Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Cary Moon for Mayor

This blog endorses Cary Moon for Mayor of Seattle. 

Why Moon over her opponent, Jenny Durkan?

1.  Moon is willing to put herself out there and talk about education issues at her campaign page (look under Racial Equity).  As well, she just did a recent story at  Medium.  It's meaty, good reading. 

2.  Moon interviewed with me and Durkan didn't.  

However, what did Durkan say in an interview with the 36th Dems earlier this year about public education?  (bold mine)

Question: In your view, what is the role of the City in assuring equal educational achievement and achievement opportunities in Seattle Public Schools?


You know, I think it's a really difficult thing when the City has such a critical role in education but yet the School Board controls it.  And I think we have to reexamine those connections as a city but there are things we have done and continue to do. 

For one, pre-K. You know, universal pre-k , I think, is not just an important issue but I think it should be a universal right.  I think if we are looking to the future and what families need, we have to have it.  Our pre-k initiative, you know, the initiative we funded ourself, it expires.  

But we have to work with the schools and find better ways so that every kid has the chance to excel and not get left behind.  I think we are more and more balkanizing into neighborhoods and locales and have so many languages that are spoken in the public schools...the future of our city is the kids.   There's just no question about that.   And I think we have to find ways to work with the School Board and to reexamine if that's the most efficient way to work in schools.

One thing I think we can't do is blame teachers.  You know, I was a high school teacher for two years, between college and law school.  And teaching school is one of the hardest jobs there is.  You're required to not just be teacher but social worker, sometimes absentee parent, you name it - you have every single role.  And more and more I think we have not done enough to support our teachers.
I'm not voting for anyone who has ideas about taking over the Board and/or the district.  She has not once explained those comments.

3.  Moon has many more ideas around how the City can support public education than Durkan. Durkan has said two things - she doesn't like how the School Board works and she'd like to divert Families and Education levy money to provide free community college to SPS grads.  

4. When Moon shows up to endorsement events, she sticks around and talks to people.  Durkan - from the three events I have been at where she has appeared - came for the main thing and then beats a quick exit.

I think someone who is willing to truly engage with voters is the person I would want to be Mayor.

I note that the Times covered an ed reform forum that happened last night but, like many a Time's article, it is vague.  It had not a single quote from any of the actual Seattle School Board candidates but it did from mayoral candidates.  Weird.
One topic area, and a focus of questions in others, was the city’s Families and Education Levy and the Seattle Preschool Levy, both of which are up for renewal in 2018. The levies are separate from the school district.

Mayoral candidate Jenny Durkan announced in August that she wants the city to pay for two years of community-college tuition for all Seattle public high school graduates, using the Families and Education Levy as one of the funding sources. In a four-part education equity plan released Tuesday, candidate Cary Moon said she thinks levy money should only center on K-12 education “as it was originally intended.”
Moon said this in the Medium about the F&E levy (bold hers):
And unlike my opponent, I believe that levy money should remain focused on K-12 education as it was originally intended.

However, the city should evaluate levy-funding decisions based on need and in consultation with the community rather than relying solely on high stakes test scores. I want to acknowledge Nikkita Oliver and the Seattle’s Peoples Party for raising this issue during the primary election campaign, and thank the community leaders who have discussed with me the need to ensure we are doing everything we can to target levy funding in a way that benefits all children — but especially students who need additional support to succeed. 

We must also re-prioritize funding for crucial social services that low-income and homeless students need to succeed, including social workers, family support, school nurses, and mental health counselors. In addition, the city should provide greater technical assistance to programs navigating the grant application process for levy funds, and review grant-making policy to ensure the application and evaluation metrics create a level playing field for funding access. Finally, we should increase funding for critical thinking, civics, and arts education to provide all students with a well-rounded education. 
In a one-minute wrap-up at the education forum from the Times' article:
At the end of the forum, each candidate offered a one-minute reflection, with many speaking about the importance of learning from others in the room.

“If we can provide every kid in this city with a great education and a chance to pursue their dream, we will have made a giant step forward to ending racial inequity in our city,” Moon said.

Durkan said she learned from the participants that community members are very engaged, but very frustrated with the current system.

“ … We have heard the same problems spoken about over and over again, but it doesn’t seem that people are delivering real solutions or delivering on the promises,” Durkan said.
Both things are true but I still believe Durkan would spend the time (and the money) to take over the system rather than truly support it.

Cary Moon for Mayor.

Best Wishes for Rosh Hashanah 2017

Image result for rosh hashanah illustrationsTo all our Jewish readers and their families celebrating this week.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Deaf Thrive Day this Saturday

No automatic alt text available. 

Robert Eagle Staff MS News

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

Image result for hispanic heritage month illustrationHispanic Heritage Month started on September 15th and ends on October 15th.

As someone who is part Mexican, I am very proud of this heritage.  (My grandmother, like actress Eva Longoria's, lived in what is now the U.S. when it was Mexico, then the Republic of Texas and then part of the U.S.)
Hispanic Heritage Month, whose roots go back to 1968, begins each year on September 15, the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico, Chile and Belize also celebrate their independence days during this period and Columbus Day (Día de la Raza) is October 12.

The term Hispanic or Latino, refers to Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race. On the 2010 Census form, people of Spanish, Hispanic and/or Latino origin could identify themselves as Mexican, Mexican American, Chicano, Puerto Rican, Cuban, or "another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin."

Today, 55 million people or 17% of the American population are of Hispanic or Latino origin. This represents a significant increase from 2000, which registered the Hispanic population at 35.3 million or 13% of the total U.S. population.
However, from an NBC Opinion by Raul A. Reyes:

Tuesday Open Thread

Let's do some Seattle Schools This Week:

Wednesday, the 20th 
School Board meeting. Agenda

- Intro item to spend over $600K over three years for college/career technology for 8-12th graders, starting this school year. Funding would include one more FTE at JSCEE and "school leads" at each school (presumably a counselor or teacher who takes the training to use the technology)

- Into - Adopting new School Board Policy No.4218, Speakers of Diverse Languages.  Twenty-five percent of students in SPS speak a language other than English at home.

- Intro - One-year extension of Strategic Plan.  This is something of a gap filler between the end of the cycle for the current Strategic Plan and the possible exit of Superintendent Nyland plus the election of new Board members.  Seems like a good idea given all those changes.

- Intro - Approval of property sales of 315 square feet for the South Lander Street Grade Separation Right of Way to the City for $50,000

- Intro/Action - resolution supporting undocumented students

Thursday, the 21st 
Boundary changes meeting for Adams, Loyal Heights and Whittier 
6:30-7:30 pm at the Ballard High Library

Friday, the 22nd
Last day for parent referrals for Advanced Learning programs

Saturday, the 23rd
Three Director community meetings (one of the last for Director Blanford who is not running for reelection.  I'll just point out that if you have concerns over the new Student Assignment Plan, now IS the time to talk to directors.)

Harris - Delridge Library from noon - 2:30 PM

Blanford - Douglass-Truth Library from 10 am-noon

Pinkham - University Library from 4-5:30 pm

There are new STOP paddle cameras on school buses to improve student safety.
Exterior cameras have been added to 120 of the 379 First Student buses that transport our students each day. The cameras capture video of vehicles that appear to be illegally passing the bus when its stop paddle is fully extended. The King County Sheriff’s Office reviews the footage provided by the American Traffic Solutions cameras to confirm the traffic violation occurred. 

The cameras began operation today, Sept. 18. Drivers captured on video now through Oct. 1, 2017, will receive a warning letter to educate them about the new program. 

Starting Monday, Oct. 2, 2017, the King County Sheriff’s Office will begin issuing $419 citations to vehicle owners that have violated the state’s stop paddle safety law. Visit the Washington State Legislature website to read the text of state law RW 46.61.370.
The district, along with OSPI, is really playing up the importance of daily student attendance.  I've seen some parents at the Soup for Teacher Facebook page saying they think the district doesn't consider many issues around attendance like transportation issues (including school buses), chronic illness and family vacations.

On that last issue - family vacations - I remind parents that the district's policy is to allow principals to be the deciders at each school on whether a child who is out of school for vacation will be allowed to make up work upon return.  Check with your school's principal.

What's on your mind?

Monday, September 18, 2017

Please Consider Sending an Email about Protections for ADHD Students

From a reader (thanks!), news from the U.S. Department of Education via ADDitude website:

The Trump administration is planning to rescind a key civil rights protection for students with ADHD. Contact the U.S. Department of Education by September 20 to explain why our children need the “ADHD Guidance Letter” to remain in place.

The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) may soon eliminate a critical resource that works to secure and standardize the rights of students with ADHD, according to the national non-profit organization CHADD. Now, CHADD’s Public Policy Committee is encouraging Americans to petition the DOE to maintain the 14-month-old protection — formally called the “Dear Colleague Letter and Resource Guide on ADHD” — before the public comment period ends on September 20, and a final decision is made.

[Click here for sample language and instructions for submitting your comments to the DOE.]

“The 2016 Letter of Guidance on ADHD has been an incredibly effective document for ensuring that students struggling with ADHD receive the supports they desperately need to succeed in school,” Hughes said. “And it has helped address the enormous inconsistencies in schools across the country in the eligibility and implementation of 504 Plans.”

Friday, September 15, 2017

Friday Open Thread

Not sure what to make of this story in the Seattle Times this morning about a new group in our region created to incubate new types of schools.  Apparently the entire system of public education is "broken" and needs to be "blown up."  (Just to note, I think in this day and age, we might not ever use the term "blown up" about schools).

I have to smile.  This is the same ed reform party line that's been going on for years.  So what's this, a repackaging?

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Running Start and High School Alternatives

Requested by Kellie L:

If you measure on a per year basis, this two year program is the LARGEST SPS high school at the moment and it is not part of the high school boundary conversation or any of the capacity conversations.

I have done a little more research and there are a few more dynamics at play, the community college enrollment includes Running Start as well as a variety of CTE programs and a few program geared towards dropout prevention. This is a huge aspect of the high school conversation.

I wish I had time to flesh out this thread more but I don't except to add a couple of links.

One Student Killed in Spokane-Area High School Shooting

Several of you posted elsewhere about this sad and tragic occurence.  From the Seattle Times:

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Mayor Murray Resigns (Finally)

It was quite the waiting game but I would suppose having five people accuse you of molestation might cause you to act.

It did for Mayor Ed Murray.

Tuesday Open Thread

What's on your mind?

(Fair warning, I'm a little tired of this emphasis on HCC and I think others are as well.  This thread is NOT open to that dicussion.  I'll delete any comments on that subject.)