Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Tuesday Open Thread

Interesting op-ed from several major charter operators in USA Today, speaking out against Trump's budget.
We realize that expressing concerns about a budget that benefits our schools may seem counter-intuitive. But we want to join with all those who are fighting to defend public education as an essential pillar of our democracy. We will ask Republicans and Democrats alike to reject these proposed cuts.
If only the Washington Charter Schools Association was speaking out like this about McCleary fulfillment.

From the Washington Post:
President Trump signed bills Monday overturning two Obama-era education regulations, continuing the Republican majority’s effort to undo key pieces of the previous administration’s legacy.

Trump’s move scraps new requirements for programs that train new K-12 teachers and rolls back a set of rules outlining how states must carry out the Every Student Succeeds Act, a bipartisan federal law meant to hold schools accountable for student performance. In a signing ceremony at the White House Monday, the president hailed the measures for “removing an additional layer of bureaucracy to encourage freedom in our schools.”
He also sat at a child-sized table when he signed this.

From Education Lab, a story about Leschi Elementary.
Last week, our elementary school sent families an email: “A message was spray painted near the school on NE wall of corner of MLK and Yesler where we have a crossing guard for our students and parents. It said, ‘assimilate or leave.’”
On the news that Secretary of State Kim Wyman has been diagnosed with colon cancer (hers appears to be treatable and curable), I urge you to get that tube up your ass if you have any suspicions or are over 50 or have a family history.   Early detection can save your life.

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said...

"I urge you to get that tube up your ass if you have any suspicions or are over 50 or have a family history. Early detection can save your life."

maybe a vegan whole plant diet? good for the heart, the diabetes, the acne, the constipation the colon and more.

see the Engine 2 diet(or McDougall or nutritionfacts.org or others); it's simple, it's FREE, and it's astonishing that all the smart people on this blog don't even know about low fat, no oil, whole plant eating. it's 2017, folks.

plant donations

Anonymous said...

Horrific story from TX of hazing by football players, including anal rape with pipes, deodorant containers, etc.


Lone Star

z said...

Am I reading HB-1046 correctly? If this also passes in the senate, will this really remove the SBAC graduation requirement?

Can someone who is following this more closely than I am give some definitive answers?

Anonymous said...

That's my read, z. And it would be effective immediately if passed, so potentially no SBAC/EOC testing needed this spring.


opt outer

Anonymous said...

The high school testing is happening right now - as in this week! So I'd love to hear any other opinions before I opt out my high schooler on the presumption that it's going away. It's not like it says "SBAC graduation requirements will no longer exist", it's political lingo.

Also, are there any known likely problems in the senate as opposed to the house? Passing 92-6 is a pretty powerful Yes, but I don't travel in those circles.

- Another OptOuter

Melissa Westbrook said...

Plant donations, eating healthy is important but anyone can get colon cancer.

Another OptOuter, if your child is not a junior, I'd say don't take it.

Anonymous said...

@ various opt outers, isn't this bill specific to special ed students? I'm not so sure the SBAC is going away...


Anonymous said...

A good NY Times article about what youth should know about colon cancer:

Cancer Survivor

Anonymous said...

So while true Melissa, that anyone can get colon cancer, diets that are very low in animal products reduce the risk by a factor of over 50.


The NYTimes article from 1990 states:

"Dr. Walter Willett, a researcher at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston who directed the study, concluded, "If you step back and look at the data, the optimum amount of red meat you eat should be zero.""

Diet is actually the most important factor. Don't be hornswoggled by big meat and dairy. They spend billions selling their products and deflecting blame. The cigarettes of the 21st century.

Vashon Vegan

Anonymous said...

My understanding of what's going away, if HB 1046 passes, is linking the Certificate of Academic Achievement (CAA) or Certificate of Individual Achievement (CIA) to graduation requirements. Multiple sections of RCW would be amended to remove references to "certificates of academic and individual achievement."


CAA is achieved by taking EOCs/SBAC and CIA is for students with IEPs (see RCW 28A.655.061. link on OSPI page).


Melissa Westbrook said...

