Open Thread Wednesday

For something new and different - Wednesday.

What's on your mind? 


David said…
I'm worried about overcrowding in the next few years in Washington and Garfield. I haven't seen anything with the capacity planning so far that deals with those two schools. Anyone know what the plan is to address capacity at Washington and Garfield out in 2013-2015? Is it just to add more portables?
Catherine said…
Looking at our governors race - who holds the most hope for Education? McKenna is clearly pro-charter. I think there's at least a little opening in Inslee's seemingly pro-charter position. Anybody have any info?
Anonymous said…
What's on my mind is wanting a person who can set up a plan I can use at home to work with my SPS kids to be sure they are getting the math they need. I am free-wheeling it with scraps of advice and my own judgement, and Singapore math books, Kahn etc. It'd be nice to have someone who really understands what kids need and when to help me out.

A math consultant, I guess. Is there such a thing?

Math deprived
mirmac1 said…
Re: waivers. Schools will be required to fund any alternative materials they select. This benefits "wealthier" schools and is wrong.

Why can't schools use the $$$ allocated for the (district-adopted) curricula they wish to replace? Are they expected to have pay for materials they are not going to use?
Maureen said…
Roosevelt High School is not offering daytime tours for prospective students (they have one evening open house on Feb 2nd). I called and was told that the principal decided he didn't want to disrupt the staff, given that RHS has a wait list. (GHS did offer student tours-closed now--despite being packed to the gills.)
Anonymous said…
A parent can request an unofficial daytime tour/visit by nature of the schools being public. Call the school and make the request.

I'm assuming you asked if there were tours, but instead you need to ask if you may tour the school.

Anonymous said…
I wonder how much UW is counting on new state charter law to fill their TFA classes?

So will UW be coming out to support charters?

TechyMom said…
Idea for Washington capacity management... Make Lowell a mushroom-model K8 and add an attractive program there. Make Madrona mushroom model and add an attractive program there. I'm thinking Language Immersion at Lowell and STEM at Madrona (largely because Madrona has labs and Lowell doesn't)

I still think downtown should be in Lowell's attendance area rather than Hay's, and that would help with crowding at both Hay and McClure. I don't think McClure is crowded yet, but when the huge numbers of kids in K-3 get there in a couple years, it will be.
Anonymous said…
TechyMom, what would you do with the kids currently at Lowell and Madrona?

Former area resident
dan dempsey said…
Curious may be spot on with:

I wonder how much UW is counting on new state charter law to fill their TFA classes?

So will UW be coming out to support charters?

Isn't a large reason for the existence of the UW's Center for Reinventing Education and Dr. Hill's work etc. to present cover for the Charter School invasion?

Now TFA's current floundering is an excellent reason for the Gates Foundation to be pushing charters. Not that charters produce better outcomes or that TFA produces better outcomes ..... but because Gates Foundation has $5+ million into a TFA Puget sound thrust ..... Remember how long Gates pushed the small schools high school design? It didn't work but it took about 10 years before GF stopped pushing it.

The Cleveland remodel was designed along Gates F small schools ..... and by the time it opened small schools were "Old News". Small Schools screwed up some instructional design at West Seattle High School .... What the WSHS teachers had designed and was being implemented had to stop because of a Gates Foundation "small schools" focus.

Gates Foundation's TFA plans may hinge on Charters. Note: No one wants to talk about how the SPS Superintendent and Board violated the law to put TFA corps members into Seattle Schools. .... Can't offend the money providers ... no matter how badly they screw things up. ...... The 2007 elected $500,000 four was all about pushing corporate philanthropy.
Kathy said…
Senator Tom will be introducing charters this week. From Crosscut:
Maureen said…
Thanks parent, I did ask and the RHS office said no. However, I figure they won't stop me from showing up to pick up my Senior son and wandering around looking for him for an hour with my 8th grader in tow. (I want the 8th grader to absorb the vibe while school is in session so she can compare to Ingraham.)

I expect more and more HSs will cancel tours in the future as choice completely disappears.
dan dempsey said…
Here is an interesting piece on what happens when 15,000 scholarly articles are culled to the 200 that actually meet the standards for research.

This vividly portrays the difference between what Education's Elite Experts would like to have work and on the other hand what really occurs.

NY magazine article

How Not to Talk to Your Kids
The inverse power of praise.

Dweck and Blackwell’s work is part of a larger academic challenge to one of the self-esteem movement’s key tenets: that praise, self-esteem, and performance rise and fall together. From 1970 to 2000, there were over 15,000 scholarly articles written on self-esteem and its relationship to everything—from sex to career advancement.

But results were often contradictory or inconclusive.

So in 2003 the Association for Psychological Science asked Dr. Roy Baumeister, then a leading proponent of self-esteem, to review this literature. His team concluded that self-esteem was polluted with flawed science. Only 200 of those 15,000 studies met their rigorous standards.

I am smart, the kids’ reasoning goes; I don’t need to put out effort. Expending effort becomes stigmatized—it’s public proof that you can’t cut it on your natural gifts.

After reviewing those 200 studies, Baumeister concluded that having high self-esteem didn’t improve grades or career achievement. It didn’t even reduce alcohol usage. And it especially did not lower violence of any sort. (Highly aggressive, violent people happen to think very highly of themselves, debunking the theory that people are aggressive to make up for low self-esteem.) At the time, Baumeister was quoted as saying that his findings were “the biggest disappointment of my career.”


All that education BS that comes out of so many parts of the UW in regard to education ... likely reveals that research results are exactly what the funder of the research wants to see...... Look at the UW Center on Reinventing Public Education for a great example.

The Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) was founded in 1993 at the University of Washington. CRPE engages in independent research and policy analysis on a range of K-12 public education reform issues, including choice & charters, finance & productivity, teachers, urban district reform, leadership, and state & federal reform.

CRPE's work is based on two premises: that public schools should be measured against the goal of educating all children well, and that current institutions too often fail to achieve this goal. Our research uses evidence from the field and lessons learned from other sectors to understand complicated problems and to design innovative and practical solutions for policymakers, elected officials, parents, educators, and community leaders.

I wonder how this CRPE sink hole is funded?
Anonymous said…
And charters will spring up to offer choice...they will have tours.

Back Door
Kathy said…
Back Door,

Perhaps for the handful of people that can get into charters. The rest will remain in our already under-funded public scools.
TechyMom said…
Former area resident asks "What would you do with the kids currently at Lowell and Madrona?"

short answer... nothing. Leave them exactly where they are, but give access to the new program as appropriate.

Language Immersion schools in Seattle all have regular classes too. I would allow Lowell students to continue in their current regular ed class. If it's possible to allow students to start language immersion later, I would offer this too. Lowell had almost 600 students last year is now has around 200. There is plenty of room to add these new classes.

STEM is just a focus, which can be added to any general ed classroom. Being very practical and job-oriented, it might even appeal to many of the families that fought against 'softer' art, language, etc. coursework at Madrona. But, even if it doesn't, Madrona is mostly empty too, and there is room to allow the current students to age out in a plain-old general ed program while adding new STEM students in K and 6.

BTW, I'm a current area resident, a block from the Madrona/McGilvra line, and my child attended Lowell's regular ed program for 2 years.
First, yes, TFA and UW's COE program NEED charter legislation to pass. If between Seattle and Federal Way, they could only get 11 people hired, it doesn't bode well for next year (or the year after).

No one has the money for this. It makes no sense in a place with no teacher shortage and no extra money to hire TFA in a big way.

UW's program is running in the red and will continue to do so (and that seems to be okay with UW's president - I asked him). He seems to think you have to give it a chance but hey, it's your tax dollars.

TFA needs charters because charters hire TFA.

I'll have to see if I can interview Inslee and McKenna on the charter issue.
Anonymous said…
A group of Democrats are putting together the charter legislation. Sounds like it will allow up to 50 charter schools, and no more than 10 new schools each year. Why would a Medina Democrat, Sen. Rodney Tom, be interested in charters?

Anonymous said…
Maureen - Did you speak directly with the principal?

Interestingly enough, Hamilton has given a similar reason for not offering a daytime tour.

dj said…
TechyMom, have you heard parents in central asking for a STEM program? I've heard lots of parents asking for a second TOPS or language immersion, but I haven't heard of parents asking for STEM, at all. Not that if it is an option school, families would need to come from central, but I would think that part of the appeal of option programs there would be drawing families off of the central schools that are crowded or getting there, and I would want data that suggest parents want STEM before advocating for it.
Anonymous said…
hi Math Deprived, I'll share what worked for us and hope it's helpful. I taught kitchen table math too for many years and got to know this website inside and out, a great resource:

Standardized assessments, textbook reviews, helpful videos are all there for parents, and it's free!

My own belief is it's best to stick with Singapore as long as it's working for you, collect all the books online over time, when they go on sale, use the Singapore website's free assessment tests every year, for consistency and to avoid any gaps? The books don't cost much and you could skip lessons they already know, then you have a good math library at home. Our family used standard Saxon textbooks because the approach matched our learning style better and they are easily found very inexpensive used. For Algebra and above we switched to other textbooks with positive reviews in You can compare Saxon to Singapore textbooks at a good bookstore such as Math&Stuff (are they still there?) who also used to take trade-ins of your old math books on new ones.

The challenge is staying on top of what they are learning at school and skipping those bits in the home math textbooks, altering the schedule to make time with the child to explain the new concepts.

When added practice was needed, I downloaded pages from Spectrum workbooks off, then print the PDF files. Very nice one-page worksheet for each topic, with explanation at the top, and answers in the back of the book!

I don't think you have to cover everything perfectly, or get any expert advice, or use another family's methods, to really help your kids learn elementary math. Even parents (like me) who lack confidence might pick up a Teacher's Edition and look over each lesson before they begin. Hope this helps! Wish you all the best.

-Math mom
Anonymous said…
Does anyone know when you find out if you get into a choice school after you apply during open enrollment? I can't find this info on the SPS website.
Frustrated with lack of info
Anonymous said…
continuing the where's the money/online credit retrieval/charter school discussion:

As for Roosevelt not having a daytime tour,I find that puzzling. The tour is all of two hours, one hour of which is in the auditorium. The PTSA leads the tours, not staff.

So if you are a popular school, it's read the website and believe our press? You can learn a lot from a tour so that's pretty disappointing.
Anonymous said…
heads up Melissa:

RT reports traditional media (AP. New York Times)tracking bloggers reposting

Anonymous said…
more heads up Melissa:

protesting the federal SOPA legislation - the ennd of the internet as we know it:

dan dempsey said…
MW wrote....

UW's program is running in the red and will continue to do so (and that seems to be okay with UW's president - I asked him). He seems to think you have to give it a chance but hey, it's your tax dollars.

Nice to know that the UW Pres. puts zero weight on intelligently applying relevant data.... TFA has already had a chance in areas with NO Shortage of Fully Certificated Teachers and failed in every situation similar to Seattle.

Politics drives everything. UW Pres. is hardly an academic leader in this TFA regard. ... It won't be his kids or grandkids in TFA corps members classrooms.

Likely we shall see the UW, under his leadership, generate more crappy pseudo ed research to push every Gates Foundation agenda possible.

It may be our money ..... but these political animals control it.
Thank you JC for these items.

I absolutely understand why the Times and AP and others want to track their investment. People want content but don't want to pay for it. (Charlie and I may monetize at some point.)

We try to always credit our sources and provide a link (thus tracking back to the original source and getting traffic to their site).

But I also see the point of one of these news sources doesn't want to be challenged on their work and can threaten a blog for citing their story.

On the other hand, I was grumbling about never getting credit locally for breaking a story (and I am told I should call an editor and complain but I never do) and I note the story about NewRight brings this up.

It is difficult to do the hard work of getting out there and finding out information and not even getting credit (no less money).
Maureen said…
To be clear, RHS is doing one evening info session/tour (staff will be there to take Qs.)

parent, I called the counseling office, they transferred me to the main office and I spoke to the woman who answered that phone. So no I didn't speak to the principal.
Anonymous said…
Thanks for the ideas and encouragement, Math Mom. I do appreciate it!

Math deprived
LG said…
Frustrated with lack of info -
For what it's worth, the sps website says:

The district has scheduled open enrollment for the 2012-13 school year for 27 February-9 March, with school assignments posted by 16 April.
SolvayGirl said…
@ Maureen

That once again indicates how clueless the District is about competition from Private Schools. If a family is on the fence, they'll certainly want to see what their assignment HS is like before making a decision. Glad your 8th-grader got to "sneak in the back door."

I guess they figure if schools are full, who cares about families considering private.
Benjamin Leis said…
Out of curiosity, for those parents who supplemented math when did you begin? My son is just in Kindergarten and has an aptitude for math. He's going to start walking to first grade math next week. Up until now we occasionally have played math games for fun but nothing much supplemental beyond that. Is this something I should start worrying about now, in the early post K years, or nearer to algebra (or not at all)?

Anonymous said…
Thanks LG, I found the open enrollment dates, but could't find the april 16 date-- still don't see it!!
--no longer frustrated
TechyMom said…
Just to be clear, I was not saying that these should be option schools. Maybe some option seats at the middle school level, but they would stay attendance area schools. They'd just be popular, full attendance area schools. That's the model the district is using, and suggesting something that aligns with the model is more likely to be effective than suggesting something that runs counter to it.

The idea is to make Lowell a K8 and make Madrona a mushroom, and put something attractive at each so they fill up. The district seems interested in expanding language immersion, STEM and Montessori, and not much else. There's already a Montessori at Leschi. TOPS II would be wonderful, but I don't see it happening. I especially don't see it happening in the Washington SA becuase TOPS I is here.

I think STEM could work in this neighborhood, because so many of my neighbors work in the software, biotech and medical fields.

Language Immersion seems to be popular everywhere it's added.
seattle citizen said…
Liv Finne opines in Times:

On K-12 education, Washington Supreme Court makes itself a super-legislature

The free-marketing, privatization-favoring Washington Policy Center's "Liv Finne is Director of WPC's Center for Education. Prior to that position she served as an adjunct scholar [where?! WPC? A WPC scholar?] focusing on education policy issues, authoring in-depth studies including An Overview of Public School Funding in Washington and Early Learning Proposals in Washington State. She is the author of Washington Policy Center's Education Reform Plan: Eight Practical Ways to Reverse the Decline of Public Schools, Learning Online: An Assessment of Online Public Education Programs, Review of Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) Programs for Child Care Services"

"the Washington Supreme Court...erred in endorsing a flawed education-reform law on the books."

"...Education spending is separated into Basic Education and Non-Basic Education, with multiple subcategories of spending. This is partly because of court-directed distinctions drawn between the state and local roles in education.
These distinctions allow education activists to claim the state has not funded Basic Education when, for example, local districts decide to pay their teachers more than the state provides."

"...The judges also erred by endorsing ESHB 2261. This law significantly expands public-education programs, including the provision of all-day kindergarten for all children, cutting class sizes to 17 in grades kindergarten through third grade, and other new programs. When the Legislature passed this bill, it ignored research showing the most important factor in improving student learning is the effectiveness of the classroom teacher, not all-day kindergarten or smaller class sizes.
The judges want to act like a super-legislature, dictating how schools should run..."

"The Legislature should simplify school finance by combining all funding into one state education grant for every child, with additional dollars for special-needs students...."
Anonymous said…
re: when to supplement, I have no special wisdom. I would consider supplementing as follows:
1. During the summer so he doesn't slide backward
2. Math facts....EDM does not give sufficient practice and I've seen Spectrum kids and others in the 3rd and 4th grade using their fingers to count. So I'd totally supplement math facts at your child's level for practice and to ensure they are second nature. This makes math in class so much easier for them!
3. When he seems to be bored or unchallenged.
4. I started supplementing with problem-solving in 3rd grade math when I realized my daughter could easily learn new processes or rules from the teacher but that she got very little practice in figuring out how to solve a novel problem.

Now we are taking a more formal approach with my 4th grader as she is interested and capable of learning much more than is presented in class.

Math deprived
Anonymous said…
You know who still has daytime tours? Nova! And maybe Center and Cleveland too?

You're invited to visit Nova. School day tours and the open house/exhibition night are a great chance for students and parents to connect with current students and our principal, meet teachers, learn about class offerings...

Tours *12-1pm*
January 12, 31
February 14
March 31

Open House
6-7:30pm; Feb 9

Charlie Mas said…

Keep playing math games. It should always be a game. Do puzzles and talk about strategies for solving them. All kinds of puzzles: jigsaw puzzles, mazes, logic puzzles, word puzzles. Talk about how you solved them and what other methods could be used, which methods are effective and which methods are most effective.

Flip coins, roll dice, balance things on scales, measure things with rulers, count stuff, time things. Make math a normal part of daily life - because it is.

The greatest key to student success is the student's motivation. That motivation is innate - kids WANT to learn. That motivation is also the result of a culture that values education, the culture in which you are raising your child.

That means that you should model the behavior. Let your child see you doing math just as you would model reading. Calculate all kinds of stuff out loud. "These Red Delicious apples are $1.69 a pound and those Honeycrisp apples are $1.99 a pound. That's a difference of 30 cents per pound. If we buy four pounds of apples the Honeycrisps will cost four times 30 cents, $1.20, more than the Red Delicious. Is it worth $1.20 to us to have Honeycrisps instead of Red Delicious?"

Finally, I suggest that you think about motivation. Read Daniel Pink's book, Drive - or at least watch the YouTube video about it. Think about how you can create opportunities for your child to gain autonomy, achieve mastery, or serve a purpose by doing math.
Ben, one thing I did when my kids were younger, was to repeatedly show them that all of life is math and science. Cooking, running, driving, playing, nearly everything involves using math or science. It's not just a classroom activity.

One of the most disturbing commercials I have seen recently is one where a kid is at home with Mom and asks her for help with math. She runs out of the house with a scared look on her face until she gets to Sylvan. It's pretty sad.

Charlie is right; modeling is a big part of getting kids on the right math footing. It's okay if your math skills aren't great (or rusty) but making faces or saying it's boring, isn't going to help.

Keep up the good work.
Kate Martin said…
Charlie - I love the advice you offered Ben and your emphasis on motivation to learn as something that is both innate and something that can be cultivated. Nice!
Chris S. said…
Ben, Math N Stuff, near 90th & Roosevelt, is a great resource. It's like a toy store, especially if your kid doesn't know math is "work" yet.

I am not a big worksheet person, but I have bought my 2nd grader workbooks at her request and she loves the math ones.

While I'm at it, one more thing to share. I am opting her out of the MAP (I have my reasons but this time I asked her opinion and she chose to skip it) and since it was late in the day, I just took her home. We spent the time together looking at the work she had brought home from school over the last few months (something I sadly don't make time to do regularly) and it was just such a positive way to spend that time.
dan dempsey said…
UW freshmen enter with higher grades and SAT scores

The average incoming freshman at the University of Washington in fall 2011 had a 3.75 grade-point average, scored a 633 (out of 800) on the math portion of the SAT, and made a 579 on the reading portion of the SAT.

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