supposed to be inspirational? Or are HCC kids supposed to model good behavior?

I'm glad you feel your kids are doing very well in "normal" (?) schools and that you think they are challenged academically. I assume you don't suppose that any kid would be appropriately challenged in any school though, correct? Just because your children apparently do not need HCC (at least at present), it certainly doesn't mean that other kids don't desperately need it.


Anonymous said...

Assuming that most of those 30% who go to private schools are not HCC-qualified (since few private schools have a gifted focus, and those that do draw from beyond Seattle, too), what would our HCC demographics look like if those kids were back in SPS? Suddenly we'd have a lot more white and Asian NON-HCC students, and the numbers might not look so skewed after all. Does that seem right? Does anyone have those numbers?


Variety said...

I disagree with Sam. Since a 5th grader in HCC is doing 7th grade work, they have plenty of opportunity to interact with kids above and below grade level. The new incoming 5th graders entering HCC will be coming in at a 5th grade level (if they were in a gen ed class before) or a 6th grade level (if they were in Spectrum if it existed or walk-to if it existed). The majority of the HCC cohort will be at the 7th grade level with them. And then the show really begins. Because in HCC the kids get access to peers who are operating many levels above the 2-year-accelerated benchmark.

So, if my kid were in 5th grade in gen ed and my kid were operating at a 7th grade level, my kid would be with kids who were operating at 6th grade level (the kids who are Spectrum level but there's no Spectrum program at the school and the high achievers) and 5th grade level (the bulk of the class) and 4th grade level (the ones who all the reteaching and review of the 3rd grade material is for).

So, either in HCC or in gen ed, my kid is with students operating a couple of years below her level. Not to mention friends of different ages, siblings, club, cousins, etc. The difference is that in HCC my kid isn't the top of the hill. And that is super healthy for a kid.

Anonymous said...

sam is not sam people. you know who he is... every thread there is a "sam" talking about the demise of the program and how that will be just fine. often times they also claim to have hcc kid(s) and that this will be great for those kids. they are also gleeful like merrimac with the thought of hcc demise. who is sam then you ask; likely a sped parent who wants to see the program sacked as they perceive it to make their gen ed/sped experience lessened.

no caps

Anonymous said...

Sam -- If you have such great contempt for HCC, why did you have your children tested for it?


not mc-troll said...

because he is lying.

no caps

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with Sam. My kid looked at the HCC program for elementary and again for middle school and said no way. They had a great experience in blended classes with special ed, ELL, below grade level kids and now in high school the classes start to become more homogeneous as they get harder. They can deal with all kinds of kids, has friends since kindergarten they see in classes at school and in clubs. There is no school within a school like at the HCC schools. They have learned so much that would not have been available in the HCC. Their test scores seem not have suffered, the PSAT was in the high 90 percentile, same as the HCC kids we know. We'll see how the college search works out, but everything looks great and I think the ability to thrive in a more heterogeneous environment will look good at schools that do comprehensive admissions.

I know many kids who would be better off in regular schools and only one who actually needed a different school. HCC is divisive and needs to be trimmed.

Mango Mama

not mc-troll said...

here is your problem folks:

There are 115 private schools in Seattle, WA, serving 23,759 students.
Minority enrollment is 32% of the student body.

68% of private are white
46% of public are white.

nearly half of the kids go private.

data is a demon when it says your hate is misplaced. sps heads have done nothing to stem the private school boom. fwiw says see ya to those parents who are hanging on to the one solution for their kids. country day school last i looked was 28k and yeah the 10-1 student ratio makes it worth it but if you are middle class.

but you asked and that is what the numbers show. white middle class hcc kids are IN SPS as the only option.

that is why i see geary and blandford being unelected. they are in power have claimed the district sick from ir/ but it is sick from mismanagement and hcc is perhaps the only thing keeping it together.

no caps

not mc-troll said...

no mango,

name all the "There is no school within a school like at the HCC schools." all of them please!!!!

you have no idea what you are talking about.

show how hcc is divisive too.

mango = sam(s)

no caps

Anonymous said...

I have had my kids tested because it shows their teachers they need differentiation. It shows on their record. I don't have a problem with people going private or into HCC, we are finding our neighborhood schools to be working well.


Anonymous said...

@no caps-your approach to advocating is divisive. I have not read any comments that say HCC should go away. Lots of comments with ideas for different AL options or ways to improve access to HCC. You're a bit paranoid. So what if some people prefer to stay at their neighborhood school? They are not arguing that you should, they are just throwing out there that it works for them. This is reassuring for young families with HC qualified students who are happy at their neighborhood school. It's great for those people to hear everything will be okay if they don't join the race to nowhere. That doesn't discredit you need or right to move your student.

Different strokes

Melissa Westbrook said...

One, the testing is free, you know. This has been a pattern for many years; people just test because they are "curious" as to where they student stands but like their neighborhood school. All that testing costs money but those people don't care. (Ask AL about this; they know.) And if you have to test to get differentiation for your kids, then your teacher is not that good. Or, it's sad you need a test score to convince your school. It may show on their record but it's not part of their graduation record (unless something changed.)

No caps, watch that. Don't state something you don't know.

Anonymous said...

I think getting the test would be a good idea even if you are staying local. HC services are guaranteed at EVERY school and the principal would most likely want to know how many students require services. When we tested five years ago the test was administered at the school and I understand that is no longer the case, but I don't feel bad for costing the district money, in fact, if I'm not mistaken, the cost of testing is the only thing that the state pays in regards HC.

My daughter's teachers have been very good about differentiating and I think having the HC designation on her record gives the staff a heads up that she can do challenging work. I've never felt her schools weren't treating her fairly or anything like that. The schools have been happy to have her and the other parents with HC parents at our schools who decided to stay have likewise been happy.

My friends with kids in HCC are also happy, some have come back for various reasons, but many have stayed and prospered.

Ballard Mom

not mc-t said...

mw i know well enough who "they" are. your show though.

ds "I have not read any comments that say HCC should go away." then you haven't read a ton of the post on this and many of the other threads. so no i am not paranoid. and when a school board director says it is ir and she needs to get rid of self contained (even if her kid is in such a program) then we have real problems that need to fight against.

i am defensive. i have been fighting for years against the mayhem. i have seen a great program, go to an ok problem to one that makes me wish i had saved all that ptsa money for private school. i trusted people. those who said we would have curriculum. but michael tolley didn't make it happen. those that said cascadia would continue as a self contained building if they just toughed it out at lincoln. all the lies and having to deal with the hater year after year. kplu, kuow and anyone else who wants to sharing half truths.

yeah i will fight against the haters. and no that isn't advocacy as that went away in 2010.

no caps

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen this document referenced yet in this lengthy discussion (though I recall MW linked to it in an earlier post back when it came out in June)

I think we can all agree that a school district that can identify only FOURTEEN of its African American students (out of a total population of over 8000) eligible for HC services in a given year has some serious issues with its identification and follow up testing processes.

As is typical with SPS, complete data is hard to track down in one place, but some further digging led to this powerpoint, which on page 40 has some additional details about the appeals process last year.

There were 8 African Americans who appealed the original HC eligibility testing results last year. Only ONE of them was ultimately admitted. A 12.5% success rate. Compared to the following success rates for other groups:

Multiracial: 33 of 63 appeals, 52.38% success rate
White: 167 of 325 appeals, 48.41% success rate
Asian: 18 of 45 appeals, 40% success rate
Hispanic: 5 of 15 appeals, 33.33% success rate

I would be very interested in seeing SPS's explanation of why the appeals process ended up so heavily unbalanced, especially considering they did apparently offer paid one-on-one testing for at least some of the underrepresented minority students who appealed the original decision.

Further digging into the data in the first pdf linked above reveals that the situation, while never representational, was not always this dire. In 2012-13, for example, 21 African American students became eligible for HC and 16 of those were admitted on appeal -- while I am sorry those families had to go through that extra step, a 76.19% appeals success rate is certainly more encouraging (and perhaps better evidence of other factors besides raw test data being taken into consideration) than last year's abysmal results. But maybe that scared SPS, because in 2013-14 exactly ZERO African American students were admitted to HC on appeal, and the number admitted dropped to 11 -- the lowest it has been in recent years. Maybe that was deliberate so the last couple of years would look like an "improvement" by comparison?

Would be really interesting to know what happened with the appeals process in 2012-13. There was a surge in HC enrollment overall in 2013-14, from 664 total admits in 12-13 up to 928 in 13-14. There was a pretty precipitous drop in HC appeals admissions that year, probably because they realized they were in a space crunch. Have run the percentages but it looks like every category but Mixed Race dropped pretty dramatically that year.

(Side note: I also take real issue with AL implying that "mixed race" correlates with under-represented minority. They already don't consider Asian to be under-represented (though if you broke that out more finely there would definitely be under-represented Asian groups BESIDES APIs). But my kids tick the "mixed race" box and they are not under-represented (their dad is from China, I'm white).

