Friday, September 01, 2017

Friday Open Thread

Last Friday of summer vacation - I feel for all the kids.  But please remember the kids and their schools in Houston and surrounding cities whose school year may not start and, of course, will follow a lot of trauma.  Please donate if you can.

Apps stories
From KING-5, an app called Yellow that is like Tinder for tweens/teens.  Not good.

“Make amazing new friends on Yellow for Snapchat, Kik, Houseparty and Musically!” the app description says.

The target demographic is 13 to 17 year-olds. But guess what? Age isn’t actually verified.  I created an account, and I’m well over 30.
From the New York Times, a story about apps for teen drivers.

And then there's this - a GoFundMe page for Northgate Elementary to paint their rundown bathrooms.  This is the kind of thing I meant when I objected to spending $1.5M on solar panels for a few schools (and that the Board said yes to on Wednesday night).  If there are extra capital funds, they should go to maintenance (and yes, they can spend those dollars on painting).   I'll also note that only newer schools, with stronger roofs, could be considered for those panels which means if you are in an older school, well, you get an old building until you get a new one.

Interesting article from the Seattle Times about the top languages spoken by ELL students in Washington - Spanish is no surprise at number one but Russian at number two? (They are followed by Vietnamese and Somali.)

I read Superintendent Nyland's welcome to families letter for this school year.  It's fine but I was disappointed to see nothing about the district's commitment to racial justice given the events of Charlottesville.  Just as poverty does not stop at the schoolhouse door, neither does history.  Our country - and all its citizens -  is being challenged to look in the mirror and self-examine.  I suspect that many high school teachers will see this in their classrooms as students start asking hard questions.  The district should be prepared for this kind of teaching and learning.

Also of concern, it is expected that Trump may announced his decision on DACA today.  Meanwhile, leaders at Microsoft, Amazon and Starbucks state their support for the program. 

Speaking of trying to be the inclusive country that we can be, SPS Communications put out this story about mural painting at the World School. 
About 100 students from World School, a transitional learning school for immigrant and refugee children, volunteered part of their summer break to give back to a community that has given them so much. They painted a mural along a concrete wall along the school's playground badly marred by graffiti.

The mural is part of a joint Summer Science Academy (SSA) program with Seattle Parks and Recreation designed to strengthen students’ academic and language skills. However, while SSA concentrates on skills learned in a classroom, it also incorporates environmental, hands-on, education to allow students to explore education in new ways. The mural is the result of math, biology, language arts, and art and beauty of the natural world.
I also want to note the passing of long-time educator Janet Osborn who practiced her craft at Pathfinder K-8.  Director Leslie Harris noted her passing at Wednesday's Board meeting and a lovely video produced by staff told of her importance to that school community.

What's on your mind?


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

Anonymous wrote: Shove your racial justice crap up your ass. You are part of a group that is ruining SPS. JUST SHUT YOUR MOUTH

What racial justice are you talking about? How does wanting to educate all the children who come thorough the school door ruining SPS? It would seem to me that the more educated the whole population is, the better off the country is. A well educated population is more likely to have a well-paying job (which means they are paying income taxes), own their home (which means they are paying property taxes), and are less likely to commit a crime or be in the "system" (I believe Governor Romney called them "the takers" in 2012).

Just so you know who I am, I teach in room 42 at Ingraham High School. Why don't you come by someday and see how we are educating the next generation?

Anonymous said...

Buried in an older thread:

You can see the latest high school boundary scenarios under consideration here:


Melissa Westbrook said...

Foul-mouthed person, you can sound off all you want. This country is a country of immigrants - always has been and always will be. We are a country of different colors and faiths and it will be that way (and fyi, in another 30 years, it will be a majority minority country).

Thank you, Michael, for your kindness and courage. This is the best of our district.

Anonymous said...

I don't think real social justice is even considered being taught in SPS.

It's liberal gradualism, the exact reason we have neo-Nazis and KKK believers roaming around recruiting our youth and brainwashing them into driving cars into people.

