Disqus

Friday, December 03, 2010

Open Thread Friday

There will be snow days make up for middle and high schools according to an SPS news release:

Two make-up days are required. These are scheduled for June 22 and June 23. The last day of school for middle and high school students moves from June 21 to June 23.

Elementary and K-8s don't need to make up the days because of the previously scheduled parent-teacher conferences scheduled on those days. They are going to reschedule those before winter break.

If we have more snow days, then those will have to made up as well. We could get close to the 4th of July if we have a bad winter.

Happy Hanukkah to our readers of the Jewish faith.

115 comments:

Anonymous said...

Emailed from the Whitman PTSA:
"We have been informed by our Seattle School Board representative Peter Maier that the option to move the border between Ingraham HS and Ballard HS from 85th to 80th has been taken off the table. This is no longer an option to alleviate Garfield's overcrowding.
There still are a number of Student Assignment Plan issues on the table, including the possibility of opening a new APP/IB program at Ingraham. Peter would like to hear Whitman parent input on those issues.
He will attend the rescheduled Community Input meeting at Ingraham on Monday, Dec. 13 from 6:30-8:00. Please try to attend."

I cannot tell you how relieved I am about this.

Charlie Mas said...

We have quite a raft of issues and ongoing concerns that we are following these days. Let me see if I can make a comprehensive list of them.

1. Budget Priorities. These haven't been determined yet and we really want to see fully funding WSS to be first fully funding ICS to second and RTI to be high among the rest.

2. Program Placement. These decisions are going to happen fast. We want to see an open and honest process that complies with the policy and results in decisions backed by sound rationale.

3. Capacity Management. Why is APP the scapegoat for the Garfield problem? What is being done for the elementaries in the north-end of West Seattle that are more overcrowded than Garfield? What's the District going to do about AS#1? What's the District going to do about Madrona K-8? What's the District going to do about Rainier Beach?

4. School Scorecard. Either the number or the label "Students making gains on state tests" is misleading and needs to be fixed.

5. School Segmentation. How is it that the reported growth is low in nearly all of the schools with low achievement? What is the District doing about that?

6. District scorecard. Only 62% of strategic plan projects on schedule - crack the whip. 100% of capital projects on time and on budget? Really? Garfield? Really? On pace to achieve only 4 of 20 objectives? That's pathetic.

7. Audit Issues. Why aren't these all cleaned up yet?

8. Board Oversight. Let's see the list of annual reports and a calendar for them.

9. Principals' Contract. What's the hold up? We better see some strong accountability elements in the performance evaluation.

10. Policy Updates. The Board has an ambitious plan for Policy revisions. They are off to a slow start.

11. Alternative Education Review. Overdue, apparently forgotten.

Anonymous said...

They should open the Ballard assignment area to any students who live along the 15 bus line (a direct shot to BHS down 15th). It seems silly to pay for yellow bus service to IHS for kids that live on the metro route that will have them to Ballard in 5-10 minutes. It just seems like common sense to me.
-parent of 1st grader who lives on the 15 route north of 85th.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I'll post my notes from the Work Session on the Transition plan as soon as I can.

GreyWatch said...

@ 1st grade parent N of 85th

This is why I thought Queen Anne kids should have been assigned to Garfield. Much better direct bus service from all over QA to the CD than to Ballard, and no ship canal to cross.

I'd keep Magnolia in the ballard region though and would have moved the boundaries north to Holman Road and included that whole development over by whitman (not sure if that is Ingraham or Ballard now) in the ballard zone.

This would have required pushing the southern Garfield boundary north which would likely have generated huge outcries.

My one suggestion during the NSAP comment period the year before last was that they look at metro routes and/or work with Metro to align routes to address the needs of the students. Guess they had other priorities.

Anonymous said...

The Whitman/Northbeach neighborhood is on the 15 route and assigned to IHS.
-1st grade parent on the 15 route

The First Arnold said...

When it comes to Ed. Reform; MGJ has not intention of involving the public.

Coffee Chats are intended to placate the public and Board of Directors.

Sahila said...

If you havent already, check out Part 1 here:
The Battle for Seattle

I heard Part 2 will be posted tonight or tomorrow...

And this story is going national...

And this is why Harium never got back to me and the group that met with him at my house two summers ago, with the "White Paper" he promised us detailing Broad influence in the District...

And this is why the Board cant say to us: "we work for you"... because they work for Broad...

seattle said...

What's up with the picket signs at Hale? Are the construction workers on strike?

dan dempsey said...

Buses, Buses, do we need Buses?

Needs of Students?

"My one suggestion during the NSAP comment period the year before last was that they look at metro routes and/or work with Metro to align routes to address the needs of the students. Guess they had other priorities."

Other Priorities?

Getting to school in an efficient fashion for the students is NOT a priority????

Buses, Buses, you don't need no stinkin' quick Metro Bus routes to school .. kids you have tons of time .. take out your iPods. .... and "eat cake".

Where is that Strong Organization that represents the best interests of students?

Chris S. said...

Charlie reminded me: after the work session I felt pretty good about AS#1; after all, I think every board member expressed at least caution if not opposition to the closure. And Tracy prefaced the item with an odd little statement (something like: "well, we had a lot of email but after meeting face-to-face we decided to keep both options on the table") that I thought might have indicated the board ALMOST got it vetoed but...

But now this morning Phil Brockman estimated the closure probability at 50%. So keep it up you guys. And send us a link to the phone-videos!

Chris S. said...

Also, at one point, Steve asked about the Alt Schools Review in relation to the closure of AS1, and Dr. E. said "I'll be reporting on it at the Dec. C & I meeting. WTF???!??
a) it was on the agenda for Monday, Nov 22 - the meeting was cancelled due to snow maybe 4 hrs before the meeting. Did she REALLY not have anything prepared for that she could grab a few lines from?
b) John Miner, who is taking the lead on the review, a fact Steve referred to, was in the room. She could have deferred to him to say a few words, and she did not.

Sorry, but this is non-transparency. She clearly doesn't want to talk about it. She's clearly made the decision for the board that it's not relevant.

Same ol, same ol, I know. But some of us had high hopes for her. Or we wanted to. I haven't given up (cuz of course it wouldn't help anybody for her to get fired) but I am discouraged.

dan dempsey said...

Charlie throw this in at number 12: fulfilling the requirements of laws.

RCW 28A.645.020 = figuring how to put procedures in place to satisfy submission of a "certified correct" transcript of evidence provided to the court with 20 days of the appeal of a school board decision.

Declarations from four Board members makes it apparent that they seem to think this is someone else's job to get done.

Since the law makes clear it is the Board's Job ....... "This not my fault, staff should do it action plan" is a pretty thin defense.

Why not actually fix it? Is it cheaper to keep winding up in court and in appeals court?

Remember the failure to consider evidence from the public and failure to submit that evidence to the court was a center piece of the Spector High School Math decision.

The appeal of the Spector decision is founded on the idea that the District does not wish to use all the evidence. (Really .. that is it) In recent declarations the gang of four just said looking at more evidence would not influence them. (Pretty clear as they rarely use evidence in decision making .... I am not being snarky here .. try looking at the reasons each of the four gives for voting and compare those with the evidence.)

The memo sent to the Board by MGJ that was supposedly the a centerpiece in constructing the NTN action report of 3-12-2010 was not in the evidence submitted to the court. Instead the "draft" memo was submitted to the court and it masqueraded as the memo sent to the Board.

Why is this RCW 28A 645.020 recurring problem not being fixed?

Guess accurately examining what the public sends the Board is not a priority.

I guess having the Superintendent make accurate statements to the Board is not a priority.

So when putting procedures in place to follow the law that could lessen the likelihood of forgery and fraud will be a forgotten #12 on the list .... and given past indications of Board behavior it will be forgotten, do not expect big changes anytime soon ... BUT do expect more legal action as long as the Board continues to make "Arbitrary and Capricious" decisions by exercising what some board members consider to be broad latitude in the evaluation and weighting of evidence in making decisions.

Eric B said...

@Greywatch,

I did some work on a boundary set that was based on Metro routes. There are some really goofy route connections, like that the kids in the 80th-85th area can get from home to Ballard, Hale, Roosevelt, Garfield, and Franklin on a single bus route, but can't get to Ingraham without a transfer.

Anyway, my impression was that Metro has no interest in helping the District align routes to schools. They don't want to be school bus drivers, they want to be commuter drivers. I can't say as I really blame them--high school kids occupy a lot of seats for a relatively short ride, can be disruptive, etc. etc.

dan dempsey said...

Chris,

Since Susan Enfield does not wish to talk about "Alt Schools Review in relation to the closure of AS1", then perhaps she could fill us in on her role in signing the transcript certification on May 20th, 2010 to the court in regard to the evidence submitted in satisfying the May appeal of the April 7 approval of the NTN contract.

That would be the certification statement that says these papers are the transcript file of evidence in the NTN contract. Of course it do not say the transcript file was correct as required by law. (see page 3 of 4 linked above)

Of course the evidence filing was not correct because it had the wrong memo in it... it had the "draft" memo that She and MGJ used to prepare the 3-12-2010 NTN action report ... and it did not have the real memo sent to the Board.

Does Dr. Enfield wish to talk about that?

So Board members whose job is it to see that RCW 28A.645.020 is fulfilled? The law says it is the Board's responsibility if it is an appeal of a Board decision that is appealed.

Oh well just another law broken no big deal.

wsnorth said...

That is great the North border change for Ballard is "off the table". How do we find out what other insane ideas are "off the table".

Regarding transportation, they don't care about walking, either, why should they care about bus convenience. We are 3 blocks to one elementary, 4 blocks to another, and assigned one that is .9999999 miles away! No rationale. When asked, they said transportation is just one criteria, not weighted (which means ignored).

Anonymous said...

Whew!

Part 2 of the "Battle for Seattle", now re-titled Hijacked! is up now.

Anonymous said...

On another note, I am offering winter break classes again this year.

The big hit last year was the Holiday Village. The students learn about how cultures around the world celebrate the winter season and then, using gingerbread and other edible "construction materials" create their own village.

More information about this winter break class and others is posted at Architecture 101.

Anonymous said...

You're right, Sahila, about Harium.

He never did produce that white paper. Now I know why.

He also took down his blog. So much for "community engagement" for him! That IS frowned upon by Broad.

Johnny Calcagno said...

If one is at all considering bus convenience, the Garfield Area B boundary change (that Kay inexplicably still wants on the table) makes absolutely no sense. The area is served by a frequent and easy direct bus – the 48 – along 23rd Avenue South, just a few minutes ride to Garfield at the most.

Sometimes people have to get out of their offices and actually walk or drive near the schools to know what boundaries make sense. Maps don't always tell the whole story.

Grousefinder said...

Melissa:

Thanks you for this: "Happy Hanukkah to our readers of the Jewish faith."

Grousefinder

joanna said...

I believe Kay was really pushing for the staggered schedule idea and only requested that area "B" be added to the options if boundary moves were to be seriously considered. I believe that the voluntary Ingraham option paired with a staggered schedule at Garfield are the most creative and interesting solutions and would be adequate.

Momma Snark said...

I have a COMPLETELY random concern/question that probably doesn't seem that important in light of all the other issues raised on here, but it has been bothering me for the last few weeks and I wondered if any of you have similar concerns.

I have a son in first grade at a school that I LOVE, with a teacher that I LOVE. He's doing well and learning plenty - both socially and academically. Yea!

*BUT* I am appalled at the amount of sugar this kid consumes at school - given to him by teachers as a reward for doing his work or behaving well, by parents whose kid is the "VIP" for the week, for holiday parties and birthday celebrations, you name it. Cakes, candy, cookies, ice cream - and meanwhile, we are in the middle of cold/flu season, with half the class sneezing and coughing everywhere (never mind the whole obesity issue).

Just wondering if anyone else has observed this kind of thing going on, and what can be done. Clearly, a whole lot of this sugar is being handed out with the best of intentions, so I fear that saying something to the teacher or parents will make me an immediate bad guy. Anyone?

Hippy Goodwife said...

Momma Snark,

I don't think it is minor at all. It's a big deal, disruptive and questionable for teachers to bribe kids to work hard using candy. We are very fortunate to be at a school where food treats just don't happen. Both for the sake of kids with food allergies and to avoid the whole sugar issue. I would talk to the teacher.

Maureen said...

I have heard posters here say that the staggered schedule would cost money. I'm not sure why that would be true (since those students would have teachers where ever they are). I can see why it might be best to have all of our High Schools exactly at capacity since they need to be heated and cleaned, but I don't see why it would cost additional money per student to run staggered shifts . Maybe I'm missing something, can anyone out there illuminate(one way or the other)?

Noam said...

Momma Snark

Not that anyone at the District pays any attention anymore but candy is NOT to be used as a reward per Board policy.

Remember the original Brita Butler-Wall? Her prodding put this into place and in the last years no one even remembers.

How quickly we forget.

Nevermind anything else, thank you Brita.

Anonymous said...

Momma Snark, have you brought it up with the teacher? Or principal?

At our elementary teachers specifically tell parents that it is not necessary for the birthday treats to be sweets (most kids choose sweets anyhow, though), and candy is virtually never handed out by teachers. Also, several teachers ban cupcakes from the "birthday treat roster" because they are so messy to eat.

Class parties and celebrations rarely involve food at all, and when they do it is things like fruit, cheese and crackers. I'm not sure how we got to this place as a school, but it is possible.

Paul said...

Noam (and Momma Snark)

I recall the policy said "Food is not to be used as a reward". It was aimed at sugar and junk "food" but the intent included (especially) candy.

Thanks for remembering. It seems so long ago but was only a few years.

Anonymous said...

Is there a downside to having your child on an IEP?

-Just in from a Teacher's Conference

Maureen said...

Momma Snark, maybe you could suggest to the teacher that they only do birthdays once a month, I think many parents would appreciate that. In the youngest grades, our teachers asked parents to send crackers instead of sweet stuff, but let them send cool napkins to serve it with.

tatmav said...

Dear "Just in From a Teacher Conference:"

Oof. Big question, and the answer probably is very fact specific. My child could not navigate public high school without an IEP, but this is a decision that is very fact specific -- and I have no doubt that there are many out there who could answer better than I can. Hopefully they will read this and answer you better than I can.

That said, I am happy to talk, but am unavailable this weekend. If you call my work number next week (622-3150) and ask for me (Jan Murphy), I am certainly willing to share my experiences with you if you think it might help with your decision.

Janis said...

Just Back From a Teacher Conference:

How old is your child? I have a kindergartener with an IEP and it's been extremely helpful. He was diagnosed in preschool with Asperger's and we knew he would need support to be successful and happy at school. Every day is a work in progress, but we have a terrific resource room teacher at our school who also understood that he would need a lot of attention at the very beginning of the school year to get off to a good start. I am very thankful that we've been able to provide him this support -- it's made a big difference. If you have a young child and want to talk further, let me know.

Sahila said...

So I guess it doesnt matter to anyone here that Broad has been fiddling here in the district since 2000????

And that, as many of us have been saying, we are now at the penultimate step of deform implementation...

And this has all been done on the sly, with no reference to parents, teachers and children...

Well, I guess that's alright then...

Anonymous said...

To Mama Snark:

The food issue has come up over the years at our school and it gets really loaded really fast. Finally most of the teachers started asking for "healthy trats." Now at birthdays we often do grapes, pretzels, etc. There are diabetic/allergic kids at each grade level so awareness has taken hold, though we do still have a few teachers rewarding with ocasional candy/treats. We found that the movement came when the teachers, as opposed to parents, were asking for it by and large. Good timing for this is for staff to discuss building nutrition policy at spring staff meetings, decide then so by fall they can be on same page. Some parents were really, really ticked about restricting their use of giant costco cupcakes, etc., so get ready for heated discussions, but you are on the right track for kids, their brains, and their bodies.

Healthier Now

Anonymous said...

Just in from conference --

YES, there's a downside to having an IEP!!! IEPs are special ed.

A "teacher" conference isn't the place where this is supposed to be discussed!!!! There's the whole SIT process where interventions for struggling students are first considered. The teacher's conference should refer you and your child to a SIT first if the student is struggling. The SIT team reviews your child's performance (and most importantly, the teacher's performance) and decides if further action should be taken. Interventions are recommended, tried, and evaluated by the SIT team. If that doesn't work, THEN... an educational evaluation is performend... where the student and teacher's performance is further analyzed. And only then, is your child referred for special education. (IEPs are the service contracts in special ed) It would seem your teacher is a bit on the lazy side and is seeking to bypass a process intended to help your student without special education referal. And, she is bypassing it in multiple steps.

Having an IEP is definitely a double edged sword. On the one hand, students need services that an IEP makes available. On the other hand, students with IEPs are tracked and marginalized as they age. Will the specialized service delineated on your IEP be better than the general education you would be getting otherwise???? That really depends on all the specifics. It is a tradeoff. But one thing is true, the district's special education audit reported on a "culture of low expectations" rampant in Seattle's special education.

Nothing of note has changed since that audit. And if you look at the results of students with IEPs over the long run, they are dismal indeed. Nearly universally... even students with Aspergers. Go to OSPI's website. Look at MSP/HSPE scores of students with disabilities (eg. students on IEPs) and you will see the end results of having an IEP. A kindergarten parent may not see this, and likely isn't aware of it. And, it may not always happen. Your student may be on of the few, lucky ones to beat the odds.

Special ed was always supposed to be for those who couldn't function any other way. It isn't enrichment or a little something extra, just because you can. It isn't tutoring on the side. Students are supposed to be disabled. Does that describe your child? If so, you've answered your question. If your child isn't really disabled, and you don't see him/her that way... then no, you shouldn't be on an IEP. The IEP defines how others see your child. Is that what you want? There is also something called a 504 plan.

Parent in the System

Dorothy Neville said...

Sahila, what's your point? Yes, I read Dora's expose and THANK YOU Dora! Because it is thorough and downright creepy. But just because on a Friday night during Hanukkah we don't have a million comments about it, you are wanting to chime in with an I-Told-You-So! What's the deal. What good is that going to do anyone?

Why are you jumping to conclusions that no one cares about the history of Broad in the district? Snarky comments are not helpful. What would be helpful is working together to oppose the ed-deform work from now on. A nasty tone is not going to create coalition.

Olliesdad said...

In Sahila's defense-

I hardly ever feel that her tone is negative. Sarcastic, yes, but hardly negative. I read exasperation by a woman whose child has been flogged by the system and the frustration of watching this locomotive known as SPS, speeding along towards the cliff and seeing the "No Bridge" sign. I know that she is passionate about what she believes in, and, personally, I know what its like to have been screaming facts at these people who look at you as if you are mute and stupid. These are frustrating times, and all of us have been affected by the abysmal, inept decisions that this District makes. But don't pick on an intelligent, worldly, and just plain fed up and pissed off woman because she vents on this blog. If you really don't like her diatribes, skip her entries. But I find them really informative and chocked full of useful links and information. Obviously she cares enough to do some research and her "rants" seem to be duly footnoted. It has started to get to the point where if one of you picks on her, others get in line to participate. I don't think the point of this blog is to reprimand people about their attitudes when they are frustrated and really passionate about their beliefs. I don't want to cringe anymore while reading those particular entries. I find a lot of solace in this blog, so let's stop the criticism, please????

We are all united by this blog... can't we all just get along?

seattle said...

Check this out. Seattle University will be working with Bailey Gatzert students in a big way! Was this KSB's doing?


http://www.seattleu.edu/uploaded
Files/SUYI/SUYI%20Action%20Plan
%202010.pdf

Dorothy Neville said...

It's fine to be frustrated. A lot of us are frustrated. It's another to presume that she's the only one who is frustrated or cares.

Yes, Sahila is informed and active. Yes she often provides insight and data. Yet she also often provides blanket stereotyped 'why-America-and-Americans-suck' comments as well that do not help her position. Reread this last one. The frustrating thing for me is that I am working to build more coalitions, we need to work together, but posts like that one "I guess this mess is all right with everyone then" message is a barrier.

It's going to take a lot of us working together to get real change. It's going to take action on a lot of fronts. Dora's research and connections nationally are valuable, as we work to educate folks. In the short run, they are kinda shocking, it's still hard to see in black and white the depth of the infiltration. So consider that there has to be a processing time, even a grieving time, before action.

We all need to become more effective. Snark at each other for not responding fast enough in any particular way is NOT a way for us to become more effective.

We can't be looking for personal gain. If one's goal is that smug sense of "I told you so" then where does that leave Seattle? What's the goal? Positive change for Seattle Schools or satisfaction at being right in predicting the worst?

uxolo said...

Bailey Gatzert has had all sorts of volunteers for many years. Their students are not guaranteed a seat at Washington Middle School. No idea how they can predict a seat at Garfield. Hopefully the volunteers will have some new effective training which has not been the case in the past.

Anonymous said...

-Parent in the System

Thank you for your input.

I presented the end of the evaluation scenario. Our teacher talked to us about having our child go before the SIT council due to ongoing struggles even with 1:1 help from teacher and literary assistant. Our teacher wanted our child to gain some extra help from the resource room so there would be a double dose of 1:1 help.

I asked about the end result of the SIT council and was told a possibility was an IEP. That is what would enable the additional help from the resource room.

Not feeling comfortable about the label.

-Just in...

Sahila said...

Thanks Olliesdad for the support...

@Dorothy:
I am frustrated because there is NO TIME left to grieve and process...

Its like someone on the verge of bleeding to death from a cut artery quibbling - "am I really nearly dead? Really? What makes you say that? What blood pouring from my arm? Oh, you mean all that red blood lying all around me..." And then arguing about what scarf or belt to use as a tourniquet...

Six more months, here and nationally, and this is all a done deal...

Get over your insecurity and preciousness about other people criticising America...

If you were all grown up about it, you'd realise this country is not the best thing since sliced bread.. . there are other places in the world that do "life" in a much more healthy way, just as there are other places that do it in a more damaging manner...

Read this for a starting point:
American Psychosis

and this:
Normalising Inadequacy

and this:
The Need For Human Logic

and you can go here: Miseducation Nation for daily postings tracking ed deform efforts around the current...

This train is hurtling down the track and the bridge is out... and the passengers on the train are focusing on kids getting too much candy in class, and that there are too many bus changes in getting to school...

Sorry - when people cant see that this is a fight for democracy and a good future for our kids, then I get pissed off...

The poet W. H. Auden identifies our problem:
We would rather be ruined than changed,
We would rather die in our dread
Than climb the cross of the moment
And let our illusions die.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Momma Snark, that sounds a little odd. I haven't heard of people celebrating birthdays in classrooms (with food) in a long time because of peanut allergies/other food concerns. Also, it just takes time out of the day. I'd talk to the teacher and the principal because it does sound like a lot of sugar. I can see it once in a blue moon but not on a regular basis.

The cost of keeping the school open longer on a staggered schedule involves all the staffing (teachers, office staff, custodial, security) so there's extra cost there. As well, if Garfield does this, the wear and tear on the building will certainly be greater. But we know other districts do this, people like the idea of the schools being used on a longer schedule, etc. We just have to decide if it is worth it. I think you could do it as a stop-gap/pilot project and see how it works.

My limited experience with an IEP is that it really depends on the nature of the disability. Asperger's generally needs a lower level of work than other disabilities. Having teachers who understand what it is and the supports to help that child (and that you have a resource teacher available is great) might be enough. I don't think there is always tracking involved (unless Parent in the System means the teachers/staff knowing the student has a disability). My son wasn't tracked or marginalized but we came in late in the game with an IEP request.

Anonymous said...

By tracked I mean tracked. I mean placed in resource rooms and rotations where there are very low expectations, and poor outcomes. Look up the data if you are interested. I mean placed into other more segregated settings where very little is ever done. It means placement in classrooms with absolutely NO accountability or oversight. It also means being tracked with other students with IEPs into classrooms with lower expectations. (Haven't we read here from teachers saying their class is over 50% IEPs? That is tracking.) It means not having as many choices or opportunities as other students. It can mean general education teachers shunting kids to special education (because they know they can) instead of making an effort. No, it doesn't always happen. But, like I said, it's a double edged sword. And that's the price of service, which may or may not be worth it... usually depending on the teachers involved, of all people. Yes, they matter.

In the System

Sahila said...

http://sahilachangebringer.blogspot.com/2010/12/flash-mobs-having-fun-making-political.html

watch the last segment included in this post...

this is what we need in Seattle, and around the country... challenging daily, on a personal level...

That's what the idea around the Seattle Shadow School Board was about... we parents/community have just as much legitimacy as the deformers and the astro-turf anagram groups and they need challenging...

seattle said...

"If you were all grown up about it, you'd realise this country is not the best thing since sliced bread.. . there are other places in the world that do "life" in a much more healthy wa"

Why live in a country that sucks when you don't have to Sahila? Go somewhere you like better, back to Australia maybe. Move on?

Sahila said...

@Seattle...

I've already on this blog explained why I am still here...

and while I am still here, I will do what I can to help change what doesnt work in this country... just as I would in New Zealand, Australia, Europe... its my responsibility, just as it is yours...

The crap happens cos people dont DO anything about it... they roll over... they choose to be sheeples... no-one is sleepless in Seattle - you're all snoring away...

watch the George Carlin clip at the bottom of the post:

You're not in the club

Dorothy Neville said...

How in the world is making sweeping generalizations about people being sheep helping to change things at all?

How in the world is pushing the "I told you so!" aspect helping to change things?

Look, this has come up before, not just Sahila, but something more common, perhaps in human nature. I mean the trend to think that others who do not share perspective or understanding are obviously flipping idiots and tools of evil. Simply declaring charter school evil, simply declaring TfA evil, simply declaring Waiting for Superman evil is not going to help, because there are legitimate reasons why people are hopeful about them. That's why someone suggested reading Red Families vs Blue Families. (please note, I am NOT hopeful towards them, please do not anyone start arguing to me as if I were.)

Here's what we face though. We face an uphill battle to restore sanity to our school district. So whether or not you start from the perspective that anyone who disagrees is a blooming idiot or whether they are not yet fully informed, it BEHOOVES us to ACT like we believe the latter. Because if we come across acting like we believe the former, we will NOT gain enough support for alternate candidates, for positive change.

The analogy of arterial bleeding is wrong. As Dora is pointing out, the better analogy is an insidious slow growing and now deeply entrenched tumor. A straightforward tourniquet is not going to do much, we need careful deeply planned attack on multiple fronts. And that takes building bridges instead of attacking each other with snark.

Middle School Teacher said...

@ Just in...

There can also be upsides to having an IEP.

As a teacher, I've seen parents who refused to have children evaluated for services for a variety of reasons; eliminating several opportunities for assistance from even being discussed. The behaviors or academic needs are still apparent in the learning environment, but the child does not have additional support to cope, adjust, and learn. The classroom teacher does not have additional support to effectively educate the child.

One suggestion to consider is talking to your school's SIT team leader to learn about the process for your building. Going through the SIT process does not commit you to accepting any outcome you do not want for your child.

Often, students with IEPs for academic needs (reading, writing, math, organization) are included in a lot of the general education activities. Most students have no idea the person sitting next to them in class has special education services.

As I understand it, the IEP (Individualized Education Plan) allows the student to get credit for gains made based on his or her own needs and learning goals, with the target of getting to grade level. The student with an IEP has legal rights and SPS has increased legal responsibilities for meeting the IEP goals. Without the IEP the student is graded (in school and on state tests) based on meeting grade level expectations.

Good luck to you as you explore your options for helping your student find (and feel)success at school.

hschinske said...

I don't think the point of this blog is to reprimand people about their attitudes when they are frustrated and really passionate about their beliefs.

Fair enough, but everyone needs to play by the same rules here. I don't appreciate having everyone else's many years of work in this district tossed aside as useless and ineffective, and everyone else's attitudes toward democracy and education assumed to be lukewarm, just because Sahila's post didn't trigger an immediate storm of response. Saying nothing for the moment is not at all the same thing as having nothing to say or contribute, nor is it the same thing as dismissing the last post one's read.

Also, keep in mind that people often put off clicking on links until they're through processing a conversation that's happening directly on the thread. Open threads are almost always ragbags of small concerns (that's what they're for, after all), with some larger ones tucked in. It sometimes takes a while for the larger topic to get going.

This is normal human discourse, not a conspiracy to ignore serious matters. Saying something like "I'd really like to talk more about Dora's expose of the Broad connections in the district" would be more helpful -- helping to direct the discourse rather than berating people for not doing it right.

Helen Schinske

hschinske said...

The behaviors or academic needs are still apparent in the learning environment, but the child does not have additional support to cope, adjust, and learn. The classroom teacher does not have additional support to effectively educate the child.

I have seen this in action. One year my daughter was asked by her teacher to spend most of her math time helping another child. From what I could see, the child (who was very bright) had some sort of learning disability, probably dyslexia or dysgraphia, to the point where it was impossible for her to even line up addition problems correctly on the paper. Peer tutoring by a nine-year-old was absolutely not appropriate in that situation.

Helen Schinske

Melissa Westbrook said...

Sahila, you just hurt yourself every time.

"If you were all grown up about it, you'd realise this country is not the best thing since sliced bread.. . there are other places in the world that do "life" in a much more healthy way, just as there are other places that do it in a more damaging manner..."

Disparaging people is not going to get them to listen to you. I am an adult ("grown-up") and you don't have the knowledge to tell any of us here that we aren't.

I puzzle why you are in this country if you have such low regard for it and its inhabitants.