Question: Does anybody know who actually sits on the "Multidisciplinary Selection Committee" that makes HC and AL determinations? Who reviews/supervises the work of this committee to ensure that they are considering the "equity lens" when they are making decisions both at the first cutoff AND during the appeals process?


Melissa Westbrook said...

No, the State does NOT pay for testing; SPS does. The State pays for transportation. So all that "wonder how my kid is doing" costs a department that could provide other services for students actually in the program, money.

Anonymous said...

@no caps--I haven't seen any news about Cascadia sharing their building. They are going to be self contained. What announcement did you get that everyone else missed?

Fix AL

not mc troll said...

no fa, they aren't going to be self-contained at all programs. half right? and the other half will have to sort it out.

mw and cm thanks for all your support for sps.

no caps

Anonymous said...

Melissa, even if the district has decided to use the state money for transportation, which is at their discretion, they receive funds for each HC identified student regardless of whether or not they use the bus to attend a HCC school. So actually those HC students who stay at neighborhood schools provide additional funds from which they themselves do not get any benefit.

As far as people "wondering", I would also recommend any family testing their kids if they have an idea they might be qualified as it would be leverage to obtain appropriate services wherever they choose to attend.

Personally, we tried the cohort and were not impressed. Bullying was the main problem, but the transit time, the lack of diversity and the lack of community were all problems we solved by returning to the neighborhood.


not mc troll said...

tom is probably most likely not tom, sorry mw.

"they receive funds for each HC identified student regardless of whether or not they use the bus to attend a HCC school." no. not right. not even close.

every year the state sits on busses and does a quota of those kids on the bus. flu, weird dynamic and whatever that may mean less kids and never more kids. we get paid for only those that are on the bus on that day. period. seats in butts mean everything.

no caps

Anonymous said...

There was a surge in HC enrollment overall in 2013-14, from 664 total admits in 12-13 up to 928 in 13-14.

Several things happened around that time. APP@Lowell moved to Lincoln in 2011-12. More north end families who considered Lowell too far probably reconsidered APP once it was closer. Wedgwood and Lawton eliminated Spectrum. Ingraham IBX was in it's first year in 2011-12. Enrollment was going up around 1000 students a year district wide. There was also a policy change at some point which eliminated the requirement to retest to maintain APP/HCC eligibility. It used to be a student needed to retest and requalify if they tested in and decided not to enroll in APP/HCC.

-looking back

Mater Knitty said...

@Fix AL,
I think no caps means the middle schools. Those are apparently also schools within schools. And I guess people have the same beef about them as they do about Thurgood Marshall and Garfield. The student grass seems greener on the HCC side of the fence. Among the citizens of Seattle there are class differences. And these don't always look pretty when viewed side by side as worn by kids.

We could do with some kind of privilege redistribution system. That would make a lot of the hatred for HCC go away. But that would also be some kind of social welfare state or something. I don't see how schools can fix the fact that kids reflect class differences in parents. We're not going to stop the rich or the poor from having kids. Giving birth isn't like adopting. When you adopt you have to have the home visit and fill out the forms and get letters of recommendation and take training courses. When you get pregnant... nothing. We don't even give newborns any kind of parental leave so there'll be someone to look after them. We've got homeless families and families in shockingly lavish mansions. We've got people spending $28k on private school. For multiple kids. We've got people spending $90k on a car. And kids with no jackets. Some families have a lot of kids. The middle class can't afford that many kids. you occasionally meet a family of millionaires who afforded 3 or even 4. I assure you that my Rwandan immigrant friend--her parents never considered their "decision" to have 4 kids from the perspective of what it would cost to raise them in Seattle.

These things are all on display in schools. HCC makes it more visible. So everyone wants the HCC kids moved back into the rest of the school. The bad news is that that won't change anything. SPS has a certain number of poor kids and a certain number of rich kids and a certain number of in between kids. Shuffle them around all you want. The differences are still there. SPS still has to educate them all. Shutting down an HCC program won't get rid of class differences in Seattle. It's gonna take a revolution.

I vote we start with maternity leave and affordable high-quality preschool for all. That would go a long way toward fixing what I suspect is really the problem people outside HCC see with HCC. Come on Seattle, we are a progressive city. Ramp up the preschool. Let's give babies a better start in life by giving their mothers maternity leave.

Anonymous said...

Actually redistributing HCC into General Scholars/Honors for all would instantly stop children from one class being educated separately from others. I call that progress.

For Progress

Lynn said...

