Thursday, June 29, 2017

Important Viewing to Understanding about Being Black in America

#thismatters

52 comments:

Rooted said...

How is this a schools issue? This is a very important issue, but on a schools blog I would expect a little more tie-in to explain how this is a schools issue. Does this aspect of being black in America (or raising black kids, which is not only done by black folks) impact students? How? Does it impact black students in their lives at school? How? Does it impact hispanic students in their lives at school? How? Does it impact white students in their lives at school? How? Low income students? How? High income students? Is it a crushing weight on the future of our nation and the health of our young people? How? Are teachers part of the problem? Part of the solution? Or both? We need to talk about how this impacts students and schools and education. And a way forward.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Rooted, are you serious?

Rooted said...

I am serious. 16% of the students attending Seattle's public schools are black/African American, so obviously this impacts some of our students and their families. But schools don't control how police forces operate. Right? What can schools do? What can school communities do? Adopting ethnic studies, for sure. Wearing BLM t-shirts, for sure. Donating fruit snacks to SPE, for sure. But surely we could do something more?

Do we teach students their rights when interacting with police? Do we teach community organizing? Do we help students get their families registered to vote? Do we teach social justice? We certainly teach kids to say "yes, sir" to authority figures. But I would say we have a long way to go in teaching students to stand up for other students who are being treated unjustly or discriminated against.

Schools can't change the police. But there are things we could do. Right?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Right.

I'm jut starting the conversation because of the difficult conversation that black parents have to have with their children that white parents don't over police interactions.

You ask a lot of questions that need to be answered but by whom. But the time is now to have those conversations.

Trish Millines Dziko said...

Thank you for starting the conversation Melissa!

We can't just talk about this in isolation, under the "right circumstances", or just enough so white folks don't get uncomfortable. This is something that impacts all walks of our lives. While this video just shows Black parents talking to their kids about how to interact with the police (which I have done so many times with my 4 kids) it's important to understand that this is part of a bigger societal issue. Schools are not exempt from the beliefs and behaviors toward Black students that the society at large holds. In fact, I would say that some of these beliefs held by the offending officers were fostered while they were in our nation's public education system--a system that renders Black folks all but invisible, save the references to slavery and the few popular/acceptable Black heroes.

Anonymous said...

FYI, this is something white folks need to talk about with their kids, too. It's true--and tragic--that this is a much more pressing issue for black people, but teens of all races have been shot and killed for not complying with police requests (AKA demands), even when unarmed. It's important that all our kids understand they need to be very careful in dealing with cops. Black teens are at much greater risk, but it's a good reminder for all of us. Plus, many of our kids have friends of different races, and they may be in the car our out walking with them...

exercise caution

Melissa Westbrook said...

So one thing that bothers me that happened last night at the Board meeting strikes me to say:

We have to ALL be in this together.

We have to ALL not make assumptions about any one race as a group.

We have to ALL want to make changes in our own behavior AND tell other people we are and why.

And it may mean deciding if you want to tolerate racism/sexism, etc within your own closest circle. Noted sex columnist Dan Savage made the decision to cut some people out of his life because they wanted to be homophobic. Do people get slack because they are old? Or "that's just how they are but they don't mean any harm." Well, there IS harm.

My son and I sat thru the three hours of the Charleena Lyles hearing before the City Council. (FYI, one of her family's sorrows is how many in the media are pronouncing her name incorrectly - she was named after her father, Charles. It's "CHAR" leena, not "Shar" leena.) It was one of the most moving nights of my life. To have 24 women of color, mostly black, speak of their pain and life experiences was a mind-opening experience. (Also of sorrow, were the men, the black men, who were so peeved that the floor was first and most of all for women of color which is what her family said THEY wanted. Astonishing to see those men act out in public like children.)

So what happened at the Board meeting?

One of the topics from many people giving public testimony was about a Board resolution in support of ethnics studies in Seattle Schools. This is a worthy and important topic for SPS and the children it educates. The Board did pass the resolution (although there is no money at this time to implement it).

However, there were two women who self-identified as living in the Laurelhurst/View Ridge area who spoke on this topic. One talked about how neighbors in that area were complaining on NextDoor about the police activity and noise coming from the police activity around that killing that occurred about 10 days ago. She equated those comments as the reason that the district needs ethnic studies.

She made it sound like neighbors were more interested in the noise volume in their neighborhood than Ms. Lyles'life.

I was fairly amazed at her leap from one thing - which could have been pure curiosity/concern on the part of neighbors - to the next thing which was racism and lack of caring for people of color.

Another woman read from e-mails obtained via public disclosure from Laurelhurst parents from last October to the Laurelhurst Elementary principal/district staff about a Black Lives Matter day. The phrasing in some of the emails was awkward but mostly they were from parents asking about the event at Laurelhurst Elementary.

To note, this was not a district-sponsored event; the district had given teachers permission to talk about race issues. But there was no curriculum or guidelines given by the district so every school and every classroom was pretty much doing their own thing.

Melissa Westbrook said...


Personally, I cannot fault parents for asking what might be said to their children about race relations (or any special day topic). It's not that children - even young ones - can't be told about real life issues in their city/state/country. But, for example, one mom told the principal that her husband is an SPD officer and her child had been told in class that police officers were doing bad things to innocent people. You can imagine that child's confusion and the mom's concern.

I will tell you that, for whatever reason, NE Seattle seems to be being singled out as a white enclave that has a lot of non-caring or even racist people. As a member of the NE Seattle community, I'm not particularly happy with that blanket characterization. I see this a lot at the blog but I'm not sure where it's coming from.

Intimating that someone who asks about a lot of police activity is racist or that a parent asking about what their child in their elementary school will be hearing about race in America is racist is wrong. Sometimes a question IS just a question. But, because of the president we have, we are operating on a hair-trigger, knee-jerk reaction time. It's not going to serve anyone well.

We DO need ethnic studies in Seattle Schools and it should be embedded in core curriculum. It is hard to believe we are in 2017 and it isn't there. It's all part of U.S. History and no one should look away.

I'm ready to start the conversation but it has to be from a place of respect for all.

Anonymous said...

I am on the Nextdoor community and Laurelhurst is one of my neighboring communities. There were posts about all the sirens and noise on Sunday morning but it was before anyone knew what had happened. Neighbors were trying to figure out what was going on. After it was determined what had happened, the Sandpoint neighborhood and the surrounding neighborhoods, came together and supported the community at Magnuson Park. The schools collected items to make comfort bags for the families in that community. A GoFundMe was started for Charleena's children. The Northeast has rallied around the community at Magnuson Park.

HP

Melissa Westbrook said...

HP, yes, I know. Within 24 hours, those communities were raising money and gathering help for the community at Magnuson Park.

I just felt very unhappy at the Board meeting that something that could have been as simple as "hey, what's going on with the police activity" was then pointed to as a good reason why SPS needs ethnic studies. Very unfair. One of women who said this at the Board meeting wrote to me at NextDoor:

"What I didn't share (because I only had 2 minutes) was that NE Seattle leaders in PEPS, Childrens Hospital, Co-op, and Regional PTA, NAACP have contacted me to organize next steps and explore partnering somehow in parent education surrounding racial identify and bias in our area.
Reading your interpretation of my message concerns me that I didn't articulate clearly and my intended message wasn't communicated.

And, this thread also highlights additional complexities of having these conversations and why many people may shy away from them - the misinterpretations and assumptions of a message due to many things, the absence of information, by hearing parts of things, or perhaps in this case because I didn't give enough background about why I was able to draw conclusions that NE Seattle is ready for Ethnic Studies."

And I'm glad she realized that but that's the reason you don't try to compact a complicated issue into two minutes. Ever.

Anonymous said...

Why do these conversations on this blog about the atrocities that are suffered by being Black in this country (and city) always seem to circle back to the effect on the readers?

Things like "Italians had it bad, too" and "Why do they think I'm a racist because I live in this neighborhood?" etc. The world does not revolve around you.

I would say that this is both a perpetuation and symptom of the issue.

Post Copernicus

Melissa Westbrook said...

Post Copernicus, I point out NE Seattle because, for some reason, there seems to be more attention paid to it and I'm unclear why.

I am also pointing out that no one region or group of people are monolithic. And, to have a question about something happening in your neighborhood or in your child's classroom does not seem worthy of connecting dots to the point of calling someone racist (which KUOW seemed to do in their piece right from the get go).

Absolutely there is excuse-making about many things but asking a question shouldn't be one of them.

Outsider said...

I would guess that these threads always produce lame, embarrassing comments from conflicted white liberals because they have a huge amount they want to say, but 90% of it is forbidden to be said, so they just leak out a couple of fragments that are lame and embarrassing in isolation. In most cases, you could imagine the forbidden 90% that would make sense of the silly thing they wrote. But still, they would be wiser to keep quiet.

There is no real conversation going on.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Outsider, I think the conversation needs to be in person. That's what my community is currently putting together.

But if you want to downplay any efforts in that direction, maybe you shouldn't be at this thread.

Anonymous said...

