Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Tuesday Open Thread

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

Today, Iceland tops the European table for the cleanest-living teens. The percentage of 15- and 16-year-olds who had been drunk in the previous month plummeted from 42 per cent in 1998 to 5 per cent in 2016. The percentage who have ever used cannabis is down from 17 per cent to 7 per cent. Those smoking cigarettes every day fell from 23 per cent to just 3 per cent.
“Why not orchestrate a social movement around natural highs: around people getting high on their own brain chemistry – because it seems obvious to me that people want to change their consciousness – without the deleterious effects of drugs?
Twenty great quotes from children's books, a fun and thoughtful read.

I guess Nathan Hale High wasn't the only school out there importing athletes - it happened at a tiny private high school in Idaho.  Trump's new travel policies may end this one.   There was a good story in the Seattle PI about Hale's championship.  Hale also received a top player/coach honor, winning the Naismith award.

One more Hale note - there's an Native Sign Language class tonight from 6-9 pm, from the Seattle Clearsky Native Youth Council.  Join us in learning Native Sign Language, learn your how to sign your name and basic conversational terms and exchanges

Testing season starts with "incentives" to take standardized tests.

Look for some really good news mid-afternoon for one of our high schools.  Updates to come.

What's on your mind?


Souper said...

According to Soup for Teachers:

"Parent strike? Good morning - as you may or may not know, SEA members are voting this week whether or not to have a one-day strike on May Day, in support of immigrant rights, education funding, and labor rights. I know there is some buzz about a parent strike and what that might look like - joining forces with teachers is what we do best, so this might be an opportunity...."

Leave my child alone and picket AFTER the bell rings. Organize and rally on the weekend. I generally support teacher walk-outs, but this is getting old.

Souper said...

Additionally, parents would need to find child care etc.

Anonymous said...

Save the strike for when the ed funding plan is approved and teachers and SPS get the shaft. Things will likely still be up in the air on May Day.

Bloody Chickens

Anonymous said...

What a tone deaf move - strike (during the school day!) to "support" the education of the students and families who would be most adversely impacted by lost class time, plus cost the district money in sub pay at time when finances are tight. Let's hope they vote no.


Go Away said...

Was SEE involved in this effort? I see Summer Stinson and Wayne Au are supporting this effort. I'm really getting tired of this group and individuals.

My child is loosing education time due to an early release, today, and our children are loosing time to testing etc.

Leave my child in class and protest on your own time.

Anonymous said...

May 1 is the start of AP/IB test season. Not only does staff need to be present, but strike activity is not exactly conducive to a quiet test environment. What teachers are proposing this strike?


Anonymous said...

Looks like SEE is pushing for the strike: "members will make the case within their schools for taking a stand on May 1."


And from Kshama Sawant:

"Let’s use the coming weeks to begin planning for workplace actions as well a mass peaceful civil disobedience that shuts down highways, airports, and other key infrastructure."


googled it

Anonymous said...


Don't understand

Watching said...

State "funding" proposals include changing funding model to "per pupil" funding, a levy swap and capping levy funds at 10%.

Do these organizations and individuals realize that the push to "fund" education may result in a net LOSS for Seattle Public Schools? Do these groups realize that they may help push the per pupil funding model??

When was the last strike? One year ago?? Washington Charters would LOVE to use another strike to promote charter schools.

Anonymous said...

It would be more prudent to combine this demonstration with the April 22 March for Science (Sat) as education funding and professional support of teachers promotes science and innovation.

Neither I nor my child will participate in a May 1 strike despite my support for education and teaching staff funding. There is already too much shirking of classroom time in this district.


Anonymous said...

Exchange Students View U.S. Schools as 'Easier' Than Those Abroad

Foreign exchange students studying in the United States say that classes here are easier than in their home countries, according to a new report from the Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings.

These students also tend to say American high schoolers spend less time on school work than students do back home. And it's their view that American students place more value on sports than their peers at home, and less value on mathematics.

According to these results, not a ton has changed since 15 years ago when the Brown Center last asked international students these questions about their U.S. school experiences.


-- Dan Dempsey

Souper said...