It would mostly just stop children in one group from being educated. Seriously, you think it's progress to go back to the days when gifted children watched the clock or stared out the window for hour after hour, occasionally resurfacing to wonder why their classmates just don't get it? What a waste of time and taxpayer resources. Please tell me who that helps - and how.

not mc-t said...

hum mk, "It's gonna take a revolution." no it is going to people who commit to making a difference. i would add they should hope the difference is meaningful for all of sps and not just their hcc, sped, ell, language immersion, ib, option schools, spectrum or other schools that could include sped coop's on qa.

shit is hitting the fan. district staff knows what is popular. but that doesn't mean that is the right cuts.

no hcc can't solve the problems of the district. fwiw will insure it can't solve any problems. the future is all about least cost options and hcc is the least cost option.

honey cakes talks about we/they. i understand that. i look at the world in that matter too. but i have said why the line doesn't divide on race. or on BLACK. no one can say well yes it does and this is the cause. then show causation.

i have shown data that would add pressure to black non-inclusion. ignored. i pointed that out to charlie. ignored.

You say you want a revolution
Well you know
We'd all want to change the world
You tell me that it's evolution
Well you know
We'd all want to change the world
But when you talk about destruction
Don't you know that you can count me out
Don't you know it's gonna be alright

keep your kit dry folks.
mw and cm quitting are just the first pillars to fall.

keep your eye on the app blog and perhaps the app/ac will FINALLY do something.

no one is better than the other. hcc is good for sps.

no caps

not mc-t said...

lynn they don't care. it is their tribe versus hcc. no matter what is best for sps. or other groups.

merrimac a trusted and constant sped advocate had only one thought we they didn't get their way... now it is going to happen to option school, language immersion and hcc.

why would sped and hcc be put with those groups. sped and hcc have so much similarity. go ahead and glout merrimac. i imagine you no longer are going to that hidden expensive program on qa. sue your way out???

no, we must fight. that is only option. it is the only just option too.

no caps

Forp Regress said...

You bring the 23,759 rich students back from private school and then you'll stop children from one class being educated separately from others. It's amazing that you think 3,000 HCC kids are the source of all class divisions in the city. You must believe them to be so powerful. Sadly for you, you are just plain wrong. As if 3,173 kids out of 53,872 were responsible for anything. Please. HC kids come from all classes. They come in all colors. They come from all neighborhoods. And they're selected by something invisible that can't be seen by the naked eye and yet it exists. You know what creates class differences in schools? Housing prices. Housing prices. Housing prices. You want to stop children from different classes from being educated separately from others? You're going to have to:
1) bring the private school kids back into the equation
2) create variety in housing prices within neighborhoods
3) send kids to schools in neighborhoods other than where they live

Anonymous said...

The fact that Melissa enabled this scorched earth insulter to run amok without deleting
his posts made it clear that she was in the process of checking out. It also confirmed that she agreed with him.

No one with a dissenting opinion from hers would have been allowed to violate the
(albeit, situational) rules and norms of this blog so blatantly and regularly without consequences.


not mc-t said...


wow fwiw worth who said that scorched earth posters are mail. i would say a lot of what i think about mw's editing but they were more than fair.

in fact as you flail in your criticism of my post i should add that mw has deleted post that i put forward that revealed two poster's direct identity (( including you )). mw/cm tried they just didn't understand the fight. gone....
but not forgotten. I wonder fwiw in a new environment how protected you should feel.

no caps

Mw Cm - and damn you all said...

no twiw it meant that logic ruled. and your whaling post never met the level of logic sorry. oh and you have no idea my gender. my race. my ses. or my ell status or my zodialogical sign. don't stalk me.

i am saddened by mw post that she is moving on. i think that seattle needs her.

i can without a doubt say that she and charlie and the posters on this blog have made sps better. i can't type well. i can't spell well: but what I DO KNOW IS THAT CHARLILE MAS AND MELISSA WESTBROOK are the best things that seattle has happened for pubic schools. ever. ever. ever.

charlie thanks for continuing on even after moving on
melissa - damn - i am sure you hate my post but you have pushed me forward. not because we agree, as we don't but because right is right.

no caps

me said...

oh a bit of a double post. i am crying. you should be too.

sps poster said...

but what I DO KNOW IS THAT CHARLIE MASS AND MELISSA WESTBROOK are the best things that seattle has happened for public schools. ever. ever. ever.

i would agree with this: R

Anonymous said...

"No one with a dissenting opinion from hers would have been allowed to violate the
(albeit, situational) rules and norms of this blog so blatantly and regularly without consequences."

so so true and so so sad

my guess is melissa is waiting for the amazon gift cards to roll in over email from the hcc families and then she will "relent".