I need to go back to my previous stance of ignoring everything you write (even the good) because you are so withering in your distain for anyone who isn't doing just what you believe they should.

Jet City mom said...

I've already on this blog explained why I am still here..

Yes- yes, you have many times & your tone and language is so consistent
& predictable, that you haven't been able to add anything new to the conversation for quite some time.

RE: SPED

Going through the SIT process does not commit you to accepting any outcome you do not want for your child.

Do you really believe this?
In my experience- not being happy with the choice of what was offered at the building level meant paying for outside tutoring twice a week for the entirety of middle school.
( the testing which wasn't done until end of the year had shown that my child hadn't made ANY progress- & despite this- when I appealed to the district for reimbursement for tutoring- I was denied)
I have signed IEPs and was told that it was confirmation that I was at the meeting, not that I agreed with it.
I have received copies of the IEP that had the agreed upon additions whited out.

The IEP process is too vague with lowered standards that aren't even measured to verify progress.

Too much depends on the school & staff- rather than on the needs of the child and the law.

My daughter received more academic support without an IEP, once we changed schools, than she had in the 6 years, with.

While her teachers were trying & they worked hard( just not for my D)- my impression is that because I was in the school everyday- & my daughter is quite intelligent, despite her learning disabilities- their view was- " she would be fine"- .

I think that all teachers ( & admin- they should all have training in child development- we aren't manufacturing automobiles here) should have training on differentiated instruction- IEPs & 504s- especially since we are mainstreaming most kids.

Sahila said...

@emerald kitty... the conversation wont go anywhere because people dont want to face what's going on...

If you face it, you have to decide what to DO with it...

Go along, or pushback...

And seeing the agenda has such a head start, speaking softly and saying things nicely at this point is not going to turn the tide...

And this isnt just about education, its about the very fabric of this country's society...

So, I get that people dont want to go there and I understand why...

But dont go whinging about stuff if you dont want to put your money where your mouth is...

Either: come out and say - oh, its OK by me because I think its good, I cant be bothered thinking about it, it doesnt affect me or whatever...

Or: come out and DO something about it...

Talking/fighting amongst ourselves here in this cosy little place where people dont need to know your name/who you are, is pretty much risk free and is not going to change anything...

Maureen said...

Does anyone know if this blog is blocked at the JSCEE? When I was there for the Workshop last week I tried to open this site and couldn't whereas I was able to access my (off label) email account. I'm not sure if that was a fluke or standard?

Sahila said...

and this is why its important, and this is why its all connected and what is happening in education is a part of it:

Sen Bernie Sanders Speech DEC 02 2010

No Reality TV Here, PLEASE said...

Guys, please please stop pouncing all over Sahila every time she posts something. I am tired of the tit for tat and it is awful. I come to this blog for information, not "reality tv..."

If she wants to embarrass herself, fine, that is her choice, but you all sound way more Seattle negative- "I know more than you, the rules are for YOU not me..." and mean spirited. Hold up a mirror, will ya? Just ignore her comments if you don't like them. Some of your comments and criticisms about her character are worse, and more mean spirited than hers. At least she is consistent. You know what you are in for with a Sahila comment.


FYI there are other places in the world that probably do it better than we do, but there are consequences for every decision we make in life. Would I want to uproot my children and make them learn a completely different language in order to get an education? Hmmm.


Please, let's just stop. Ignore Sahila if you don't like it. When others visit the blog and aren't familiar with the usual day to day goings-on, it feels like you are fighting in front of the dinner guests.

Seriously, it is getting uncomfortable. And bad.

Let's focus on who the real culprits are here.

grousefinder said...

I almost never agree with Sahila, but I read her posts to insure I am informed of all potential viewpoints.

What she reinforces for me is the truth that there exists an infinite constellation if ideas which must be considered in all human and professional interactions. Consider Sahila as your personal lighting rod. She can take your wrath. The woman is very brave to post here at all considering how we (me included) can trounce upon her.

So Sahila, even if I think you are mad as a hatter, I still respect your truth. (I can't believe I just wrote this!)

Peace and Love

Dorothy Neville said...

Maureen, I believe all blog/social media things were blocked when I was there. I was able to access twitter through a third party utility, but not any blog or facebook or twitter. I was able to access my email accounts and ravelry (just curious if that social network site was under the radar or not. some work nets do block it.)

Yes, I usually ignore Sahila when she gets "that way" but last night I got cranky because the issues are so real and time is of the essence. Dora's research is amazing and creepy and I believe will prove useful. But too many people here are so polarizing, such that in this format, the polarizing arguments hurts our effectiveness.

The next big step we need to take is work on elections. Dora's history lesson is important here. While some of us already understand the depth of political machinations of the Broad-Gates agenda and how that has already affected Seattle, the average citizen does not really know this. That does not mean the average citizen is a tool or an idiot or doesn't care.

In order to be successful, we are going to have to find potential candidates -- ones that can win, ones that have enough understanding and a critical eye not to get sucked in, but also have significant political acumen to make a difference.

We are not going to find good candidates if the most vocal voices from the anti-ed-deform side turn off discourse with their blanket insulting statements, toward the general public, but also toward each other! We are not going to educate and inform the general voting public with telling them they are idiots if they disagree with our more learned understanding.

Anonymous said...

Dear Parent in Conference.

The SIT absolutely does NOT guarantee that you will have an IEP. It does not guarantee that you will even have an educational evaluation for special education. The main thing is for the SIT team to figure out the intervention strategy your student needs. The idea is to keep your child in general education.

Additionally, schools routinely deny other types of support to students who are on IEPs. For example, my kid's school denied WASL prep classes to students on IEPs. It denied extra reading tutors and specialists to students on IEPs. And forget about any advanced learning. Those doors are shut too, even if your child might benefit from it in some area. I'm not saying an IEP "isn't worth it". It depends on the services you do get... and the services you will miss... and the service you will be denied. Definitely don't count on "double dose" 1:1 lasting forever. It will be one OR the other.

Resource room typically isn't 1:1, it's just a class where less is offered. It often feels good to people, because the expectations are lower. I don't understand why people would want to be in a class where they do less. But, lots of parents accept this and like it. If your child is unable to do more, or keep up... exposure to less doesn't help them... they simply get less. And, it actually limits them, just on the offchance that the student was lowballed in the first place. Who knows? Maybe your student would actually learn something from exposure to War And Peace. Maybe your child would read an easier version. Maybe it will jazz them up, and they'll see a spurt. But in the resource room, they'll never even be exposed to it.

And finally, it's pretty rare for anybody to exit special ed. The trend is for progressively more restrictive placements as students age. If you start in high school (Melissa's kid reportedly), or if you're in K, you don't see that progression.

Emerald Kity.

You seem to think you're some sort of helpless cog in the system.

Every student on an IEP does have recourse. Due process. Yes, you sign that you attended. If you wish something different on your IEP, you must request due process. Nobody else on the planet has an automatic right to due process when they disagree with their educational service contract. At that point, the district goes to another process, which you may reject: mediation. Of course it is a very big hammer. So, you've got to mean business when you use it. And, you've got to have proof of your needs. Not easy, but available to use.

As to "opting out" of sped. The district can actually require you to have special ed. They can use due process to compel you to have both an evaluation and an IEP.

--Parent in the System

hschinske said...

I would like to add to the IEP discussion that there is such a thing as a minor issue being handled through an IEP, with no consequent disruption of the child's education and no inappropriate labeling or tracking going on. My son has had an IEP off and on for speech therapy. It's had no effect on his access to advanced learning or anything else.

It does indeed sound as though there are serious problems in how major IEPs are handled -- I'm not denying that at all. I'm just pointing out that the bare existence of any IEP in a child's file doesn't put them on some kind of blacklist.

Helen Schinske

middle school teacher said...

@ Emeraldcity Kitty

Yes, a student/family can go through the SIT process and leave without being obliged or required to do anything.

Yes, SIT will likely investigate alternatives to evaluation for services if none are on record.

Yes, if a parent requests evaluation then an evaluation must be provided.

No, a teacher/school cannot require a student be evaluated for special education services without permission from parent or legal guardian.

I don't know what the legal relationship is once an IEP is entered into - which I think is what emeraldkitty refers to, not SIT.

Yes, parents/guardians need to be alert, attentive, and pro-active in communicating with teachers and making sure documents are correct. (There are always several copies of an IEP at meetings and it goes through lots of hands, the wrong one copy can end up being what is forwarded to the district and it may be incomplete.)

Yes, special education services are delivered differently depending on the qualifying areas, severity of disabilities impact on learning, and the building where the student is enrolled.

Yes, the 'system' is far from perfect.

Yes, a lot of families and students are happy, not just satisfied, happy, with the services their child receives, the attention their child gets from teachers, and the communication from the school.

No, sped teachers and assistants do not get the support they need to do all that their jobs require. The current contract continues to shaft special education services and educators.

-middle school teacher

Anonymous said...

Just in…

This is my advice. Get an outside evaluation if you can. Find out what the problem is. Then investigate interventions and what is successful. Find out what specially designed instruction can help your child and if it will be accessible to your child at school with an IEP or without. Learn how IEPs are implemented at your school and how placement may be affected. It is also helpful to understand your child’s legal rights and how to protect them. This will take time. Depending on how much your child is currently affected and how old your child is, you may want to start the SIT process or put it off while you do your own investigation.

My experience with the SIT process is that it is very dependent on the people on the team. And even if they are well intentioned, they do not always know as much as they should about specific disabilities or about IDEA. They are also biased, seeing things from the point of view of the school or the school district. If you do have a SIT meeting, I recommend that you either record it or bring a friend to take notes, since it is hard to remember who said what. If there is an outcome that you want, go prepared to advocate for it and bring evidence to support your position. Do not assume that the SIT team will know what is best or do what is best for your child.

Most of all, find some support. Talk to other parents who have children with similar struggles. Talk to parents with children who have IEP’s in your school or neighborhood. Talk to friends who are teachers.

I am connected in the special education community in NE Seattle. Feel free to email me. dwvank@msn.com

Some resources are:
Wrights Law www.wrightslaw.com
Wa State Office Education Ombudsman www.governor.wa.gov/oeo/

LD Parent

Anonymous said...

Dorothy,

Learning the history of the Broad and Gates presence within our community has made it clear to me also that one of the most important actions we can take now is finding appropriate candidates for the school board.

I am totally behind that and Parents Across America, Seattle is in full swing in finding candidates who we can support and work for during the election period in 2011.

The other action is to dissuade our elected officials from believing what the ed reformers are telling them in Olympia. There will be a final push towards ed reform next year, which will be the culmination of all the work that Broad and Gates have done over the last nine years in Seattle. These folks along with the Alliance, their hired gun Strategies 360, LEV and whoever else they can scrape up including the SCPTSA, will be meeting with our elected officials telling them how wonderful the edicts of ed reform are including charter schools.

Now is the time to be communicating with our representatives, Senators, the mayor and Dorn about what we as parents, teachers and students want and know is necessary to have successful schools and programs.

The one thing that we have in our favor is the reality factor. Gates and Broad, et al, have no idea what it's really like on the ground and in the classrooms. They truly don't know. I have seen evidence of that from my research. It's appalling the lack of understanding that these folks have about children, how they learn and how poverty can so adversely affect a child's ability to concentrate and understand the material presented to them in a classroom.

Parents Across America, Seattle will be having a meeting next Sunday, December 12th at 1:30 PM at my studio space in the International District where we will be discussing these issues and deciding on our next steps.

Teachers, students, parents and concerned community members are invited to join in this meeting.

For additional information, you can contact me directly at dora.taylor@gmail.com.

Anonymous said...

Helen - a level 1 IEP, is barely an IEP. School reports don't even include them. It isn't what the conferencing parent is talking about.... which is actual educational programming. Level 1 related service are available everywhere, and without disruption (or tracking) other than the usual pullout, which can also be negotiated. Eg. You can specify speech in the "least restrictive environment" (classroom) instead of pullout if it is more appropriate than the pullout. Still, not always worth it.

Middle School Teacher - mostly correct but NO, students are not entitled to an automatic evaluation on demand. They are entitled to a SIT which investigates possible disability. Interventions are supposed to be considered. Only when that doesn't work is an evaluation considered. Most schools will bypass the SIT if parents are persistent in requesting an evaluatn. Failure to follow the SIT is the source of excess special ed referal. Parents can also request an IEE, independent educational evaluation, at district expensive, if they believe the district's evaluation is unfair or inappropriate. That happens too.

BTW. ALL teachers, including general education teachers, are responsible for implementing IEPs. If a student isn't well served, general education staff is also responsible for meeting those needs. Sounds like you think it's just the sped staff that's supposed to do it. Parents have to be incredibly diligent to make sure that general ed staff take IEP ownership responsibility. And, some teachers are much more willing to accept that repsonsibility, even with gusto, than others. We've had fabulous, and mediocre.

Emerald Kity - sped students are entitled to DUE PROCESS. If you aren't happy with your IEP, request due process. True, your simple signature only means you attended. No other group of students has the automatic right to due process when the parents dont agree with educational plans. I can tell you for a fact, if you request due process at your IEP meeting... the district will request mediation, immediately. That is an option you can use also. You've got to be able to stomach due process and prove your needs.

Parent in the System

StopTFA said...

I know what Sahila's mad about. When it comes time to protect the civil rights of students in Title 1 schools against inexperienced non-certificated intern teachers, where is everybody? For the life of me, it's like someone has leprosy, nearly everyone looks away and says let someone else deal with it. And THEY'RE the ones in a position to lose the most! Thank god for b*tches like me and Sahila. We won't take it lying down.

grousefinder said...

Hey StopTfA:

This is for you:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dib2-HBsF08

MathTeacher42 said...

Dorothy -
I've been doing online politic things since 1200 or 2400 baud modems were $140 - '91 or '92.

How people talk or how people are perceived to be talking is ALWAYS an issue which causes grief in online "communities". Whether some comments are insightful or inflammatory - oh gawd. ;)

Try reading dailykos.com on a daily basis, where 1/2 of many of the diaries have hundreds of comments with people blazing away proving that the other is hurtful ... yawn.

If you want the names of 5 other political blogs where people have gone, after decamping from dailykos cuz there are too many hurtful people at XYZ... let me know ;)

I started reading dailykos after the kerry debacle of 2004 - remember that guy? Remember how he was the best candidate cuz he was "electable" and others weren't "electable"? Well, the fights on dailykos didn't end with Kerry...;)

IF everyone in Seattle or Warshington or the USA agreed with you or with Sahilia or with me, THEN we'd win yesterday.

When we look at how well American institutions have performed in the last 30 years - people at the top raking it in, tens of millions have less health security, less employment security, less housing security, infrastructure rots and education is being handed over to the kind of private sector robber barons who've destroyed the economy for decades - clearly no one has yet figured out the best tactics and the best strategies for stopping the rot and, more importantly, building the future.

There is no one on any blog I agree with all the time - we've met in meat space, you're nice, you're trying to fix things, you're working hard - as is Sahilia - I'd suggest not dealing with the tone thing ;) (smiley faces!!!)

;)

bm

seattle citizen said...

While I recoil at Sahila's admonition that I am not doing anything in the face of some really, really bad stuff going on (I am! I'm uh, writing and stuff!), and while her comments about me maybe not being "grown up" sting, I have to admit the truth of both. Yes, Sahila is livid at the apparent lack of action or response. Yes, she is inaccurate that there is no response: There IS discussion here, there IS communication with the powers that be...But, frankly, I understand her perspective: Too little, too late. It's like watching Nero fiddle as Rome burns.

I feel the same way. "Reform" is almost complete, and I have yet to see a thousand people standing outside of JSCEE chanting loudly that "It's just pap; we won't MAP!" or "TFA is NOT the way!" Numbers matter. When a thousand people stand outside your door with the cameras on, you pay attention.

Quiet words and rational discourse are, as we know, like spitting in the wind as far as this reform monster is concerned - The Powers That Be have been on this road a long, long time (thanks, Dora, for the Broad/Seattle history...shudder...) and all the discussion in the world won't change that. By the time we elect new board members, by the time the superintendent finishes her assigned duties here, it'll all be over. Heck, it already is, to all intents and purposes.

How come there aren't a thousand people at JSCEE every other Wednesday evening with signs? Why am I merely typing away instead of actually mobilizing?

middle school teacher said...

@ Parent,

Thank you for the clarification. I take very seriously my responsibility to educate every child in my classroom and didn't mean to give a different impression. My thinking as I wrote was more toward the parent who is new to conversations around special education as they pertain to his/her child.

Parents and teachers working together will be the best way to improve educational systems so that all students are served admirably.

Sahila said...

Thanks Grousefinder...

see here: I'm As Mad As hell

StopTFA said...

Grousefinder, dam straight! Tell me I'm not the only one old enough to remember this in the theaters...

grousefinder said...

Early 50's, radical who majored in bricks and stones (metaphorical, of course).

dan dempsey said...

When London does a better job than Seattle on reporting on the American Schools .. it just goes to show where we are. Sahila's points seem to be substantiated with the great silence.

The Guardian in the UK has even figured OUT the corporate takeover of our American schools.

So the fact that The Guardian has this figured out and the vast majority of Seattle sits in silence is an outrage. The city of sheep I guess.

Meg said...

If the district is willing to close AS#1 because of lagging enrollment, then the same reasoning needs to apply to other schools.

AS#1's enrollment has been bleeding out because it has been on official closure lists every other year - in 2006-07, in 2008-09 and now, again, in 2010-11 (and I think it was bruited around for discussion in 2005-06, but that's a recollection, not something I have confirmed). AS#1's declining enrollment is a direct result from repeated threats from the district. The school was at 89.8% capacity (using 'functional' capacity released in January 2009) in 2005-06, and is now at 49.3%.

But AS#1's still running at a higher capacity than Rainier Beach, which is now at 41.8% functional capacity.

AS#1 has been jobbed. I hope they fight it off (again), because it's more than a bit whimsical to say that AS#1 is so under-enrolled that they need to be closed and not so much as mentioned a school with worse under-enrollment problems.

If it sounds like I'm throwing Rainier Beach under the bus, I'm not looking to. I'm just trying to point out the huge inconsistency in the decision-making of people who claim to be "data-driven."

Art said...

@Sahila: "If you were all grown up about it, you'd realise this country is not the best thing since sliced bread.. . there are other places in the world that do 'life' in a much more healthy way,......"

If YOU were all grown up about it YOU would realize that you are not the only one that has lived in other countries or travelled internationally, and you would realize that this country IS the best thing since sliced bread. I hate to say it, but please, tell us which country is better than here. Upon answering that, please make arrangements to go live there. Also, if you were all grown up about it, you would realize how childish your rants on a border-less world sound. Just as childish as those that attempt to re-create the late-1960's with protests and marches that, in the end, are ignored by those in power or those in a position to influence those in power. Any reaction to a protest by an elected official is a feigned reaction meant only to increase their political capital or enhance their chances for electability(this applies to any country).

Sahila on a rant = zero credibility.

dan dempsey said...

BOARD MEETING
DEC 8, 2010


There are several items that are slated for:
Introduction/Action
on that night. Among them are the following three:

1) Election of Officers, which on the agenda is listed as an action only..... but is described as an introduction/action on the Action Report.

2) Contract Approval ($296,000) with A+ Advantage point Learning for tutoring from required 20% Title I set aside money.

3) Contract Approval ($445,000) with Sylvan.

================
So why are introduction and action occurring at one meeting?

Is administration really that unable to plan ahead?

What is the deal?

For Sylvan and A+ Advantage Point it is stated:

Immediate action is in the best interest of the district.

I think planning ahead would be in the best interests of the District.
=========

Poor k-12 math, poorly implemented writer's workshop, lack of effective interventions, selection of unproven instructional materials, continued use of failing practices, total disregard for "Project Follow Through" results....

So I am NOT amazed that the Central Admin can't think far enough ahead to avoid "introduction and action" at the same meeting.

The Superintendent shall be responsible for preparing the agenda for each meeting, in cooperation with the Executive Committee.

From Bylaw B45.00:

Emergency motions may also be introduced and acted upon at the meeting at which they are introduced. Such emergency motions shall state that immediate adoption is in the best interest of the District. Non-routine, non-emergency items shall be introduced at one meeting, and the final vote for adoption shall take place no earlier than the next succeeding regular or special Board meeting.

---------------------

So what is the Emergency?

It appears that continual bad planning is the emergency.

So who should be planning in a timely fashion?

The Superintendent shall be responsible for preparing the agenda for each meeting, in cooperation with the Executive Committee.

Looks like Job #1 falls on the Superintendent.

grousefinder said...

@Art:

I am certain that you are a good patriot and as such you respect the rights of all citizens to exercise their duty to speak out against the anti-democratic policies of government. Sahila does that, I do that, and most everyone else on this blog does that. The internet is the 21st Century equivalent of the Bohemian cafes of the early and mid-20th Century where people spoke out against their governments and plotted counter-revolution or democratization strategies. In the 60's they took to the streets across the globe. In the 70's the yoke of colonialism was ejected from most of the subjugated world. Somewhere along the path to global democratization the process was hijacked by anti-democratic forces (i.e. those who control the flow of capital).

We live in a country where 20% of the people own 85% of the wealth. It is a country where a President can manufacture a phony war, where financial institutions prey upon the poor and middle class in the name of profit, and where 50 million people live in poverty; the latter being particularly galling given our advanced industrialized status.

This country is headed for disaster and (like the 60's) people will once again take to the streets. However, next time it will be our Baby Boomers in wheelchairs and walkers demanding their Social Security benefits. It will be a giant Gray Panther Movement that will make the Black Panthers of the 60's look like a social club. Hungry bellies breed revolutions.

Sahila makes some cogent arguments. The world is borderless in terms of the flow of capital (that is, the capital of the wealthiest 10% of the global population). People follow the movement of capital as any student of political-economy will tell you. However, the exchange of cultures is more than a transnational human wave; culture moves via a global mass media. This is why North American pop music can be heard in Ouagadougou. This is why we play German Techno on our iPods, this is why people sport Che Guevara shirts as fashion statements. We are borderless in the three realms: capital, culture, and ideas.

I am in agreement with Sahila on this one...this country has become an anti-democratic state ruled by the flow of global capital controlled by a ultra-elite wealthy few. Meanwhile, our wealth is declining relative to these elites and the poor are fleeing abject poverty globally in an effort to migrate here. You see, even our perceived wealth is a draw to the desperate of other nations. Why are they fooled? Because in a "borderless" world media is King. Global citizens believe what they see and hear from the Rupert Murdochs of the world.

The right to protest is the hallmark of democracy, as is the right to criticize one's own government. Let Sahila have her say. As an expatriate citizen her perspective is unique, radical, and necessary. BTW...I rarely agree with her, but respect her and everyone here for their democratization efforts. We are all just a bunch of Bohemians in internet cafes. (Just like you, Art.)

Irony of the day...Bill Gates, Captain of Industry and catalyst for much of the recent shift in global wealth over the last twenty years, is now trying to undo what he started by inserting himself into an education system that suffers from too many children living in poverty.

grousefinder said...

@Art:

I am certain that you are a good patriot and as such you respect the rights of all citizens to exercise their duty to speak out against the anti-democratic policies of government. Sahila does that, I do that, and most everyone else on this blog does that. The internet is the 21st Century equivalent of the Bohemian cafes of the early and mid-20th Century where people spoke out against their governments and plotted counter-revolution or democratization strategies. In the 60's they took to the streets across the globe. In the 70's the yoke of colonialism was ejected from most of the subjugated world. Somewhere along the path to global democratization the process was hijacked by anti-democratic forces (i.e. those who control the flow of capital).

We live in a country where 20% of the people own 85% of the wealth. It is a country where a President can manufacture a phony war, where financial institutions prey upon the poor and middle class in the name of profit, and where 50 million people live in poverty; the latter being particularly galling given our advanced industrialized status.

This country is headed for disaster and (like the 60's) people will once again take to the streets. However, next time it will be our Baby Boomers in wheelchairs and walkers demanding their Social Security benefits. It will be a giant Gray Panther Movement that will make the Black Panthers of the 60's look like a social club. Hungry bellies breed revolutions.

Sahila makes some cogent arguments. The world is borderless in terms of the flow of capital (that is, the capital of the wealthiest 10% of the global population). People follow the movement of capital as any student of political-economy will tell you. However, the exchange of cultures is more than a transnational human wave; culture moves via a global mass media. This is why North American pop music can be heard in Ouagadougou. This is why we play German Techno on our iPods, this is why people sport Che Guevara shirts as fashion statements. We are borderless in the three realms: capital, culture, and ideas.

I am in agreement with Sahila on this one...this country has become an anti-democratic state ruled by the flow of global capital controlled by a ultra-elite wealthy few. Meanwhile, our wealth is declining relative to these elites and the poor are fleeing abject poverty globally in an effort to migrate here. You see, even our perceived wealth is a draw to the desperate of other nations. Why are they fooled? Because in a "borderless" world media is King. Global citizens believe what they see and hear from the Rupert Murdochs of the world.

The right to protest is the hallmark of democracy, as is the right to criticize one's own government. Let Sahila have her say. As an expatriate citizen her perspective is unique, radical, and necessary. BTW...I rarely agree with her, but respect her and everyone here for their democratization efforts. We are all just a bunch of Bohemians in internet cafes. (Just like you, Art.)

Irony of the day...Bill Gates, Captain of Industry and catalyst for much of the recent shift in global wealth over the last twenty years, is now trying to undo what he started by inserting himself into an education system that suffers from too many children living in poverty.

seattle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
seattle said...

I can't imagine picking up my family, moving them India, and then telling all of the Indian families that I get to know how much their country sucks - on a daily basis.

I can't imagine telling every Indian person that I got to know how lame their school system was.

I can't imagine joining an Indian school blog and telling the Indian parent activists how lame they were as activists. And how their ways of enacting change were all wrong. And bashing them for it.

I can't imagine ranting to them incessantly about how much better the US was than India.

Sahila, you really need to stop lashing out. It is unproductive and it discourages anyone from wanting to work with you. Rather it turns people off and makes them ignore or skip your posts. And I don't think that's what you want.

Not everyone sees things your way, and even those that do see things your way may not choose to act on a given situation the same way that you do. That doesn't make them lame, stupid, naive, lazy, or evil. We are individuals. For such a liberal person Sahila - you are hell bent on conformity. You are hell bent on everyone seeing things your way, and those that don't get bashed, belittled, and tongue lashed by you. Oppressive to say the least.

Thankfully we are free to simply ignore you.

We all know that you think the US and our school systems suck. That's your right. But just remember that you are living here voluntarily - and you are taking every advantage of what this country has to offer.....including the public schools.

grousefinder said...

Allow me to quote myself (I just love to see my nom de plume in print).

"What she [Sahila] reinforces for me is the truth that there exists an infinite constellation if ideas which must be considered in all human and professional interactions. Consider Sahila as your personal lighting rod. She can take your wrath. The woman is very brave to post here at all considering how we (me included) can trounce upon her."

So, Seattle@8:34 AM, be Thor. All electrical energy from each bolt of lightening eventually goes to ground somewhere.

BTW...the reason I am defending Sahila so fervently is that everyone on this blog makes odious, misinformed, incorrect, or controversial statements once in a while (myself included). Even the publisher(s) of this site is(are) not without sin. Some of us challenge others' thinking all the time, some of us bore one another to tears. I'm okay with that.

Remember, "an injury to one is an injury to all."

Dorothy Neville said...

"How come there aren't a thousand people at JSCEE every other Wednesday evening with signs? Why am I merely typing away instead of actually mobilizing?"

How come I am often the only one at the audit and finance committee meetings? How come Melissa was the only one at that Executive meeting? There are lots of things that are getting done, lots of action besides simply chatting away here. But of course there is more to be done and more of us are needed on the front line.

There are lots of reasons. Many are busy, with kids, earning a living and other obligations.

Many don't know the details -- because after all a LOT of families are satisfied with their own public school experiences. Don't forget that. At the school level, we have some bad, but we also have a lot of good.

Some might think they can't make a difference. And it sometimes does seem that way, we fight an uphill battle. The other side seems better prepared, better resourced and more powerful.

Some might think it's too late. It's hella scary sometimes because I feel gloomy that it is too late too, but then I remind myself that it is never too late. Remember, our district has been dysfunctional for a very long time. Perhaps it is finally hitting bottom, perhaps it is finally time that positive change can happen.

One can give up, come to the conclusion that it is too late and we are all screwed. That's a choice. But think of it this way. It really isn't over yet. Sure, things are looking pretty bad, but more and more people are becoming thoughtful and involved. Sure, a lot seems like tilting at windmills, but giving up is worse.

The city and the school district are going to be around for a long time. The district is broken, but frankly, our district has been more broken than most for a long long time. Dora's research shows that Broad didn't get in charge here overnight, it was a long strategic effort. Our dismantling and rebuilding will also take more than overnight, and will take multiple actions and strategies.

It's time to meet. It's time for all to get more involved.

I find myself once again going out of town the weekend of the Parents Across America meeting (Dec 12th, believe it or not I will be at the Seahawks 49rs game). I can only strongly suggest (as I did in November, when I was also unfortunately away) that people attend.

Our Committee for Responsible Education Spending (CRES) has been talking about our next steps. One is to partner with other groups and to host coffee hour meet-ups, like the school board members do, but on our own.

I am not looking for bitch sessions. I am not looking for sitting around and talking about how doomed we all are. I am not looking for snark about who has been working harder and more productively than others and how Seattle doesn't give a damn. I am looking for more direct discussion of possible actions. Networking for board candidates, sharing how to speak to legislature, how to approach neighbors and community groups to elect the new candidates. Want to boycott MAP? Want to get media attention? Want to get a thousand people at a meeting? Pass the hat to help fund lawsuits? Distribute forms for signature gathering on the recall? Meeting in person is probably a lot more effective than this open blog to effect that.

Coffee hours. We probably need to have rotating times during weekday, evening and weekend times so that more people can attend. We need venues in different parts of the city.

I am working through CRES and PAAS and Seattle Education 2010 to come up with a formal partnership schedule.

Look soon for a calendar of CRES and partner coffee hours. Please suggest good times and convenient places in different parts of the city. Current thought is Thursday mornings alternating with an evening (Thursday as well?) and perhaps alternating with a weekend time.

And please contact Dora about attending the PAAS meeting next Sunday!

Dorothy Neville said...

StopTfA. Well, one of the many reasons I worked to stop TfA (yes, I attended meetings, spoke with board members, emailed board members. sorry I wasn't more effective, but you weren't more effective than me either.) is that bringing in TfA, and the way they tout them as the best and brightest, is a complete insult to the teachers here who are doing a good job. So when I think about all the teachers who actively fought TfA, and I read your blanket dismissal that no one besides you two b*tches gave a damn or did anything, well, I gotta say that sounds just as insulting to the teachers as TfA.

Sahila said...

Dorothy... its a slippery slope... the teachers voted for the contract their union negotiated which opened the door for TFA... they didnt say "hang on, we need time to read this" (it was presented to them on the day of the vote I think - definitely less than 24 hours before a vote supposedly HAD to be taken)...

Would the sky have fallen if they had said they need time to read the fine print and see what the ramifications might be? No it wouldn't have...

Teachers are divided within the union and they have to sort that out for themselves...

And the union didnt vote No Confidence in MGJ until AFTER the contract negotiations... a completely empty gesture - it had absolutely no strategic or practical impact...

They would have had leverage if they had voted No Confidence BEFORE or during negotiations...

They've given their power away and in the process have made space for all the deform that will hurt them as a profession and personally in terms of their career and financial security...

I completely understand Stop TFAs frustration...

There are none so blind as those who will not see...

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said:
"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free"...and ..."Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do."

And, on a personal note - I'm quite used to being made the scapegoat for others' discomfort with being challenged ...

I was once publicly "sent to coventry" by the minister of the spiritualist church I hung out with in Australia, when as the visiting medium/speaker I said some things about the leadership of the church concentrating power at the top and stopping new people (not referring to myself) from developing their psychic and spiritual gifts and sharing them with the community...

Half the church stood and clapped when I said that from the platform, the other half hissed and booed... and one elderly man came and spat in my face...

And 18 months later, I was publicly "welcomed back to the fold", and in that 18 months the church leadership had changed things to make room for other community members to contribute their talents and gifts and to share the power...

Whatever it takes... its not about me...

Sahila said...

‎"It is perfectly possible for a man to be out of prison, and yet not free
- to be under no physical constraint and yet to be a psychological
captive, compelled to think, feel and act as the representatives of the
national state, or of some private interest within the nation, wants him
to think, feel and act" - Brave New World Revisited, Aldous Huxley, 1958.

Kathy said...

Stop TfA and Dorothy,

No amount of advocacy could have stopped TfA from entering our district.

Legislators opened the door through Race For The Top legislation, union leaders further opened the door and our pro-reform board walked through the door.

Let's watch our Level 1 schools.

BTW, How did TfA get into SPS before the Board of Directors OK'd it?

Kathy said...

Cancel my last statement about TFA into the district before board vote- Maple Elementary has a TfA Alumn

Anonymous said...

On another note...

My child's school is having MAP testing before Winter break (possibly the last week of classes before break?). I only found out through the parent grapevine and it hasn't been announced in school newsletters.

What other schools are doing MAP testing this early? And what's the point? It's not even mid-year.

-to opt-out or not to opt-out, that is the question

hschinske said...

Helen - a level 1 IEP, is barely an IEP. School reports don't even include them. It isn't what the conferencing parent is talking about.... which is actual educational programming.

Okay, but the distinction hadn't hitherto been made. Now it has. And it's not clear to me that the original poster's child necessarily has a long-term issue.

Helen Schinske

Dorothy Neville said...

Sahila, I can understand StopTfA's frustration as well. That's not the issue. Here's the question. Do you agree with StopTfA that nearly everyone besides you two b*tches fought it?

Don't go back to the CBA and blame the teachers for bowing to the contract. TfA is not in the contract. Blaming the teachers for the past mess of their union leadership is as useful an exercise as blaming all of us for not being more effective in the past.

But StopTfA said that most people looked away and took the TfA thing lying down. Do you agree that is a fair statement of reality? I am not referring to the average citizen of Seattle, I am referring to the average reader here. Do you think it is fair? Fair or not, is it a useful bridge building exercise to make such claims?

Jet City mom said...

Emerald Kity - sped students are entitled to DUE PROCESS. If you aren't happy with your IEP, request due process. True, your simple signature only means you attended. No other group of students has the automatic right to due process when the parents dont agree with educational plans. I can tell you for a fact, if you request due process at your IEP meeting... the district will request mediation, immediately. That is an option you can use also. You've got to be able to stomach due process and prove your needs.

I had been told I could request mediation- I did ask for a rep from the district to help as progress was not measured during the school year. It was difficult to work with classroom teacher because for 5th grade she had substitutes for most of the year. I ultimately decided to remove her from IEP as one hour of pullout had turned into a study hall.

She is no longer in SPS.

AS#1's enrollment has been bleeding out because it has been on official closure lists every other year - in 2006-07, in 2008-09 and now, again, in 2010-11 (and I think it was bruited around for discussion in 2005-06, but that's a recollection, not something I have confirmed). AS#1's declining enrollment is a direct result from repeated threats from the district. The school was at 89.8% capacity (using 'functional' capacity released in January 2009) in 2005-06, and is now at 49.3%.

I am just cynical enough to think that there is a method to their madness.
Same thing was done to Summit.
Put an all city program in the very northeastern most site possible- talk about closing it every year- lump " alternative" education with " re-entry" ( which has overlapping but separate concerns) & ignore the fact that if not for " alternative" offerings in the district- some students would not be in SPS or indeed some may not be in an educational setting at all.

ParentofThree said...

"to opt-out or not to opt-out, that is the question."

I am opting my students out as I cannot see the point of another round of "testing" that doesn't seem to have any point to it.

Sahila said...

Dorothy - what good does it do, denying that most people like to be armchair critics, but when it comes to action, they find other ways to spend their time?

How many people have you had helping you with the anti-levy effort? Six, eight? How many people read this blog?

I saw the SEA's call to teachers to turn up at the HQ building to rally when the contract talks were on...

I saw the replies to the rally call on their facebook page...
"oh sorry, cant make it, that's my bookclub night"... and 10 other flimsy excuses of various kinds including - "oh, I pay my dues and I trust my reps to do the work for me..." and "my prayers are with the negotiating team - thanks for working so hard for us"...

Seriously... the most important event in their professional lives that will determine how things go for the next 20 years and they cant see why they should attend/participate?

And how many people on this blog have turned up to rallies, come to court to give moral support to plaintiffs, have given money to Dan Dempsey or Scott Stafney or to Chris Jackins, have given time to write up declarations or recall arguments, have laid complaints with the city's building code enforcers or with occupational health and safety authorities?

We have people here with all kinds of skills and I dont see many of them donating those skills to the cause... we have attorneys, graphic designers, engineers etc...

A handful of us DO something, and others sit and criticise what we do and scoff at us as being ineffective or misguided or whatever...

Three of us are going to be involved in yet another appeal of the Briggs closure case, this time focusing on issues around standing and the definition of a school... not necessarily because we think we will win, BUT BECAUSE IT HAS TO BE DONE...

This is a David/Goliath situation... we'll win either by one well placed blow, or by fighting a battle on many fronts - death by a thousand cuts... and if we could agree that this deform agenda is real and is not wanted here, we could plan and implement a strategy that would have us winning this...

But we dont have that kind of agreement - instead we have denial and put downs of those who see what's really going on... and people getting pissy about "tone"...

I was a newcomer here and I saw this deform pattern the minute I started looking... that's because I havent absorbed your system by osmosis and I dont have any sacred cows getting in the way of clear vision...

This blog is called Save Seattle Schools... it has that in its URL... but it seems most people havent realised that and are using this place just as a cosy meeting place to whine about small things...

I'm an older parent now - I've done parenting with three other children... sorry, I just cant get excited about diaper rash or colic or teething troubles any more... what does worry me is the future world my child will inhabit and giving him the support to grow into his full potential.. and that's how I look at this education stuff... I'm not going to waste energy on small issues that will not make a huge impact and are easy to deal with... I'm going to focus on the big stuff that needs concentrated effort...and when I see people wasting time and energy on passing small issues, I'll call their attention back to what really matters...

So how about we get together and save our public schools from these vultures?

Dorothy Neville said...

Thank you Sahila for clarifying. I do agree in a lot of ways.

Getting pissy about tone works both ways. In some ways getting more people involved is the same as trying to parent or educate. I-told-you-so and shaming and getting pissy blaming the child or the student or citizen or parent or teacher for past failures is not the most productive method.

Yes, I want to make a difference. Yes, I want to work together. Yes, I want to create better vehicles for more people to get involved. Yes, I want to be more effective.

Unfortunately I am once again out of town for the PAAS meeting. I do suggest that others who are thinking about getting more involved do attend (see Dora's comment in this thread).

CRES and Seattle Education 2010 have been discussing this very thing, how to partner and get more people more effectively involved. One idea is to host regular coffee hours, like board members do, but to meet and share ideas and information more productively and timely than the blog.

I am thinking something as often as once a week, rotating through the city. One idea is to alternate mornings and evenings, and perhaps some weekend times as well. Thursday so far is most preferable day of the week, perhaps Monday as an alternate.

Look for a schedule soon. If anyone has ideas for venues around the city, please speak up.

Sahila said...

you might like to watch/listen to this analysis:

Chris Hedges

none1111 said...

One idea is to host regular coffee hours, like board members do, but to meet and share ideas and information more productively and timely than the blog.

This is a wonderful idea.

I don't know if weekly meetings can compete with a blog as far as timeliness (since a blog is darn near real-time and has no geographic constraints), but I think from a productivity standpoint, this has the potential to be very helpful. When people meet f2f it's more dynamic, more powerful, generally less sniping, and more likely to result in action.

Rotating to different locations is also a great idea. People are more likely to attend something in their own part of the city. It may take time to get off the ground, but once schedules and venues are known, we can start putting out the word. I know I will.

grousefinder said...

I'm in for meeting. I would like to suggest that Dan, Eric M., and several other teachers I read regularly on this site join us.

Once we get together, an agenda of action items would be apropos. I have been involved with other edu-organizations that meet without agendas (or get side-tracked). The inefficiency was mind boggling. Charlie was at some, and Dan. I never went back.

The other strategy I suggest is efficiency. I spent the weekend grading papers. My time is precious as a teacher. Let's commit to being efficient and focused.

I have my own pet peeves and projects, but you all do as well. Let's work to discover our priorities. I will bring some power hitters from WA PTSA who have big ears.

And, we must be careful of shills infiltrating our meetings. I know the District uses this site to quell descent. They are reading this now (eewww paranoia). I suggest that each attendee agree to full disclosure of their interest or position in the District. I like my job and wan't to keep it.

SolvayGirl said...

"How come there aren't a thousand people at JSCEE every other Wednesday evening with signs? Why am I merely typing away instead of actually mobilizing?"

Because we all have lives and families and work and personal issues and everything else that keeps our noses to our own personal grindstones. We can spend 15 minutes on this blog and still have time to do all the other things our lives depend on. I've always believed it was part of the plan—to keep us too busy to protest.

That's why revolutions get their big groups from the young—students—who have the ideals combined with the free time to get things done.

StopTFA said...

Dorothy,

Who said I was done fighting? I'm not a teacher and don't stand to lose my job. I don't live in SE Seattle. And note I said NEARLY everyone. There are the 5% who are continuing to push. I didn't call you out, Dorothy. Show me the same courtesy.

Dorothy Neville said...

Sorry, StopTfa, I didn't mean to imply you stopped.

I suppose we have here a failure to communicate. Since this is our main source of communication, it is a challenge sometimes to sort the venting and the vented. When I read "everybody sucks" and "no one cares" it is hard not to take it personally. But it seems that perhaps the venting isn't meant totally to the folks on this blog, but to the city in general for perceived apathy?

Not that some who read here don't need some stirring up as well, but, well, it is frustrating to hear venting and doom and gloom. I don't live in the SE, I don't have a kid in the system any more, I wonder if my obsession is healthy, if my participation is doing anything.

Anyway, Grousefinder and others, please email me if you want to help create agendas. I agree that it is too easy to waste time. My email address is in my profile.

dan dempsey said...

grousefinder,

Your comment about meetings is spot on.

Businesses run meetings as if people's time is money. Schools often run meetings as if everyone is on contract and time has little value or meaning.

I was "blown away" by the efficiency of the first "Where's the Math?" meeting I attended. Run by EP, who works for Microsoft, it was efficiently run organized and accomplished more in two hours than I'd seen school meetings accomplish in days.

Note "Where's the Math?" produced a real impact on Math direction in WA State ..... seemingly in spite of OSPI and the Seattle Schools crew.

The same could be done for Seattle Schools. Someone with brains needs to organize a group and make it happen. {[Charlie?] if Mel is going to run for School Board, I do not know [note Cliff Mass has been a prominent spokesperson for WTM] thus [Charlie Mas another C.M. seems a natural]}

We have lots of "think tanking" going on in various locations. This Blog is one location.

We need a well organized, well run, call to action by a group. Note WTM started at a kitchen table with few initial resources.

Who is going to make it happen?

I now live in Olympia, so it ain't me babe.

It sure helps being retired. I cannot imagine as a "Full-time" teacher and family member being able to contribute a great amount.

dempsey_dan@yahoo.com

With the legislature's long session starting in January. NOW is the time to act.

MAKE IT HAPPEN. (someone please)

StopTFA said...

Sahila and Dorothy,

We fight our battles different ways. With an opponent as squirrely and duplicitous as SPS, sometimes the only arrow in our quiver is a lawsuit. How many times have I approached someone who has everything to gain and little more to lose about being a party in a suit and heard "that's not my priority" or "I don't think so" or "I'm just worried about my own child". Who's job do they think it is to worry about the rest of the children?

I'll front $1000 and countless hours on the next legal battle and I got no skin in the game! Is it a surprise to anyone that all some of us got to go on these days is piss and vinegar? If it worked for the Wobblies and the "bra-burners" it's good enough for me (showing my age again).

seattle citizen said...

I would like to attend a meeting.
My personal opinoin is that Dora's Parents Across America meeting next Sunday would be a good place to start?

I might also have some little bit of money to donate to The Cause.

I wonder how much a full-page ad in the Seattle Times costs?

Sahila said...

Stop TFA, Dorothy, Grousefinder et al...

The next PAAS meeting is now on the 12th December, I think, at 1pm downtown Seattle ... Dora can confirm...

I suggest we all try to get to that to make a start on things... the reason I say that is that there will be others there who are already involved in various activities... might as well co-ordinate early, share resources, avoid reinventing the wheel...

Stop TFA... I dont know what the next lawsuit is/will be... the Briggs closure suit has been going on since mid last year and three of us are just following it through to its logical conclusion to deal with issues of what constitutes a school/programme and with the issue of who has standing...

I know someone is working on one re the TFA issue... and that person has been calling for help and financial contributions... I can put you in touch with him/her if you are not already connected...

I'm happy to attend any planning/liaison meeting that's organised... You can contact me at metamind_universal@yahoo.com or on 206 679 1738

suep. said...

Seattle Citizen said... (....)
How come there aren't a thousand people at JSCEE every other Wednesday evening with signs? Why am I merely typing away instead of actually mobilizing?


I think it's because most SPS families don't know what's going on in SPS.

How many parents know about the Bernatek/Goodloe-Johnson 17 percent lie? How many know how MAP is being misused? How many know what Teach for America is? Or Broad or Gates' agendas? How many know about the state audit? It was buried deep in the Seattle Times once and almost never mentioned again.

The Seattle Times is doing an abysmal job of reporting the truth, the whole truth, or even something close to it about what's going on in the distict.

Only some of us read the blogs (the closest thing we have to the free press at this point in history).

So we all need to educate our fellow parents about what's going on, locally, nationally, in education and ed reform. Direct them to our blogs (this one, Dora's & mine at 2010, as well as others).

I have found that when I tell fellow SPS parents even a fraction of what I know about the ways and means of SPS, their jaws drop.

Parents need much more information than what they are getting from the district or the Times.

If more people knew more about what's going on, I believe there would be more protests at the JSCEE, and a new board elected next year.

I strongly suspect that MGJ & co, and the Seattle Times know this too. Hence the subterfuge, silence and faux community engagement on so many important issues.
--sue p.

suep. said...

TO: Anonymous who said...

On another note...

My child's school is having MAP testing before Winter break (possibly the last week of classes before break?). I only found out through the parent grapevine and it hasn't been announced in school newsletters.


Yes, the winter MAP test is being administered as early as Dec. 13.

That's only 2 months after the fall MAP test, and as much as 5-6 months before the spring test, which will be administered in May and June.

Sounds like pretty unevenly spaced "data points" to me.

For exact dates, here's the MAP test calendar from the SPS site: http://www.seattleschools.org/area/mapassess/2010_2011calendar.dxml

--sue p.

mirmac1 said...

Now is as good a time as any to opt out of MAP. Did you know that if only a small percentage of students opts out, it messes up their entire "accountability" system?

My son's technology teacher told his students "guess what you're getting for Christmas...." Groan.

Sahila said...

Ghandi (1869–1948), political and ideological leader of India during the Indian independence movement; pioneered satyagraha, defined as resistance to tyranny through mass civil disobedience, and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world...

Do not consent - to MAP or anything else that goes against your own sense of personal 'rightness'.

No one rules if no one obeys.

Live Free. Die Free

Sahila said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sahila said...

This is how bad its getting....

Kate O'Beirne

Are You Mad Yet?

I'm As Mad As Hell

Jet City mom said...

Anyone look at the proposed SPS legislative agenda?

Support and fund legislation to implement enhanced graduation requirements to ensure that our students are nationally and internationally competitive, including strong supports for students at risk of dropping out or otherwise not being successful in school

so closing/moving alternative programs are part of addressing the student needs which aren't being met?

My experience of being involved in local education ( not including my own school days in Lake Washington school district), has been that students who are not successful in traditional programs may be very successful in an alternative program.

Education is not just about memorizing the periodic table.
We are getting ( IMO) farther away from what human beings should be able to know & do.
( no wonder- because the admin "leaders" are not people I would want my children to emulate or even work for.

I've got some winter break reading that could change that.

regarding different ways of learning

and
What should our children become?

Jet City mom said...

^^^^I wanted to say " including", my years as a student in LWSD, I have been involved half a century! ( almost)

h2o girl said...

Congratulations to Eric M and students for being selected to the Space Shuttle experiments program! Just read about it on myballard.com. What fantastic work you are doing!

Anonymous said...

Take note of what Michelle Rhee is up to these days:

studentsfirst.org

From Newsweek, "What I've Learned", Dec. 6, 2010

we’ll put pressure on elected officials and press for changes in legislation to make things better for kids. And we’ll support and endorse school-board candidates and politicians — in city halls, statehouses, and the U.S. Congress—who want to enact policies around our legislative agenda. We’ll support any candidate who’s reform-minded, regardless of political party