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Showing posts from May, 2008

Hooray for Meany!!

I have just read what I think may be the most wonderful document I have EVER seen from Seattle Public Schools, and I must, must, must share it with you all. It is Meany's description of their Advanced Learning Program . Please, please read this. Nevermind the obvious typos, this is what people have been asking for. This is what I was thinking of when I posted a comment to the thread that Stephanie Jones started, Hidden Gems and Community Cohorts . I think it might be different if a school could articulately describe their ALO and how - exactly - it delivers a rigorous, accelerated curriculum to select students in an inclusive environment. I think it might be different if the District would review these programs for quality and efficacy (as they promised to do when they created ALOs). I think it would be different if there was data to support the contention that their program works. Right now, there is none of that. Not at Meany, not anywhere. Well Meany has certainly done thei

Dr. Goodloe-Johnson Steps Up (and Maybe Flexes Some Muscle)

Beth (our fearless Blog leader) e-mailed Dr. Goodloe-Johnson about the application to take AP LA in 11th grade at West Seattle High. She gave Dr. G-J a link to my post (which came directly from WSHS's website where it outlined the application requirements). This came after 87 students signed up and the school said it only had room for 2 classes. Naturally, this is a concern because it flies in the face of what Dr. G-J and Carla Santorno said they wanted to see happen in our high schools via the new Strategic Plan. Here was her reply in my e-mail box this morning: "Thanks for your concern. I received confirmation today that an additional English teacher will step up and teach AP so that all 87 students can take AP. What a great problem to have. Thanks again." No, thank you. I think this will send a message to all within SPS that Dr. G-J is going to mean what she says and will be the final arbiter in these matters.

Council Members Stepping Into BEX Project?

I had previously posted about how neighbors who live around Ingraham High School were upset over the potential loss (if the project proceeds as planned) of a large grove of trees by the school. (There is also an appeal to the City for a grove of trees in the Maple Leaf neighborhood.) Now two Council members, Sally Clark and Richard Conlin, have stepped into the fray. Here is an article printed in the Times this morning. From the article: "The resolution introduced by Council President Richard Conlin and Council member Sally Clark will be the subject of a public hearing at 2 p.m. on June 24 and could be acted on by the full council June 30. The department's existing rules focus on protecting individual, "exceptional" trees, rather than groves. Council officials say that gap has meant that proposed construction projects, such as town houses near the Maple Leaf reservoir and the expansion of Ingraham High School, may result in the cutting down of stands of D

High School Graduation Standards

I received this information from the League of Education Voters: "The Washington State Board of Education will vote in July to decide if they should raise our state’s high school graduation requirements. It’s important that you send a message to State Board members that you support this change. Join us at the State Board's upcoming community engagement meetings next month: Monday, June 2 4:00-6:00 PM Spokane Community College Littlefoot Conference Room, Student Center (Bldg. 6) 1810 N. Greene Street Spokane, WA 99202 Tuesday, June 3 4:00-6:00 PM Yakima Convention Center 10 North 8th Street Yakima, WA 98901 Wednesday, June 4 4:00-6:00 PM University Heights Center Room 209 (Auditorium) 5031 University Way NE" (I can't attend the Seattle meeting. If anyone does, could you please let us know how the discussion goes.) They also mention a Times' editorial that appeared last week, supporting higher standards to match college entrance requirements. I had read t

High Schools Still Making Their Own Decisions

In a previous thread, there had been a question about a later bell time for Garfield. Then I heard West Seattle was going that way. I had looked into this earlier this year and called the Transportation department. I was told that no other high schools were likely to get to change their start times until the assignment plan was changed. Because of the confusion between what I was told and what I heard here, I e-mailed Michael Tolley, the high school director, about this issue. I'm still waiting to hear back from him. The issue is not if all the high schools are going to Metro for transportation; they are. (I believe all of them will be by this fall.) However, nearly every school has some form of yellow bus service whether it is for Special Ed, ESL or other students. Because of those yellow buses, it makes it difficult to change to a later start time. I was told Ballard and Hale were able to because they are both right next to alternative schools that they could share yell

New Journalism

I'm going to try something I've never done before. I've arranged to meet with Holly Ferguson, Carol Rava-Treat, and David Tucker, to ask them some questions about the Strategic Plan. I will then report back to the blog readers with the results of that interview. It won't exactly be journalism - it will be that "new journalism" as promised by electronic communication; you'll have to consider the credibility of the source as you consider the quality of the content. Of course, one positive is that I'm open to asking questions suggested by the readers. So what are your questions about the Plan? What would you ask these folks if you got the chance?

Top Contender for State Superintendent Drops Out

This article appeared in today's Times; Rich Sendler, the top opponent against State Superintendent Terri Bergeson, has dropped out of the race. His wife has severe health problems and he decided to not run to take care of her needs.

Family Involvement and Student Motiviation

So, in a couple of different threads, we've had a couple of people mention factors in how well a student does in school. They were brief so I thought I'd throw it out for discussion, keeping in mind that we all may disagree on what could (should) be happening. Dan Dempsey had posted a longer comment but this was part of it: "From National Math Advisory Panelist Vern Williams... The question for VW......I think when we talk about success in math, we talk about books, we talk about whether the books are the correct books, but the two elephants in the room, do we have a motivated student and family involvement . I just wanted you to comment on that from your honest feelings. " Trish Dziko had posted this as part of her comment: "Basically what it comes down to is leadership and talent. The Ed Trust folks say that districts and schools that are successful don't get lost in the red herring idea that they should also be worrying about poverty, single parent h

All The World ... in the Classroom?

The NY Times had an interesting article about schools that are focusing on a "global" education. They are talking way beyond cultural exchanges, diversity night or internationally themed schools. From the article: "But the high-performing Herricks school district here in Nassau County, whose student body is more than half Asian, is taking globalization to the graduate level, integrating international studies into every aspect of its curriculum. A partnership with the Foreign Policy Association has transformed a high-school basement into a place where students produce research papers on North Korea’s nuclear energy program or the Taliban ’s role in the opium trade. English teachers have culled reading lists of what they call “dead white men” (think Hawthorne and Hemingway) to make space for Jhumpa Lahiri , Chang-rae Lee and Khaled Hosseini . Gifted fifth graders learn comparative economics by charting the multinational production of a pencil and representing countri

Strategic Plan released

Here is the Strategic Plan as it was presented to the Board at their regular legislative meeting on the 21st. This is a living document and it will change both before and after Board adoption. In general, I like this plan. What's not to like? The goals given the initial focus are appropriate, as are the tasks listed to make steps towards achieving the goals. For each task the plan describes the Background, the Need, the Recommended Work, how they will be Measuring Impact, their Immediate Actions, and their Longer-term Actions. That's all good. I wish they would add two more sections: "Known Barriers to Success" and "Overcoming Historical Barriers". None of these goals or tasks are new. The District has announced them all before - some of them more than once. The District has even claimed to have achieved some of them before. If we're supposed to believe that this plan is different from the failed plans of the past, then they are going to have to be mor

How Do We Improve High School?

Bob Herbert, a columnist for the NY Times, had a column about the decided lack of progress in American education. He wrote a column about it, Hard Times Ahead . From the column, "Mr. Wise is president of the Alliance for Excellent Education, a policy and advocacy group committed to improving the high schools. The following lamentable passage is from his book, “Raising the Grade: How High School Reform Can Save Our Youth and Our Nation”: “International comparisons rank the United States a stunningly unimpressive eighteenth for high school graduation rates, a lackluster ranking of fifteenth for high school reading assessments among 15-year-olds in developed countries, and an embarrassing 25th for high school math.” Those are not the marks of a society with a blissful future. Four years of college is becoming a prerequisite for a middle-class quality of life and we’re having trouble graduating kids from high school. Mr. Wise believes (as does Bill Gates) that America’s high scho

Think About Serving on the PTA

One other thing about the end of the year; most schools' PTAs are looking for people to serve on the Boards or fill committee chair positions. Please, I beg of you, don't dismiss any request out of hand. Many Board jobs (at the middle and high school level) are overseeing the committee chairs, not doing all the work yourself. Many committee jobs are one day events with some prep (like step up day at most middle and high schools). Love gardening? Most schools have a garden committee and the work can be done on weekends. Most membership chairs have 98% of the work done at home, no meetings to attend. Like art? Volunteer to head the Art Committee if you have one or the PTA Reflections contest. If you feel your PTA is too many of the same faces, then step up. If you ever wonder, "Gee, I wonder how come we don't do XYZ event any more?", it's likely that no one wanted to coordinate it. If your PTA is smart, they simply let it go rather than asking B

Open Thread

So now we're a little less than a month out from the end of school. How was your school year? Longing for summer or worried about your child's academic progress? What celebrations does your school do for the end of the year? (I remember at Whittier they had a Field Day just before the end of school with lots of outdoor activities and then, a great slide show of everyone at the school at the last day of school assembly. Roosevelt has, what looks to be, a fun day that's a little bit of everything called Moving Up Day/Rider Recess. But that takes place in early June as the seniors get done by then.) Any other burning questions or are we all burned out from another busy school year?

Know How 2 Go

Good articles both in the PI (and its Education blog) about this new campaign called Know How 2 Go sponsored by the American Council on Education, Lumina Foundation for Education and the Ad Council) to educate middle school and high school kids about applying for college. The PI Education blog has the 4 kind of cute and funny videos challenging kids to take the hard classes (each subject is some kind of character; Alegebra is a Roman gladiator). This is a great idea that I think should start even earlier (what if all the teachers in every elementary school had a picture of the college or university they attended and maybe even post their diploma to get kids thinking). The four keys to getting to college according to Know How 2 Go? 1. Be a pain. Let everyone know you're going to college and need their help. Never say no, make connections, seek advice, etc. 2. Push yourself - working a little harder today will make getting into college even easier. 3. Find the Right F

Report on May 22 Strategic Plan Community Meeting at Aki Kurose

Last night I attended the Superintendent's third meeting on her Strategic Plan. I arrived at 7pm and most people were done eating and the Supt. had just arrived. I didn't count the number of people who were there, but I would estimate that there were at least 200-250 people there. This was the third time I'd heard the Supt's presentation. After her powerpoint we broke out into groups by language group. By far the largest group was the English Only group. There was a big turnout from the Secondary Bilingual Orientation Center--community and staff. Since the Latino turnout was so large and well-staffed (Bernardo Ruiz is amazing) I went to the classroom with the Filipinos. It was interesting for me to sit in and listen to them speak about their frustrations in increasing the number of teachers who are Filipino. I was also astounded to learn that compared to other US Cities, the Filipino's in Seattle are doing the poorest academically. Filipino academic achievem

Equity and Race Work in Seattle Schools Must Continue

I received this press release today (I shortened the message): FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE EQUITY AND RACE WORK IN THE SEATTLE PUBLIC SCHOOLS MUST CONTINUE Stunned by Superintendents’ Elimination of the Department of Equity, Race and Learning Support --Teachers, Community Groups, Families Coming Together to Formulate a Collective Response and Strategize About How to Carry On With This Crucial Work Closing the Achievement Gap –the Moral Imperative of Our Time In response to the new school superintendent, Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson’s abrupt elimination of the Department of Equity, Race and Learning Support, teachers from across the district are coming together with families, and community groups, on Wednesday, May 21st at Alternative School #1 (AS#1) at Pinehurst (11530 12th Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98125), 5:00-7:00pm. The purpose of this meeting is two-fold: 1. To honor and celebrate the difficult yet positive work around equity and race that the schools are engaged in, including the effo

District Round-Up of News

I've culled these bits and pieces from around the district from newspapers and the district website. Adult Sexual Misconduct: What All Staff Members Need to Know and Do Wednesday, June 18 8-10 a.m John Stanford Center, Auditorium 2445 Third Ave. S. Good to know that the district is requiring this course given the recent problems at Broadview-Thompson and Rainier View. Flags Taken from JS International From the North Seattle Herald Outlook, a story about an American flag and two koi flags being stolen from John Stanford Int'l School. From the article: "Fujino, whose daughter attends the school, explained that her mother donated the two flags to the school last year as a traditional Japanese gift. They symbolize the wish for the good health and growth of children during the month of May. (The Japanese national holiday of Children's Day falls on May 5). The flags, which are about 40 years old, were a gift from the great-grandparents to the grandparents in

FYI (and Out of the Blue)

Update : Still not on the SPS website as of Friday (5/23) morning. Why are they doing this? This is from a flier that principals were directed to get out to parents this week. Please join us in a tour of our progress and accomplishments.This is an excellent opportunity to review school and District data regarding the work and achievements of the past few years,including the 2007-08 school year. YOU ARE INVITED to Seattle Public Schools first annual Data Fair : Passport to Progress May 27-29, 2008 John Stanford Center 2445 Third Ave. S. Seattle, WA 98134 SCHEDULE OF EVENTS Tuesday, May 27 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.: Visiting the Data (Static Displays) Wednesday, May 28 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.: Visiting the Data (Static Displays) Entertainment: Garfield Jazz Band Thursday, May 29 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.: Visiting the Data (Static Displays) 1-1:15 p.m.: Superintendent Maria L. Goodloe-Johnson, Ph.D.:Welcoming Remarks 1:15-1:45 p.m.: Laura Besser and Barb Pitchford:Connecting the Data to Our Vision 1:45-2

Stragetic Plan and You (Updated)

So I've been a little surprised at the underwhelming lack of discussion here about the Strategic Plan. Maybe it's because it's a broad outline but it seems specific enough to decide if you think this is the direction SPS should go. No one who attended the West Seattle meeting weighed in. Maybe if someone attends the meeting tonight at Aki Kurose we'll hear what others see. So it looks like this Plan is going ahead and there doesn't seem to be much public discussion on it. There are things like: do you agree on the focus on math and science? class size is a constant issue for parents and yet this Plan, in my opinion, would continue to funnel I-728 money for class size reduction into other things like math coaches is it folly to aim so high in some areas like going from 33% of 10th graders meeting or exceeding the science standard to 80% in 5 years? Why not try doubling it but 80% is probably unreachable even with the best of intentions and planning. ditto f

Just the Facts (Well, Maybe a LIttle Editorial Comment)

I attended both the Alliance for Education breakfast and the first community meeting on the Strategic Plan at Roosevelt. I have some thoughts about the Plan but that's for another post. I thought I let you know how it went. So the Alliance event was hopping (who knew so many people could get up and be there that early?). Patrick D'Amelio, the head of the Alliance, let the group of usual suspects know that there were 800 of us there. There was former mayor, Norm Rice, current mayor, Greg Nickels, Rob McKenna, Brian Sontag, Terri Bergeson, Ed Murray, Tim Burgess, etc. and every Board member but Mary Bass. (Just an aside but I hate going to events where getting to the main point of the event takes a really long time. I appreciate that everyone in power wants (feels?believes?) they should be acknowledged or maybe it's just that it shows how many people support public education but I have to believe that these VIPs really wanted the event to start and end on time.) G

Dr. Goodloe-Johnson on KUOW'S The Conversation Today at 1 p.m.

Heads up! If you have burning questions for Dr. Goodloe-Johnson, on any topic, she's appearing on the NPR show, The Conversation today at 1 p.m. (that's 94.9 FM). You can e-mail a question in advance to conversation@kuow.org. You can also leave it on voicemail at 206-221-3663. Or call in live, at 543-5869 or 800-289-5869.

City Releases Quake List and District Disputes It

I had seen a story in the PI yesterday about a list of 575 buildings in Seattle that had been identified as problematic in a major earthquake (such as the one in China this week). On the list? Two schools, West Seattle High and John Marshall. I was quite surprised to see West Seattle as it was completely overhauled within the last 10 years. I mentioned this to Steve Sundquist last night at the Strategic Plan meeting (as West Seattle High is in his district). He said he had seen an e-mail from district staff saying they were disputing it but knew nothing else. So this morning's PI had another story . This story included TOPS on the list as well. So here's what the City has to say: "Alan Justad, deputy director for the city's Department of Planning and Development, which commissioned the privately prepared report, said the survey was meant to be preliminary. The listing, Justad said, had to include all potentially high-risk masonry buildings -- whether retrof

What Accountability Could Mean

I have been thinking, more and more, about accountability in Seattle Public Schools. I have been thinking about what it would look like, how it would work, whom it would serve. More and more I come back to the idea of supervision - long absent - from the district level. Here are a couple examples: A student has an IEP. Who, if anyone, conducts a review to determine if the IEP was followed and to assess the quality and efficacy of the special education services provided to the student? Both the teacher and the principal have a conflict of interest. It would have to be someone from outside the school building. It would have to be district-level staff. And if no one conducts such a review, then we have no accountability. In the absence of accountability we don't know what we have. A school claims to offer an Advanced Learning Opportunity (ALO). Who, if anyone, conducts a review to determine if there really is an ALO and to assess the quality and efficacy of the program and the serv

Hidden Gems and Community Cohorts

An announcement, and a reflection. Thursday, May 15th, from 4-8pm Meany Middle School's Jaguar Arts Festival 301 21st Ave. E. Admission free. Catered dinner available. This event will feature participatory, performing, and visual art of all kinds, including the unveiling of a "long lost" William Cumming painting found in a storage closet last year and retouched by the 90-year-old local artist. For more info: http://www.seattleschools.org/schools/meany/ CPPS has identified Meany Middle School as a hidden gem in the Seattle Public Schools' system. It's a small middle school (450 - 600 students, depending on classroom usage), with an inclusive philosophy, a decent facility, and a strong principal and teaching staff. Its thriving programs include an arts integration model, advanced learning opportunties (ALO), schoolwide literacy, music, advanced math, afterschool sports and activities. It's also undersubscribed, because although community parents have

Strategic Plan Meeting Schedule

Tomorrow is the Alliance for Education breakfast (I'm attending) where community/business leaders are to hear from Dr. Goodloe-Johnson on her Strategic Plan for what is likely the first time for most of them. As well, community meetings start this week . Interestingly, the link to the places and times for these meetings at the district's news and calendar website doesn't work. (However, if you go to the Strategic Planning website AND then click on Get Involved, you'll find the schedule.) Additionally, despite there being several news stories about the unveiling of the plan, the only story at the website dates from December. If this is the biggest, most meaningful work that the district is going to undertake under the next 5 years, you'd think it would be complete and easily accessible. So I'm going to the breakfast and going to my neighborhood meeting (at Roosevelt on Wednesday) but if this is the best they can do in terms of outreach, I'm not expec

It's Not Just Bryant and the NE; It's the Other NE

Well, it looks like over-enrolled popular schools and reference area zone problems are not just Seattle problems; they are Manhattan's problems. An article about this issue appeared in last Friday's NY Times. From the article: "Of all the draws of 200 Chambers Street, a luxury TriBeCa condo with floor-to-ceiling windows and a swimming pool, Sherry Hsiung was particularly attracted by Public School 234, the celebrated elementary school next door. But when Dr. Hsiung, a dermatologist, tried to register her son for kindergarten last month, she was shocked to hear that because of a surge in applications, he would be placed on a hold list, and could not be guaranteed a seat. Instead, he could be assigned to an elementary school elsewhere in District 2, which stretches to the Upper East Side. “I’m totally at a loss,” she said. “This is a public school.” Parents consider it a sacred tenet of city life: If you move into a good elementary school’s zone, your children can go to

UW's Scholarship Guy

The PI's Amy Rolph had a terrific story last week on a UW student, Sam Lim, who overcame many obstacles in life to get to college and decided to help other students by helping them ferret out scholarship money. It's a great story plus good links to help on scholarships. Keep it in mind for the future; there honestly is a lot of money floating around out there and you don't have to be (1) number one in your class or (2) poor. Here's Sam's scholarship website . Then Amy Rolph followed up on the PI's School Zone blog with more information that couldn't be included in the original article. That's what good a blog can do when a news story goes long. I hope all of you - no matter where your kids are in the school timeline - keep in mind that they get to high school very quickly. And, college is more competitive and more complicated than it used to be. Example: one size essay does NOT fit all. Many colleges and universities very much tailor the

Defining Patriotism to Kids

The Times' had this article about 3 eighth grade students in small-town Minnesota who got suspended for not standing up for the pledge of allegiance. It was in the district's handbook of rules but the ACLU wisely let them know that it's unconstitutional to make anyone stand. It makes me wonder what we are teaching kids about what patriotism means. Pre-9/11, patriotism and being a hero had, to me, more clearly defined parameters. Post-9/11 it is much more murky and woe be to any politician, in particular, who doesn't toe the patriotism police line. Obama is just raked across the coals because he doesn't wear a flag pin. People said, in a NY Times article a couple of weeks ago, that they couldn't vote for him because of it. (Naturally, I know there's more to it but somehow that's the best argument they could make.) All I can say is that if you define patriotism by wearing a lapel pin, that's not saying much. My family, along with other fami

Dr. Goodloe-Johnson Shakes Things Up

Both the PI and the Times had articles about the various department redos at SPS. First, I am glad that the district recognizes that it doesn't need a specific department for race and equity; it should be part of the fabric of everything the district does. Second, I wish that Caprice Hollins was going because I don't think she presents a good face on these issues. It almost seems it leaves her a bit of a lame duck without her department. Also of note (from the Times' article): "The reorganization will help close a $16 million budget gap for the 2008-09 school year, a district spokeswoman said, but precise cost savings are still being calculated. Over the past couple of weeks, the district eliminated 16 positions and added nine. More administrative jobs may be cut as the district reorganizes other departments." "Auditors recommended the district's Human Resources Department undo a reorganization it recently completed. The department has had six dir

MLK Building

This article appeared in the Seattle Times about what to do with the MLK building because the school wants to use it for a non-school use. This is pretty much what many at suspected about it. Apparently city process says if the district is going to use a school building for something else then there have to be public meetings before a committee. Interested? "The city is seeking eight representatives: two who live within 600 feet of the school; one who owns property within 600 feet of the site; two from the general neighborhood; one at-large representative; one from a community organization; and one from the school district. To apply, write a letter to Thao Tran at the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods stating your interest and affiliation. Include your contact information; letters must be received by Friday. Applicants can fax it to 206-233-5142 or mail it to P.O. Box 94649, Seattle, WA 98124-4649. For more information, contact Tran at thao.tran@seattle.gov or call 206

Excellence for All

So, finally, after all of the anticipation, we finally get a look at the Superintendent's Strategic Plan , and it turns out to be nothing but a wish list. All we see is this insipid powerpoint presentation full of bluster and posing, but completely without any meaning or relevance. Nearly every one of the 19 slides is tragically flawed in some way, but the sum is less than the parts. There is no plan in this "plan" - only goals. That's it? She took a year and had to listen to "hundreds of internal and external partners, critics and stakeholders" (I can't help wondering who these hundreds were - no one I know) to determine... what? That we need to ensure excellence in every classroom, strengthen leadership throughout the system, and build an infrastructure that works well? She needed a year, a crowd of experts, and a stack of studies to reach that conclusion? Pardon me if I'm not impressed. And how does she propose to ensure excellence in every clas

Parents, What's Up?

So last night at Roosevelt we had our final Parent Education night of the year. I was organizing these nights and I thought rather than having a formal program that I would get a panel and let parents engage them in a discussion about Roosevelt in specific and high schools in SPS in general. I invited our principal, Brian Vance, the high school director, Michael Tolley, and our Board director, Harim Martin-Morris. All of them showed up, ready to go. This had been in our parent newsletter for months, in the parent e-mail bulletin for months and we put it on the website in a prominent place for the last 2 weeks. (I also sent an e-mail two weeks ago to the PTAs at Eckstein and Hamilton, given that we get a lot of freshman from those two schools.) We had about 12 parents show up. (And these were lucky people because we had a great and lively discussion. I found Mr. Tolley to be exactly as I thought he was; bright and committed to change. Ditto with Harim Martin-Morris. All 3 of

Community Engagement Around the Strategic Plan

The much-touted community engagement around the Superintendent's Strategic Plan is not (or not yet) what I had hoped or expected. However, in the coming three weeks, there will be several opportunities to learn about and discuss the plan as it stands, with room for community input. Dr. Goodloe-Johnson and her strategic planning staff will present at CPPS, PTSA, and Alliance for Education events, and the district is hosting three of its own meetings. It is definitely in the interest of all of us to attend one or more of these meetings, contribute our thoughts, and push for higher levels of interaction. CPPS has been organizing in the central cluster, where issues of equity, choice, and community support for schools are significant at the elementary and middle school levels. We've agreed to host the strategic planning team -- Carol Rava-Treat and Holly Ferguson -- for a workshop (description and discussion) on the plan TOMORROW, May 8th at 7:30 pm, in the Montlake Elementar

Missed Opportunity (Danny Westneat's View)

Times' columnist, Danny Westneat, weighs in on the issue of two Seattle high schools (and others throughout the state) losing a $13M grant for AP classes because the collective bargaining law worked against it (and the WEA would not support teachers getting bonuses for students who passed AP exams). From his colum n: "That's what Jennifer Wiley concluded. She's the principal of Seattle's Franklin High School. Like in a lot of schools, the kids there no longer are cutting it in math and science. Last year 94 of Wiley's 300 sophomores passed the state's math test. Only 34 passed science. That means nearly 90 percent of Franklin's 10th-graders failed the science test or didn't bother to take it. Anyone can see that's a crisis. So Wiley jumped at a chance to shake Franklin up. The school was one of seven low-income Washington high schools to get a grant to dramatically expand its Advanced Placement program. The idea is to get all kids to try

Nominated for ED in '08 Blog of the Year Award

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I got this surprising e-mail message today: "Congratulations! Your blog has been nominated for the ED in '08 Blog of the Year Award. Blogging has made a huge impact on the Education debate and we'd like to honor this impact by launching our first annual blog of the year award. Voting will run from now until May 14th and the winner will be announced at our 2008 Blogger Summit on May 15th." If you want to vote for our blog, go to http://edin08.com/bloggersummit/bloggerpoll.aspx . And if you're free next week and want to go to Washington, DC to attend this free event, click on the image below for more details.

High School Musicals

This listing of high school musicals was in today's Times. These are some of the best cheap entertainment in town and many have high production values. I note that the musicals Bat Boy and Footloose seem very popular.

Teen Summit with Mayor

This article in the Seattle Times about the Mayor's Town Hall with Seattle youth had a number of concerning issues. First, there was this: "Laurie Reddy, 16, a sophomore at Ingraham High School, told Nickels she worries about gangs at her school. She wanted to know how to keep kids from joining and what could be done to end the existing gangs. The mayor told her more police officers were being added throughout the city, "and we also need more things for young people to do, more places for young people to be constructively engaged." It's one thing to say we need activities for youth* and another to address gangs. I'm not sure that more cops and more activities are necessarily what is going to solve a gang problem. A lot of that activity is based on fear and the feeling of security in a gang. *(On the subject of activities for youth; I grew up in a little town with literally nothing to do. Ever seen Friday Night Lights? That was my town. Not to compl