"Schools are not exempt from the beliefs and behaviors toward Black students that the society at large holds."

Amen to that!

Speaking of which....

Where is MW's long-promised thread about Austina De Bonte's talk at the school board retreat on June 3rd?

http://www.nwgca.org/uploads/1/2/0/1/12018395/peeling_the_onion_-_equity_in_hicap_final.pdf

Two Black students at Cascadia HCC, right?

Or will this conversation be too traumatic for the NE folks who still seem to be experiencing some liberal guilt over the KUOW broadcast?

If the shoe fits and whatnot...

Post Copernicus

Anonymous said...

Why is race a school issue/ Um... .American history, for one:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/powerful-new-ad-features-multiethnic-descendants-of-americas-founding-fathers_us_59564da7e4b05c37bb7dc3ea

The founding fathers may have all been white men in wigs, but their descendants certainly aren’t.


-McClureWatcher

Benjamin Banneker said...

Cascadia does not just draw from NE Seattle. So who's at Cascadia and who isn't has to do with Magnolia, QA, Ballard, Wallingford, Greenwood, Sunset Hill, Loyal Heights, Greenwood, Broadview, Bitter Lake, Haller Lake, Licton Springs, Greenlake, Pinehurst, Lake City, Mathews Beach, Sand Point, View Ridge, Wedgwood, Laurelhurst, Bryant, U-District, Ravenna, Roosevelt, Freemont, Maple Leaf, Crown Hill, Windermere. These are not the biggest hubs of African American life in Seattle. Running a program for HCC kids from these neighborhoods does not change the demographics of the neighborhoods.

Plenty of schools in this city are not identifying a single child for advanced learning. Wassup with that? You know they have some there. Principals and teachers don't know what they're looking for. Why not? Stereotyping. Lack of training in what advanced learners look like. All the stuff Ms. De Bonte talks about.

The conversation doesn't have anything to do with NE specifically, though. Unless you think Ballard is NE. And then you'd better re-explore your geography.

But there's plenty of stuff to talk about when it comes to how SPS treats black kids without talking about Cascadia, one elementary school. Why don't we talk about how SPS is treating black kids at Bailey Gatzert? Or Madrona? Or Rainier View?

Anonymous said...

Speaking of embedded racism,

Has anyone else heard of the movement to abolish forms of U.S. currency bearing the likenesses of slaveholders?

I heard somewhere that people are starting to use and accept as change only pennies, dimes, half-dollars, dollar coins, fives, tens, fifties and hundreds.

Has anyone heard of a movement to change the name of our state?

We changed the county name from the pro-slavery W.R. King to MLK.

It's been great seeing New Orleans take down confederate statues, but the continued disgrace of our nation's capitol named after a slaveholder, even if he was president and the continued use of the racial slur Redskins, for their football team.

It shows a lot about the continued racism in the U.S. and how deeply embedded it is.

Alki

Melissa Westbrook said...

Post Copernicus, I'll try to use a measured tone here.

I am a volunteer. I do ALL this work - the meetings, the interviews, the research, the writing - for free. Plus I volunteered in a classroom this year.

So you want to get down on me because I haven't found the time to write a post? I'm getting there.

You have NO idea how many stories I have lined up but things happen like the ethnic studies resolution, waitlists, school board races and oh yeah, a thing called McCleary.

You might want to not try to equate the lack of a single story to my not caring.

Benjamin Banneker said...

@Post Copernicus,

In the last year OSPI has numbers for (2016), West Seattle Elementary had 261 black students and Van Asselt had 195. If we want to talk about how Seattle Public Schools is doing educating black youngsters, why don't we start with West Seattle and Van Asselt? How are they doing? What needs to be improved? How are things going for the kids? How do families feel?

Seattle also has schools that didn't have a lot of black kids. McDonald Elementary had 2 black kids. Cascadia had 2. North Beach had 3. Thornton Creek had 3.

John Muir had 189, Leschi 177, Bailey Gatzert 167, Wing Luke 161.

How are things going for kids at those schools? We want to talk about educating black youth in this city, let's talk about it. What do we want to see for these kids that we're not seeing? How are their textbooks? What's in the school libraries? Are the kids feeling valued? Are parents feeling welcome? Are the communities thriving? Do they have enough time to eat their lunches? Is there room to run around at recess? Do kids find themselves reflected in the beginning readers their classrooms are stocked with? Are there African American teachers and staff members the kids find inspiring?

Let's talk about that!

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

Alki,

That idea has been around for awhile. But you got it wrong, U.S. Grant sold and used slaves, even if he didn't "own" them. Hamilton probably owned slaves and was far from anti-slavery.

Franklin owned slaves, helped capture and return runaway slaves and allowed slave trading in his store.

So you're left with Lincoln on the $5 bill for paper currency.

The glorification of slaveholders, inhumane monsters who knew full well the brutality of slavery, needs to stop.

Can white people imagine living in a country that celebrated the bondage and torture of their race?

Reggie

Anonymous said...

A needed service designated for vulnerable students by the state (HC) that is 1% Black in SPS is injustice personified.

Instead of admitting that and changing it, why the need to default to the subject of the SAP, which needs gerrymandering, instead of dealing with the facts about HCC?

The segregation in SPS schools is abhorrent and intentional on many levels.

This default tactic by supporters of HCC is like that of the kid on the playground who gets caught, but then says that his friends committed a worse infraction in order to deflect.

Your use of the name of a black scientist to defend a program that virtually excludes gifted black students speaks volumes.

Post Copernicus

Anonymous said...

@ Post Copernicus, you complain about the small number of black students in north-end HCC, but don't want to talk about how overall north-end demographics play a role?

Ok, so let's talk south-end instead. How many black students are in HCC at Thurgood Marshall, and what percentage is that of all the south-end black elementary students that feed into it? How does that compare to the percentage of north-end black students who make it into HCC?

Or are you just picking on Cascadia for personal reasons, when really your gripe is with HCC overall? Assuming that's the case, plenty of people HAVE acknowledged that there's a problem of underrepresentation of certain groups in HCC. The problem is that neither the causes nor the solutions are clear. Although it sounds like you have all

The Answers?

Benjamin Banneker said...

There are many great analyses and articles about how to improve identification of gifted black children by school districts. The district and the principals need to improve their outlooks.

There is a huge crisis underway for gifted black kids in this district (and this state).

And it's a complicated crisis. But in terms of HCC it is only a crisis that pertains to black students who would score in the top 2% nationally on IQ-like tests like the CogAt and the top 5% on achievement tests.

We absolutely need to fix things for those kids. The current system is offensive and pathetic in how it treats those children and meets their academic needs.

But that is a very hyper-specific conversation to have. The conversation about highly capable black students. Only 16% of SPS students are black. I don't understand why there's not more concern about all the black students. I get why there's concern about the black students who would score in the top 2%. Believe me, I get that. But what about the black kids scoring in the other 98%? What about their educations? What about their academic outcomes and learning needs? That's what I'm missing from you, @Post Copernicus. Why, when we talk about black students and Seattle Public Schools, why do you only care about the top scorers? Why do you only care about a tiny fragment of the kids?

Your concern appears to be only about only black students scoring in the top 2%-iles. That is absolutely a concern. But that is a concern about "black highly capable students". A concern about "black students" would include that tiny subset and also all the black students who do not score in the top 2%-ile. Their needs matter, too.

And The Answers? has a good point. Why don't you care about the black students in HCC at Thurgood Marshall?

Cascadia and McDonald both had 2 black students last year. And the two schools were VERY, VERY close to each other. Next year the closest schools to Cascadia will be Greenwood (7% black) and Bagley (4% black). Maybe more families will be willing to send their qualifying black kids? Maybe the district will improve equity in identification? Stay tuned! But let's care about all of Seattle's black students. Not just the very highest scorers.

Anonymous said...

How did you make the huge leap that, just because my comments on this thread focus on HCC disgraces (which include TM and the entire program), that I am not also working on increasing the outcomes for Black students? Also, I only referenced Cascadia one time to put it into the context of the NE guilt issue. Seems more like an effort to discredit the messenger because the facts about the hyper-specific message are indefensible.

HCC fits right in with this thread as your NAGC article makes clear. There is a long and sick history of thinking certain races are smarter than others. It is now being espoused under the umbrella of "poverty" but is part of the same continuum.

You are perpetuating the problem in HC identification if you think that testing more under-represented students using the current norming and testing protocols will lead to more acceptance of under-represented students. If SPS wants a high achievement program only then that should be spelled out clearly; the current HCC identification
is great for doing just that. For highly capable and/or gifted students, it misses the mark almost entirely.

SPS is currently identifying exactly those it intends to identify.

From DeBonte: "It is against state law to have a single cut-off score or matrix for identification criteria."

Post Copernicus

Anonymous said...

@ Post Copernicus FWIW, You're right. Testing more under-represented students using the current norming and testing protocols won't lead to higher acceptance rates for under-represented students. And as you said, "if SPS wants a high achievement program only then that should be spelled out clearly; the current HCC identification is great for doing just that. For highly capable and/or gifted students, it misses the mark almost entirely."

