Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Tuesday Open Thread

In a surprising move, the Boy Scouts of America say they will accept any child who says he is a boy (whether his physical traits are a girl's). 

Interesting data article from Education Week on policing in public schools.  Washington State is on the lower end for number of police in schools and the percentage of arrests at schools.  However, Washington looks to be in the middle for the number of arrests.  The numbers on who gets arrested the most are quite interesting; take a look.

Thoughtful op-ed from the New York Times about how lower income students could receive more encouragement to push onto college via direct messaging, counseling and texting.

The number of homeless children in Washington continues to climb to nearly 40,000.

It looks like it may be a clear night to see the moon, Venus and Mars to form a triangle
Bottom line: As soon as darkness falls on January 31, 2017, see a beautiful trio – the moon, Venus and Mars – gracing the evening sky. Look west!
What's on your mind?


Anonymous said...

10 Public High School Teachers Explain Why They’re Worried About Trump’s Pick for Education Secretary. Unfortunately, today the HELP committee voted to recommend DeVos be confirmed as Secretary of Education by the full Senate.

--No Devos

Melissa Westbrook said...

But the good news is that two Republicans on the committee - Collins and Murkowski - are saying that they voted yes to move it forward to the entire Senate but they are not sure they themselve will vote yes when it comes to that vote. We should work on them.

NPR just reported that DeVos used - without attribution - several statements from other sources including the Obama administration. Goes to integrity.

Deirdre said...

Yesterday, parents and children traveled to Olympia on short notice for what was supposed to be a hearing on 1059, the levy cliff bill. But parents and kids had to wait for two hours because the schedule was changed, and the Republican property-tax funding plan, 5607, was heard instead. The usual rule for five days' consideration was suspended.
After waiting for hours, large numbers of people testified in favor of the levy cliff bill. It is not scheduled for executive session to be voted out of committee. Meanwhile, 5607 is scheduled for executive session today.

Deirdre Gregg

Anonymous said...

More on DeVos: She is invested in and backs controversial at best fake at worst science to address student learning problems. This woman is so unqualified for the DOE. Please let a handful of Republicans put student interests before politics. Please.


Anonymous said...

Hi Melissa - here's the link:


Betsy DeVos appears to have plagiarized


Anonymous said...

Wow. Very informative. She is so unqualified. It is a disaster. Public opposition has been huge. I am very very concerned.

Watch the video from PBS of the Senate Education Committee Hearing on Betsy DeVos:

Anonymous said...

Update - It's later than you think:


The deeply divided U.S. Senate Education Committee on Tuesday agreed to send to President Donald Trump’s nominee for U.S. education secretary, billionaire philanthropist Betsy DeVos, to the full chamber for confirmation, but comments ahead of the vote show DeVos faces choppy waters ahead.


Anonymous said...

As always, the local school district remains one of the most important factors for home prices. The Multiple Listing Service report ranks homes sold by school district in the Puget Sound area like this:

1. Mercer Island School District: median house sold for $1.32 million in 2016

2. Bellevue: $939,750

3. Issaquah: $775,555

4. Lake Washington: $770,000

5. Bainbridge Island: $740,000

6. Seattle Public Schools: $635,000

7. Northshore: $589,950

8. Snoqualmie Valley: $575,000

9. Vashon Island: $539,475

10. Riverview (East King County): $529,000

SPS is hurting my resale value. Knock it off.


Anonymous said...

USDE is being shutdown. The local office is excepting notice any day now.

Liza Bo

Anonymous said...

Can someone here articulate what methods SPS using to address students learning problems and the data supporting the methods? Didn't think so.

PSED crackheads

Anonymous said...

In the New York Post,
here is what Eva Moskowitz had to say about Betsy DeVos:

Why we need an outsider like Betsy DeVos.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

More from the NY Post:

How Trump’s refugee order targets educational injustice

Public schools beleaguered by waves of refugees will get a breather thanks to President Trump’s executive order suspending refugee entry for 120 days. And under Trump’s new policy, when the US reopens its doors to refugees, local communities will be consulted. .....

Until now, refugee children have been placed in districts with little or no advance notice. Arriving from countries like Congo, Burma, Somalia and Syria, they speak no English and bear the signs of trauma from their ordeals. They need interpreters, counselors and attention. But often they’re placed in the poorest school districts — which can least afford them.

The above impact on schools sounds similar to the decades long WA State situation in the lower Yakima Valley. Many districts were overwhelmed by the impact of Hispanic students. Districts who could least afford them. Yet our state continued to kick the McCleary can down the road.

I watched as Toppenish School District's schools were the most rapid to move up the ladder of "needs improvement levels". Then they got the mandated unproven experimental "school turnaround models", which were completely inadequate for the task at hand.
A recent study of 409 pages by US Dept of Ed concluded that $7 Billion spent on Turnaround Models improved nothing.

In 2015-2016 Toppenish 6th graders SBA results showed in math 6.7% meeting standard in English Language Arts 15.9%. In our State 6th graders in math 49% met standard and in ELA 57.6% met standard. In Seattle 6th graders in math 64.3% met standard and in ELA 68% met standard.

Is anyone arguing that the Washington State Constitution's requirements in regard to education are being met in Toppenish? Increased funding would help, but it will need to be accompanied by the intelligent application of relevant data.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

IDBH complained that SPS is hurting the resale value of the housing in Seattle.

I think that connection between SPS quality and resale value may not be accurate.

Consider the US News ranking of top high schools in WA State, HERE

Of the top 20 high schools in the state can be found:
#6 Roosevelt
#7 Garfield
#9 Ingraham
#15 Ballard

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

That's ridiculous and it's just high schools listed. By the time students reach high school most students academic future is already sealed. There are many High school in other districts that out perform just about every high school in Seattle that are not on that list, oh wait I forgot they are private.

Public toilets

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Get rid of the bloated"gifted" program that is in reality de facto racial segregation and the district will look much more appealing to forward thinking professionals like myself who consider moving into Seattle.

My very talented children have dark skin and after touring Hamilton Middle School I don't want them in the HCC program as it is so unrepresentative and I don't want them in the classes with "regulars", as I heard them refer to themselves. I was completely shocked by those comments coming from children and equally shocked by the difference between HCC classrooms and general education.

Sulky kids texting vs. excited actively participating kids.

SPS has areal problem if they want attract families with highly capable children ith brown skin.

Atlanta Falcon

Anonymous said...

Atlanta Falcon-- What you are not seeing is the 23,000 children (approx 30% of Seattle kids) of upper and middle class families in private schools in Seattle who skew demographics. The kids in HCC are 3000 out of 53,000 total SPS children. The HCC kids and/or families are not responsible for "segregation", nor are the Asian and white families (who are majority HCC) all from the same economic or ethnic backgrounds. HIMS is also a neighborhood school (like Eckstein) in a predominately white neighborhood. The general ed classrooms at HIMS are not different ethnically or racially than HCC at HIMS.

Anonymous said...

"What you are not seeing is the 23,000 children (approx 30% of Seattle kids) of upper and middle class families in private schools in Seattle who skew demographics."

How does this help your argument?


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

There is diversity in HCC, but there is a lack of black students. I know HCC kids who are FRL, as well as not FRL but struggling, children of GLBT and single parents, Jewish, muslim, in the program. I also bet HCC in public school is more diverse socio-economically than many private schools around town.

Many kids who test into HCC have had very strong early childhood experiences, which is where the real problem occurs disadvantaging black children in Seattle. They come to school reading etc. In addition to the barriers Charlie has mentioned with SPS system of nomination etc.

Private schools on the other hand, are likely skewed with 30% of Seattle's affluent and upper middle class students due to cost of attendance. Who is remaining in Seattle Public Schools? Some are affluent or middle class. But there are others who likely cannot afford private even with aid, they may miss the FRL threshold. Nobody measures economics along a spectrum just FRL versus not qualifying. Private schools are not subject to the same level of scrutiny. They do not report socio-economic data (FRL) and and "ethnic diversity often means primarily Asian students.


Anonymous said...

FWIW, I notice that when you're asked specific questions about how you would implement local norms at schools like Bryant and VR, you don't provide any details. We left those schools for HCC because we could not afford private tutoring like so many of the families, HCC or not, use to excel through elementary.


Anonymous said...

LiarsAbound - To be fair, the situation you reference was related to medical leave of a teacher. It impacted Spectrum, HCC, and gen-ed students in those classes. Was is okay to have months of rotating subs, some of whom were clearly not qualified to teach Algebra? No, but it's disingenuous to suggest it was HCC specific. Frankly, any math class following the Discovering Algebra text with little to no supplementation is going to be deficient, no matter the teacher.

Maybe more to your intended point, do AL classes get the "best" teachers, as some claim? No. They get the same mix of teachers as any other classes in SPS - mostly good, some great, and some who simply should not be teaching. It sometimes seems principals assign weak teachers to AL classes because "the kids will be okay, they're smart." But let's not get into the business of who has it worse. Deficiencies abound in SPS and some families have more resources to deal with those deficiencies, but maybe not enough to jump ship and go private. And not all private schools are equipped to handle students working years ahead - they generally aren't equipped to handle special needs of students on either end of the spectrum.

"fact" checker

Anonymous said...

Hey in the latest Ed Week piece, Betsy DeVos is exposed as a fake fact promoter in regard to the success of full time online charter schools.

Betsy and inflated numbers

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

Really cool pie charts hint at the McCleary problem.

In the following charts by clicking on the tabs for federal, state, local spending for the nation, I learned a lot.

Pie Chart

Percent of spending on schools by agent =>

Federal 3% of spending to education
State 18% of spending to education
Local 37% of spending to education

So those are current national averages for Education, which likely includes more than k-12 education.

Hard to miss that Local 37% and State 18% for national average.

Clearly the current interpretation of the WA State Constitution by our Supreme Court sees this spending pattern as a non-starter for Washington.

So now after so many years will things radically change for 2018?

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...


National norms already applied to you, apparently (although local norms, in a fair world, would also apply to highly educated clusters and be around 1%), especially since SPS uses a neighborhood school model and most Seattle neighborhoods are already segregated by SES, etc.

David Lohman (author of CogAT) stated in one of his most recent articles that he was creating a formula for districts to use to make local norming easy. I haven't seen his results yet but I'm sure the AL office at SPS can access that information.

Leaving your neighborhood school for HCC because you couldn't afford Kumon is not the issue at hand when discussing scoring norms.


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

A lot of topics you bring up are also completely irrelevant to scoring norms except in your fantasy world, FWIW.


Lynn said...

So kids at Bryant would be accelerated in their neighborhood school and cover the district curriculum a year or two earlier than say Emerson or Rainier View? The only way it makes sense to compare scores to local norms is if each school adjusts the standards covered and instructional pace based on enrolled students.

Sounds like a great idea. I'm sure nobody would complain about disparate access to advanced learning in that case. At least it would keep Bryant's 98th percentile kids in an environment that's more diverse than an HCC school.

Anonymous said...

@Lynn-I assume you are being sarcastic since I know you know Cascadia is more diverse than Bryant. Or did you mean diverse math levels?

Fix AL

Melissa Westbrook said...

"Leaving your neighborhood school for HCC because you couldn't afford Kumon is not the issue at hand when discussing scoring."

Snarky and unpleasant. We all know you don't believe in gifted ed and mightily dislike AL but that statement is not helpful.