I'll just say - as someone who had a personal experience with colon cancer and the person who died did not eat a lot of red meat or dairy - that the American Cancer Society lists several factors and diet is one of them.


Anonymous said...

The American Cancer Society has a bad track record of sleeping with companies that sell cancer-causing chemicals.


They get only 2 of 4 stars from Charity Navigator.

They are corrupt, in the opinion of many, and have a vested interest in cancer.

Not a good source for cancer prevention information, IMO.

Solid epidemiological studies show meat as the primary cause of colo-rectal cancer.

Obfuscation is the name of the name game with the animal food industry and I'm surprised to see an educational blog swallowing the bait.

Alternative facts should stay in the White House.

Okinawa Diet

Anonymous said...

@ parent, thanks. I somehow missed the CAA part and only caught the CIA part. It does seem like it would apply to all students.

While I'm not a huge testing fan, I do like the idea of some sort of objective testing. After all, it's not like the state tests are all that hard or that you have to score super high to pass, right? I'm sure there are other reasons for making the proposed change, but the cynical part of me says it's just an effort to increase graduation rates statewide. Decrease the requirements, increase the success, right? Without some sort of objective assessment, it would seem schools could simply give everyone passing grades for attending, however sporadically, and suddenly their graduation rates would shoot up.


Lynn said...

The assessments isn't going away. It would just no longer be linked to graduation. It's not an unprecedented move. Only 13 states required students to pass an exit exam to graduate last year.

Owler said...

For the vegans out there...come visit a cancer board and see how many healthy people are getting colorectal cancer—and at younger ages. Diet can't account for the rise in the under 40 crowd.

"A new study by scientists at Johns Hopkins provides evidence that random, unpredictable DNA copying "mistakes" account for nearly two-thirds of the mutations that cause cancer.

"The researchers say their conclusions are supported by epidemiologic studies showing that approximately 40 percent of cancers can be prevented by avoiding unhealthy environments and lifestyles. But among the factors driving the new study, they add, is that cancer often strikes people who follow all the rules of healthy living—nonsmoker, healthy diet, healthy weight, little or no exposure to known carcinogens—and have no family history of the disease, prompting the pained question, "Why me?"

Anonymous said...

What the bill does is remove the stigma of the CIA on students with disabilities who failed the SBAC, and therefore they got "CIAs" instead of "CAAs". No more CIAs, or CAAs. Just diplomas. Most people didn't realize there was such a thing as a CIA. Which speaks to the decreasing relevance in the high school diploma. If you can't pass the SBAC, you aren't likely to do too well on the SAT. So, why are we spending so much time and energy on the SBAC? If it isn't required for graduation, I can't imagine any kid actually taking the SBAC at this point.


Anonymous said...

Can people just lay off Melissa around cancer? It's just assholish. All she did was suggest early detection.


z said...

Yes, thank you Sidney.

Back on the topic of SBAC, after reading the house bill in more detail, especially around pages 15, but also throughout, I think the intent is indeed to remove SBAC from graduation requirements immediately. Not just for special education.

That said, I feel like there are still some potential gotchas. For example, on page 3 (now struck through) the old language states that CAA or CIA are required for graduation from a public high school, but are not the only requirements for graduation. The point being, CAA/CIA are not the equivalent of graduation requirements. As far as I can tell, if the RCW doesn't explicitly forbid something (like they forbid requiring a culminating project, also on page 3), then SBE is (or districts are, see page 6 par 2) free to require whatever they want. Removing a state-level requirement isn't the same as forbidding it.

So in my mind, assuming the senate will pass their version, it's more about the inclinations of SBE and/or individual districts and even schools. I don't know how big a worry this is with today's climate here in Seattle, but might it be in other areas? I'm far from an expert on this, anyone else want to weigh in?

Watching said...

I will say that one school district in eastern Washington wants SB 1046 to pass- badly. Otherwise, 90 students will have lives without a graduation certificate. It seems to be that SB 1046 may be a complicated web involving the State Board of Education and the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Anonymous said...

Bill Analysis from the Education Committee:


(I think it has since been revised to be effective immediately after passing)

If passed, the state still needs to have an assessment system for federal accountability, but what would be the incentive for high school students to take the SBAC?


Anonymous said...

HB 1046 isn't going to pass. It needs to get out of the Senate education committee by 5 pm today and, given that the committee isn't even holding a meeting today, it's dead.

Pliny Elder

not mc-t said...

not a big deal but some pretty egregious spam back on last friday's open thread. and thanks mw for all you do, scheduled my colonoscopy today!

no caps

Anonymous said...

Another topic - whatever happened to Creative Approach Schools?


Robert Cruickshank said...

Anyone have any insight as to why the board meeting last night lacked quorum and was canceled?

Anonymous said...

Is the district going to do any sort of evaluation on the flipped start times? From a parent perspective, it has made daily life harder for our children, both of whom participate in afterschool sports and activities and have demanding homework loads. They have less daylight for sports, get home later, and are forced to stay up later to get homework done. It's much more stressful than the 7:50 start. They say it's even harder for some of their friends who have afterschool jobs. I see young elementary students waiting for the bus in the dark hours of winter and I have to wonder if SPS cares for the health and safety of its youngest students. I was not happy with the change to begin with, nor the way SPS rolled it out with little impact analysis. What are other parents and teachers noticing?


z said...

@PlinyElder: HB 1046 isn't going to pass. It needs to get out of the Senate education committee by 5 pm today and, given that the committee isn't even holding a meeting today, it's dead.

I'm not up on the specifics of how this works. The house went through 3 readings over a 2 month period before it was voted on and passed. The senate's first reading was March 8. Is the senate operating with a specific deadline that says nothing can happen related to this bill after yesterday, or are you making an assumption that the education committee is opposed to the bill and is determined to let it die without a vote?

Lynn said...

I am noticing that my elementary school student is exhausted and depressed. On the other hand, my high school student is not.

Early birds are the minority in middle and high school. While I can appreciate that this is burdensome for your family, none of the high school parents I know personally are complaining about the later start.

z said...

Also, @PlinyElder, if the latter, is it literally too late, due to technical specifics about dates, or is it time to start sending last-minute emails and phone calls to members of the senate education committee?!

Anonymous said...

z, the entire legislature operates under the same cutoff calendar. The cutoff for policy bills to get out of the opposite house was yesterday, March 29.

In other words, all House policy bills like HB 1046 needed to pass out of a Senate policy committee by 5 pm yesterday to remain alive. And all Senate policy bills needed to pass out of a House policy committee by 5 pm yesterday.

HB 1046 passed out of the House on March 6. The Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee held a hearing on the bill on March 20. However, it was not voted on, so did not pass out of the committee by 5 pm yesterday.

This means the bill is dead.

Pliny Elder

Anonymous said...

Ugh. My kid was pretty psyched at the prospect of not having to take SBAC, especially after hearing about last year's ELA test that asked students to write a letter about hand sanitizer. Yep. Hand sanitizer. I suppose it's difficult to find topics of limited controversy.


Anonymous said...

Now that internet privacy is no more, be doubly cautious about using a secure search engine. Teachers and parents, please encourage students to not expose themselves or their searches. Remember, if you type it or use an app or say it on the phone or click a pic, it will stick to you forever.

Try startpage.com or dukcduckgo.com


Anonymous said...

Loving late times for my kiddos both elementary and secondary.

Love life

Anonymous said...


Hippocrates said long,long ago, "Let food be thy medicine and thy medicine be food".

Cells mutate in every human body and become pre-cancerous. Why do some develop into cancer an why are some killed by the body's immune system? Why do some cancers grow slowly and some fast?

If the human or any body had no way to combat cancerous cells, life would cease to exist. The most promising therapies for cancer involve activating the body's own immune system.

Many foods have been shown to kill and weaken cancer cells. Onions, garlic and brassicas come to mind. Some foods promote the growth of cancer cells, dairy proteins and meat come to mind.

Some foods repair damaged DNA, tumeric is one.

I know everyone thinks vegans have an agenda to stop the raising and eating of animals, and we do, but veganism can also be the healthiest diet on the planet. Not necessarily, there are plenty of junk food vegans, but going vegan healthfully can save immeasurable suffering for humans and go a long way in lowering our impact on the planets resources.

