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Friday, February 10, 2012

Friday Open Thread

What's on your mind?

78 comments:

StopTFA said...

There are more interesting emails about the contortions senior staff went through to hire 5 TFA...

SPS-TFA Hire emails (1)

SPS-TFA Hire emails (2)

TFA Hire emails (3)

TFA Hire emails (4)

I think it is time to terminate this contract and focus on more important things.

Anonymous said...

Huge turnout at the Jane Adams open house last night. One thing that was mentioned was about the order of folks getting into the school.

Siblings --> Geo Zone --> Reference Area --> rest of city.

I didn't realize being the Eckstein Reference area would actually enhance our chances of getting a spot ( we're not in the geo zone).

-- Looking and stressing

DataData said...

Brian Rosenthal has an article in the Seattle Times today, "Wanted in Seattle classrooms: more teachers of color", that might be worth discussing.

I am not sure the data supports the claim Brian is trying to make in the article that the racial background of teachers in Seattle Public Schools is not appropriate.

Brian failed to note that the demographics of Seattle Public Schools teachers are similar to that of the city as a whole. The article says 21% of teachers "come from minority backgrounds". Seattle.gov says that 70% of Seattle is white, 8% black, 14% Asian, and 5% "two or more races", so about the same (see Seattle.gov Demographics).

The reason teacher's ethnic backgrounds look different from the student population of Seattle Public Schools is that so many of Seattle's children, many of them white, go to private schools in Seattle. 30% of children in Seattle go to private schools, which is unusually high for a major city, normal is 10-20%.

Perhaps the question should not be why the teachers' demographic profile is what it is, but why the student population in Seattle Public Schools does not reflect the ethnic mix of the children of Seattle?

Anonymous said...

First story of the Tacoma News Tribune is the Lowell + Greg King story. Another story within The Seattle Times.

SPS looks bad today. But then, what's new. It appears to be reaping what it sowed.

DistrictWatcher

RosieReader said...

Ingraham had an IB Open House on Wednesday night and had a huge turnout as well. They stopped counting at 250.

Next Wednesday there will be one more open house at Ingraham specifically targeted for the IBX program (which is what they informally call the APP-IB program).

Hope the Nova open house last night was also a smashing success.

Anonymous said...

Anyone have a handy-dandy list of legislator emails I can cut and paste into my emails?

Mr Ed

Anonymous said...

News from West Seattle. Apparently the 34th Democrat legislative district gave a huge vote of No support to charters last night.

Ex-board president Steve Sundquist accompanied by Kris Korsmo, head of League of Education Voters, was there to push them. Interesting pair.

EdVoter

Maggie Hooks said...

re: Brian Rosenthal's article about the dearth of teacher's of color.

"African-American students outnumber black teachers by nearly 3-to-1; for Latinos, the ratio is more than 4-to-1"

what does that even mean? I would expect that students generally outnumber teachers by nearly 30:1...

NorthSeattleParentOfTwo said...

NPR/KUOW aired a story at 840am about debt collection robocalls for our SPS elementary lunchroom acounts, and clearly calling out just how illegal the paypams lunchroom account system may be (it grants children as young as 5 an unsecure and technically unlimited line-of-credit with or without parent/adult involvement --and the Nutrition Dept says every student gets one whether you opt in or not).
With any luck SPS can replace the licensing fees / food debt we're floating and replace it with ...well,.. just about anything (buckets of cash in each lunchroom would be less expensive and wasteful).

TraceyS said...

A large group of Wedgwood parents met with Chris Cronas last night at one of his coffees. Phil Brockman also showed up to answer questions. There was a very good and open discussion about the lack of information about the massive changes to the Spectrum program at Wedgwood this year.

One parent pointed out that he did not know why the changes happened, what the changes were, and how they were occurring, despite being ten months into this and despite repeated requests for a written plan(Chris announced last April that changes were coming, and implemented them in 1st grade in September). Others pointed out that they were not married to the self-contained model, but did not understand why the heterogeneous model seems to have been selected to replace it, since all the literature shows it widens the differentiation range in each classroom and produces the worst outcomes for advanced learners as well as for those who are academically behind. Two parents of first graders stated that the changed program was not working for their child this year.