It's white Christian Terror, plain and simple. The counterpoint to Islamic terror.

If white Christians didn't have so much power in this country - look no further than Pence and the other Christian right zealots in government, they would be doing even more terrorist acts.

Dylan Roof, multiple mosque attacks, synagogue attacks, abortion provider murders, the list is huge.

SPS is not teaching anything radical, liberal at best, and with few exceptions, the district is terrified of the right, even a bad report on Fox news makes them shiver.

White middle class Seattleites and their allies in communities of color are too comfortable to rock the boat.

I'd also ask Mr Rice to not engage with potentially dangerous right wingers and please don't invite them to school.

I doubt most parents are resting easy knowing you are broadcasting your classroom number. I know if my kid went to IHS, I'd be upset with him.

Ram Tough

Melissa Westbrook said...

I think many teachers room numbers are on their district webpage.

As for the rest of your remarks, Ram Tough, it looks like we all have work to do.

Aaren Purcell, Archivist said...

Janet Osborn video - the sound didn't get recorded. I would really like to keep a copy in the archives

Anonymous said...

I heard there are a bunch of students leaving Ingraham for running start and red comet. I was at NSCC today and ran into 5 juniors all who said they were leaving Ingraham. Does SPS lose all the funding for students that leave for running start? All 5 said they will never go back to SPS for reasons the school board should be concerned about. I guess this opens up 5 slots for Juniors who want to go to Ingraham.


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

Hamilton schedules are up on the Source. Early this year!

Anonymous said...

Given the new later release for HS, Running Start looks better and better every day. As far as IHS, it is unclear where they are headed with their academic programming and IB/IBX. A few teachers retired this year, leaving some big shoes to fill, and there has been a noticeable change in course offerings, with the elimination of some of the post IB course offerings. They scheduled only one LA class for 12th graders who have completed the IB diploma. Surely more than 32 students completed the diploma last year.

On the flip side, those not wanting to go the IB pathway seem to have limited course options as well. My guess is that being both a neighborhood school and an IB school (which is poorly supported by SPS) is creating many no-win decisions. Schedules were mailed to students this week.

(Have to agree that out of an abundance of caution it is probably best to delete MR's post.)

parent too

Anonymous said...

Why is SPS continuing to ignore the academic needs of single subject gifted students in direct contravention of Washington state law?

The district is unfairly excluding a very large number of students from the academic depth and acceleration they are entitled to receive under law.

How is it fair to have students languishing in their regular school when they read or do math at levels as high as students in HCC?

I understand appeals can be made to a committee but it seems so unfair to disregard high single subject scores when the law is so clear.

The Al Dept. should be held to account but he board, as usual, cares little about addressing the needs of all students.


Anonymous said...

The answer to your question is this: Because, so far, they can.

SPS took APP and changed the name to HCC. They have not, so far, addressed the mandates of the law. As many SPED parents know, OSPI is a bureaucratic mess.

SPED took their cases to OCR (Office of Civil Rights) or got private attorneys.

Don't count on the school board. As someone posted recently, they get so many emails from HCC parents, they are like a "third rail" in the district. The APP/HCC blog regularly tells them to "email Rick and Sue and the board." Look at how they go after anyone on this blog who dares question the APP program that persists.

The OCR route will happen. The list is long.

Read it

Anonymous said...

The lack of knowledge and training of OSPI staff is shocking. Try and have a intellectual conversation with anyone employed at OSPI regarding HCC, SPED and even general education and you will understand my bold statement.

OCR is almost completely incapacitated by their words "lack of funding" This is the agencies blanket cover story for not completing a single 504 investigation in the last 4 years. However they seem to find time to investigate issues involving racial discrimination.

I doubt any cases regarding a white student not receiving an HCC education would every cross the OCR's desk. This is because unless it's a 504 issue or a sexual or race based complaint OCR has zero jurisdiction.