Will a strike result in the school year being extended?

Anonymous said...

About a strike.... last I checked a school year needed to have 180 days of school unless there was a waiver from the state. Waivers were very rare.

-- Dan Dempsey

dan dempsey said...

Broader Bolder Approach to Education

There is so much weird information, somewhat-off information, and just plain misinformation coming out of the Trump administration these days that we at BBA felt the need to set the record straight on a few key whoppers. (And they are by no means limited to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, though she is for sure pulling her weight.)

So here are our top ten, in no particular order, and with the caveat that this is only a partial list:

Hooray - Setting the record straight - what a good idea.

Anonymous said...

SEE has a flyer with 3 reasons to support a May 1 strike. A Souper suggested "it would be really fantastic if parents in Seattle could communicate to their children's teachers that we will support them if they decide to strike." Nope. Not supporting it. Nor will I use my child to play politics with the education of others. And what is the position of Nyland and the School Board? Hopefully they send a strong message to teachers on the importance of meeting their obligation to be present and teach.

vote no

Anonymous said...

It seems that SEE is really short on imagination.

No other way to show support of immigrant rights, education funding, and labor rights?

I would want clarification of what is meant by "immigrant rights" and "labor rights" before I supported. No way should a strike be used. Any thought on honoring a contractual obligation? What about anarchists rights?

-- Dan Dempsey

Watching said...

I'm sure Olympia would love to see Seattle's educators in Olympia (sarcasm). Olympia hates Seattle. Seattle Public Schools is considered fiscally irresponsible for settling the teachers strike.

I hope SEA votes NO. Another district needs to lead this effort.

Souper said...

As is, the school year will end on a Monday. Will the school year be extended to Tuesday? Most thought students would not attend school on Monday. What would happen to final exam schedule? I am concerned about high school students. Final exams count towards GPA and college acceptance. Would students be expected to take final exams on Friday and miss two days of instruction?

Teachers are free to take a personal day and testify in Olympia. The session will probably extend into the summer. Teachers, parents and students are free to rally- then.

Anonymous said...

The discussion on Soup for Teachers is unbelievable. Protest on your own time and your own dime. Students need to be at school learning. Teachers need to be at school teaching. If you want to pull your own child out of school that day, that's your prerogative.


Watching said...


I'm sure Olympia would love to see Seattle's educators strike(sarcasm).

Olympia hates Seattle. Olympia thinks Seattle wealthy. Seattle has access to levy dollars; this is not the case for other parts of the states.

Seattle Public Schools is considered fiscally irresponsible for settling the teachers strike. Isn't this the reason SEA stayed quiet during attempts to delay the levy cliff?

I think there would be backlash.

Anonymous said...

I supported a strike during contract negotiations and the result of that effort is our District is now way over committed since the legislature hasn't yet funded McCleary. And it looks like once they do, we will still be over committed because the GOP is taking an unusually socialist stance of wanting to redistribute wealth to the wheat land (how convenient, Mr. It's none of your business Schoesler)!

I have testified in Olympia for ample funding. I have made calls and sent emails and post cards and flyers.

Seattle teachers should be thankful to the parents and District for supporting their raises before we had funding to pay these raises. They should get creative and raise their voices about workers rights and immigrant rights without striking. I will be dissappointed if they vote to strike.

If parents want to pull their kids and March-go for it. If there is a huge effort to boycot testing-I'm in. If there's a strike-my Advocacy and empathy will quickly slow down.

Don't plan to disrupt the classrooms now while negotiations on budget solutions from each party and our district/board are just rolling out. Save it for fall...you'll likely need the energy then, sadly.

Funding advocate

Watching said...

You have captured my concerns, Funding advocate. I believe SEE is being short-sighted.

If the strike occurs during AP and IB exams...there will be backlash from GOP and charter supporters.

Watching said...

IMO, testifying in Olympia is much more productive.

Watching said...

It is also worth remembering that many don't support closing schools as a sanction because of the impact it has on children. Some Seattle legislators have rallied against the idea of the court closing schools for a day. How do you think a strike would be perceived?

no support said...