It was also noted that open enrollment is around the corner, yet there is still a great deal of uncertainty about the Spectrum program next year, and time has run out for producing a plan. Several parents spoke about how betrayed they felt that Spectrum program changes were announced after open enrollment closed last year.

Towards the end of the meeting, Chris was asked by the entire room to delay making changes to Spectrum for one year. He was asked to wait for the Advanced Learning Task Force to make its recommendations, and to spent time putting together a written plan and working with all stakeholders to develop a program model that meets the needs of both Spectrum and Gen Ed families. No one wanted a repeat of the "bait-and-switch" that happened last year after open enrollment.

Josh Hayes said...

I ran across a nice little blog entry that illustrates well the kind of emphasis Pinehurst K-8 places on social engagement; I invite people to read it:

Penny Harvest story

Anonymous said...

Speaking of budget woes, has anyone else heard that facilities maintenance has run out of money? It seems that some of their vendor accounts are over ninety days past due and the workers can't buy materials and parts to do their assigned repair work. So, after all the bad press about how far behind the District is in maintaining its schools, where has the basic maintenance funding gone? Is this more Seattle School District slight of hand? Perhaps a case of robbing Peter to pay Paul?

---Mr. Bill

Sahila said...

Stand(Trademark!!!)for Children Washington succeeds in pressuring Governor to resurrect charter and teacher eval bills...

Subject: Resurrection




Dear ...,


We learned in Olympia this week that heart-felt outrage can spur action, even from the most obstinate lawmakers. A week ago our bills implementing a fairer system for evaluating principals and teachers and bringing top-notch charter schools to our state's poorest kids were dead in the water. But your calls and emails to misguided lawmakers helped break that log-jam.

An avalanche of media coverage this week exposed how ground-breaking education reforms were being held up the chairs of the House and Senate Education Committees, Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos (D-Seattle) and Sen. Rosemary McAulliffe (D-Bellevue). With public indignation building, Gov. Christine Gregoire intervened.

Stand's policy director Dave Powell rushed down to Olympia Tuesday to testify before the Senate Ways and Means Committee. "This bill is about ensuring every student in our state has access to a great teacher," he told lawmakers. "Teachers are the most important factor in determining the quality of education a student receives, leading to better graduation rates, better college enrollment rates, and a better prepared workforce."

In the end, moderate Democrats Sen. Rodney Tom (D-Bellevue), Sen. Steve Hobbs (D-Lake Stevens) and committee chair Ed Murray (D-Seattle) came together with Republicans to vote the teacher and principal evaluation bill back to life.

Meanwhile, our champion Rep. Eric Pettigrew (D-Seattle) continues negotiations with House leadership to bring back legislation that would make Washington the 42nd state in the nation to offer public charter schools.

Our hard-fought progress in Olympia on these two issues has put us in the national spotlight. This week, the well-respected K-12 reform group Policy Innovators in Education called Washington the education state to watch in 2012. We won't let our lawmakers head home in 2012 without genuine improvements in education for our children.

Standing with you,

Shannon Campion
Executive Director
Stand for Children Washington



REALLY? REALLY? When are we going to say NO to paid lobbyists directing the education of our children?

DataData said...

Related to the Seattle Times article, today's New York Times has an article titled Education Gap Grows Between Rich and Poor, Studies Say. The whole thing is worth reading, but this part is particularly worth discussing:

“We have moved from a society in the 1950s and 1960s, in which race was more consequential than family income, to one today in which family income appears more determinative of educational success than race,” said Sean F. Reardon, a Stanford University sociologist. Professor Reardon is the author of a study that found that the gap in standardized test scores between affluent and low-income students had grown by about 40 percent since the 1960s, and is now double the testing gap between blacks and whites.

Anonymous said...

Dear blog readers:

There is an important story in today's New York Times that I hope you will read and pass along to your friends. I ran for school board in the last election cycle in part because I saw specific operational issues that need addressing in SPS. But the core of my continued interest and involvement rests on the points of this article.