That leaves OSPI, so good luck to anyone who thinks OSPI is going to help you. The evidence says they won't.

Just for S&G, who replaced the Civil rights officer at SPS? That position was part of the settlement with OCR over the Garfield rape case issue. SPS even hired the lead OCR investigator to sweeten the deal. Then poof off she went to start an LCC that helps school districts circumferential the laws.

SPED Parent

2E parent said...

It's not just OSPI. The lack of training among teachers and principals within the schools districts on issues having to do with SPED and HCC (and heaven forbid, the kids who are both SPED and HCC, don't even get me started on that) is shocking. You've got thousands of educators running around assuming that all kids are cookie cutter copies of each other and that if anything appears to be out of the usual with a kid, assume trauma. Or ADHD. Or trauma and ADHD. But they have no idea. They're just guessing. So many kids could be helped so effectively, kindly, constructively and cheaply if the educators only had any idea what issue the student actually had. By addressing the actual issue(s) the kids have, they would produce happy, well adjusted kids. Instead they're trying to not address any issues until the kids fall behind enough to trigger some kind of MTSS alert that requires the district to attempt something. Meanwhile, the kid might have just needed glasses. Or a diagnosis for a specific learning disability and some coping mechanisms. So cheap and easy to address appropriately. Instead the teachers are yelling at the kids and punishing the kids for being atypical. Such a waste of every resource there is. And cruel. It's neglect.

Anonymous said...

@2E parent,

We live in arguably the most advanced city on Earth and have an education system, the public one anyways, operating as if we have all the time in the world to even enter the 21st century, much less embrace it. Leading the way into the future is not even conceivable.

Former 2E

Anonymous said...

@ Whining, can you point me to the specific part of the law that leads you to say SPS is legally required to provide single subject gifted services? I seem to be

Missing It

Anonymous said...

@ 2E Parent, cruel neglect, yes.

As the parent of former SPS HCC and 2e students, I thank my lucky stars every day that we escaped SPS. I feel horrible for those who aren't as fortunate.

lucky ones

Anonymous said...

WAC 392-170-035
“…students who perform or show potential for performing
at significantly advanced academic levels when compared
with others of their age, experiences, or environments.
Outstanding abilities are seen within students' general
intellectual aptitudes, specific academic abilities, and/or
creative productivities within a specific domain. These
students are present not only in the general populace,
but are present within all protected classes according to
chapters 28A.640 and 28A.642 RCW.”

WAC 392-170-036
“…students who are highly capable may possess, but are
not limited to, these learning characteristics:

(4) Ability to learn quickly in their area(s) of intellectual
--Without this part of HC law, it would be easy for districts to disregard (such as SPS) to disregard 2E students and many others who are single subject gifted.

Other districts have implemented serving single subject gifted into the the HC identification and qualification for services because, you know, it's the law.

Shoreline, for example:

Shoreline, for example:

Only students who demonstrate the following are eligible for Highly Capable Program service in the District:
1. Exceptional English Language Arts and/or mathematical ability;
2. Exceptional academic achievement; and
3. Exceptional academic aptitude.
Using this methodology, a single piece of evidence will not qualify or disqualify a

--Also notice how Shoreline identifies students for BOTH performance and aptitude (which HCC parents have been claiming over and over is an either/or) because, you got it, it's the HC law.

It's the Capable part of Highly Capable, yet SPS only disregards gifted students who may be underperforming (a classic characteristic of many gifted students).

Read it

Anonymous said...

Ram Tough

Your statements about "white Christian terror" paint a wide and stereotypical brush of intolerance with very few facts to back them up.

You cite a few criminal acts which have happened nationwide over a decade and blame all "white Christians" who would be "doing even more terrorist acts" if they didn't have political power. In fact, some of those crimes were committed by the mentally ill and none of them had any support by the vast majority of American Christians.

Wow. Your statement is truly intolerant and that attitude does great damage to the ability of people in Seattle to talk civilly about controversial topics.


Anonymous said...

Correction: These parents have been saying Both or None only, not either/or (or both)--as the law indicates.

The "rationale" has been that those who qualify based on Capability will "slow down" their kids, since many of these kids will likely be from poverty and lack their learning "advantages".

Yep. All in the Search engine for posterity.

Read it

Anonymous said...

@ Read it, I don't think the issue is crystal clear at all from what you posted. Acknowledgement that students may have areas of intellectual strength does not necessarily mean districts are required to design eligility procedures and programs to specifically address such students. And the RCW is pretty clear that a lot about program design and eligibility is at district discretion. I've spent a lot of time trying to see what I want in the law and figure how to use it to push for more, but there always seems to be enough vagueness that it's hard to make the case.

Missing it

Anonymous said...

The people who created the HC laws weren't stupid:

Outstanding abilities are seen within students' general
intellectual aptitudes, specific academic abilities, AND/OR
creative productivities within a specific domain.

The reason it was put in there is because 2E is a well-established subset of gifted students (and so are single-subject gifted). 2E students are also a "protected class" under civil rights law, as SPED parent pointed out.

Without this language, the experts know that districts would be excluding 2E students, just like SPS does, which is why the language was included in the law. Discriminating against 2E students is not legally tenable.

Wait and see.

The other major area of concern for SPS is that "protected class" also means that, unless there is clear evidence that testing and identification does not bias protected racial groups with unacceptably low numbers of HC, then the district is committing an OCR violation. Since the district is already on record with a recent violation in terms of discipline disparities between black students and those of other races, this pattern of such low numbers of black students in HCC will not bode well for SPS in court. Since the testing in SPS involves strict cut-off scores (with some vague language saying they "consider" underrepresented groups), and these cut-offs are correlated with race bias by NAGC and many others, SPS will have a tough sell in court. (Note the need to compare to "experiences" and "environments"--again deliberate language included by gifted experts for a reason: FRL, ELL, and protected classes should not be handicapped to HC admission by unrealistic/invalid norms).

Read it

Anonymous said...

I think Ingraham isn't the only school that will be sending a lot of kids to running start.

My senior got their schedule from Garfield. The only academic classes are the mandatory graduation requirements of LA and SS, everything else is electives, TA slots, and arts classes. No math, no science, no academic electives ... nothing that is college ready.

- bulldog

Anonymous said...

Makes one wonder if the ultimate plan for HC high school students is Running Start and nothing more.


Melissa Westbrook said...

MJ, whatever part of school they miss, the district loses funding. If they don't go at all, then yes, all that funding is gone.

Pessimist, well,the big game plan is to undermine all public ed and public ed teachers so yes, there is a "crisis" and the system is "failing" and we need a whole new one. It's nonsense but yes, SPS doesn't do so much to help that perception with their actions and lack of transparency.

Also, just to note, if I don't know what you are talking about and you use cryptic remarks or references, I'll just delete. You cannot just talk to one person - you must be sure the rest of us understand what is being discussed.

Anonymous said...

A proper education for all would lead to calls for health care for all, and then it would be a basic economic standard for all.

Slippery slope

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, Slippery Slope, then you might want to pay attention to what Jenny Durkan is suggesting which is taking some money from the Families and Education levy for 2 years of free higher ed. What programs would she cut from F&E? Maybe the free health clinics at the high schools where many kids get healthcare - mental and physical - that they otherwise might not.

Anonymous said...

When funds are limited triage is required. I trust Jenny to make informed choices and to be equitable in her actions.

Properly funding education is indeed a road to socialism. Goddess help us if we become like Norway or Denmark.

Free Childcare, university, health care?

So radical, SPS can't even dream about it much less teach about it.

Salish C

Anonymous said...

Isn't Jenny Durkan the candidate you said you wouldn't support because she didn't grant you a press interview as a (?) blogger, citizen journalist, et al., and that you cut off a discussion thread by saying that you wouldn't allow readers to discuss Durkan since she wouldn't grant you an interview?