I'm really sick of our activist teachers. I fully supported the teacher strike, but my kid's teachers encourage the students to leave the classroom to protest Trump, but the kids can't explain why. The teachers regularly tell the students they are in a racist program, but this wasn't the kids decision.

Putting kids in a circle and asking on day 1 of sixth grade what the students preferred pronoun is, is insane. If I had a transgender child, I would privately reach out to the school before the first day to make any necessary accomodations and let the school know my child's preferred pronoun. My child had no idea what this meant and the kids were all laughing and making fun of the situation. Imagine if there actually was a transgender child in the class?!

No wonder people across the country make fun of us. I'm a democrat and some SPS teachers are out of control.

kellie said...

The board had a work session on the budget yesterday. Does anyone know what was restored to schools?


Anonymous said...

Kellie-I think it was just a 30 min discussion and the final discussion and vote will be next week on the 29th.

I would love to hear what was discussed, if anyone has info.

Fix AL

Souper said...

I'm sick of teacher activists, too. These people would have our kids walking out of school every other day.

Excise Them said...

So, public schools in Washington do need more funding. That has been well and legally established. But it is clear that state republicans are the hold up on this. So, unless having Seattle teachers strike is going to somehow make republican voters care about children's educations, I don't see the point to the strike being in Seattle, disrupting the lives of Seattle parents and their employers.

I think we ought to start looking into whether voters who file taxes from counties with republican state senators should be allowed to own property in King County. Perhaps there could be a special education property tax on those specific individuals. Or an education tax for businesses that file Excise tax in counties with republican state senators.

Or if companies employ more than 100 people in a given WA state county, they need to pay an education tax to support education for those 100 employees' children.

Way too much of the onus for educating the workers of the future is falling on the children's parents. This is a state-wide, society-wide issue.

Anonymous said...

@no support, for real? With 6th graders?? Certainly there is a better means of respecting individual preferences without singling out students. Hopefully parents voiced their concerns with the teacher and principal.


Anonymous said...

Blanford opposing cuts to Central Office, from the Thurgood Marshall newsletter, March 23rd:

"Cuts Threaten Equity Efforts
The impact of budget cuts is starting to become
very real. You may know that we received some
legislative relief, that greatly reduces the $74M
deficit we were expecting, but does not get us
anywhere close to our anticipated expenses next
year. Thus, we're looking at significant reductions.
The Superintendent proposed Tuesday night that Central Office
bear the brunt of most of these cuts, which I believe could
negatively impact our efforts to close opportunity gaps. I've
asked that the Superintendent be clearer about his rationale for
all cuts falling on Central Office and any assurances that he is
prioritizing equity when making these cuts."


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

Sigh, thank you for this. I am shocked a Board member would think cuts at Central would hurt more than at the school level. As for "prioritizing equity" there would be a good question to ask Blanford for specifics.

Anonymous said...

Didn't Blanford used to work at central office and/or The Alliance for Ed?

Questioning Motives

Anonymous said...

Does Blanford typically write in the TM newsletter? I thought he typically took a teachers first approach.


Anonymous said...

From a new message just out from the Superintendent..."At the board work session on Wed., March 22, the School Board reached consensus on restoring schools’ baseline funding, also known as the Weighted Staffing Standard (WSS). Restoring WSS returns approximately 175 positions to schools.

At this point, that means that less than 2 percent of all school staff will be reduced. Central administration is still scheduled for a 5 percent reduction. Thank you to the School Board for responding to our family, staff, and partners’ priorities and moving to restore school supports so quickly. We hope to have new school staffing allocations communicated by April 7."

Full message:


Anonymous said...

So, was Blanford's message taken out of context or misunderstood?


Souper said...

Students will get out of school on Monday. It seems likely that final exams will be given on Friday.

It seems a strike would extend the school year until Tuesday. Would final exams be given on Tuesday? If final exams are given on Friday, it seems students would not be at school on Monday and Tuesday. It costs taxpayers millions of dollars to keep schools open each day. If students are not at school, we're wasting millions of taxpayer dollars.

What about families with vacation plans?

Historian said...

For anyone that cares, here is part of the bargaining timeline, proposals, rejections etc.: