Tuesday, July 24, 2018

New Orleans "Miracle"? Let's Look at ALL the Facts

The New York Times had a two-part op-ed series on the changes forced on New Orleans and their Orleans Parish Schools because of Katrina.  Both were written by David Leonhardt.  Mr. Leonhardt states that he is going to talk about the good and the bad of what happened in New Orleans but rather than do that, he makes excuses about anything negative, hypes up the good and leaves out quite a lot of the bad.

I know you're thinking, "Why should I care about New Orleans and/or charter schools?"  I say it's important to keep up with the landscape of public education across the country because issues tend to land.  As I noted in the Tuesday Open Thread, I believe that the WA Supreme Court is likely to uphold the latest version of the charter school law (and I doubt they will rule this year and certainly won't - as they did last time - right before school starts).

A few quick updates before exploring the "New Orleans miracle."

Tuesday Open Thread

Blog note: I will be taking a bit of a hiatus and so the blog will go into quiet mode.

Boy, do I like this: one soccer ref for school-aged kids has had enough and has a Facebook page where he logs terrible/outrageous behavior by parents at games.  From the NY Times:

Monday, July 23, 2018

My Interview with Superintendent Denise Juneau

I was granted a 30-minute interview with new superintendent, Denise Juneau, on July 16th.  She seemed in very good spirits.  Juneau has a winning way where she neither comes off as know-it-all or gladhander.  I see a quiet strength but we'll have to see if she uses it. I hope my first impression holds true.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Friday Open Thread

Private school report from Education Next tells us (bold mine):
  • Private nonsectarian elementary schools serve a small percentage of the nation’s students, but a growing share of high-income students. Just 1 percent of middle-income students enrolled in those schools in 1969, and the percentage grew slightly to between 1 and 2 percent in 2011. But the enrollment rate among high-income families grew from 2 percent in 1969 to 6 percent in 2011. 

Thursday, July 19, 2018

The District and Union Both Have a Problem: Exhibit A - Muir Elementary

I reported here about the alleged rape of a child at Muir Elementary during school year 2016-2017 by an IA, Albert C. Virachismith.  The child said nothing to his parents until the next year when that IA had been moved to another school.

I'll just state outright - unions, especially teachers and police - need to stop protecting bad actors.  Yes, follow protections in the union contract of how a member is supported when being called less-than-effective.  But the level of the support should be a minimum when you have a member who clearly needs to be exited.  When all the proof is in and the person is given the opportunity to change and doesn't, then that person should then be exited from the job.

The Times had a recent article on this story which adds new information that presents a real challenge to both the district and the union because both could have made different choices that could have protected this child.  I believe both should provide a clear explanation of why they proceeded as they did (but they won't).

I'll try to condense the Times story AND add in what a trusted source has told me.  (The Times article has several links to district documents.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

What About PTA?

I'm a long-time supporter of PTA but I now find what comes out of the local, state and national orgs to be somewhat confusing.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Tuesday Open Thread

Governor Inslee has opened a new state office called the Department of Children, Youth and Families.   The home page highlights adoption, early learning, foster children, child development services and child protection services.  On their Outcome Goals, they list: education, health and resilience.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Washington State Board of Ed Seeks Input

 From their website:

The State Board of Education is in the process of developing its 2019-2022 Strategic Plan and is seeking your input to help define a comprehensive vision for the future of education in Washington state.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Target Offering Teachers Special Deal

From Target - great for teachers, not sure what it solves for parents.

Friday Open Thread

We had an issue where a Facebook post was reprinted at this blog without attribution about the issue of disagreement at RESMS over use of the facilities by the Urban Native Education Alliance   Did the author post it?  I don't know.  If not, who did?  Don't just throw something up without explanation.  If the point was to show there is disagreement within the Native American community, I'm not sure that's news.  There's always disagreement among groups.  Please help readers understand your point.

Please read comment rules and follow them. 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Bill Gates, Part 1: How Much Will He Spend Before He Admits He Doesn't Have the Answers for Public Ed?

The latest about the Gates Foundation is the Rand Foundation report on the Foundation's efforts in teacher evaluation around using test scores.  What was the Gates Foundation doing?

Bill Gates, Part 2: Still Not Getting Great Outcomes for Public Education

Noted UW professor Wayne Au had a conversation with the Fair website about the Rand report on the Gates Foundation's efforts around teacher evaluation.  I believe this to be an important conversation for two reasons.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Tuesday Open Thread

 Update: from a reader, the reader board at Whitman Middle School welcomes a new principal.  But the district has made no announcement so it's unclear when/why this has happened.  Again, this principal movement is like watching a ping-pong match.

Not sure when the principals' association, PASS, has their contract renegotiated but when it is, parents should let the Board know that there has to be a better way on principal selection/assignment.

end of update

In the happiest of news,  the entire Thai boys soccer team and their coach have made it safely out the cave where they were stuck for two weeks.  Huzzah!

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Seattle Schools, Week of July 9-14, 2018

Monday, July 9th
First meeting of the Facilities Master Plan Taskforce from 2-5 pm at JSCEE.  Agenda.

Wednesday, July 11th
School Board meeting, starting at 4:15 pm.  Agenda

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Saturday Open Thread

In an astonishing ruling, a federal judge said that "Access to literacy"is not a constitutional right.  The ruling, not so ironically, came from Betsy DeVos' home state, Michigan.  From the NY Times:

Friday, July 06, 2018

Got Any Unregistered Young People in Your House?

Via Twitter:


5 more days left to register online before the August Primary! July 9th is the deadline to register online and via mail before the Primary on August 7th. 

To register online please visit:

 For more information please visit:

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Waitlist Work Session/Native American Program Reduced at RESMS

 Here's the agenda which includes the BEX V Work Session on the Facilities Master Plan (which was something of an irritant as it was advertised as BEX V but was really about the FMP).  The Waitlist presentation starts on page 99.

I fear that this thread may disappoint some of you as the actual movement of the waitlists was not the focus of the Work Session on June 25th.

Of interest (in random order):

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Tuesday Open Thread

Wishing all our readers a safe and fun 4th of July. The U.S.A. may be in troubled times but it's worth remembering how it started and the fundamental goodness of most Americans.

Here's a great video (from Canada about diversity AND working together) - show your kids.  Our country used to embrace multiculturalism and immigrants.

Using Race for College Admissions

In the biggest education news of the week, Trump has decided that using race in college admissions will no longer be encouraged.  This rescinds measures put forth during President Obama's administration.  From the New York Times:

Sunday, July 01, 2018

A Call to Keep Balance on the Supreme Court

As most of you must be aware, the U.S Supreme Court last week handed down a number of controversial opinions.  As well, Justice Anthony Kennedy announced he would be leaving on July 31st of this year.

Kennedy, the swing vote on the Court, has been a reliable voice for letting the Constitution guide his decisions.  Because of that, he has been the lead vote in many decisions that have made both sides either mad or glad.  But, he was a balance to the Court being a one-sided entity.

Our nation needs balance now, more than ever.  The decisions made with a one-sided Court will change the course of history for your children and grandchildren.

Welcome to New Superintendent, Denise Juneau

Superintendent Juneau is now onboard as Seattle Public Schools' new leader.  Here's a message from here via the district's webpage.

She has created what is being called her "Entry Plan." Partial excerpts: