Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Tuesday Open Thread

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

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

Domino's is giving away a pizza when you buy one at menu price; at Pizza Hut and you can get a medium three-topping pizza for $6.  Whole Foods is offering $3.14 off of any large pizza and Boston Market is offering a free chicken pot pie with a meal and drink purchase with this printable coupon. Great local deals via The Stranger like at any Pagliacci location you can get any two slices for $3.14.

The district is announcing the annual Seattle Public School Family Survey, scheduled to be distributed the week of April 17.  They are asking that you make sure your contact info is up-to-date by the end of this week if you want to participate.
This survey provides an important opportunity to reflect on your child’s school and the district. Surveys are also administered each year to all school staff and students in grades 3 through 12. Results from these surveys will be used to guide improvements at the school and district level. Your responses on this survey are confidential. 

The survey will be distributed to families by email. To ensure everyone has an opportunity to respond, paper surveys will be sent to families without an email address on file and to families who do not have an English-speaking contact on file. 

This page also includes the answers to frequently asked questions about the Family Survey, as well as a summary of the write-in feedback you gave last year regarding your child’s school and district engagement efforts.
Feel free to email research@seattleschools.org if you have any additional questions and thank you for your participation in the Family Survey.
What's on your mind?


Watching said...

Do you enjoy taking your children to Seattle's public pools and Community Centers?

The city of Seattle considers privatizing Green Lake and Lake City pools. If two pools are privatized, why wouldn't the city privatize all pools? Worth noting that Seattle voters just supported an enormous park levy.

Here is the story:


Please call Susan Golub at Seattle Parks & Rec @ (206) 684-7046 to tell her NO PRIVATIZATION OF EVANS POOL AND THE GREEN LAKE COMMUNITY CENTER!

You can follow this issue on SAVE Evans Pool and Green Lake facebook page.

Unknown said...

Mel, do you know if the current charter school law allows conversions of public schools to charter by a vote of the administrative staff/teachers like the original law did? My first question about the advocacy for a charter school in QA is: IN WHAT BUILDING? There aren't any extra school buildings laying around. But, maybe they intend to try to get one of the SPS buildings on QA through conversion? Those options would be John Hay, Coe, QA elem and the north QA elementary building which is currently the home of the Cascade Parent Partnership (http://cppp.seattleschools.org/)

I'm really curious where they might think they could put a charter school...

z said...

Here are a couple articles of interest related to current topics.

Ignore gifted kids' needs and they can end up in jail. 2E kids in particular. A surprising amount of inmates are highly capable. 2014 article, but still very relevant today.

Tax Credit Vouchers? Arizona shows what can go wrong.

Last week in NYT. If this one doesn't scare people away from the privatization of education, I'm not sure what will. A state senator is profiting financially all across the board, and in sleazy ways. I suspect this may be his undoing, if AZ voters are paying attention.

Anonymous said...

A charter school on Queen Anne?! Is that for all the low income students living...um...where?

Creeping North

Patrick said...

Creeping North, who told you charter schools were for low-income students?

Anonymous said...


I find it shocking as well that the City can't find a way to fund the replacement of a park facility. This city is already "under-pooled" as is. Look at the waiting lists for the private clubs , Wedgwood (15 years ), Viewridge ( 20 years ), and the fact that the pools we have are in pretty sad shape coupled with the growth of this city shows that there is certainly demand for more pools.

There has been an effort to get a pool in at Magnuson Park on and off for years, but there have challenges with soil conditions and building rehab.

Pardon the rant


Melissa Westbrook said...

Watching, not going to happen. That's my neck of woods and it's going to be a non-starter for people there. But thanks for the heads up.

I only knew it was a matter of time for Parks before something like this happened with the new Parks head. He and his wife (also employed by the City) scrubbed 10 years off their resumes about running charter schools that end up in failure. But I'm sure that privatization piece is part of his thinking.

Eden,facilities are a huge issue for charters (so much so that Bill Gates has a non-profit here in WA state just to help with that issue). No, that piece of the legislation - the charter takeover clause - was taken out of the current legislation. I think they knew it was illegal and not worth trying to keep in.

I don't think charter people understand what Cascade is. But I'd have to see a flyer to know what was said.

Patrick, I thinking Creeping North made that statement because the law favors charters who do serve low-income students and therefore, have a better chance with the Charter Commission. That said, the law does not prohibit any kind of charter from opening anywhere.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I was doing some research on Spokane SD (trying to see if they had notices of intent filed for new charters but I can't find it) and they say they want "experienced national operators" of charter schools and they run with a "district-charter compact." I'm surprised they are so blatant about who they want to come in but they are, indeed, different from the Charter Commission.

Anonymous said...

Humm so privatizing pools ... what an idea.

Right up there with the selling of Queen Anne HS.

Long range planning is pretty much non-existent in some areas of government.

Is Ron English in the pool planning business?

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

A couple weeks ago there was a disheveled older lady with handouts in front of the Evans Pool talking about the privatization of that facility. Didn't know if it was a real issue or not. Guess it is. The answer to the mayor's office for this and other pools like Meadowbrook near us is "stuff your privatization plans". That goes for schools too. The Republican playbook doesn't work here.

North of 85th.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

From Seattle.gov on Green Lake facilities:

Hygiene Services

We have shower and restroom facilities available for Seattle Public School students and residents in need. Please see http://www.seattle.gov/homelessness for more information, times, and locations.

It's more than just a pool. Green Lake Elementary also partners with Evans pool to offer swimming instruction as part of their PE program.


Anonymous said...

All the money was JBed for the Rainier Beach CC. The other nieborhoods are getting shafted.


Anonymous said...

I looked up the privatization of Evans Pool and it said they were looking to partner with an organization like the YMCA... actually I think I'm fine with that. I feel like the YMCA is more effective at running programs and facilities than the seattle community centers. They run the after school activities at all the middle schools in the northend while the nearby community center really fails to coordinate with us at all.


Anonymous said...

@pool-I was hoping the YMCA would add a pool when they rebuild as a part of the U District upzone plan to add greater access to pools, not limit access. We are seriously pool deprived in Seattle. I will agree that they likely would do a better job with managing things, but I want to maintain public access to pools.

More pools

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, thanks for the article, Z. I did find this pertinent.

"Many gifted students are impoverished, underperform due to distraction and boredom, or possess disabilities that most well-intentioned teachers are not trained to handle."

I see nothing about being "too brain damaged to be eligible for HCC/HC due to poverty" nor have I ever read that here. I certainly didn't ever say that.

I think some believe they can twist words and say whatever they want here. Not true.

About the pool, I don't want to open the door to privatization. It then becomes a tug over war of use and programs. It's a public pool and should stay that way.

Eric B said...

Does anyone know who ended up on the High School Capacity Task Force?

Anonymous said...

I wonder if there is any possibility that the leaflets being handed out at the meeting were not for a new charter school on QA, but the new private middle school David Elliott (former QAE principal) is now running.


QA parent

Anonymous said...

QA Parent

I heard that Solve for X middle school will close at the end of this year so couldn't be that.

Also, I've been using QA parent as my moniker on here for a really long time now - can you pick a different name? Thx!

QA Parent (2)

Anonymous said...

Oops - sorry about that, QA Parent!

Interesting that you heard it will be closing; the website says they are enrolling students for the 17-18 school year.

QA reader

Melissa Westbrook said...

No, I was told it was Liv Finne from Washington Policy Center handing out the flyers and she wouldn't be plugging a private school.

Another Name said...

"It's more than just a pool. Green Lake Elementary also partners with Evans pool to offer swimming instruction as part of their PE program."

Good point, neighbor. I'd say the same to be true of Ballard HS and Ballard pool.

Someone questioned whether the city would want to extend public-private partnerships that involve tennis courts, too. I agree with Melissa's sentiments regarding the head of parks.

I'd like to know Matt Griffin's thoughts.

Outsider said...

Hmmmm ... I think now we know who is the secret power behind this blog. Melissa is in the pocket of the Pizza industry !!!

Robert Cruickshank said...

Here's what's on my mind: SPS totally botched how they are handling the 2017-18 and parents should be up in arms about it. Even though the levy cliff has been averted, SPS still projects a $50 million deficit, and still plans to layoff teachers.

Central Office is not taking the cuts they should be. The Executive Directors are not being laid off. Their total compensation is around $170K per person. A teacher who has about 8 years experience and a Master's Degree makes roughly $64K, so firing all the Executive Directors would save as many as 10-12 teachers, perhaps more.

Could the extra 20 minutes in the school day be postponed and money saved there? Where are other savings?

It doesn't seem to me that SPS is all that interested in averting these cuts. They are now trying to get SCPTSA to help them sell this to an angry public. I am hopeful that SCPTSA will provide leadership and push back against this.

Everyone here should be up in arms about these ongoing cuts. The senior staff has failed you. The school board has failed you. Don't just go along quietly. Don't just believe there's no other choice. Demand better.

Lynn said...

The remaining deficit in next year's budget is primarily the result of the 4.5% raise teachers will get next year. The district agreed to this knowing the money to pay them wouldn't be available unless the state radically increases funding. They justified the increase by adding 20 minutes to the school day. It's possible they could renegotiate the contract and defer the raise and the longer day until the state provides the money.

As a result of this decision, our children will have much larger classes next year and longer days. Do any parents recall being asked for input on these changes? I don't.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Robert and Lynn. I'll write the board tomorrow expressing my frustration and anger. I'll hear back from Director Burke and maybe Director Peters, but nobody else...as usual.

Not Okay

Anonymous said...

Not just longer days, but earlier starts and different schedules with early release Wednesdays (?). It would be nice to go just one year without some major upheaval. My kids feel like they can never settle in.

just tired

not mc troll said...

thank you mw for deleting the brain dead comment from the self described teacher assuming that was the normal poster. ugh.

the worst part of that post was that the person claimed to advocate for the poor so they could get into hcc. not so. in fact that was the point of my repeated post against them was that their only focus was black students. then ell (thanks to reading my post) and now it is poor. and 2e. there is evolution here folks. now if they want to refute that how can she square that against all the post on race and race only.

not a racist.

no caps

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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Robert Cruickshank said...

Has anyone sat down and checked SPS's numbers? The projected deficit numbers kept shifting and growing. Given SPS senior staff's record of not being straight with parents, I think it would be wise for us to verify that they are accurate.

The school board gave in too easily on the proposed cuts, and we need them to revisit this urgently. It would help to be able to provide an analysis to the school board that indicates whether the numbers shared by the senior staff are reliable.

Anonymous said...

I was at the Coe Boundaries meeting where Liv Finne had flyers next to District materials. I have copy of the flyer if you want it? Pretty shocking to see Finne's tactics in school boundary discussion. That said, Coe Elementary School parents did a great job voicing their concerns about Queen Anne kids being bused to Magnolia and the District calling it a neighborhood school?! No small child can walk across an industrial zone, bridges, arterials, to get to and from school? The District's Enrollment Planning needs to revamp the proposed options.

Queen Anne Mom, also a gardener

not mc-t said...

fwi-not-w (fwinw), you are a sophist just like mc troll. here it is as of today i have nearly 29 years of kids in hcc/app. more than you have been employed at sps. it is cumulative like dog years. ridiculous claim after ridiculous claim!?!?

brain dead. brain dead. brain dead. that is nothing to do with the negative affects of poverty on development. you think it does????

poverty = challenge = less likely to be hcc
poverty does not = brain dead

poverty = perhaps the next einstein

your model has nothing for those that are poor. again you are all about race. just like rainier scholars. oh but one i pay to teach kids in my district and the others the gates foundation pays to mentor. recent white immigrants to america and whites who are in transitional housing will never see the relief you propose. why isn't that racist??????

hcc is doing what it can for ell, 2e and frl kids. that is the right thing.

we should let fwi-n-w spew her hyperbole and then erase it from this blackboard of common sense. a teacher?!!?!?!