Can we expect lots of insidious digs between now and election time? Even I, an undecided voter, am taking notice.

Feeling Irrelevant

Anonymous said...

Just a sample of the lovely commuting experiences waiting for RESMS students.

Oh Boy

Melissa Westbrook said...

Salish C, I find your remarks kind of incoherent. I'm not sure what you are saying.

Feeling irrelevant, I didn't say we couldn't discuss Durkan. I said that when I can hear campaign workers talking, I'm not being a front for her campaign. I can tell the difference.

I didn't make an "insidious dig" at her; I asked if she wants to do what she stated and she stated that some money would come from the F&E levy, what would she cut from it to serve her program? It's a valid question.

Oh Boy, I went to the RESMS ribbon cutting today and thought the same thing.


Anonymous said...

My husband says that too.
I was agreeing with Slippery Slope that the first step to a fairer society is through education; that universal healthcare follows and then socialism, European style, with all it's cradle-to-grave care.

I wish we were more like Europe and Canada with daycare for all children provided by the government, well-funded schools, national healthcare emphasizing prevention, free higher learning available to all, and welfare for those unable to work that is empowering not humiliating.

From my experience with my children in SPS,I have two in High school this year, the teachers are not explaining well the alternatives to our form of regulated capitalism. The Nordic model is not well explained, nor is the German or French or British model of social welfare.

As far as Jenny Durkan, I don't work for her or even know much about her, but she seems an intelligent and honest former public servant and I think she will be fair about distributing limited funds. If the free college idea gets wings, I hope that pre-K or other programs important to families don't get hit, but that's what I meant by triage, sometimes hard choices are made.

I hope the district and the new mayor are able to work together, the city has vast resources in comparison to SPS, and sometimes the district seems very isolated from the city as a whole.

Salish C

Melissa Westbrook said...

Are we in a "triage" state? Because, if so, I'd vote for Pre-K over college and in-school health care in middle/high school over college as well.

Jet City mom said...

K-12 makes the most sense to pay attention to, then PreK.
Preparing the kids to make the most of their K-12 yrs, is their best opportunity to continue their education after high school.
If they are struggling through K-12, as so many do, it really won't matter to them, how many college scholarships and tuition vouchers we hand out.

But if they do well in k-12, then there already are many avenues for a fairly affordable college education.

Anonymous said...

Remember the government creates nothing it only takes from the haves and gives to the have nots. Norway taxes at 48% and has a vast supply of oil for its small population of Caucasian population.


Anonymous said...


Vast amounts of research support the absolute importance of effective pre-K on the future academic success of students. Do you realize that at age four simply hearing notes played on a piano while giving each note a different name, locks in those pitches and forever after the person will be able to hear the proper pitches of western music and notice any deviation?

Study after study have shown the advantage of attending Head Start and similar programs. These pre-K programs are the best way to level the playing field between rich and poor as regards academics.

I would hope the mayor would take away benefits from developers and other fat-cats and give more to education. Educating our youth, all of them, is the most important piece of our quest to create a habitable, stable and peaceful earth.

As far as your bashing government and taxes,I consider maintaining parks and swimming pools as more than income redistribution.

Also the fallacy that the high taxes of social welfare countries is a burden on individuals or the economy is disproved by simply adding what Americans pay for privately: i.e. health insurance paid by employers(which is paid for by higher prices), childcare - we pay exorbitant costs for frequently sub par care and great loss of productivity because it is not affordable to many working parents or they miss work because childcare doesn't deal with sick kids.

In these "high tax" countries all education is free, a benefit to the society. Drug rehab and prevention is fully funded and saves untold suffering. A health system that places prevention through diet and exercise above pill based medicine like we have here, promoted and fostered by drug companies.

