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Showing posts from January, 2008

Big Issues Looming (and the Meetings to Discuss Them)

So next week's calendar has a couple of important meetings on district issues. One is the district's meeting at the Chief Sealth High School library on Monday, the 4th, at 6:30, to discuss the plan for the co-joined Denny/Sealth building. They scheduled their meeting after the local community group, the Westwood Neighborhood Council, had announced their meeting on the issue on Tuesday, the 5th. (This upset a number of people and the Council has rescheduled for Tuesday, the 12th at 7 pm in the Sealth High Commons. They will have a 5-person panel to discuss issues about both the co-joined building and co-joined programs. They will have as moderator, Enrique Cerna from KCTS and Steve Sundquist, Board director for the region, will be one of the panelists.) Both meetings should be quite interesting as they will cover some of the same ground but not all. The district's meeting won't be talking about the academic benefits or what the academic plan is. Oh, that's

First report of findings from McKinsey

Last night the consultants from McKinsey presented their initial findings. The presentation can be found on the Strategic Plan web page . There is nothing here that an observer of the District would not already know. These findings are not the plan, just early discussion points. For what it's worth, the consultants seem to have it right. I have to wonder, however, what outside stakeholders they spoke with. The Strategic Plan web page now also includes the Communications review by the Broad Foundation and a copy of the Superintendent's Entry Plan. I also note that the due date for the Phi Delta Kappa curriculum audit has been pushed back to February. I was EXTREMELY disappointed to discover that the review of the District's Communications was all about public relations and not about public engagement - authentic two-way communication. As the reviewer wrote: " Moreover, you might consider whether the Communications Office is adequately staffed in terms of skill set a

Click!

This article about the use of "clickers" in the classroom appeared in the NY Times. From the article: "The clickers are part of an increasingly popular technology known as an audience response system, which has been used for everything from surveying game show audiences to polling registered voters. That technology is now spreading to public and private schools across the country. The Los Angeles school district has spent about $503,000 to buy clickers for more than two dozen middle schools since 2005, district officials said. Smaller districts in the Dallas and Atlanta suburbs have also invested in them, according to school officials and companies that manufacture the devices. In New York City, a dozen schools across the five boroughs have experimented with the devices. And in St. Paul, the clickers are routinely used to train teachers and administrators and to get reaction from parents at community meetings." (Reaction from parents at community meetings? Here

If You Want Great Scientists, You Need to Nuture Them

The NY Times had an article about the finalists for the Intel Science Talent Search (formerly Westinghouse Science Talent Search). Forty percent of them came from NY State. So I ask my husband, who lived in Brooklyn, how that might be. The answer was that NY State supports its gifted students and has very specific high schools for them. From the article: "Six finalists have gone on to win Nobel Prizes ." “Her mature, clear, deep writing style is as high as any student I’ve ever met,” said Mr. Brooks, who conceded that some of Katie’s reasoning could be difficult to follow because of the material’s density. “It’s the work of a graduate-level student,” he said." "David Alex Rosengarten, 17, another finalist from the Great Neck school, studied Albert Einstein ’s theory of general relativity and whether it could explain the galactic rotation curve problem in astrophysics." But really, those kids would have been better off in a general ed classroom because w

Bush's state of the union and call for vouchers...

From the transcript of Bush's state of the union address (1/28/08): "We must also do more to help children when their schools do not measure up. Thanks to the D.C. Opportunity Scholarships you approved, more than 2,600 of the poorest children in our nation's capital have found new hope at a faith-based or other nonpublic schools. Sadly, these schools are disappearing at an alarming rate in many of America's inner cities. So I will convene a White House summit aimed at strengthening these lifelines of learning. And to open the doors of these schools to more children, I ask you to support a new $300 million program called Pell Grants for Kids. We have seen how Pell Grants help low-income college students realize their full potential. Together, we've expanded the size and reach of these grants. Now let us apply the same spirit to help liberate poor children trapped in failing public schools." Vouchers may sound fair but they divert much needed public funds away

New Strategic Plan

The District is embarking on a new Strategic Plan initiative. The new plan has its own web site and an email address .

Learn More About Education Funding on Monday

From the Seattle Times: A Monday night meeting at Seattle Public Schools headquarters will focus on state funding for education. School district Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson and School Board President Cheryl Chow will talk about education funding and how it affects local students. Chow, a member of the state's Basic Education Funding Task Force, will discuss her experience. After their remarks, Paola Maranan, executive director of the Children's Alliance, will discuss efforts to improve education funding in Washington. The meeting, sponsored by the Seattle Council PTSA, aims to prepare people to speak to legislators about the need for more education funding. The event is open to the public. There will be time for refreshments and networking beginning at 6:30 p.m.; presentations start at 7 p.m. at the John Stanford Center, 2445 Third Ave. S., Seattle. Information: president@seattlecouncilptsa.org or 206-364-7430.

High School Math Curriculum Adoption

The State of Washington will, in the coming weeks, determine the new K-12 Math Standards. They have a draft set that folks can review. The OSPI has promised to name three curricula which they regard as roughly aligned with the State Standards and they will support. Districts will not be required to adopt one of these three curricula (yet), but the OSPI has promised support for these three, which, if it materializes, would be a strong incentive for Districts to select one of them. The OSPI has promised that there will be at least one traditional math curricula among the three for each school level. Seattle Public Schools has recently adopted math curricula for middle schools (CMP II) and elementary schools (Everyday Math supplemented by Singapore Math). This year, the District will adopt a new high school math curriculum. The District's math curriculum adoption web page is horribly out-of-date, but it offers the best information publicly available on the topic. According to that

Interventions

In a recent post, I wrote about the need for interventions for students who are not working at grade level. From my perspective, the District should have a system to assure early and effective intervention for individual students not meeting standards. There are, of course, other perspectives. Some may think that each school should develop their own interventions and apply them as they see fit. I suspect that there are others who see no need for such interventions and find the whole idea of "working at grade level" or "meeting Standards" as artificial and industrial rather than natural and humanistic. In addition to the question of whether there should be interventions, and the question of what authority should direct them, there is the additional question of what form they should take. The range could run from teachers taking additional time to provide students with remedial instruction on an ad hoc basis within the regular class time, to Individual Learning Plan

New Math Standards

I went to the presentation on the new Washington State K-12 Math Standards last night at Roosevelt High School. The new standards are supposed to be more rigorous, more narrowly focused on core content priorities, they are supposed to require greater depth in those core content priorities, they are clearer and more detailed, and they are supposed to be pedagogically neutral - not preferring either reform math or traditional math. In the end, however, the change in the Standards won't help the state improve the number of students meeting the Standards. The problem isn't that the old Standards were bad - they were bad, but that wasn't the problem. The problem is that the Standards - all of the Standards - are meaningless because neither the State nor the Districts have a "then what". Education is a human endeavor. That means, among other things, that it is going to have a broad diversity of outcomes. Since there is only one outcome that we deem as positive (studen

Education - Dino Style

So I'm browsing a local conservative website (always interesting if not funny). There was this discussion about education and they referenced Dino Rossi's website. Below is his education brief. Now as someone who wouldn't vote for Dino Rossi (I had something very funny to say here but alas! I know I'd offend someone out there), I was a little surprised. Naturally, if you read between the lines there is a lot to wonder and worry about. But I wouldn't have thought he would be against the WASL or want to allow qualified people to teach (in areas needed) without having to take a year+ to get certified. (I also didn't know that there could be districts with less than 180 teaching days a year.) However, I did hear Dino shining through in his statement on WASL reform: "As governor, I alone would lead discussions with the legislature on how to best improve it." Dino as decider. "When it comes to education, I have one simple test: What is in t

Parents' Wish List?

This question is just for the parents of kids in the Seattle School District this blog. If you (as a K-12 public school teacher) had a magic wand, what 3 things would you change about public education in Seattle?

Connecting Assessment to Learning Goals

From an ASCD conference presentation by Jay McTighe as reported in the Education Update (January 2008): "...Applying what students know through real-life circumstances --- like purposeful writing, scientific investigation, and issues debates --- is not the same as test-prep drilling. Overreliance on test preparation can stand in the way of meaningful learning and does not actually lead to better performance on the test. In fact, McTighe likened teachers' obsession with test preparation to an athletic team that concentrates only on performing 'sideline drills' --- practicing and testing discrete skills in a decontextualized way --- rather than playing the actual game, which requires putting all the skills and knowledge together in an authentic and contextualized way." "We need to connect assesment practices to learning goals. If what is assessed signals what is important to learn, then how it is assessed signals how it should be learned. We want kids to use

Hey Sports Fans!

So there were two articles of interest in the PI today. One is about the UW's efforts to get the state to buy into their plan for a renovated Husky stadium at a cost of $300M. They want half from the state and say they can raise the other half. Frank Chopp, speaker of the house, thinks it's a good idea. What the angle for SPS? "And the stadium is used for more than just football, lobbyists argue. More than 100 community events were held at the facility last year, and renovation proponents say they'd like to see even more community use. "One of the things we would like to do is have a Friday-night high school football game of the week at Husky Stadium," Evans said." Here's what Chopp said: "It can be used for a lot more than just Husky football. They are talking about a series of high school football games. If you have ever been to Memorial Stadium in Seattle, it's in pretty bad shape." Thanks Frank. Memorial Stadium isn't th

Teachers' Wish List?

This question is j ust for the K-12 public school teachers reading this blog. I'll post a different thread tomorrow for parents, and a third for district non-teaching staff. If you (as a K-12 public school teacher) had a magic wand, what 3 things would you change about public education in Seattle?

From OSPI - Math Forum at Roosevelt

From Dr. Bergeson, WA state Superintendent for Public Instruction: I would like to take this opportunity to cordially invite you to attend the K-12 Math Forum on January 22 at the Roosevelt High School Library from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. I will be providing a progress report on the math standards revision process, its impact on student assessment, and discussing future efforts to improve math curriculum and provide support for teachers. Local educators, business and community leaders will also share their perspectives about statewide efforts to improve math education. Share your comments and questions and learn more about the next steps to improve math instruction and student learning.

She's Running...Again

I had missed that Terry Bergeson is running for State Superintendent of public schools again. I think Dr. Bergeson should go. Her record is not great and we've had uneven results from the WASL and math reforms. (I'll cut her slack in implementing WASL because it must have been huge to have to create and send it into motion.) I just don't believe the WASL is a good testing instrument and she has been pretty stubborn about not making changes.

Now This Should Be an Interesting Presentation at the Legislature.

This article appeared in today's Times. "On Friday, Edwards and about 15 of her robotics teammates will journey to Olympia to lobby the Legislature to fund robotics teams in high schools statewide. The students' pitch to legislators is straightforward: Robotics teams are a great way to motivate students to learn more about science, technology and math — all hot-button topics in education. As state educators debate ways to get more students to meet state standards for math and science, these students say extracurricular activities such as building a robot and taking it to a competition could make learning a lot more fun and effective." Great idea as most of these teams have to scrounge for private support. I know Roosevelt has a team and I believe Hale does as well. It is really a great way to teach science and math as well as to have competitions which motivate many students.

Two Interesting Education Op-Eds in the PI

This op-ed is by Rep. Glenn Anderson about supporting (and funding?) a good public education system. I like his points: Dedicating a "Fund Education First" budget that is agreed to and funded before any other state spending is authorized. Reviewing our state's achievement-testing approach, and a recommitment to achievement testing that is rigorous, globally competitive and trusted by parents and teachers. Eliminating the current seniority-based teacher compensation model and requiring a skills and knowledge compensation model to recruit and retain the best young people to be our highly qualified teachers. Improving guidance-counseling services to ensure kids, parents and teachers know what our education expectations are and what their options and resources are to achieve them. Requiring that career and technical education and college bound education pathways are equally encouraged and supported in our schools. Reforming English language learning programs to ensure that

New Immersion School in the South End

This article appeared in the PI today. "The district plans to announce Thursday that Beacon Hill Elementary will be designated an international school offering immersion or partial immersion programs in Spanish and Mandarin as well as an English-immersion program for non-English speaking students. The programs will start next fall." "The school district looked at several possible languages, including Arabic, Russian and Korean, but chose Mandarin for the new program based on demand, said Karen Kodama, international education coordinator for Seattle Public Schools." Great news although it seems like it might be a difficult thing to coordinate both full and partial immersion classes (I don't think John Stanford does it that way- anyone?). As the story notes, the population at Beacon Hill is likely to be more diverse than at John Stanford. Sadly, there are only 380 seats (not a small school but not big). There's likely to be a big competition to get in

A Quick Poll on Getting to School Yesterday

Late start/snow days are tricky things to call. When it was snowing Monday my son was excited that he might have a late start. He got up and checked the website; no late start so off he trudged (we live two blocks away from school). He gets there and the class had 8 kids. He said gradually, through the first period or two, kids came in and the office finally announced that no kid needed a pink "excused" slip to get to first or second period. I heard from another friend her child's bus to Salmon Bay never came and she took her daughter to school. Did anyone else have problems? I think this was tough to call because we usually get warmer temps to melt it (or at least not freeze it to ice) but it seems like that didn't happen this time.

Calendar items

Here are a few interesting items from the Board calendar: January 23 - 3:30pm - 5:30pm: Board Work Session: Facilities Master Plan This could be illuminating. Is the new FMP as much a botch-job as the current and previous FMP's? There is another work session on the FMP scheduled for February 27. They sure are talking about this thing a lot. February 6 - 4:00pm - 8:00pm: Board Workshop: Student Assignment I can't wait to see what news after all those months of modelling. What results are there? What are the priorities of the Board members? They have scheduled four hours for this, so I expect it to be pretty meaningful. I expect some real talk about program placement, reference areas, and capacities. I also want to learn the difference between a work session and a workshop. February 13 - 4:00pm - 5:30pm: Board Work Session: SE Education Initiative Maybe this is when we will finally learn the benchmarks and goals for the accountability elements of the S

Why Olympia's a One-Party Town

This op-ed was an interesting take on education in Washington state by Lynne Varner of the Times. Her premise? There are fewer and fewer Republicans on the Eastside because Eastsiders care about education and don't like what state Republicans have to say. From her piece: "Esser's predecessor, Chris Vance, advises Republicans to fall in love with public education. Drop divisive buzzwords like "government schools" and start talking about teachers' pay, accountability and the value of standardized testing. "The mistake the GOP has made is that when you attack the teachers union, it comes across as attacking teachers and there is no one more popular than a teacher," Vance says." I can't quite agree with the last statement because there's this strange thing of "love the teacher, hate the union". I have seen the teachers' union blamed for everything you can think of (the current one was a post at another blog about the re

School-Family Partnership Advisory Committee

Still no word on who has been appointed to the School-Family Partnership Advisory Committee. Nominations were due on November 16. The Committee's web page says that they are currently "looking to recruit more members". I have an email from Caprice Hollins dated December 27 in which she tells me that they have nominees, have selected the recommended names and " Mr. Ruiz and I are now... taking those names to Carla and the Superintendent for a final decision " Mr. Ruiz is Bernardo Ruiz, the new Coordinator of Family and Community Engagement. You might not know that, however, because his name, title, and contact information do not appear anywhere on the Family Involvement pages of the District web site - not even on the Contact page. I don't get any of this.

Troubling Times for Southend Teens

I had meant to post about this issue and then this article appeared in today's PI. The issue? "In the past four months, three teenagers -- all with ties to the Central District -- have been shot to death in killings that police are increasingly attributing to gang violence. The most recent was 14-year-old De'Che Morrison, who bled to death behind a car in Rainier Valley on Thursday, shot in the abdomen." At least 2 of the boys attended Cleveland High at some point. All 3 had gang affiliations in some way. Here's what De'Che's father had to say: "He was just a freshman in high school," Scott said. "All this stuff happened so fast, only in the last few months. A few weeks ago, I sat him down and we had a long talk. I could see in his face that he was tired, that he'd had enough of the streets. He said, 'Dad, I want to go back to school.' Tired of the streets by 14? It's heartbreaking. From the police: 'Gang inves

Interesting Stats

I was searching around for information on school construction and found this website. It had all kinds of interesting information. Here are a few stats of interest: The average according to the National Center for Education Statistics’ Common Core Data for the 2005-06 school year: Primary schools – 377 students Middle schools – 630 students High schools – 1249 students Definition of a large school Elementary school - 850 students Middle School - 1,220 students High School - 2,000 students Definition of a small school Elementary Schools (1-6): 25 students per grade level; total enrollment - 150 Elementary Schools (1-8): 25 students per grade level; total enrollment - 200 Middle Schools (5-8): 50 students per grade level; total enrollment - 200 High Schools (9-12): 75 students per grade; total enrollment - 300 The Council of Educational Facility Planners International indicates that many states use the following site formulas: Elementary Schools = 10 acres plus 1 acre for every 1

Not That Anything Will Change but Later Start Times Get Better Results

This article about later start times in high schools appeared in the NY Times and was reprinted in the Seattle Times. The author, Nancy Kalish, makes many good points including: better attendance, both in students being there and being on-time lower dropout rate fewer teen car crashes higher scores on standardized tests She also points out: "So why hasn't every school board moved back that first bell? Well, it seems that improving teenagers' performance takes a back seat to more pressing concerns: the cost of additional bus service, the difficulty of adjusting after-school activity schedules and the inconvenience to teachers and parents. But few of those problems actually come to pass, according to the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement at the University of Minnesota. In Kentucky and Minnesota, simply flipping the starting times for the elementary and high schools meant no extra cost for buses. Nor have after-school jobs and activities been affect

The Final Word on John Marshall

This article appeared in today's Times about the final outcome for the programs at John Marshall. All the programs will be dispersed or closed. There was no mention of what will happen to the building which has quite a large nursery in it. The re-entry program will be moved to Wilson-Pacific along with "Interim Alternative Education Setting, a program for students who get in trouble for doing something that is "a manifestation" of their disability". The Evening School will move to Franklin while the Teen Parent program will move to South Lake High School. The small (12 student) alternative school there will close and student in a behavior-intervention program will disperse to other schools. I'm not surprised by any of this movement; it seemed clear the district didn't want to keep things going at John Marshall. It is too large a building for so many small programs. I do wish that they could keep the teen parent program there as the city is big

Uncool Moms - Unite!

This article appeared in the Seattle Times via the Washington Post. Here's what happened: "Jane Hambleton, 48, gained a worshipful parental following after news of a classified ad she had placed in The Des Moines Register was picked up by The Associated Press. The text of the ad: "OLDS 1999 Intrigue. Totally uncool parents who obviously don't love teenage son, selling his car. Only driven for three weeks before snoopy mom who needs to get a life found booze under front seat. $3,700/offer. Call meanest mom on the planet." Sold! Hambleton, a radio DJ in Fort Dodge, Iowa, received some 70 calls from buyers. And other parents. And emergency-room workers. And school counselors. And scores of others wanting to congratulate her for being so Dirty Harry awesome." And her son is 19 and she still stuck to her guns! He said the liquor belonged to a "friend" but mom stuck to her guns. I've gone to some meetings for the Northeast Seattle Coalitio

Various Topics

Various Topics Here are a few thoughts and questions I have had lately on various topics. 1. When is the Student Learning Committee going to meet? All of the other Board committees have meetings scheduled – Executive, Finance, and Operations – but there is no meeting yet scheduled for the Student Learning Committee. 2. The Board and Community Engagement. There were four action items on the agenda for the Board’s January 9 meeting. Community Engagement element is not included on one of them (Board Bylaws). On two others, the community engagement comes after the Board’s approval of the motion. 3. The Board and Community Engagement II. The Board (with the exception of Board President Chow) appeared to value community engagement at the Denny/Sealth work session, but their decisions on Denny/Sealth will be a truer reflection of how much they really value it. 4. Director Chow and Community Engagement. While I find Director Chow's candor about her disinterest and disregard of c

Education Week's Survey of States

Education Week released its findings comparing education in the 50 states to the national average. Washington got a C. Dr. Bergeson says we are in the middle (hooray) but seem to be plateauing. The top states are Mass., New Jersey, New Hampshire, Conn., and Vermont. I'll let you read the article but here are a few highlights: what area did we do the worst in? Equity and spending indicators, of course. We got a D+ (compared to a national average of C+). We are 44 out of 50 for funding in the U.S. Our worst is spending where we are at 52.7% compared to a national average of 70.3. We spend an average of $7,432 to a national average of $8,973. oddly, it states that Washington state has no school program to reduce or limit class size (maybe initiatives don't count?) we have no state definition of school readiness (13 states do), no school readiness assessment (17 states have it) and no school readiness intervention (21 states do) One good thing is our AP scores are highe

Denny/Sealth (Continued)

Below is an e-mail I sent to the Board and Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson today based on what I heard at the BEX III Oversight Committee meeting this morning. As you will see, there are just huge problems with this project that the Committee easily recognized and were troubled by. This is the Board's first real challenge and it will need to handled well and quickly because future bond/levy measures and their success may rest on their decisions. Dear Board Members, I attended the BEX III meeting today (or rather, the first hour and a half where Denny/Sealth were discussed). There were any number of eye-opening issues raised that you should be aware of in the continuing discussion of Denny/Sealth. First and probably foremost from the new members' viewpoints is the issue that staff (Don Gilmore) gave a presentation to the BEX III Oversight Committee that had been tweaked and added extra slides that the Board did not see. (Members of the Committee were handed the same pres

I-728 and Dino Rossi

So who knew? This op-ed appeared in today's PI by Mary Lindquist, a teacher and president of the WEA. It is about - what else - the Legislature fully funding education. But a new wrinkle (at least to me) appeared: "Despite the outpouring of public support for the initiatives(I-728 and I-732), Dino Rossi, as Senate Ways and Means chairman, wrote a budget that suspended both initiatives for two years. The will of the voters was ignored. Today, Rossi boasts about that budget on his Web site and on the campaign trail. As a result of that budget, class sizes stagnated and educators lost $680 million in salaries (compounded). Today our state has $1.4 billion in budget reserves, nearly half of which came from those cuts in educators' salaries. Gov. Chris Gregoire's recent supplemental state budget proposal did not include salary restoration or additional money for class size." She sums it up nicely: "Washington schools need to offer competitive salaries to

Community Meetings on Facilities Master Plan

The district has posted meeting dates and times to explain the Facilities Master Plan 2020. When: January 14, 15 and 16 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Where: Monday, January 14, 2008 at 7 p.m. Greenwood Elementary - Library 144 NW 54th Street Tuesday, January 15, 2008 at 7 p.m. Meany Middle School - Room 46 301 21st Ave. E. Wednesday, January 16, 2008 at 7 p.m. Mercer Middle School – Library 1600 S. Columbian Way Contact: Eleanor Trainor (206) 252-0655 Seattle Public Schools will hold a series of community meetings on the update of their Facilities Master Plan (FMP). The District is in the process of developing a comprehensive 2020 Facilities Master Plan. The planning process is an aggressive effort to outline a systematic schedule of improving Seattle Schools facilities. In addition, the FMP brings together major School District policies, studies, and documents into one plan that guides the future direction of District facilities use, re-use, and/or closure. The primary focus of the FMP is to con

Denny/Sealth Work Session

I would call the Denny/Sealth Work Session today a snow job except that some of the Board weren't buying it. The staff had a very elaborate presentation (the paper they used was a very heavy paper with deep color photos of the Powerpoint presentation - how much could this cost to do?) for the Board. They first explained how both projects came about; Denny is quite old in all areas and Sealth's boiler/HVAC system is at the end of its life (and replacing it requires demolition and if they are going to do that drastic of work, they should spiff up the place). Interestingly, they say that the condition between the two high schools in West Seattle is so great that they need to remodel. Then they gave an "academic rationale" which was somewhat laughable because all they did was print the Seattle School Board mission, their theory of action, the district's academic vision, some cherry-picked research on 6-12 schools, academic benefits of "span" schools

The Funding Dilemma

This excellent op-ed appeared in today's Times by a parent from Adams Elementary, Allison Krupnick. Her premise? "The school-funding reality is that your child will have access to as many services as parents are willing and able to provide." She starts off talking about how class size is the same (or bigger) since I-728 and then moves on to the issue of PTAs having to back up their school with fundraising or face the problems of larger class sizes. She's pretty frank about her understanding that this isn't even possible for every school. She also makes a point about upcoming tours: Though school choice is supposed to be about choosing the best academic fit for your child, I've noticed a disturbing trend — parents are evaluating schools based on how much money is raised by the PTA. One parent even suggested we might be forced to "target" a certain "type" of parent (read financially well-off) to ensure that our funding base continues t

Still Arguing Over AP

There was an interesting op-ed in this Sunday's PI about AP and gifted students. It was written by Walt Gardner who is identified this way: "Walt Gardner taught for 28 years in the Los Angeles Unified School District and was a lecturer in the UCLA Graduate School of Education." It was a bit confusing because he referenced Washington state but I wasn't sure what his affiliation was to the state. He says that presidential candidates aren't talking education (he's right), that the feds don't care (less than $10M a year for the entire country) and that it hurts students who might take AP classes. His premise? "No one denies that underperforming students deserve special curriculum and instruction to remediate their deficiencies. But a balance has to be struck with the needs of gifted students. Unfortunately, this has not happened in Washington, D.C., or in Seattle. It's not surprising, therefore, that many parents locally feel disaffected."