Anonymous said...

I am concerned about the upcoming cuts to the schools too. For a $50 million shortfall, if Central Offices constitute 20% of SPS's operating budget, they should be absorbing $10 million dollars of the cuts AT THE LEAST.

That is a far cry from the $4 million cut to Central Offices they proposed for the $74 million dollar budget gap.

True leadership from the Central Offices would know that we need to do our best to shield our students from the budget gap and keep the schools running normally. Forcing the schools to absorb most of the cuts is ridiculous.

-NW Mom

Anonymous said...

@ FWIW, you are completely twisting my words and you know it. That poverty impacts child brain development is nothing new--or shocking, or racist, or whatever. It's actually quite logical, even. If a child is denied adequate nutriotion they are less likely to grow as much as they otherwise might have, right? They may end up smaller, but that does not make them defective. Similarly, research has shown that children growing up in poverty have, on average, decreased brain volume compared to those not. There's a range, naturally, and any child can fall anywhere in it, but on average, poverty is associated with lower brain volume. That is not to say that poor children are brain damaged compared to non-poor, as you suggest, but that was a clever alternative fact attempt on your part. It's not so black and white, and we're not talking about huge differences. However, the normal range will be similar for both groups. However, when we're talking about the extreme tails of a bell curve--such as those scoring way out at the 98th percentile--small shifts in averages make a big difference. A child who has been exposed to the myriad negative impacts associated with poverty, and denied many of the beneficial impacts associated with greater affluence, is less likely to score at that tail due to that shift. It's unfortunate. It's also not inevitable. Intensive interventions might help overcome that. Where is your advocacy for intensive programs to help counteract these influences and help kids catch up?

I should also point out that not qualifying for HCC does not equate with being brain damaged. It should go without saying, but you seem to like to make leaps like that. Most kids, poor or not, have average sized brains and average range intelligence.


Jet City mom said...

The YMCA is mich more expensive for the elderly and disabled to utilize, which reduces services.

Erik Tanen said...

Awesome meeting for the beginning of Meany middle school last night. About 205 parents showed up to hear about the progress of the school opening next fall.
Was a little distressed to find out that there are no mitigation funds for opening of new schools. But hopefully we will have a large amount of parent support to help with the school opening.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Thanks for that update, Erik.

Did anyone show up with flyers about a charter school in that region?

Anonymous said...

The thread on the ethnic studies proposal now includes a link to an online (authorless) petition. The wording of the petition makes one wonder what is really intended with the "ethnic studies" initiative. Is it intended to provide balance and diversity to humanities courses, which newer texts have increasingly been doing, and many teachers are already providing? Or is it to teach White privilege - White vs Others/POC (what Pacific Education Group teaches to SPS staff) - at the cost of not learning the history that would provide the perspective for such discussions?

We're at the point where teaching Dickens (white male) is considered bad, even though his writings include themes of poverty, class and privilege. In a recent interview with Drego Little, a literature teacher working with Rainier Scholars, he remarked that Oliver Twist is "more about kids in the hood than it is about kids in privileged neighborhoods in North Seattle. But because it's Dickens and has 'fancy' vocabulary we tend to think it is not about the kids of color in South Seattle." His closing comment is we need teachers who can "acknowledge and celebrate deep human truths that exist in every culture." In an older radio segment, they check in with Little's class as they read Romeo and Juliet.



Without more clarity around what constitutes "ethnic studies" and how it is to be incorporated, how can the Board make an informed vote? As a previous poster asked, where are schools in incorporating "Since Time Immemorial" curriculum?

