Open Thread Friday

It's overcast...again.

What's on your mind?

Good discussion going over at the Rainier Valley Post over the announcement of the TFA teachers at Aki Kurose. 

Forgot to mention:  Director Martin-Morris has his first community meeting of the school year tomorrow (Sat. 8/20) from 9:30-11:30 a.m. at Diva Espresso at 80th and Lake City Way.


Anonymous said…
I am going to post my own personal Peter Maier timeline. I offer it as an example of why I am very frustrated with him and why I will fight his reelection with whatever energy I can spare.

December 5, 2009: I wrote to Peter Maier and complained about the LA materials adoption, standardization, ineffective district strategies, and the poor morale among teachers caused by MGJ. I offered ideas for more effective strategies for improving the graduation rate and achievement levels.
Response: none.

August 11, 2010: At a meeting of the 36th District Democrats, I complained about MGJ's SERVE proposal and told Peter that I had believed him in 2007 when he said that he wanted to build on what worked.
Response: Peter Maier said that he thought MGJ was doing a good job.

April 10, 2011: I wrote the Board about my concerns about the low enrollment projections for the ten comprehensive high schools.
Response: Steve Sundquist referred me to staff. Peter Maier did not respond.

April 16, 2011: I attended Peter Maier's community meeting and presented district data that indicated the district was underprojecting enrollment for the ten comprehensive high schools. I expressed specific concerns about my school, which is in Peter Maier's district.
Response: Peter Maier dismissed my concerns and referred to district staff and data.

May 14, 2011: On behalf of Ingraham staff, I emailed the Board a copy of our resolution of confidence in Martin Floe.
Response: On the following day, Peter Maier called me at home. We discussed the issue, but he did not indicate whether he would do anything at all.

Anonymous said…
Can we say "ineffectual"?

Mr. Ed
Christina said…
Thanks, DWE. Yesterday's SSS post about challengers requiring help at legislative district endorsement meetings came forty minutes before the 46th Legislative District Democrats had their meeting (link to agenda was not posted on the site, so I don't know if they did any repeat endorsing).

I'm getting off my duff today and sending a check to Ms. Peaslee along with some no-cost suggestions for improving her social media campaign. The idea that the entities who endorsed Peter Maier may have known what you and readers of this blog know destroys credibility I may have given them.

It may be that my vision for Seattle Public Schools, more aligned with Ms. Peaslee's than with Mr. Maier's and presumably that of his endorsers, might not be "a good fit" for this district, or I might just be malevolently informed.
Anonymous said…
If we are unrelenting in our support of Sharon Peaslee and opposition to Peter Maier, he will lose. However, a lot of people have to be doing a lot things for this to happen. No contribution--in action or in cash--is too small.

Charlie Mas said…
I've been quiet for the past week because I have been on a family vacation.
Anonymous said…
Texas bans Jefferson from school books:

worse & worse...

dan dempsey said…
Don't Miss THIS CityClub event

Friday, September 30, 2011
Education Series:

The Best Teachers for our Children

Town Hall Seattle | 1119 - 8th Ave, Seattle
Registration: 11:30 a.m. | Program: 12:00 – 1:30 p.m.


Jesse Hagopian; Founding Member, Social Equality Educators; History Teacher, Garfield High School
Erin Jones, Assistant Superintendent of Student Achievement, Washington State OSPI
Margit E. McGuire, PhD; Program Director, Master in Teaching Program; College of Education, Seattle University
Tom Stritikus, Dean and Associate Professor in Curriculum & Instruction, University of Washington College of Education
Deborah Wilds, President and COO, College Success Foundation; cochair, high school to college working group, CCER

Moderated by: Phyllis Fletcher,
Reporter, KUOW 94.9 FM
dan dempsey said…
EdWeek on WA State and NCLB waivers from Obama/Duncan regime. Article HERE

Washington State:
Applying for Waiver Might 'Validate' NCLB

By Alyson Klein on August 15, 2011

So not every state is jumping at the chance to participate in the administration's No Child Left Behind waiver plan.

