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. 
  • Private schools historically ranged widely in their annual fees; many programs, such as those run by the Catholic Church, were designed to be broadly affordable and offered significant discounts for low-income families. However, the number of Catholic schools has fallen sharply in recent years, while the number of nonsectarian private schools has increased. At the same time, income inequality and residential and school segregation by income have grown.
  •  Our analysis finds that private schools, like public schools, are increasingly segregated by income. In particular, the share of middle-income students attending private schools has declined by almost half, while the private-school enrollment rate of wealthy children has remained steady. Much of the decline among middle-income students is due to falling enrollment at Catholic schools, which have closed in droves in the past 20 years. Meanwhile, private-school enrollment among affluent students has shifted from religious to nonsectarian schools.
  • For example, among families with children in grades 1 to 8, the 90th percentile income in 1975 of $111,410 was roughly double that of the 50th percentile income of $56,084. In 2013, the comparable 90th percentile income of $183,959 was nearly triple the 50th percentile income of $68,256.
  • First, if the private schools affluent families choose for their children provide a better education than the schools available to children from lower-income families, these choices pass on economic advantage to the next generation and undercut the potential for intergenerational economic mobility. Second, it is possible that well-educated affluent parents who send their children to private schools may be less interested in devoting their political and social capital to advocating for better public schools. 
Is this a decline in religious belief?  The role of religious belief in education?  Charter school growth (which is now on the decline)?   One thing for certain - whether it's public, private or charter, schools are increasingly becoming more and more segregated (I'll have a separate thread on charter schools and segregation as they seem to embrace it.)

And now for something totally different - how much of a raise do you think SPS teachers should get?  Would you support them in a strike? 

What's on your mind?

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.

I have lost count of how many schools have gone to PTOs.  (A PTO is a parent-teacher organization that is school-based so they operate solely for the benefit of their school.)  I think there are at least five SPS schools now. 

The SCPTSA has a page that explains the difference between a PTO and PTA.

I've also lost count of how many schools have no parent group.  I know this occurs generally at Title One schools where parents may be immigrants or working two jobs and don't have a a core of people to create a parent group.  I recall that some PTAs did offer to mentor schools in this situation but I'm not sure that went very far. 

I bring this up because I attended the end-of-the-year meeting for the Seattle Council PTSA.   There were roughly 60 people there including Board president Leslie Harris and now-superintendent Denise Juneau.  The district was also represented by Gail Morris (Native American issues), James Bush (Family Engagement) and Carri Campbell (Communications).

I was perusing the minutes from the previous meeting and this caught my eye:

"Sherry Rudolph - Membership - Seattle Council is down 800 members."

Wow.  That is a heck of a lot of members to lose in a year or two.  Any thoughts on why, Readers?

There were elections for new board members for SCPTSA. 

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.

In order to provide services in a way that accomplishes this vision, the new agency must measure the outcomes of each generation, paying particular attention to unequal outcomes for low-income children and families, communities of color, and other often marginalized groups. As we consider what outcomes we will set as goals for the new agency, we continue to ask ourselves two critical questions: how will we know that children, youth, and families are thriving, and what will need to be true to ensure this?

So, whether you are a parent, caregiver, state agency employee, service provider, or a Washingtonian who cares about the future of our children, we know you have important insight into what these overarching outcome goals might be. If you want to weigh in on this process, please take a few minutes to fill out this brief survey. You can also always reach us at with ideas or questions.
I met with Superintendent Juneau yesterday and I'll have a thread up on that interview soon.

BECU offers a number of grants.  One grant area now accepting nominations from BECU members is People Helping People.  
Every year, we ask our members to nominate local organizations. The community then votes to determine the winner of the People's Choice Award. It's a way for us to recognize and honor both members and organizations in our communities that exemplify one of the most important values BECU was founded on: helping others. 
It looks like Bellevue teachers may have negotiated themselves a raise of  over 19%.  They vote on the new contract thru Friday.  Wonder where SEA is on their contract?

I'll have a news roundup of privacy issues but this story is a good start.  In Florida a law stemming from the shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school was passed that now asks parents for one more thing when enrolling their child in public schools.  From the Florida Phoenix:
But the newest registration requirement this upcoming school year is a little-noticed provision that is now drawing concern, confusion and criticism as administrators grapple with Florida’s new school safety law.

That law says that each student – at the time of initial school registration – must disclose if they’ve been referred for mental health services. Parents and guardians will typically fill out and sign the registration forms.

Put in context, the mental health registration requirement is part of other information that must be disclosed at registration, such as “previous school expulsions, arrests resulting in a charge, juvenile justice actions, and referrals to mental health services…,” according to the law.

But with few details and instruction in the law, parents and educators are now in a quandary: How much information should be reported? What kind of mental health issues would be included? What if a student has ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) or anxiety-related testing? What about teen depression? What happens if a parent refuses to disclose information? Will a student be blocked from entering school?

No matter what, “This perpetuates the stigma,” said Alisa LaPolt, executive director of the Florida office of the National Alliance On Mental Illness (NAMI).
What's on your mind?

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.

We hope you will take a few minutes to complete a brief survey to share what you feel makes the Board successful and to provide ideas for improvements, needs, expectations, and priorities that will help the Board establish key strategic objectives, measures and goals to serve as our guide for action for the next four years.

The Board wants to hear the voices of those who care deeply about education. This is an opportunity to help shape the future of the K-12 system and impact its effort to improve outcomes for all students. 

It's basically four questions plus a ranking of issues plus a comment section.   I do wish they had asked what successes and failures that people see in their own districts.  Might be interesting to see what folks say in various regions.

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: