Open Thread Friday

Something fun; two free kids' plays staged outside.

One is King Arthur and the Knights of the Playground and the other is Arrh! A Dinosaur Ate My Space Ship! Both play thru the first week of August.

'King Arthur and the Knights of the Playground'
By Jaime Cruz, Maggie Lee, Juliet Waller Pruzan, Joanna Horowitz, Paul Mullin and Matt Smith. Through Aug. 6 at area parks; free (
'Arrh! A Dinosaur Ate My Space Ship!'
By Bret Fetzer and Juliet Waller Pruzan. 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Aug. 7 at Volunteer Park amphitheater; free (

What's on your mind?


Greg said…
I'd highly recommended the play at Volunteer Park, "Arrh! A Dinosaur Ate My Space Ship!" We saw it last weekend, very fun.
Anonymous said…
OK, here's a TGIF moment. Remember Tom Vander Ark, former super of Federal Way school district, who went on to head the $1B M&G education philanthropy with big plans to set up series of small HS, and now runs for profit cybereducation site, and hoping to start a non-profit charter school in NYC. (Whew, what a CV)

So check this out in today's NYT:

Best quotes was from Joshua Morales who works with the guy and described Vander Ark as a guy who's "flying 30,000 feet on the air, but can’t do it on the ground". Ouch!

Frankly, when I read article, it leaves me sad because for profit or not, private or public, little of this has to do with children's education. What a muddle and a lot of good people's time!

-sad reader
mirmac1 said…
Wow, I would say that $30K comments applies to our school board as well.
dan dempsey said…
Well my Granny always told me that:
"Fools' Names and Fools' Faces are often found in Public Places".

I think she was referring to the "Wanted Posters of Criminals" at the Post Office....... or maybe graffiti (Kilroy was here) but now I am beginning to wonder if this has a broader application (maybe endorsements).

Here is my current concern ....(about fools names in public places) look at the number of current civic leaders endorsing Mr. Maier and Ms. Carr.

{{ Let me say up front I really like Joe McDermott ... so what is Joe's name doing in any endorsement list for any Director running for reelection??? }}

Could someone please explain to me, why this is the case?

I found it particularly bizarre that:

Education Leaders
Heidi Bennett, Seattle Council PTSA*
Lauren McGuire, President Seattle Council PTSA*
Sharon Rodgers, Past President Seattle Council PTSA*

Civic and Political Organizations
Lisa Macfarlane, Co-founder, League of Education Voters*

* For identification only; does not mean endorsement by organization

are supporters of Ms. Carr.

BUT THEN comes this from Peter Maier's site:

PTSA Presidents

Andrea Baumgarten, 1st Vice President, Seattle Council PTSA*
Lisa Bond, former President Seattle Council PTSA*
Laura Brosten, Co-President Whitman MS PTSA*
Linda Ellingboe, former President Ballard HS PTSA*
Betty Hoagland, former President Seattle Council PTSA*
Lauren McGuire, President Seattle Council PTSA*
Paul Plumis, former President Ballard HS PTSA*
Lyn Porterfield, former President Ballard HS PTSA*
Sharon Rodgers, former President Seattle Council PTSA*
Rita Sheckler, Co-President Madrona K-8 PTSA*
Sam Star. Co-Chair Friends of Salmon Bay K-8 (PTO)*
John Verduin, President Ballard HS PTSA*
Sue Verduin, former President Loyal Heights PTSA*
Greg Wong, President John Muir PTSA*

Hey Seattle PTSA ....
What is up with these folks?
What is the agenda here?


To further add to my confusion is this from the endorsement list at Ms. Carr's website.... Wendy Kimball

Leaders of Civic and Political Organizations

John Burbank, Exec. Dir., Economic Opportunity Institute*
Lucy Gaskill-Gaddis, Families & Education Levy Oversight Committee Member*
Betty Hoagland, past President of Schools First*
Wendy Kimball, past President, Seattle Education Association*
Laura Kohn, Executive Director, New School Foundation*
Lisa Macfarlane, Co-founder, League of Education Voters*
George Scarola, League of Education Voters*
Javier Valdez, King County Democrats State Committeeman*


I thought Wendy Kimball former SEA president had seen a whole lot of Ms. Carr's actions. What has Wendy seen that I have apparently missed?

Bio on Wendy...
Wendy was a school librarian who became SEA president. When her two term service expired, she became a Central office administrator in charge of the district's program for National Board Certification of Teachers.

.... to a few folks Wendy's selection for central administration employment was deemed a reward for her SEA leadership that encouraged a huge level of cooperation with the SPS central administration rather than advocating for the best interests of SEA members.

Damn .. I guess I am just NOT connected enough to understand much of anything.
mirmac1 said…
Oops, meant 30K feet. On second thought, with SfC political donations, mayber $30K was right....
seattle citizen said…
James Kelly returns to guide a faltering Seattle Urban League (Seattle Times)

He will be an unpaid consultant as the Urban League seeks a new CEO.

Walle Ralkowski will be the new Board Chair. The Walle Ralkowski Award, given to Silas Potter, is named for him. ("Potter took home the Walle Ralkowski Award for "his dedication and commitment to diversity in contracting" The Stranger)
Anonymous said…
"James Kelley tuned out" to the news. OMG, he didn't know Bin Laden was dead. Ok, was he on Mars?!

Pls, insulting our intelligence already.

Mr. Ed
Anonymous said…
Sometimes God smiles on us all: From Switzerland, somebody get it re: PowerPoint. MGJ & Co, are you paying attention: Is PowerPoint the cause for SPS Admin's lack of productivity?

SE Mom said…
Just read on the West Seattle Blog that John Boyd is leaving Sealth to take an executive position supervising other principals for Highline School District. I think many folks give Mr. Boyd a lot of credit for Sealth's turn around in recent years. There is also a letter from Susan Enfield sent to Sealth families on the blog - no replacement named at this time.
seattle citizen said…
The Times has published an editorial with the Key questions for Seattle Public Schools candidates

As you remember from last week, the Times requested ideas from the public on which questions to ask.

Here are the questions the Times editorial board appears to want the board candidates to answer: Oh, wait, they aren't questions, as the headline implies, but candidates "must be able to articulate credible positions in these areas":

• Education reform;

• Governance, specifically how the board can create stronger accountability;

• Special populations, English-language learners, gifted students and those enrolled in special education;

• Struggling students;

• Curriculum alignment, as in ensuring academic standards but not forcing teachers to teach the same thing at the same time.

• Teacher/principal quality;

• Capacity and facilities management, particularly how the district manages its buildings and navigates enrollment shifts;

• Community engagement.
dan dempsey said…
With no questions for the candidates ... look for lots of Blow-vee-ating.

WOW with the past actions of the Four incumbents there are so many direct questions that need to be asked..... Is the Times going to ask candidates questions?

Time will tell .... wonder who will be assigned to generate the softballs?
cdubs said…
D.C. Schools Fires More Than 400 Teachers

D.C. Public schools fired 413 teachers today as a result of poor annual evaluations.

This year, 663 Washington Teachers' Union members will be receiving bonuses for earning the top rating of "highly effective," according to a DCPS statement released today.

Of the 413 teachers who will be leaving their posts, 104 did not comply with licensure requirements, 113 were deemed "Ineffective" and 175 were considered "2x Minimally Effective." The remaining 21 are leaving under an "Unplaced Extra Year."
dan dempsey said…
Today's Word from professor emeritus Stephen Krashen at USC.

Today's quiz:
Consider the following, from a University of Georgia report on philanthropy and education:

"Today there is a convergence between the philanthropic sector and federal policymakers. Policies and practices developed, tested and advocated for by foundations have been included in new federal initiatives including Race to the Top."


The convergence between foundations and the federal policy is because:

(1) both Gates/Broad et al and Arne Duncan independently came to the same conclusions about teaching and learning. The convergence is coincidental.

(2) Arne Duncan has a well-established philosophy of education, and Gates/Broad et al are following Arne's lead, trying to help out.

(3) Gates/Broad et. al. are running the show. They decide, and Arne Duncan follows.

If (3) is correct, why are Gates/Broad et al so aggressive in forming educational policy?

(1) a deep conviction that their path is right. Formerly highly profit-driven individuals are now only interested in serving the public, and are convinced that they know what is best.

(2) financial gain: the educational policy they are pushing will lead to profits for their companies.

"Non-Confidentiality Notice: This message contains no confidential or privileged information. It can be shared, and used for any reasonable purpose. It can be posted, downloaded, and shared with anybody, with the following exceptions: Dick Cheney, Rush Limbaugh, and Ann Coulter. If you are not the intended recipient, read it anyway."


My question is why have the NEA, WEA, and SEA .. failed to organize substantial opposition to "RttT"?

Why was WEA leadership pushing 6696 in WA legislature 2010?

Why did WEA leadership fail to oppose the CCSSI but rather support CCSSI in WA legislature 2011?

Why did the SEA and WEA fail to mention that Randy Dorn did not follow the law written expressly for him?
Dorn filed the require report on implementation impacts and costs of a proposed WA state adoption of the CCSSI thirty days late, which impacted the ability of those interested in evaluating the impacts to propose legislation to stop the CCSSI.

Why did not a single representative of the SEA or the WEA testify in opposition to TfA getting "conditional certification" based on "the achievement gap" at the PESB TfA hearing?

Why are these three supposed organizations, which are funded by teachers union dues, failing to publicize the Save our Schools March and National Call to Action?

Extra Credit Question:

Why did so many 4-3 votes from the Seattle School Directors ... disregard the evidence provided by the public to approve central administrative proposals aligned with Gates/Broad initiatives?

Reelect none of the current school directors seeking reelection.
seattle citizen said…
Dan, my feeling is that the unions are being defensive - The momentum (because of a manufactured national belief that teachers are bad, racist, or whatever) is towards "Replace the teachers!" Many comments you hear or read are, well, my kid had a bad teacher...teachers aren't evaluated...why aren't they paid for performance?
Some of this is real experience, some of it is ignorance of such things as evaluations, some of it is just good-hearted desire to see things equitable, etc, without understanding the big picture.
Reform has capitalized on this. Along with anti-union agitators, Reform has fed those feelings and misconceptions, publishing "reports" that purport to find the efficacy of standardized tests in assessing entire schools, for instance, or suggesting that motivated teachers (i.e. merit pay, or the "youn and eager" motivation of TFAers) are just so much better, and that most teachers arn't motivated enough, they just sit and read the paper...
The unions are defensive, saying that teachers must accomodate severe contract changes because the natoinal mood is against unions and teachers both. So they make deals with devil in order to appear that they are in favor of the devil's reforms, because that is what the public wants to hear.

Unfortunately, if and when a union says, stop, this is BS, they are immediately accused of being self-interested and "against the kids." "Status quo" is the phrase bandied about, as if teachers are just too dang comfortable and afraid of change.

What we need more of is parent and guardians and other citizens to take up the torch for education. It's easy to demonize the union, not so easy to brush off the complaints of thousands of community members marching in the street. Yet many, if not most community members are already programmed by Reform to believ Reform knows best, so it's a tough row to hoe.
dan dempsey said…

So why are the unions failing to publicize the Save our Schools March?

So why did the WEA push 6696 and the adoption of the CCSSI and fail to resist TfA?

Sorry when members are financing this and leaders fail to resist so many actions that are clearly not in members best interests of the membership, I find your explanations weak.

The Union leaders are extremely poor in communicating with membership.

The Union is surely not influencing the public in a positive way or in any way what so ever when it says nothing. The WEA and the SEA are great at poor communication and top down decision making.

So when they
SEA leaders want SEA membership to get out and demonstrate ... How much advanced planning and communicating with timely notifications goes into such actions?
dan dempsey said…
From the Chicago Daily Tribune

December 31, 1888

"Too Much Politics in the Schools"

New Yorkers are beginning to complain about the management of their public schools. The trouble seems to be that there is altogether too much Tammany politics in the School Board, and it is freely asserted that the teachers obtain and retain their positions through Democratic political influence rather than from considerations as to their fitness. These blemishes on the public school system are beginning to be talked about a good deal in New York, and it may yet be necessary to enfranchise the women of New York City in order to correct the evil. It has been shown in Boston that the women are much in earnest on the subject when they once get started.

So 123 years later, the SEA and WEA's plan is to lay low while pushing elements of "Ed Reform" crap ....

I sure hope the enfranchised women of Seattle get started.
seattle citizen said…
Today's New York Times has an article on charter schools trying to get into affluent suburbs (they argue it's a choice thing, whilst opponents believe we should all pay into a common system and not subsidize "boutique" schools.) The artile is an interesting look at how charters try to sell themselves when most people (including the charter industry itself) see charters as only for poor kids in urban settings.

Charter School Battle Shifts to Affluent Suburbs

The NYT also has an editorial by Nicholas Kristoff on the destruction (by budget cutting) of the "escalator," the system of public schools and colleges that move people up into paying jobs:

Our Broken Escalator
dan dempsey said…
Check out the West Seattle Herald piece on Marty McLaren.
dan dempsey said…

I really like Nicholas Kristoff. I spent a year teaching in St. Paul, OR. I've been in the Yamhill Mercantile. Here is where you will find maps and an aerial photo of Yamhill (pop. 794) Oregon. Yamhill was a great place to raise and to be a kid in 1974, when I was there.
seattle citizen said…
Yamhill IS a beautiful place!

Here's an AP article from today's Seattle Times on the Atlanta cheating scandal (teachers changing student answers):

Teachers pressured to cheat on tests

and an editorial in today's New York Times that says the tests are GREAT (see my comment below)but we MUST stop the cheating!

Are They Learning?

The NYT editorializes that the "tests remain a crucial gauge of student performance and an indicator of how much academic progress schools are making."

No, they are not "crucial," nor are they a very good "guage of student performance"; And schools make no progress, only people do, so it is impossible to see "how much academic progress schools are making." A school will make acedemic progress when the laws of phsyics and our understanding of intelligence are both upended: Bricks can't think.

WV is takin' disicar to the park today, not dat' one.
dan dempsey said…
From the BIO of Nicholas Kristoff:

Mr. Kristof grew up on a sheep and cherry farm near Yamhill, Oregon.
MathTeacher42 said…
In my 5 years of being a Seattle teacher, I haven't cracked the code for making meaningful input - questions go into the void, and pop out days or weeks later after going on some magical mystery tour of various cube farms and offices.

From what this east coaster can tell, whenever you have the intersection of Northwest passivity* and the typical lack of incentive for bureaucrats to do much more than pass the buck and cover their ... tracks, you get a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

from dailykos

WED MAY 11, 2011 AT 07:00 PM PDT
Leafleting WA. Teacher's Union Meeting
by seabos84

Oh well. I never understood Dilbert until I was 37 in 1997, and it happened when I reading some Dilbert on the wall at work - in my 3rd week at Microsoft!! Anyone who wants to boast about the private sector to me - ha ha ha. Whatever. I've got some cigarette butts to donate to your John Galt shrine.

R. Murphy

* Northwest passivity = IF anyone asks yes or no questions, or asks questions requiring definitive timelines, or asks questions combining #1 and #2, THEN that person isn't nice and won't be part of the club.
MathTeacher42 said…
WOW! Someone has an idea about meetings --

“Start with a stated goal. Have an agenda. Ruthlessly manage time and topics,’’ says Bohn, a venture capitalist at General Catalyst Partners in Cambridge. “Never hold a meeting without an agenda that has been prescreened by participants,’’

IF the 5 guidelines above were ever followed - the district and the union wouldn't be competing for Dilbert awards!

R. Murphy

Popular posts from this blog

Tuesday Open Thread

Seattle Public Schools and Their Principals

COVID Issues Heating up for Seattle Public Schools