Modern medicine has failed to eradicate the biggest killer, heart disease, which has been linked to meat and dairy for close to 100 years.

Diabetes has been linked to high-fat diets, also for close to 100 years.

If one article could sum it up, it's this one:


From Chick-Fil-A owner to vegan, from death's door to energetic.

Does your doctor tell you the facts like this guy's did?

Registered Nurse

Chris S. said...

There's also the FOBT/FIT = "poke your poop with a stick (in the privacy of your own home) and send it to the lab" test to screen for colon cancer that is SUPER easy. May not be appropriate if you are high risk but for most of us it's fine.

Anonymous said...

There is some discussion about moving back to a 2 tier bus schedule and what start times would be under that scenario - some are suggesting 8 (for elementary?) and 9 (for MS/HS?). Ugh. Can we just go back to a 9AM start for elementary and 8AM for MS/HS? High school starting at 9:00 would mean a 3:50 release once the extra 20 min. get added on. Last year MS/HS release time was 2:20. Running Start looks better and better every day.

SPS craziness

Melissa Westbrook said...

I guess just trying to raise awareness about colon cancer means that there are some who just have to try to make it sound if only we were all vegans there would be no colon cancer. Just not so and to try to make it sound like people bring it on themselves is really wrong. Remember that trying to make others feel bad isn't really the best route if you want to transmit information.

As for Creative Approach schools, well, they still exist but I have seen no report to the Board about outcomes. It really looks more like a waiver program than one to pilot new practices for better outcomes.

Anonymous said...

SPS craziness, no we can not. Late bell times are working.

Love life

Anonymous said...

"Working" based on what metrics?

SPS craziness

Anonymous said...

Vegans = Annoying

I'm eatin' an extra big steak tonight with a side of bacon and a big glass of whole milk!

Paleo Rules

SusanH said...

SPS rolled out the flipped bell times after YEARS of studying the issue, community engagement, online surveys, and on and on. This was not a haphazard decision. And study after scientific study of teenage biorhythms and sleep patterns all support it. Teen performance goes up when given a later schedule, accidents go down. It absolutely makes sense.

If your elementary student doesn't like to get up early (mine didn't either), I promise you it will only get worse after puberty.

There are many elementary parents (in K-8s) complaining bitterly about their 9:30 am start time because their children have been up for HOURS, and wasting away their best learning time.

You just can't please everyone.

Anonymous said...

@SusanH-thank you for posting your comments. SPS should not get nagged about how they handled the bell time changes; it was a thoughtful process. We are tier 3 and my child is up at 6:30 or 7 and has read for an hour before we even start getting ready to FINALLY go to school. 815 or 8:30 would be my preferred start time for elementary, but beggars can't be choosers. Maybe we can all compromise and ask for 8:15, 9:05?


Anonymous said...

Yes, there was lots of discussion of later start times from a perspective of teen sleep patterns, but not a lot of analysis when it came to other implications of flipping times - impact of traffic patterns on transportation times, impacts on students working after school or picking up younger siblings, added costs of daycare, impacts of earlier starts on younger children, and on and on. Before the move to 3 tiers, MS/HS started around 8 and HS started around 9. Seemed to work just fine...

SPS craziness

Watching said...

Re: HB 1046 which seeks to delink certain tests from graduation requirements.

Bills are officially dead when Olympia adjourns. The charter school bill was not allowed out of committee, but was brought to the floor for a vote by FRANK CHOPP.

I recommend that individuals contact Zeiger at:

Olympia Office
468 John L. O'Brien Building
PO Box 40600
Olympia, WA 98504
(360) 786 - 7648

Anonymous said...

SPS craziness-the district did a lot of work to get input from many people and there were survey questions about work and child care. I'm not usually a defender of SPS, but I think they did a very good job in changing the start times High school students are much more engaged and well-rested. Most parents with young children are not fond of the 9-9:30 AM start time (at least the ones I know). -TeacherMom

SusanH said...

SPS craziness: here's a link to the full bell time analysis report, if you'd like to take a look. It summarizing the findings from the surveys and the community meetings: https://www.seattleschools.org/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=1625107

This was published in July 2015.