Washington state is unlikely to line up for a chance to get some wiggle room from (still unspecified) parts of the No Child Left Behind, in exchange for embracing certain (also still unspecified) reforms.

The state hasn't taken an official position on waivers just yet, said Nathan Olson, a spokesman for the Washington Department of Public Instruction. The Evergreen State is still waiting (along with everyone else) for the details, which are slated to be released next month.

But, "at this point, we probably won't apply for a waiver," Olson said in an email. "We want to affect positive change, not negative change. By applying for a waiver, we would be sending a message validating NCLB. Students in Washington state are achieving at higher and higher rates. NCLB's all-or-nothing approach undercuts that movement. In short, the law is flawed."

Instead, education officials in Washington state "strongly encourage an overhaul [of the law] as soon as possible," Olson added.
joanna said…
I was early to the Operations Committee meeting yesterday and know that no member moved to amend the agenda. However, they only covered the first part and never mentioned the rest. The next part was suppose to be an update on the Mann Building and Nova and some discussion on the SBOC. There were many other items there too.

It was a bit annoying as they did their best to extend the discussion on several items and then didn't mention when they were going to cover the remaining items.
Joanna, it's so hit or miss. I never know how much they will or will not cover in the agenda. Many times a topic goes on for a long time (Peter Maier is the best for staying on track as a chair). Sorry.
dan dempsey said…
MGJ seeks Florida job.

School Board Announces Receipt of Applicants for Superintendent of Schools

Scroll down to see the list of candidates... click on name to see resume...
dan dempsey said…
7:30 AM - 1:30 PM

On Saturday (Aug. 20), the Seattle Alliance of Black School Educators (SABSE) will host a Parent Summit to address the question of how parents can partner with school districts to help ensure student
success. The goal of the summit is to empower parents with information about voting and legislation that affect Seattle schools.

The event, which is free and open to all, will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Cleveland High School, 5511 15th Ave.

Speakers will include interim School Superintendant Susan Enfield and Bernardo Ruiz, the Family Engagement Manager at Seattle Public
Schools. A “pastors roundtable” will include members of local churches where SABSE regularly provides after-school tutoring.

From Crosscut an article
Anonymous said…
Dan at 8/19/11 6:45 PM

Parents could vote for the 4 school board challengers who want all our kids to learn math so they can participate in our society and change our society -


parents could vote for the philosophically theoretical achievement gap phake math, supported by current school board members, which will insure that their kids never have the skills to Discover what they're missing!

seattle citizen said…
@Dan - Hmmm, clicked on your link to Florida superintendent wannabes, clicked on Maria G-J, and a BLANK PDF opened...odd...or not so!
Patrick said…
Seattle Citizen, MGJ's resume opened for me. Is it worth sending corrections to Broward County?
Joseph Rockne said…
Sharon Peaslee is going to need everyone's help.

I'm looking forward to helping her with a check or two, some doorbells rung, some signs posted, some banners waved.

Whatever it takes...

Let's get after it and let's get it done!
dan dempsey said…
The latest from Stephen Krashen at USC:

The National Standards Discussion:
.. A Weapon of Mass Distraction

by Stephen Krashen

We are again invited to give our opinions about the content of national standards. We are not invited to discuss whether we need national standards and their spawn, national tests. For those who haven't been paying attention, the Department of Education is planning to impose more testing than has ever been seen on this planet, far more than is helpful or necessary.

Those who accept the invitation to discuss the content of the standards will have the impression they have a seat at the table. In reality, invitations to discuss the standards are a means of control, diverting attention from the real issues.

"The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum … That gives people the sense that there's free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate"
(N. Chomsky, The Common Good, p. 42, 2002)

The problem in American education is not a lack of standards. The problem is poverty. Our students from middle-class families who attend well-funded schools score at the top of the world on international tests. The US has the highest level of child poverty among all industrialized countries. If all our children were protected from the effects of poverty our overall international test scores would be spectacular.

Poverty means little health care, poor nutrition and little access to books and has a devastating effect on school achievement. The best teaching is ineffective when children are hungry, ill, and have nothing to read. The impact of poverty could be profoundly reduced if we invested more on food programs, health care, and libraries, instead of on useless standards and tests.

We have been told not to worry about these things but instead to debate whether 10th graders should be required to write 40% of their essays as arguments, 40% as informational, and 20% narrative.

Susan Ohanian notes that issuing standards is like presenting menus to starving people. Now we are invited to discuss what should be on the menu.
Charlie Mas said…
Director Martin-Morris has removed his blog from blogspot. It had earlier been taken private, and now it has been closed. The blog contents may no longer be accessible.

There was a public records request for the blog contents, but I don't know if that request prompted the closure of the blog and I don't know if the copy of the blog was provided prior to the closure of the blog.
Dorothy Neville said…
Yes, Charlie, I did get a copy of the blog. It is not in a friendly format though, but it is readable. It appears that all the posts are at the top and then all the comments below in some sort of unordered fashion.

Here's the deal. I asked for it via public records disclosure and I think that the law is on my side. Even though the district did not own the blog nor host it or have access to it, it was Director Martin-Morris's official conduit to the public. He discussed issues as a director. His comments and the public comments in reply should all count as public record of an elected official.

So I asked but the Public Affairs office at SPS did not yet come to a ruling as to whether they agreed with it being considered as a public document. Director Martin-Morris provided in nonetheless.

Now, if it really is a public record, then I could insist that it be in a more friendly format, the law says that documents are to be in as close to the original format as possible. But his providing it without the decision on whether he had to or not circumvented that.

If it really has been removed, well, that could be problematic if it is no longer able to be provided to public disclosure in acceptable format.

If anyone wants a copy, drop me an email.
Anonymous said…
Someone's been checking Michelle Rhee's data and, shockingly, it looks like her Ed deform bullying tactics did not have an impact on the achievement gap. Go figure.

Anonymous said…
Off topic . . . is there any truth to the report that SPS will be starting later than September 7th this year?

Kathy said…
Just received Maier's campaign literature.

Maier can spin like no other.

Maier claims to have taken Decisive Actions. The incumbent claims that he makes classroom funding a priority? Really? During an early budgt mtg, I saw the district attempt to maintain a higher than average operating budget. The district was asked to make a $12M cut (not by Maier, of course). The district came back with an $8M administrative reduction. At the time, Maier voted IMMEDIATELY for this proposal which would eliminate elementary school counselors and per pupil funding. So much for Maier's claim to keep funding in the classroom.

Maier also claims to take decisive action by replacing the former Superintendent. Maier fails to acknowledge his involvement, action and inaction prior to this action. Maier failed to follow up on a report indicating problems with small business. Additionally, Maier voted to EXTEND MGJ's contract on the heels of an audit stating public assets were at risk due to inadequate infrastructure and compliance.

Then, Maier goes on to boast about opening of Viewlands Elementary. He fails to mention school closures and costs associated with reopening.

The leaflet is big, shiny and colorful.

It's all in the presentation. Don't be fooled.
seattle citizen said…
In today's (Sunday) New York Times Book Review, Sara Mosle (an ex-TFAer turned critic) reviews Steve Brill's book extolling capital-R Reform, "Class Warfare"
Brill interviews the usual Reform suspects, and evidently believes their rhetoric, though Mosle concludes that Brill's argument for Reform is rendered ineffective by the concluding chapters:
"By book’s end, even Brill begins to feel the cognitive dissonance. He quotes a KIPP founder who concedes that the program relies on superhuman talent that can never be duplicated in large numbers. And sure enough, an educator whom Brill has held up the entire book as a model of reform unexpectedly quits, citing burnout and an unsustainable workload at her Harlem charter. Then another reform-­minded teacher at the same school confesses she can’t possibly keep up the pace. “This model just cannot scale,” she declares flatly. After relentlessly criticizing Weingarten, Brill suddenly suggests, in a “Nixon-to-China” move, that she become New York’s next schools chancellor. “The lesson,” Brill belatedly discovers, is that reformers need to collaborate with unions, if only because they are “the organizational link to enable school improvement to expand beyond the ability of the extraordinary people to work extraordinary hours.” But isn’t this merely what the reform movement’s more thoughtful critics have been saying all along?"

Mosle also writes that "Brill adeptly shows how ideas can become a movement. Many of his subjects met in Teach for America, went on to promote one another’s hiring or research and are now being financed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. But what Brill regards as the groundswell of a welcome revolution begins to sound worryingly like an echo chamber, with everyone talking to the same few people and reading the same e-mail blasts."
This "echo chamber" is what I most dislike about the Reform movement: The same tired (and often empty) slogans and pitches are recycled endlessly, unsubstantive, often easily countered with research yet evidently believed by those in the echo chamber who have used each other as stepping stones to climb up the Reform ladder. This self-serving aspect of Reform, this use of empty rhetoric to climb to positions of "power" and high pay, are what disgust me most about the Reform movement. Education IS about the students, not about the sound bites that take serious issues subject to nuanced debate and simplify them into simplistic jargon.
I'm glad Mosle has written this review. Increasingly, we are seeing critical discourse about the Reform movement, we are seeing people question the Reform drive to "promote the same small set of reforms: increasing the number of charter schools and evaluating and improving teacher quality through merit pay and other measures that rely heavily on student test scores"

Bravo to Mosle, she advances the anti-Reform cause and exposes the Reformers for the shallow, incestuous bunch they have become. The nation is awakening to their crap, and asking for more nuanced and complex answers to some of the problems students face.
seattle citizen said…
as an example of the echo chamber in which Reformers live, we need look no further than our own League of Education Voters, and their Lisa MacFarlane, who writes last week about the achievement gap (itself increasingly an empty phrase turned slogan by Reform):
"How can anyone defend a status quo that leaves this many kids behind?"
Lisa is a victim of the echo chamber, endlessly repeating the tired suggestion that those that are not "Reforming" are eager to maintain the "status quo." As if schools don't change, boards don't change, student demographics don't change...This is the problem that Mosle identifies in her review: The "echo chamber" of Reform is so busy talking to itself that anyone outside the doors is some sort of laggard, interested merely in some mythical "status quo." Luckily, as evidenced by Mosle's review, even ex-TFAers are getting wise to the scam, and speaking out.
Maybe our long nightmare is coming to an end at last, and serious people with serious ideas about helping students can move beyond the simplistic jingism of self-promoting "educators" to craft new, and varied, solutions to 21st century issues in education. Teamwork, collaboration, innovation, indivdualized responses to unique student needs....THESE are necessary, not more tests and more "free-market" corporatization.
Anonymous said…
Anyone know what the two TFA'ers are teaching? I applied for a couple of jobs at Aki and didn't get an interview, despite a masters and two years of in district experience, one at a school very similar in make up to Aki. I accept that my leaving the district last year may have influenced that, but at the same time, I find it interesting that a TFA recruit would be considered over someone with some experience and knowledge of the district.

moving on
Anonymous said…
Interesting article in Salon about technology and kids:

I like the grading idea that you only get points for successes, without a negative side to things. Would be interesting to try and tweak that for a classroom.

Salon reader
Anonymous said…
A-M dlF is still shown as the Mathematics Program Manager.

Has there been a District announcement for the new Math and Science Program Manager?

Jan said…
Bravo, Salon reader -- what a great link. Thanks. The implications of the brain research that is discussed are unbelievably broad, in terms of the way we learn, teach, motivate, etc. Anyone who has studied positive motivation behavior mod systems -- either in people OR in dogs, has touched on this stuff. Very fascinating.

It would be VERY interesting to tweak that for a classroom.
none1111 said…
Has there been a District announcement for the new Math and Science Program Manager?

Good question, I'd like to know as well. Anyone?
Anonymous said…
TFA alert.
There's a story on Central District News from a fomer TFAer- calling on the community to "Call the School Board to show support" for TFA.

I wonder if corps members are being encouraged to network via community blogs. Any stories coming up on other neighborhood blogs?

--TTM neighbor

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