Your assumption, it seems, is that the program is SUPPOSED to be for intellectually gifted students, but currently qualification is based on high achievement as well as cognitive ability. But what it's "supposed to be" isn't all that clear. The WAC defines highly capable as "students who perform or show potential for performing at significantly advanced academic levels when compared with others of their age, experiences, or environments." In other words, the WAC tries to have it both ways--actual performance, and potential performance. Unfortunately, it's challenging to design a program that works well for both high achievers and academically gifted students.

You're right that our current program is more tailored to high achievers. The selfish side of me would rather see it tailored to gifted students instead, since that would better serve my family, but I recognize that it would be a smaller program and more students would be left out and probably not get the academic challenge they are getting under the current program. So I'm torn. The logical side of me says we need both--programs for high achievers, and programs for those intellectually gifted outliers--but I don't see that coming anytime soon. Unfortunately, I also don't expect that SPS will move away from the current HCC model and move toward an actual gifted ed program (in identification AND in curriculum/instruction). There's just too much negativity pointed toward HCC these days, meaning no political will to create a unique program tailored to the very real and very different needs of an intellectually gifted population. With the current version of HCC, the district can at least make the case that these kids aren't getting anything special--they just get the same thing a little earlier. With a true gifted program, though, they actually WOULD get something special, and can you imagine the outcry? Surely those kids don't "deserve" it!

So, we're probably stuck with a program for high achievers instead of the gifted. And while you might argue that high achievement levels should not be a prerequisite for a gifted program, for high achievers program that's a harder case to make.

How about this as an alternative? Give teachers and principals a bonus for each underrepresented minority or FRL or ELL student they can boost to the achievement level necessary to qualify? Since their job is already supposed to be helping each child grow, that would fit--and incentivize them to focus not only on bringing up those who are below grade level.

DisAPPointed

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Putting the onus on principals and teachers to solve a civil rights issue is another diversion strategy.

Unless it makes significant changes soon, SPS will end up in court over HCC. De Bonte's presentation to the school board, which spelled out the the state law and best practices that SPS continues to defy, was icing on the cake.

Unfortunately, systems have rarely done the right thing historically, especially when those who hold the power are benefiting so blatantly.

And, no, SPS isn't allowed to keep HCC as an achievement program only for two main reasons: First, identification for achievement only is against state law since cut-offs scores are not legal (as De Bonte's quote makes clear); and two, the law is in place for highly capable (as in Highly Capable law) which is why it the WAC has mandated that students should only be measured against others with similar demographics and experiences.

Otherwise, those who qualify would be comprised almost exclusively of students from well-educated parents who are demographically similar, i.e. HCC, which the state law expressly prohibits.

Post Copernicus

Anonymous said...

@ Post Copernicus,

You said: SPS isn't allowed to keep HCC as an achievement program only for two main reasons: First, identification for achievement only is against state law since cut-offs scores are not legal (as De Bonte's quote makes clear)...

We don't have identification for achievement only--we also require cognitive testing. The program itself itself is essentially a high achiever program given the nature of the curriculum and instruction, but it's clearly not a program open to all high achievers. You have to also score at or above the 98th percentile in cognitive testing.

I'm not sure where you got the idea that having cut-off scores is against the law. De Bonte talked about using "single scores", but it was probably in reference to this part of the WAC: "Districts shall use multiple objective criteria for identification of students who are among the most highly capable. There is no single prescribed method for identification of students among the most highly capable." That does NOT mean you can't have cut-off scores, although it might mean that you need to use a little flexibility with them. Using multiple criteria, as required, could mean that you have a CogAT cutoff and a MAP/SBAC cutoff, and students have to meet both to automatically qualify. Having no single prescribed method might mean that in addition to that pair of tests for entry, you can also allow alternate test scores in some cases. It might also mean that you sometimes loosen the cut-off scores a bit in cases where it seems to be warranted. SPS seems to do just that. From the 2190SP procedures: "SPS's established eligibility thresholds are not absolute disqualifiers; teacher and parent/guardian input are also important considerations. In order to provide equitable opportunities for all students and to uphold the intent of the WAC language regarding protected classes...the MSC will give special consideration to and assess the impact of the following factors: cultural diversity, socioeconomic status, linguistic background, and identified disability." This suggests that lower scores will be accepted for some students from underrepresented groups, does it not? While that's not the same as using local norms, it's definitely a step in that direction. By taking those additional factors into consideration, SPS could argue that they are measuring students against others with similar demographics and experiences (addressing part 2 of your argument).