-info please

Anonymous said...

And most wealthy kids with tons of coaching and private testing also have average intelligence. But we can make them smarter with coaching, perks, and enrichment and so we do. And we definitely should pour resources on this group to make sure they are challenged every second of the day. If my kids hear the alphabet twice, after they learned it, they will definitely be bored out of their minds. We don't want them bored. When they're bored they behave badly and might end up in jail. Nobody else is bored. Those poor kids - they are so, so, SO challenged, all the time - because their parents are low income. Low income doesn't mean "black", at least not every time. Some of my best friends are low income. It just isn't fair. My kids needs a challenge too and they won't get it with normal, low income kids.

HCC mom

Anonymous said...

I heard something about several children being assaulted over a few months by another student at Wedgwood Elementary in the girl's bathroom. Is there any factual basis for this or is it just a story?

-Wondering about Wedgwood

Sand Point said...

The city of Seattle is considering a 21% tax on soda. The law would provide the city with $16M for EDUCATION. Another mechanism for the city to do an end-run around the school board, and to insert themselves into principal hires, data driven education policy etc.


Anonymous said...

What's the city's plan for protecting students attending RESMS and Cascadia ? There has been a series of assaults by street people on 90th in the past month. Now the city is proposing a safe injection site right next to the homeless camp on 89th.

Also, there have been over 40 used hypodermic needles found in and around the RESMS site and Licton springs park in the past 2 weeks.

Not Good

not mc-t said...

wow now you have done it fwinw. mct is pretending to be a hcc mom.

'My kids needs a challenge too and they won't get it with normal, low income kids.'

you certainly don't get it do you. income, race, gender, home language and sped are all SLAMMED with high IQs just like brown or blue eyes. sps needs to serve them just as well as they do all the other students.

don't like it, go private. of course that is what i heard from you mct since the beginning. how is that advice working for you?


not mc-t said...

thank you again mw for keeping this forum open.

i hate the hate that some posters have about certain programs. oddly none have stated that they have kids with those needs that they disparaging. having run the gamut of app/hcc for too long i can say that it could be a ton better. but so could all of what sps does.

not brain dead poor or a racist.


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Sand Point. Wow. I had no idea how high Seattle's proposed soda tax was. 2-cents per ounce works out to a $1.36 tax on a 2L (68 oz) soda. For a $1.99 2L bottle, that's more like a 68% tax! According to the article, Berkeley's soda tax is 1-cent per ounce (still significant).


kelstar said...

This is really irksome for those of us who worked hard to activate parents to fight for the levy extension. SPS is essentially saying "Thanks for helping, sucks for you!"

Yes to postponing 20 minutes a day -- especially at HS level.
Makes more sense to roll that in with scheduling changes needed for 24 credits. Another small savings: At Ballard Ed Forum earlier this year, reps from 24 credit committee said that it could be delayed a year and it would be OK for students. Let's ask high school principals and see what they think.

alex said...

@Robert, I am so glad you raised this issue of how SPS and the school board are going to handle the remaining $50 M deficit now that the levy cliff extension was passed, b/c of SPS parents & WPD.

Pre levy cliff extension, my school was going to lose 2 teachers, and my son was going to be in a 3rd grade class of 31 students. If SPS thinks they're STILL going to cut 2 teachers from our school, now that that extension has passed, and that my son is still going to be in a class of 31 kids, after everything we have done, they have another thing coming.

I made a list of what I did to fight the levy cliff. I encourage others to do the same, and to email the school board with your feelings.

1. Scheduled a budget & levy cliff presentation by Heidi Bennett at my school's January PTA meeting on 1/9/17
Coordinated a post card writing campaign to legislators urging them to extend the levy cliff following the presentation and mailed over 150 post cards to legislators
2. Took time off from work to testify to the Senate Ways & Means committee about the important of extending the levy cliff on 1/12/17
3. Attended the rally to fully fund education in Olympia on 1/16/17
4. Coordinated with several members of WA Paramount Duty & SCPTSA over how best to exert pressure regarding the levy cliff
5. Sent dozens of emails representatives from all over the state urging them to extend the levy cliff by voting on SHB 1059
6. Called dozens of representatives from all over the state urging them to extend the levy cliff by voting on SHB 1059
7. Tweeted dozens of representatives from all over the state urging them to extend the levy cliff by voting on SHB 1059
8. Called, emailed, and tweeted the Governor asking him not to sign any legislation until the levy cliff extension bill was passed
9. Posted weekly messages on my school's Facebook community page, with recommendations on specific actions that parents could take to pressure legislators regarding the levy cliff
10. Commented about the impact of the levy cliff on Seattle Times and KUOW posts on social media

Like I said, if SPS thinks parents did all of this so they could pass along 100% of the remaining budget deficit back to the schools, and not absorb the majority of the cuts at JSCEE, I think we need to prove them wrong.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Thank you, Alex. It does seem sad that the district may take parents' help/support for granted. One reader wrote to ask about this issue:

"I asked if Central Offices constitutes 20% of the SPS operating budget, why weren't they absorbing 20% of the cuts. That would be 14.8 million dollars prior to the levy cliff legislation, but is still at $6 million with our current shortfall."

And this is what JoLynn Berge, head of Finance, said:
"Your question is a good one, and one we asked ourselves as we went through our budget cutting exercises.

When we looked at Central Office, we identified many areas that couldn’t take any cuts, for example, utility costs, insurance costs, and requirements for collective bargaining. We also couldn’t cut the federal, state, or local grant positions that are included in Central Office, but aren’t funded with general fund dollars.

In the end the board determined $4m as the amount of cuts for Central Office. We too want every dollar possible to go to the classroom, but we are operating a $1 billion per year business, which must operate according to federal and state laws.

I hope this provides some insight into our process.

As you likely know, the legislature passed the levy cliff bill today, which will provide some relief to our budget deficit.

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with us."

My comment is that I don't believe there aren't more places they could cut. They just don't want to.

not mc t said...

my thought to all hcc parents. demand that they dismantle the hcc program and insist they provide those services at your local school. my kids have moved on. i have done the 1 hour round trip to drop my kid when they have missed the bus. i have spoken to the board about the need of this program. but now i am tired of being called an elitist or a racist. 'screw you' i would say, if i could do it all over again. i would go back to my neighborhood school and demand the services the state says they need to provide. when my kid went to lowell that was the best choice then. now i wouldn't bother. there is no there, there folks. k-12 there is no acceleration and no depth. it is just warehousing thanks to tolley now make his little plan succeed in failure. rise up. be heard.

no caps

Anonymous said...

@ no caps,

Demanding "those services" at the local school is meaningless when "those services" aren't defined. In your scenario, an HC-identified student might receive extra worksheets (at the same level) and the school could call it "deeper," or they might get to sit in the corner and read more advanced books on their own, with the school calling it "acceleration." They might be lucky enough to get some walk-to-math, but it might still be below their level (and it will likely move at too slow a pace). They may or may not have any other HC students to talk to.

The state doesn't prescribe certain services--they give you general categories to check off. A lot of things can fit in those categories, and there's nothing that says how often they need to occur, either. Occasional acceleration opportunities allow you to check the acceleration box. Curriculum compacting of one unit allows you to check off the compacting box. Pretty much anything allows you to check "differentiation" or "flexible grouping." Heck, just putting an HC student in a GE class could be "flexible grouping"! "Independent projects," "pacing," "enrichment," etc....not that hard to check off those boxes, without JSCEE even having any clue what happens at schools. I'm sure every teacher could come up with something to "justify" a checkmark, even if it's a meaningless checkmark from that standpoint of HC students' actual needs.


Anonymous said...

Um...doesn't it seem returning HCC to neighborhood schools, with no self-contained classrooms, is where the district is headed, by their increasing restrictions on acceleration and advancement? Parents are not taken seriously when expressing concern about grade level standards being met, let alone providing differentiation. How many families left neighborhood schools because they would not or could not differentiate? How could schools suddenly provide something different, when they failed to serve students previously?

AL needs some authority in oversight of AL programs. The system we have now - individual schools deciding how to provide HCC services - is not serving students. It's unrealistic to think they could serve students if returned to neighborhood schools.


Robert Cruickshank said...

"In the end the board determined $4m as the amount of cuts for Central Office. We too want every dollar possible to go to the classroom, but we are operating a $1 billion per year business, which must operate according to federal and state laws."

Pretty sure the Executive Directors aren't required under federal and state laws.

But more importantly: *schools are not a business.* That's an appalling statement.

The board made a big mistake in just taking senior staff's word on this. The board needs to tell the staff to go back and prepare a budget that doesn't result in classroom cuts. Just to see what it looks like. Figure out the absolute bare minimum staffing required at Central Office by those bargaining agreements, federal and state laws, and grant agreements, and fire everyone else.

Because as it stands right now, teachers are going to be fired in order to protect Central Office bureaucrats, and the school board has said they're fine with that. It's not fine. We need to let the school board know they screwed up here and that we expect them to admit a mistake and correct it.

Anonymous said...

According to the new York Times, Trump's first pass at a budget, to be released tomorrow a.m., will include deep cuts to public education. No surprise but still so depressing. The cuts to other social programs within the State Department and EPA will further hurt our neighbors here and abroad.

Don't forget to lean on the WA House of Reps from the other side of the Cascades, as well as Congress members in other states, to try to limit the damage. It's a bloodbath as proposed.


dan dempsey said...

Ed Week: Trump cuts may lead to smaller US Education Department

This could be a good idea.

"The executive order says this move is "intended to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of the executive branch."

How about something similar in large school districts to improve both efficiency and morale?

Among many teachers, there is an issue that contributes to the demoralization of teachers. "Salary Inequity (and accompanying power inequity) when comparing teacher's salaries to the many, many lucrative administrative positions found in school buildings all the way up to the Dept. of Educ. Will this terrible adverse inequity ever be remedied?

Look at the superfluous structural layering of bureaucracy above the level of "teacher". .... The intrusive counterproductive nature of existing district, state and federal bureaucracy is unacceptable.

Teachers have been crowded out from being THE frontline decision makers of education policy and classroom instruction (free of threat from top down bureaucracy, unions, universities, associations, all of it) for far too long. Will this issue ever be addressed? Can Professional Development become something other than top-down indoctrination?

It is absurd that administrators with inflated salaries are telling teachers how and what to teach, when these administrators have no record of accomplishment. Successful teachers are ordered to fall in line with the program. The program is follow the leader, so popular among lemmings.

dan dempsey said...

Melissa wrote: "My comment is that I don't believe there aren't more places they could cut. They just don't want to."

The district operates in a centralized top-down fashion (similar to the not very successful Soviet Union) as a result big expenditures are needed to maintain "services and control". Cutting more places is not in the cards.

At one time there was a poorly implemented desire for "Building-Based" operation. In such a plan, power to make important decisions is moved to the buildings. Today's technological advances makes this a feasible mode of operation. It needs to be given serious consideration.

In the recent past during the Elementary Math instructional materials adoption, a counter-revolution broke out and needed to be quelled. As supposedly all teachers are presenting material to bring students to mastery of the Common Core State standards, why are individual buildings not allowed to choose materials with an OK approval from the school board? --- The answer is because the Central Office believes the PD it provides is extremely valuable and cannot be provided for more than one set of materials. ((been to any of those PD presentations?))

I am for a major dismantling of the powerful current too expensive top-down model.
This might even work out better than Russian Glasnost or Perestroika.
Glasnost = openess; Perestrioka = restructuring.

Let teachers teach and monitor school effectiveness. Monitoring Central Office effectiveness and efficiency has apparently always been avoided. Technological advancements make monitoring easier and much more cost effective than previously possible. --- tools for improvement rather than centralized control.

Anonymous said...

Alex, I'm miffed nothing is improving at either of our schools either. One affluent, one close to but not quite title 1. I know this isn't the whole gap. But it's half of it. Things should not have to be so dire anymore. Small elementaries are facing 25-40% of students in splits. They should restore teachers(I am including mitigating teachers for new middle schools) and mitigate splits at the very least. And if they can't, delay the extra 20 minutes and postpone that section of the raise.


Anonymous said...

What in the world has happened to the board? They talked tough while running, but after that ,nothing. Now I hear they are on board for getting paid, REALLY!

What a disaster. Will someone run who want's to get JSCEE spending under control?

Same old

Anonymous said...

Article about when John or Jill Q. Public misinterpret brain research:

The scientists behind these brain studies agree their work tends to be oversimplified in mass media articles and even research abstracts. “For example, they imply causality when we really only have correlational evidence at this point,” says Columbia University neuroscientist Kimberly Noble, who led the Nature Neuroscience study. “Portraying the findings this way often misrepresents the science. The brain is not destiny. I can't predict with any accuracy what a particular child's brain size will be based on their family income.”

“We run the risk of these findings becoming fodder for a nouveau eugenics movement,” says Matthew Hughey, associate professor of sociology at the University of Connecticut. “The easily dispensed adage that ‘the poor’s brains are different’ is an all-too-easy, scary and simply wrong-headed approach.”



not mc-t said...

fwinw, i have said repeatedly that frl should be accommodated to get into the program. and that assistance is not because they have different brain morphology but because of the inherent challenges of poverty. i also believe that there should be (and there are) accommodations for sped and ell as well. looks like you have found another straw horse to flog. silly and sad.

no caps

vaxer said...

Is SPS really giving our kids' immunization records to MyIR without parental permission? This page implies that is the case:

Change in Immunization Record System

How is this allowed? This clearly isn't "for educational purposes", it's medical data, so no FERPA loophole.

My kids are fully immunized, but I declined to sign the agreement with our medical provider to send this information to WA State Authorized Record Access System. I don't want them "registered" in yet another state database, there are already too many databases tracking our kids around as it is. Is this something we can opt out of?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Vaxer, I'll check.

But you should know that HIPAA and FERPA do NOT overlap. If the medical records are created at school, they fall under FERPA. If what you say is happening in the district, I suspect they consider the immunization record a part of FERPA.

vaxer said...

Related question:

On this page: https://wa.myir.net/privacy

The MyIR web site has a whole bunch of legal stuff you have to sign before you're allowed to create an account, basically signing away your rights and indemnifying "STC, Washington DOH", the company that runs this site/service.

For example:

1. You, the USER, releases STC, Washington DOH, and all participating Washington health care providers (PROVIDERS) who report immunization information to theWashington State Immunization Information System (WAIIS) from any and all liability for the accuracy of the information you receive through MyIR.net™ and any actions based on the information received that may be taken by the you, the USER. Actions include, but are not limited to.... etc.

2. You, the USER agrees to hold harmless all of the above named parties in conjunction with any failure to receive the immunization information that is being requested, any delays in its receipt, and any deviation of the contents of the information received from the immunization records associated in MyIR.net™ with you, the USER, from that contained in records of any health care PROVIDER or WAIIS.

There are 11 items, and you are required to agree to these terms before creating an account.

My question is, how does this work if a parent purposely does NOT create an account? Is the school district really creating records on our behalf without parents agreeing to the legal terms? Clearly the company is concerned about their liability, otherwise this Waiver of Liability page wouldn't exist.