Friday Open Thread

The district is looking for volunteers for yet another committee - this on on Equity and Race. 

Interesting story over at Publicola about Garfield shutting down three boys' bathrooms for three days in October based on a rumor that students were being robbed.   Apparently, according to someone who attended a PTA meeting where the principal confirmed the robberies did happen, they found the culprit and got him to return some of the items.  However, it according to this person, the culprit was not turned into police and it is unclear if he was even suspended. 

If true, this is another in a growing list of questionable judgments by Principal Howard (see the Athletics department).

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said…
Great, another committee to study something to death and then do absolutely nothing about it (except pay lip service, of course).

They should just call up Carol Simmons. She would lay it all out for them in, oh, 30 minutes.

Get it, got it, GOOD.
Anonymous said…
did you see that Maria Goodloe Johnson has got a job? She is on the Michigan Goveners Chair for failing schools taking over the Detroit school district and Don Kennedy is now a chair of a K-12 non profit in Charlotte - google them MGJ on Seattle time, DK on LinkIN
anonymous said…
How do you know this admin will ignore committee recommendations, and just pay lip service? I wouldn't hold them responsible for what past administrations have done. Lets see what happens with this....

We ask for public input, the district is making an attempt to give us some...

eyes open
Anonymous said…
The existing recommendations from the past committees are, for the most part, still valid! Time is of the essence for our kids. We can continue to study something to death or we can implement the proven strategies in the existing recommendations. I have seen numerous occasions when committees meet, talk, and are then ignored. Yes, under this administration.

Get it, got it, GOOD.
someone said…
Just to clarify - Mr. Kennedy is now with a org in Charleston South Carolina - not charlotte ;o) - group is called K12 Central - I think it might be just him, based on FB page info - interesting.
Anonymous said…
It makes it even more clear, as Ted Howard continues to be the Teflon principal, how Susan Enfield's judgment about firing Martin Floe should not be excused.
Caving to extreme pressure only so she could save her own job is not a sign that Susan is a good listener.

Remember, she had the nerve to fire Floe based on the recommend-ation of an unqualified person whom Enfield personally hired (and, then, laterally promoted). Bree's husband (who receives Gates money for his teacher-bashing organization) and Susan Enfield's TFA fixation help connect the dots and explain why MGJ hired Enfield in the first place.

MGJ hired Enfield because Enfield has been in the reform-ka-ching machine since she started following her BFF Vicky around.
Enfield had to tout her connections to this machine or MGJ would have never hired her.

The basic direction of this district will not change as long as Goodloe-Johnsosn's pick and right hand person, Enfield, is in the driver's seat.

The fact that a recently fired and disgraced (you'd think) superintendent could be rehired into a lucrative position before her huge $$$ parachute (paid by we taxpayers) ran out demonstrates the power of the machine that Susan and Maria sold out to years ago, before we'd even heard of Broad, Kopp and MAP.

--new superintendent ASAP
Chris said…
I'd be interested in hearing from any Jane Addams middle school parents. My 5th grader is slated to go to Eckstein, which kinda scares me. He's an average student who currently goes to Green Lake, and doesn't need the music program at Eckstein. I'm afraid he'll be swallowed up there. Any insight appreciated.
Jamie said…
Michelle Rhee wants to talk about transforming education on a conference call on December 13, 5pm PST. If you'd like to participate go to
Anonymous said…
I heard through the grapevine that the sale of the old QA high school gym fell through. I didn't get all the details, and don't know what options might now be available.

Anyone have information?

LG said…
Anyone go to the Rainier Beach IB info meeting on Tuesday?
Anonymous said…
Chris, Eckstein is a big school, and it can feel somewhat institutional at times. There are 200 kids per PE class, 4 lunch shifts, and the hallways are very crowded during passing periods, and an entire portable city in the parking lot. That said the school does a very good job of breaking kids into small groups and teams, so that kids can stay with a co-hort which to me makes it feel much more personal. They do an excellent job with behavior management, discipline, and anti-bullying efforts - my child is in 8th grade and I can say that there have been no significant incidents that we have had to deal with. Academics are great, though they can be a bit on the rote side, and teachers vary from amazing to so-so, but I'd expect that at any school. Because they are large their after school activities are plentiful, and there are plenty of sports to choose from.

Cons: Hard to get the electives you want. Institutional feeling, many many "rules" like always walk on the right side of the hall.

Overall though, I'd say it's been a fair to good experience.

We have a lot of friends with kids at JA. They all LOVE the elementary school but we've heard conflicting things about the MS. Too small, not many extracurricular opportunities, sparse sports program, etc.

Depends on what your kid is into I guess.

Anonymous said…
I should also add that every teacher, counselor and administrator at Eckstein, that I have been in contact with has known my child personally, and not on the surface either. They can answer questions about grades, behavior, classes, without hesitation. Impressive considering they have 1200 kids, but again, I think they break the kids down into small teams, which I'm sure helps.

Anonymous said…
One of three friends who have all bailed on Eckstein. Your decision will need to be based on your kid's needs and your values. For our group Eckstein's size and not good track record with kids on IEPs and with kids needing advanced learning, means we all went private or different (Hamilton, JA) public.

Josh Hayes said…
And may I add in a suggestion to not forget about Pinehurst for middle school. Very limited athletic opportunities, (although with an excellent ultimate frisbee team, and our own climbing wall) but the academics are, IMO, first-rate. Certainly worth looking at.
dan dempsey said…
Stand for Children
..... takes a hit in the NY Times

Chicago News Cooperative
Education Group Tries to Rebound After Diatribe
Published: December 2, 2011
To Spank or Not to Spank said…
It's taken me this long to stop feeling shaky when I recall the video of the Texas judge beating his daughter and I wanted to ask the blog moderators if they felt it appropriate to open a thread on corporal punishment of children at home and in states and districts where it is still legal to physically punish students.
My feeling is that kids should not be hit at any time and the forced submission we witnessed in the Youtube video from TX does lasting damage to child.
Anonymous said…
I think that when considering middle schools it really is important to think about your child as an individual. What things will keep your child engaged in learning when they are trying to work their way through that rocky developmental stage.

If it is music or math or school sports or social diversity, that really motivates your child then Eckstein can be a good fit. If you have a daughter who tends to get involved in girl drama, I would steer clear. Or if you have child who loves writing, or likes doing plays, but not musicals, or wants the CAD program that just went south, you should look at other schools.

Eckstein's blended special ed program can be a really great experience for some kids. The option to choose self-contained for a couple of periods a day & blended for others is rare in SPS.

The principal is really great. There are a number of wonderful teachers and some pretty mediocre ones. They do get rid of the damaging teachers quickly.

As far as advanced learning, there are kids there doing calculus & reading 'To Kill a Mockingbird'. They do use readers/writers workshop though.

They also are instituting standards based grading.

There are a lot of rules. That bothered my kids.

Eckstein parent
SE Elementary Parent said…
I went to the SE meeting at RBHS. It was more than just IB - it was sort of a state of the schools, progress on IB for the 2013-2014 school year, and presenting disaggregated data (all racial data broken down as both ELL inclusive and ELL only). It seemed pretty well attended. I was most interested with the progress on the IB program, which is still a year and a half out at this point. They have hired a coordinator, who is also teaching study skills I think to the 9th graders. He presented on what IB is, what kind of kids do well in the program. He presented some information on college success and how the kids do (both students that attempt the diploma as well as students that just take select classes). It was impressive.

I'm not sure this will solve all issues around RBHS, and it still seems they need additional programs at the school, but it seemed very positive to this SE parent's ears. I'm feeling very bullish about the future at RBHS.
Carol Simmons said…
Dear SE Elementary Parent.

Good for you regarding your "bullish" position about R.B. Yes, it is my understanding that teachers are being trained for the IB program and I am convinced that there will be great interest in the program, but as you say it is two years out. I would hope that the District would also place the skills center program at RB and also the World School program there. These would certainly be a draw and RB deserves these programs. I always thought the International School Program should have been placed there, but it was placed at Sealth.

Thank you for your continued support of and confidence in Rainier Beach High School and the RB community.
TraceyS said…
Looks like race can once again be a factor for school placement. Front page article on this evening's online Seattle Times:

School districts can use race in decision-making, feds say
seattle citizen said…
This blog ran a petition for students' journalistic rights.

I might suggest a petition here (and elsewhere) to demand that Carol Simmons be given a slot on the Equity and Race committee...If she brought her files with her, they'd be done by dinner.
Anonymous said…
But then what would Bernardo Ruiz have to do the rest of the day?

Get it, got it, Good.
Dave (NOT DWE) said…
I would also characterize an urban secondary school with 1600 to 1800 students with one single lunch period which at best can only feed @ 400 of those students as a questionable decision within the principal's purvue as well.

Garfield must have at least over 800 Free and Reduced price kids in their student body. If only half of those can be fed, it makes one wonder where the other half (along with the all the "non-F&R" kids) go during lunch?

Getting robbed in the bathrooms, it sounds like.
Dave (NOT DWE) said…
Wow! Re: Eckstein=1200 students, 4 lunch periods and no kids running the streets during lunch. What a concept.

And staff who know the kids and all bathrooms open during the school day.

Maybe Ted Howard might find out how they do that.

Jet City mom said…
it makes one wonder where the other half (along with the all the "non-F&R" kids) go during lunch?

My daughter & her friends went to Starbucks/Ezells/DurDur Cafe.
Anonymous said…
Time for a new thread on the new racial diversity guidelines, but I'll start by saying I agree with Harium that making existing schools better and more equitable is the answer. Not busing or increasing options for people to leave their neighborhood schools, which only results in further depletion of good students and families from those schools.

I'm sympathetic to families who did so in the past, if their local school didn't cut it, but the world is smaller now, given the abundance of local media, blogs, and various forms of public messaging available today, so lingering problems should not be allowed to go on in struggling schools like in years past. And we all need to pay for the extra help that struggling schools and students need now. If not, we'll pay one hell of a lot more later, as history shows time and time again. Pre-K and after school programs are sound & wise expenditures, and as a fiscal conservative, I completely support them.

But the real key is not just making the schools better, but having all City planning policies embrace diversifying neighborhoods as a common goal. This will bring gentrification to places that resent it, of course, but the ultimate goal is to have diverse schools all over, and that will only happen when the demographic composition of the neighborhood reflects the same diversity as the composition of the local student body at the neighborhood school.

Busing works for some, but it's a band-aid. And an expensive one at that. Seattle lost the racial tie-breaker case because it was a half-assed policy that created winners and losers without truly diversifying the schools, but allowing a handful of kids to switch schools. It's hard to argue with Justice Roberts statement that: "In order to stop discrimination based upon race, we need to stop discriminating based on race."

I don't want to see anyone trapped in a bad school, but, at the same time, giving people the option to leave the school simply does nothing to solve the problems that people are leaving to get away from. That problem has been the Achilles heel of this district and one that is way overdue being dealt with properly. I hope this latest decision doesn't inspire people to return to that way of thinking, because it didn't work either. WSDWG
Paul said…
Hey Emeraldcity; that's nice for kids that can walk the streets and afford Starbucks. I'm gald our son wasn't a "daughter" the summer Ted Howard was learning how to be a Seattle Principal by being a Summer School Principal at Meany.

He thought it would be a good decision to hire Bob Gary's former son-in-law (Clint Webb) as a "Hall Monitor".

Those that recall know that after someones daughter was raped by Mr. Webb, Mr. Howard knew nothing.

Glad our son was safe.
Jet City mom said…
I am not agreeing with Howards recent decisions- but even when my D was on FRL @ Summit, she didn't eat the school lunches because they were not that edible.
Someone asked where the Garfield kids ate lunch, I was just replying.

Daughter is also a pretty tough cookie and traveled in a pack- admittedly not something you are necessarily going to be doing just to use the restroom.
Sarah said…
I remember that Paul. It was right at the end of the summer term.

But that was before the District got all transparent, accountable and evaluation-y, wasn't it?

You betcha!
Paul said…
Not snarking on you Emerald.

Just pointing out that Howard has been playing fast and loose with decision making for a long, long time.

There's been a lot of teflon for way too long.
Noam said…
Shout out to Jenny Wiley at Franklin who added a second lunch period there when she arrived and we stopped hearing stuff about robbery, gangbangs, etc, there.

I think they actually have some kind of closed campus there as well.

Well played Ms. Wiley and a nice contrast to Ted.
Jet City mom said…
Thanks Paul, I misinterpreted.

I think it would be hard to make Garfield a closed campus, but I think that it isn't helping anyone, when accountability/responsibility depends on who you are.

Glad to hear Franklin is doing well.
Anonymous said…
If Howard is not reporting crimes to the police department, is he not committing crimes himself? Or at the very least, breaking some toothless policy or rule of ethics, acting as an accessory to criminal behavior?

I'm sorry, but this is a zero tolerance area. Not to mention how ridiculous the enabling of anti-social and criminal behavior is from an authority figure, which any child psychologist would firmly advise against.

I want some answers here. If this were my kid, I'd report both the perpetrator and Howard into the police.

Sadly, I've heard a former School Board member excuse known criminal behavior from teens before too. So it ain't just Howard who appears to think this way. It's a lot of apologist, excuse-making enablers who feel sorry for the perps, while showing no concern whatsoever for the victims.

They aren't helping these deviants in any way by helping them avoid deserved consequences. They may mean well, and I'm sure Howard does, but he's exacerbating the problem. Not solving it. WSDWG
anonymous said…
Hale has one lunch period and 1200 kids. Haven't heard about any trouble as far as behavior is concerned, but very very long lunch lines are the norm. I think a lot of kids do leave campus since there are several lunch type restaurants for kids to walk to and a lot of the older kids have cars and drive to fast food joints.

North parent
Anonymous said…
That said, as Braessee commented over at Publicola, if the victims decided they didn't want the police involved, then any case would probably go nowhere, so maybe Howard let them decide. We don't know, so I shouldn't get overly presumptive.

But still, there must be consequences to deter the behavior, and to send a clear message that its serious and won't be tolerated. From the descriptions, it does not appear that happened, so I'd like to hear Howard's comments on it. I think we have a right to know what was done, so we know what to expect in our public schools. WSDWG
Ed said…
I once had a Seattle principal say to me: "rules are made to be broken"........I thanked the lord I didn't have kids in her school.

Howard is from that school and has had a free ride for too long.
Anonymous said…
"I don't want to see anyone trapped in a bad school, but, at the same time, giving people the option to leave the school simply does nothing to solve the problems that people are leaving to get away from."

Not true, when you are getting a better, safer education for it. Families who waited for better "neighborhood" schools when the kids were in primary schools and now they're in high school are glad to have the choice system. Waited 10 years and that's too long for changes.

-choice was good
Anonymous said…
Oh, we used to have a GREAT Race and Equity Department that was headed by Caprice Hollands. But MGJ disbanded it. I have been a teacher in this district for 20+ years and am very frustrated that we've made little forward movement in this matter.
(By the way, I would send my child to Eckstein. In the end, however, I decided not to due to its lack of diversity.)
Anonymous said…
@choice: Yes, good for those who exercised it, certainly. My point was that, with such options, the schools being deserted did not have to improve. WSDWG
Gobsmacked said…
Can you please take down the petition gadget from the website? Along with the calendar gadget, it slows down the loading of the site. (Not saying to remove the calendar, and I have a very new PC with Windows 7, yada yada yada, so my computer is not the problem.)
Michael H said…
@Anonymous at 12/3/2011 11:28: "Oh, we used to have a GREAT Race and Equity Department that was headed by Caprice Hollands. But MGJ disbanded it."

You mean the same (useless) department that had the very ignorant position that only whites can be racist (see Potter, Silas), and that a forward-thinking mind-set, and setting goals, was privileged and racist? The same department that said Thanksgiving was not to be a time of celebration, but rather a time of mourning? The department one teacher claimed at a regular board meeting helped him see that he was a racist, and that although he was still in the classroom teaching elementary school children, he was working through the issues with the help of Caprice (instead of a clinical psychiatrist)? That department?

MGJ's disbanding of that department was one of the only smart things she did during her tenure here.
Andrew said…
Talking about K12 Central, here is one sentence in the Mission section of their Facebook Info page: "* Respect: Any negative bloggers gnawing at the staff in your district’s central office?"

hschinske said…
I had no use for Caprice Hollins, but those particular examples don't seem nearly as damning to me as to you, Michael. Why on earth would it be necessary to consult a psychiatrist in order to combat one's newly-perceived racism? Why *wouldn't* it be appropriate to seek professional support from an administrator? Again, I'm not saying I thought Ms. Hollins was the best person for that job, nor that it's necessarily a good idea to separate out race and equity issues to a specialized department, but in a general sort of way.

Helen Schinske
Michael H said…

In today's day and age, how could someone not see a clinical psychiatrist if they discover that they are racist? An even broader question (although admittedly not part of my original post) is how could the district allow this man back into the classroom after publicly admitting that he has a inate (inbred?) tendency to discriminate based on the color of a child's skin?

Why wouldn't it be appropriate to seek professional support from an administrator? It isn't. Unless, that administrator has racist tendencies also. Anyone who claims or espouses (or perpetuates) the belief that only whites are racist, is most likely a racist themselves as well as a con-artist.
hschinske said…
In today's day and age, how could someone not see a clinical psychiatrist if they discover that they are racist? An even broader question (although admittedly not part of my original post) is how could the district allow this man back into the classroom after publicly admitting that he has a inate (inbred?) tendency to discriminate based on the color of a child's skin?

Well, we clearly have a completely different view of what it means for a person to admit racism. I think it's so common for people to grow up with unconscious racial biases as to be unremarkable in our culture. I wouldn't trust anyone who said outright that they had never needed to fight such bias in themselves. It would be like someone who said they'd never been cruel or thoughtless.

Helen Schinske

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