Food safety laws that protect people not promote profits for food companies that care only about the bottom line(as is their fiduciary duty). When meat burgers and oil soaked fries are cheaper than a bowl of rice and beans with some vegetables. When soda is cheaper than water.

Low taxes mean nothing when your nation is slowly killing itself, physically and morally.

Salish C

Anonymous said...

At least acknowledge the fact that NOTHING IS FREE.

Norway's citizens are taxed at 48% or higher. Norway does not have to police the world likr the US and Norway's government controls many freedoms we enjoy here in the US. Norway's population is about 2 million less than WA state and Norway has vast oil and gas resources to support its socialistic lifestyle. Norway doesn't have various classes of citizens seeking to change the culture nor millions of immigrants seeking to change the culture. Anyone immigrating to Norway MUST have a job waiting for them and MUST contribute. There's no bottom less free handouts in Norway unlike here in the US.

You can support parks and pools but it's still redistribution of wealth. Taking from the haves and giving to the have nots. The Norwegian tax system is based on the principle that everybody should pay tax according to their means and receive services according to their needs. Would that system would never work here? I know my relatives thank the lord everyday for the cold dark winters in Norway.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for pointing all that out. The US can never be like Norway for 1000s of reasons. Also, you can't cherry pick which parts of a socialistic government controlled system you like, because it's an all or nothing proposition.

I will take our system over socialism any day. If socialism is so great why aren't the worlds refugees and immigrates flooding into Venezuela or China? Why are Sweden's and Denmark's economies suffering under the influx of refugees?


"The Survey points out that housing prices have soared, and are now among the highest in the 35-member OECD. Household indebtedness has risen in tandem, while the lack of affordable housing has worsened both inequality and labour mobility. A comprehensive reform package is therefore needed. This should include efforts to limit household debt, such as a cap on household debt-to-income ratios; reforms to the recurrent property tax, to better align tax charges with property values, combined with a phase-out of the deductibility of mortgage interest payments; enhanced co-operation between central and local government in land-use planning and simplified land-use procedures; and an easing of rental regulations to incentivise rental housing supply, mobility and a better utilisation of the housing stock.

While income inequality in Sweden remains among the lowest in the OECD, it has been rising since the 1990s. Decades of slow benefit increases were partly intended to strengthen work incentives, but have also left recipients behind the rest of the population. An annual analysis of the distributional consequences of different revision scenarios would highlight the consequences of inaction, but leave actual increases to political decision-making, so that equity, fiscal cost and work incentives can be taken into account.

Strong immigration in recent years, including the inflow of asylum seekers, has created both opportunities and challenges for Sweden. Continuing the simplification of procedures that allow immigrants to obtain residence and work permits is critical to harnessing their economic potential, but more can be done to ensure better immigrant employment outcomes and ward against worsening inequality.

Consolidation and simplification could increase uptake of wage subsidy schemes and help bring more of the low-skilled into employment. Foreign-born women’s labour participation is particularly low, and requires more targeted active labour market policy measures.

Further incentives to better split parental leave between parents and policies to fight stereotypes in education and support women entrepreneurship could boost women’s careers and reduce the gaps between genders in pay and power."

Socialism kills innovation.


Anonymous said...

The whole point of the original post was that a decent education leads a population to demand fairness and equity.

Educated countries demand health care for all and childcare and compassionate elder care.

Our poorly educated poor people know nothing of socialism or organizing and are kept docile while the educated middle class, whether they get through public or private school, have no incentive other than altruism to improve the lot of the underclass.

It's paradoxical that capitalists believe that altruism will help the poor but only competition will create innovation.

So, are people basically altruistic or competitive?

Socialists say we are all good and want to help each other. I'm sure you find that naive.

That's why education is always under attack and under-funded. To keep people down.

Salish C

Melissa Westbrook said...

No, Salish C, the original post was an open thread where I mentioned that the Superintendent had not said anything about the roiling in our country that is likely to be a topic of discussion in our schools.

Jet City mom said...

Salish C, I believe you have me confused with another poster.