As for your statement that "putting the onus on principals and teachers to solve a civil rights issue is another diversion strategy" I think that's nonsense. If students from underrepresented groups aren't scoring high enough to qualify for HCC using the same criteria as everyone else, why shouldn't schools be held accountable to some extent? (FYI, rewarding them for making progress on this issue is not the same as punishing them for not, and it also doesn't preclude other efforts.) If we're talking about "highly capable" or "gifted" students who just haven't had the same opportunities yet to be a high achiever, don't we EXPECT them to get there? The WAC defines HC in terms of performance or potential performance. If they don't have the required performance yet, they should have the potential performance. So we need something to help get them to that level of performance! If teachers and school can't do it, who can? Isn't that their job???

DisAPP

Anonymous said...

Just call it the high achievers and well-prepared cohort.

Mary

Anonymous said...

The cognitive tests, as used, have serious validity issues:

1. De Bonte talked about the proliferation of practice tests and centers to prepare for the CogAT. Students do not have equitable access to practice materials, which makes it less a cognitive test (Lohman states this clearly about the CogAT) than a preparation test.

2. De Bonte, Lohman, NAGC and Lohman all make clear the need for correct norming, that students need to be measured against their own demographics and experience cohorts (which would also drastically scale back the eligibility of over-represented clusters.

So no, HCC is not a cognitive-eligible program since it's scoring system is not valid.

As far as the illegality of cut-off scores, email or call De Bonte, the expert in giftedness from NW NAGC. The quote comes from her, as does her quote about programs like HCC which exclude many gifted students "a social justice kssue."

Also, read De Bonte about the Ned for early identification of under-represented students due to the opportunity gap. She is certainly not blaming principals and teachers for that, as you are.

Post Copernicus


Anonymous said...

Excuse typos and fatigue from combating excuses. Just do the right thing before the courts make you do it.

Post Cop

Anonymous said...

FWIW, we're going in circles.

Whether valid or not, the state allows use of the CogAT for this purpose.

Re: the use of local norms, that's not the only way to do it. Allowing for special consideration of poverty, language, cultural factors, etc. can accomplish the same thing--lower qualification criteria for underrepresented groups. The use of local norms would require expensive testing of all students. Additionally, SPS would have to determine the "correct" percentage of students from each group that should qualify, setting subgroup cut-offs appropriately. In other words, quotas. But not just by race, since they'd also need to account for things like income. Also, as Lohman points out, if you're using local norms you also need to have a program that adjusts to those less-prepared students (which we don't). The eligibility criteria and the nature of the program need to be aligned.

DeBonte may be an expert on giftedness, but that doesn't necessarily make her an expert on state law or SPS. That said, I don't disagree with what she said--just with your misinterpretation of it.

As for teachers and principals, I'm not blaming them--but I think they could do more. Are you seriously arguing that teachers should not be asked to help gifted students (who are capable of rapid learning) get up to speed so they can qualify for--and be ready to succeed in--advanced learning and highly capable services?

DisAPP

Benjamin Banneker said...

@Post Copernicus,

You claim that: "you are perpetuating the problem in HC identification if you think that testing more under-represented students using the current norming and testing protocols will lead to more acceptance of under-represented students." And also that this is not an issue for teachers or principals. So, what I hear you saying is that the tests the district is using and/or the way the district is evaluating the tests is the reason HCC isn't more diverse than it is. And I think that is the consensus of folks who know about gifted education and demographics and such.

But if principals and teachers aren't to blame for that, I don't understand how parents who live in one quadrant of the city can be. If the district is not identifying students properly for a program it offers, Seattle residents should be writing letters to the school board. We should be explaining the problem. We should be asking for the change that will get the students access to the services they need to thrive. Gifted kids should be getting gifted ed services regardless of the color of their skin or their family's finances or what part of town they live in or what language they speak at home.

Attacking parents of school kids is not going to effect change in the way the district identifies kids for advanced learning programs. Parents don't have a say. Other than writing to the board, voting for school board members, etc. I bet you could get a bunch of HCC parents on board with writing and asking for more inclusive identification processes that would result in more diverse HC cohorts. That's actually one of the saddest things for many families about switching from a neighborhood school to HCC, giving up the racial and socio-economic diversity. That and the hellish commute. And the naughty gifted kids with all their biting and hair pulling and kicking.

Anonymous said...

Parents could keep their kids in and therefore support their neighborhood school.
You know, work to improve hoe it serves HC qualified. But most parents are anxious to get into the cohort...

It's an exclusive club and one's child is surrounded only by others who have shown the ability to pass the tests.

A thousand HC kids stay at their local school. I have to respect those parents for avoiding the cohort and its supporters, very present on this blog

jd

Anonymous said...

BB,

It seems you have been very misinformed. HCC is NOT a gifted program by any measure. Reread the De Bonte article and basic primers on the NAGC website for further information on gifted children, identification and services.

HCC is a high achievement program with a twist of CogAT scores that aren't normed properly and therefore significantly favor the (no surprise!) overrepresented clusters.

Your attempt to divert from this social justice issue by conjuring up HCC children as a straw man is painfully obvious. The actual victims are the students who are not receiving their legally mandated HC services: historically underrepresented Black and Brown children, low SES, 2E and ELL.

The "diverse" schools/neighborhood you had to sacrifice for HCC come a with large dollop of "relatively speaking", as your moniker continues to reveal. Highly segregated schools are also an embarrassing blemish on this "liberal" city.

Protecting one's own blatant interests at all costs has a long history. That is why courts have such a significant role to play.

Post Copernicus





Anonymous said...

@jd, I assume that means you do NOT respect parents who do choose to move their kids, even though you know nothing about the child's needs; their neighborhood school's ability to meet them (or willingness to even try); the likelihood of the student to have any intellectual peers; the parents' ability to supplement; etc.? Nice.

Do you have any clue why some join HCC and others don't? Do you have any clue why or how a neighborhood school "works" for some HC students but not others? I doubt it.

As for this "exclusive club", any targeted program with eligibility criteria is, by dessign, "exclusive" in that it serves a subgroup that is identified to need special services. I'm curious--do you also go around railing against special ed as an "exclusive club"?

Meet Needs!

Benjamin Banneker said...

@Post Copernicus,

I agree 100% with something you said!!! This:
"The actual victims are the students who are not receiving their legally mandated HC services: historically underrepresented Black and Brown children, low SES, 2E and ELL."

I welcome the court case that fixes things for those kids. Bring it on. Can't happen fast enough.

But if fairly and equitably educating African American children is the issue we're discussing, that only covers about 5% of them. I continue to hear almost about nothing about the other 95% and I find it disturbing. Very disturbing.


Anonymous said...

@ Post Copernicus, we actually agree on something! You're correct that HCC is a high achievement program, not a gifted program. So...doesn't it make sense, then, that eligibility is based on past performance, AKA readiness? The WAC definition of highly capable refers to high performance...

Or are you saying it's a high achievement program but is legally supposed to be a gifted program? In which case, as I've been saying, both the eligibility AND THE INSTRUCTION need to change? What makes you say it's supposed to be a gifted program? The WAC does also mention for high performance, but whether or not that's the same as giftedness is unclear...

It feels sometimes like you're trying to have it both ways--that you're willing to acknowledge HCC is an achievement program rather than gifted ed, but that eligibility should be based on giftedness not achievement.

DisAPP

Benjamin Banneker said...

@jd

FYI, the following Seattle Public Schools are all currently whiter than Cascadia:
Adams Elementary School
The Center School
Eckstein Middle School
Queen Anne Elementary
Lawton Elementary School
North Beach Elementary School
Ballard High School
Frantz Coe Elementary School
Thornton Creek Elementary School
Green Lake Elementary School
Catharine Blaine K-8 School
Hamilton International Middle School
West Woodland Elementary School
Genesee Hill Elementary
Salmon Bay K-8 School
Bryant Elementary School
Whittier Elementary School
Loyal Heights Elementary School

HC kids don't leave their local schools to get into an exclusive club (?) What would that even mean? HCC is just a public school like so many others. HCC programs (Fairmount Park, Thurgood Marshall, Cascadia, Decatur) are option schools. The parents/guardians of 7,802 kids decided to send their students to option schools last year instead of supporting their neighborhood school. Parents choose option schools (including HCC) because they think it will be a better fit for their student. It's about education.

There are lots of ways to support your local school and your local school community. Art fairs and carnivals and Moveathons and auctions and book drives and supporting sports and drama and music programs. There are lots of ways for kids to interact with all different kinds of communities. They can support these communities outside of school as well. They can do before or after care at the local Boys & Girls Club or Kids Co or the Y at any school and support and be part of the community that way. There's soccer teams and little league and dance groups and theater and music and neighborhood barbecues and rights marches and clothes drives and volunteering and community events and activism. The support of schools doesn't just happen by sending your kid there. Hello, it's also property taxes!!! And so so so much more. Supporting schools and communities is for life, not just until kids graduate. And kids are rooted in their communities separate from school--their religious communities and ethnic communities and sports-fan-communities and linguistic communities. Going to an option school does NOT change that.

What the HCC parents are supporting is public schools.

The parents of 17,951 Seattle students (for the 2016-17 school year) sent their children to private school. They could have kept those 17,951 kids at their local school, supporting public education and building strong neighborhood communities. But they didn't. In some neighborhoods more than 50% of families of school age children have opted out of public schools.

Sending your kid to a public option school (like Cascadia) is no worse then sending them to a STEM or other option school or sending them to private school. Option schools (including HCC) support public schools.

Momma K said...

I liked this piece by Mamademics:

Online mommy groups, specifically, local ones are not safe spaces for moms of color. They are where the gatekeepers of white supremacy dwell. They are full of white fragility and tears. I'm tired of wiping your tears while you stand in my blood. So, I'm quitting online mommy groups.

If only we could be working on this, Seattle!

Anonymous said...

@ Momma K, what exactly did you like about that? The anti-white racism and stereotyping?

And what do online mommy groups in Atlanta have to do with SPS?

not helping

Anonymous said...

people like hcc cause there are no kids below grade level.

simple fact

Anonymous said...

Agreed.

It's not about race, it's about not slowing these kids down.

Blended classrooms, with kids who are working below grade level, are not conducive to realizing the potential of HC qualified students.

For various reasons:

Slower pace and exposure to attitudes and behaviors that do not value academic proficiency.

I don't think many would fail to see the advantages of a group of the best students working together.

As SPS has arranged the program, they are the best students.

Merely being bright, even a "genius", even 3 SD's above average in intelligence, won't get a kid in the HCC unless they can actually perform at a high level.

It's like Lakeside. They want successful students, not just gifted ones.

So like Lakeside, the HCC is not a gifted program. It's a high achievers' program, and as such, very successful.

Dodger

Anonymous said...

@Dodger

Private Schools rock! Let's just use vouchers and get rid of the pretence of having public schools. No parent wants slow students in the classroom to keep their kid down. Why stop at HCC?

Betsy D.

Bull Dog said...

Right? Slow students deserve to be with fast students. And they all deserve to be with the very fastest students. That's why Seattle's schools will no longer track students into freshman, Junior Varsity, Varsity teams, and "select" teams anymore. Those aren't equitable. Schools say that due to "large schools and limited opportunities... we are not able to place every child on a team who wishes to participate..." What's up with that???

The best way for slow students to get in shape and improve dexterity and technique is to train with the very best athletes. If the most talented, some might say gifted, athletes have already mastered a drill, possibly (gasp) spent time outside of school hours practicing, they can be useful helping to tutor athletes who are struggling with the basics of the sport and basic fitness.

Detracking is the way to go to help slow athletes improve. Parents don't mind slow players on their children's teams because they get that it's not about winning. It's about the love of the game. It's about learning to be part of a team.

Anonymous said...

@ Betsy D, why does the idea of educating public school students at the level appropriate to their achievement immediately make you think of private schools and vouchers? Are you suggesting that only private schools should be expected to actually teach new material to gifted students? I hope not.

DisAPP

Anonymous said...

@disAPP

Weren't you one of the first to admit that HCC isn't a "gifted" program?

Why the change of heart when the consequences begin to set in?


@Bull Dog

Private Schools rule! And so do competitive team sports! Europe has it so backwards...those socialists. Good thing, Brexit. Go, Poland!

Go, Donny--ignore Hamburg! Rah, Rah! Sports! Ignore historical injustices except when, you know...it makes you feel good at high school reunions (they were kinda racist in my hometowm) and intellectual stimuli. Reminds you of college, no?

Cognitive dissonance is such a drag. Rationalize... rationalize. U live in Seattle. Breathe deeply. U are nothing like your relatives. Those who call you on the carpet about HCC are justjealous.

Ahhhhh! Feels so much better.

Regards, Betsy





MA said...

Heavens to Betsy! I have no idea what you're talking about. Just give me a cool drink of water 'fore I diiie

Anonymous said...

sports in europa are club not at school

dogfish

Anonymous said...

dogfish, I lived in Europe for years and live outside North America now.

My whole point is that sport in Europe is a non-issue for schools...LOL!! Mr.
living-in-a-bubble Bull Dog who is more Trump than not. He would be so stunned to learn what "gifted" really is in the world at large LOL!!!

Do you get it now, one college-semester European-wannabe, @dogfish??

Maybe you need another semester in Europe.

@MA Take a vacation outside of your pretend liberal bubble called Seattle and you will be shocked to grow a pair. I will make such sense after just a week in Europe. I will sound like Rene Decartes on steroids when you leave your pretend world.

Regards, Betsy