...The achievement gap between rich and poor children is widening, a development that threatens to dilute education’s leveling effects...

As I posted on my FB page just now, *This* is the education reform discussion I want Seattle and WA state to tackle. But getting a civic conversation going has been frustratingly difficult in part because the answers require going wider and deeper and longer than today's narrow and acrimonious focus on teacher quality and testing.


Kindly,

Michelle Buetow

DataData said...

Great point, Michelle, about how bad the gap between rich and poor students has become.

Much longer school hours almost certainly would help. 60% of the achievement gap can be attributed to summer vacation (see Summer Learning Loss) and the most successful experiments to eliminate the remainder have lengthened the school day further (as well as free food and clinics at school, see Harlem Children's Zone).

All of those additional hours at school are expensive. Harlem Children's Zone, for example, costs about double what Seattle Public Schools currently spends per student.

At this point, we have pretty good data on what works. School days need to be longer, a lot longer, if we want to close the achievement gap between rich and poor. But that requires more money, so much more money, in fact, that it probably would have to come from federal sources.

suep. said...

Heads up, everyone -- Stand for Children Incorporated, the out of state political lobbying operation bankrolled by Gates and others, is boasting that it charged down to Olympia this past week and forced our legislators to breathe life back into the poorly written, politically volatile charter bill and the damaging "teacher evaluation" bills.

Call and write your legislators asap if you want them to listen to you, and not front groups for the corporate ed reform machine.

Paid political operations like Stand for Children, Inc., LEV and DFER are trying to avoid voter input at all costs, because, as State Senator Rodney ('these schools are good for kids in the projects') Tom said, taking such flawed and controversial schemes to the voters would be a "gamble" for their side. Washington voters have already voted down charters three times. Stand, Inc., LEV, and DFER want to force their agenda on the people of Washington and avoid democracy altogether.

Meanwhile, school after school here in Seattle, and various district Dem organizations are voting to oppose charters and are issuing resolutions to this effect. These are the true voices of the people, the ones our legislators are supposed to listen to and represent.

Here's an insight into the true nature of Stand for Children, Inc. -- their CEO, Jonah Edelman, boasting at the Aspen Ideas Festival in 2011 about how his operation manipulates legislators and the teachers' union to push their privatizing, teacher-bashing agenda, putting the lie to their false, grassroots, altruistic pretenses. (This revealing slip caused a firestorm of criticism for him and Stand.)

See: Jonah Edelman Spills the Oligarchs' Blueprint for Crushing the Teaching Profession

(continued)

suep. said...

(continued)

And here is an excerpt from Stand, Inc's Shannon Campion's e-mail apocalytically titled "Resurrection."

Stand's policy director Dave Powell rushed down to Olympia Tuesday to testify before the Senate Ways and Means Committee. "This bill is about ensuring every student in our state has access to a great teacher," he told lawmakers. "Teachers are the most important factor in determining the quality of education a student receives, leading to better graduation rates, better college enrollment rates, and a better prepared workforce."

In the end, moderate Democrats Sen. Rodney Tom (D-Bellevue), Sen. Steve Hobbs (D-Lake Stevens) and committee chair Ed Murray (D-Seattle) came together with Republicans to vote the teacher and principal evaluation bill back to life.

Meanwhile, our champion Rep. Eric Pettigrew (D-Seattle) continues negotiations with House leadership to bring back legislation that would make Washington the 42nd state in the nation to offer public charter schools.

Our hard-fought progress in Olympia on these two issues has put us in the national spotlight. This week, the well-respected K-12 reform group Policy Innovators in Education called Washington the education state to watch in 2012. We won't let our lawmakers head home in 2012 without genuine improvements in education for our children.


(Note they out Pettigrew as their "champion.")

Yes, it's not hard to "fight" like this when you are paid millions by the Gates Foundation to do it.

This is a David and Goliath battle. Will our legislators listen to the people they represent -- us? Or will they be strong-armed or baffled with b.s by the political lobbyists like SFC, Inc, LEV and DFER?

Speak up, folks.

Who's bankrolling and enabling the corporate ed reform agenda:

Gates gave Stand for Children, Inc. $3,476,300 in 2010

Gates gave Stand for Children, Inc. $971,280 in 2009

Gates gave Stand for Children, Inc. $682,565 in 2007

Charlie Mas said...

Wow! I found an old email of mine among the public documents posted by StopTFA. Boy, was I wrong. I said that the district had to come out and tell their side of the story on a whole mess of topics. They never did and now it no longer appears that they have to.

Charlie Mas said...

The report about Wedgwood from TraceyS seemed a bit unclear. I see that a lot of people at the meeting agreed that Mr. Cronas should stop making changes in Spectrum and should explain what he is doing, but I didn't see anything about Mr. Cronas agreeing that he should follow that path.

suep. said...

Ah, Sahila, great minds...! (Or are we fools...;-)

See Sahila's post for the entire Stand, Inc. "Resurrection" letter.

Someone said...

Huh - one of my emails is in the TFA batch too - interesting.

I have sent an email to Legislators urging them to vote no on the Charter bill - the fact that money can buy democracy is always deeply troubling to me.

StopTFA said...

I found amusing that Holly Ferguson, Noel Treat, Paul Apostle, Amy Valenti, and Nathan Fitzpatrick have nothing better to do with their time then run fire drills on TFA crap. Eliminate that and our budget woes are solved!

Sahila said...

All children are born geniuses; society kills that spark: Michio Kaku

Sahila said...

Lemons for Lessons: Replacing Childhood with Business Ideology

Melissa Westbrook said...

Mr Ed, here's the URL for that info:

https://dlr.leg.wa.gov/MemberEmail/Default.aspx

Stand for Children is such a disappointing organization. They are a lobbying organization and that's it. Well, okay then.

I'll put up a thread and you need to consider taking 5 minutes this weekend to e-mail your legislator on the issue of charters and/or teacher evaluations.

You need to do this if only to make sure that lobbyists don't win the day; that the public input wins the day. (Yes, I know corporations are people and probably lobbyists as well but you know what I mean.)

TraceyS said...

Charlie, he said he would consider it. We are waiting to see what he decides to do by open enrollment.

Anonymous said...

McClure & camp:

Thanks 'gone camping' - sounds like a good way to handle this curriculum. Why not come to McClure and do some training? Any kid being arbitrarily prevented from attending school is one kid too many.

As far as the money goes, remember this is part of the science curriculum, not an extra lab fee or band trip. I still wonder about the legality of the program.

As for 'give it up' - have you been following the news from Lowell, and other schools, and their principal troubles? Same deal at McClure. Why waste time with someone non-responsive like Sarah Pritchett?

But, yes, you're right that it is the parents fault for not begging. And for not teaching their kids to beg.

So, let's fix that problem by giving the left-behind kids some cardboard for a sign and a street corner and say "have at it".

No big deal they missed days of school. They won't need it where they're going.

(Rant over and out. Next week I'll write you a love poem. But only if you ask(beg) nicely.)

OTD

Camping fan said...

OTD-

Have you started to realize yet that nobody else seems to have a problem with this except you?

mirmac1 said...

From the Times article about recruiting more teachers of color

"She pointed to the elimination of Seattle Public Schools recruiters who scoured the country for minority teachers, especially at historically black colleges.

Seattle School Board President Michael DeBell said the district ended that practice because its high cost didn't justify the few candidates that were identified. In general, officials have determined the problem is outside their control, DeBell said.

"There's not a lot we can do," he said"


Well, how about you start with not hiring Nathan Fitzpatrick as your Human Resources
Manager of Recruitment. Former recruitment manager for Teach for America. He sure spent a heckuva lot of effort placing five TFAers. Where are his stats on teachers of color? REAL certificated teachers. What he done in this regard? Why is he porking up the HR payroll?

Brian Rosenthal, why didn't you interview this dude?

Anonymous said...

Wow! Great Melissa!

Mr Ed

Anonymous said...

@camping fan- "Have you started to realize yet that nobody else seems to have a problem with this except you?"

Exactly. You have proven my point. No one cares.

Thanks. Over & out....

OTD

save bryant elementary said...

Last night was arts night at Bryant Elementary. Principal Fox actually showed up for an event!!! Kudos to Kim Fox. Unfortunately we are not sure if it counts that she stayed at the hours long event for less then 20 minutes. Possibly less. Certainly Principal Fox will be adding this to list of community events she so often participates in. Shouldn't there be some kind of requirement that to put down an event you need to participate in at least a quarter of it or an eighth.
We recently had a PTSA meeting to address among other things the bullying issue at our school and the lack of leadership. One of the stipulations was that no teachers or administrators could be present. Yet we did have one very vocal supporter of Ms. Fox redirect every concern we voiced about Ms. Fox's leadership. Include having one of the lowest approval ratings in the district. This parent happened to be a teacher at Bryant, a long term sub, and for the integrity of the meeting she should have recused herself. She had a huge voice in the meeting. For the first time in years our school did not make the list of the top 100 schools. We are on a downward spiral because of leadership.
Next steps we need to have a meeting of concerned parents at the local community center.

Anonymous said...

Ugh! Today ST's article on teacher recruitment was such a one off. This is a story that needs a firmer grasp of nuance and context. I don't know why Brian Rosenthal wrote it and ST printed it (unless it's to generate needless controversy and comments). It just opens the door wide enough for people to hyperventilate hysterically. Can we just leave this one for the puppies?

news reader

Benjamin Leis said...

@Maggie Hooks

The statement is badly written - the percentage of black teachers vs. black students is 3:1 (19.2% vs 6.5%) and the percentage of hispanic teachers vs hispanic students is 4:1 (12.3% vs 2.9%) Obviously no part of the district has a 3:1 student teacher ratio.

Ben

Anonymous said...

So Save Bryant Elementary, are there minutes available for this PTSA meeting? Im just trying to find some kind of corroboration for the concerns about Principal Fox that keep appearing on this blog.
--Need more than this

Anonymous said...

Today I'm lovin' the Wild West Seattle Arse Whoopin' my neighborhood gave the Charter shills last night at the meeting of the 34th District Democrats.

The anti-charter-schools resolution passed 58-10(!!!), and then the pro-charter-schools resolution was withdrawn (its proposer made the offer, and no one disagreed).

Note to Korsmo & Co.:
Take yer anti-union money-grubbin' charter dreams & git on out a town before we blast yer butts full o' shot, ya darn varmints!!

Yosemite Sam

Po3 said...

OTD - I have a lot of concerns about the leadership at McClure. Please continue to keep readers informed!

Same with Bryant and any other school where a principal is creating a damaging work enviroment.

Anonymous said...

Veteran parents, what is an effective way to let your school admin know about an exemplary teacher?I can imagine what the process might be for lodging a complaint, but realized I know nothing about doing the opposite. Does positive feedback from parents have any affect on evaluation of a junior teacher? I know that thinking your child's teacher is the greatest maybe seems too subjective, too much like chearleading, to carry weight; i'd still like to try to make an effective vote of confidence on their behalf.
--tc

Anonymous said...

tc -
re: great teachers, i try to do this every year we have a good teacher - i sent email to the principal, and i'm sure to cc: the teacher. not sure if/how it could make an impact, but i think it's important for the teacher to know/have a copy.
-diane

Anonymous said...

@SaveBryantElementary:

Not sure where you are getting your information about Principal Fox's departure times, but the event started at 6:00 and as someone who was manning one of the tables, I and some other Bryant parents had a conversation with Principal Fox and Vice Principal Golosmon at about 7:15. That seems at odds with your "left after 20 minutes" assessment.


ne_seattle_mom

Anonymous said...

Hello, I have a question about "grandfathered status" and school assignments, and I'm hoping someone out there has actual real world experience with this. Is it true, that if a student was enrolled at a school during 2009/10, PRIOR to the NSAP going into effect, that the student is considered grandfathered at that school through the highest grade, and you CAN move outside of the school's attendance zone without losing your seat? I've received verbal confirmation from the enrollment office that this IS true, but I want to double/triple/quadruple check before I consider signing a lease outside of our current attendance zone. If anyone has done this I'd love to hear from you.

Thanks,

- Scrambling to find a decent place to live without having to switch schools

Anonymous said...

The next step in Enfield going to Bellevue has apparently just happened.

Bellevue schools to Susan Enfield: We like you, too

DistrictWatcher

dw said...

TraceyS said (regarding Chris Cronas' response): Charlie, he said he would consider it. We are waiting to see what he decides to do by open enrollment.

That sounds exactly like what someone would say when they want to placate a group of people just long enough to be able to make their own decision and then claim it's too late to undo.

Waiting until open enrollment to see what happens is too late. The decision will be made by then. It was great to get a bunch of parents together with him and have your voices heard as a group, but it doesn't sound like he's backing down. Any backup plans? What is Phil's take on the situation?

dw said...

CAN move outside of the school's attendance zone without losing your seat? I've received verbal confirmation from the enrollment office that this IS true, but I want to double/triple/quadruple check before I consider signing a lease outside of our current attendance zone.

What I would do is email Tracy Libros with your very specific question. She's pretty good about writing back, although I expect is a very busy time right now. Keep it short and sweet and cross your fingers.

Then, assuming you get a response, now you have it in writing and there can be no misunderstandings later. At least in theory. It's as good as you'll get.

Chris said...

We were at the IB Info night at Ingraham, and while we got lots of info about the program requirements, I'd like some info from parents whose students have gone through it. My daughter is at Hamilton, and takes Honors math, but is not in AP classes. Can anyone give any insight to the work level, etc. of the program? Anything you wish you had known about it before starting?

Thanks

Erin said...

@Save Bryant Elementary - A friend of mine brought this to my attention. I am the parent you referred to in your posting about the PTSA meeting last week. I think the key word here is "parent." Yes, I did a three week sub in a class at Bryant, however, I do not think that means I have to relinquish my status as a parent, which is what I primarily am at our school. The purpose of that PTSA meeting was to have an open and honest discussion about anything of concern. I felt we did that. There were different viewpoints to be sure which I respect. I was far from the only parent who may have had a different opinion from yours.

I am a fan of direct and respectful communication. If you had a problem with my being there, you should have had that conversation with me in person. I would still welcome you doing that with me, rather than posting anonymously on a blog. I felt that at least everyone was in agreement at that meeting that we ought not be a part of the "rumor mill" - that it only hurts the Bryant community. This posting of yours does little to combat that problem. Please let's be bigger than that.

Anonymous said...

Sahila at 10:50 being negative negative negative!

What next, are you going to wonder WHERE the WEA was, and WHY this garbage was allowed to progress? Are you going to wonder WHY the WEA is so incompetent?

Remember to criticize in private (go yell at your goldfish ...?? ) and praise in public, OR, you'll be the reason the WEA is incompetent with your Anti-Solidarity Shield ... Sunscreen ... Stanzas ... Stuff.

AntiSolidarityianIsDoublePlusUnGood

Syd said...

A note just came home from the Graham Hill principal notifying us that all children who are not FRL will be charged for kindergarten next year. The policy had been that all children at Title I schools were tuition free. Interesting change.

TraceyS said...

dw, I think we agree on this, actually. Chris asked what he could do to communicate better, and several people noted that it was now too late to do anything before open enrollment, other than agree to postpone the changes for a year. Time ran out, essentially.

Not making changes this year would allow parents to make open enrollment decisions on a known quantity (rather than the unknown quantity that we have had for the last ten months), plus allow the AL Task Force time to make their report, which is not due out for a few more months. It would also allow time to form a much-need building committee to look at how to make changes to the Spectrum program that meet everyone's needs, and not just a subset, and to select a proven model, such as the Brulles one. The current model, from the best that we can ascertain, is the one the research says does NOT meet the needs of students at either end of the learning spectrum. There are other, proven integrated models that work significantly better.

Chris could turn this whole thing around by announcing before open enrollment that he will postpone these changes for a year. Most of the parents last night were willing to look more closely at the Spectrum program and make some long overdue changes, but not at the expense of putting some student needs ahead of others. Personally, I think there IS a solution that will work for everyone, but time is needed to bring in all the stakeholders. Otherwise, the Spectrum program at Wedgwood will be effectively finished.

Disgusted said...

I thougherly checked through the Washington Public Disclosure Commission looking for Rodney Tom's campaign contributors. I did not see his name. Am I missing something?

Anonymous said...

Questions about Spectrum and Middle School:
1) I'm having trouble understanding the wording of the latest NSAP regarding advanced learning. Is it true that 6th grade students who were in spectrum in 5th grade are guaranteed spectrum seats at their attendance area middle school? Are "spectrum eligible" students for 6th grade those who were in 5th grade ALO, APP, and those who tested into spectrum in 5th? Is the latter group then put into a lottery for the leftover 6th grade specrum seats (assuming that the answer to my first question is yes)? I emailed the advanced learning folks, but found the response (while prompt) to be confusing.
2) Does anyone know where to find the stats about how many students who are eligible and apply for spectrum at their attendance area middle school get in/don’t get into the program?
Thanks.
Confused

dw said...

Sahila, that was a nice link, let me share it again (All children are born geniuses; society kills that spark: Michio Kaku).

The text description made me think it might be something else entirely, and I was going to complain, i.e. another attempt to say that all kids are born with equal ability, blah blah blah. That's an attitude often heard by people who oppose gifted ed, and it's patently false.

But this is a short video with a nice delivery about how we can drag our kids/students down by teaching facts to the exclusion of the big picture and interesting, motivating ideas. Obviously we need both to be successful in life, but too often our kids get stuck in the rut of memorizing details without anything to motivate them or keep them interested in the topic. Particularly in math and sciences.

It's only 1 min 40 sec, an easy visit.

Anonymous said...

Michelle at 2/10/12 10:52 AM

THE ROOT of this problem is that complete garbage math curriculum.

Unfortunately it will be centuries before we eliminate promotion by family and by connections, and go to a merit system. Sadly, charlatans who master puffery and fluff will too much influence for too long. However, we will never get to having people being their most productive at their best fit role in society the longer we're mathematically and technically illiterate.

There couldn't be a more effective method of keeping the bottom 85% or more at the bottom than by ruining them with garbage reform math.

One of the great ironies of the garbage reform math is those who tend to oppose it come from a more conservative political background, and those who most viciously advance the garbage come the the political liberal world!

GarbageInGarbageOut

dw said...

TraceyS said: Personally, I think there IS a solution that will work for everyone, but time is needed to bring in all the stakeholders.

Interestingly enough, that's a hardline requirement of the Brulles' model that was completely ignored. It takes 1-2 years of prep work to get everything in order for cluster grouping to work. Not that Chris necessarily even knows what cluster grouping really is... at least his actions haven't shown that he understands it at all.

Chris could turn this whole thing around by announcing before open enrollment that he will postpone these changes for a year.

I agree, but it takes a big man to admit he made a mistake and I'm not sure Chris is that man. I hope I'm wrong. And yes, even if some changes ultimately come of it, even just holding off now would be admitting his big rush to ram this down the throats of all the Spectrum families over their protest was wrong.

Do you think he's stalling parents right now, or seriously considering holding off? And is Phil going to get involved, or is he just going to let things run their course at the building level? It's nice that he showed up.

TraceyS said...

"Do you think he's stalling parents right now, or seriously considering holding off? And is Phil going to get involved, or is he just going to let things run their course at the building level? It's nice that he showed up."

I think we'll know the answer by open enrollment. If I were a family considering Spectrum at Wedgwood, I would be watching this very, very closely.

I do want to say that I appreciate the meetings, and Phil taking the time to show up. It gives me hope that we can find something that works for the entire school. I honestly believe that everyone agrees on far more than they disagree on, if we can just take some much-needed time to listen and to plan.

Someone said...

@disgusted - you have to go back to 2010 - the last time he ran for office - Strategies 360, Stand For Children, quite a few corporate pacs etc - about what one would expect - though I'm not up on all the "usual players"

Charlie Mas said...

Syd,

You are correct. This year, no one pays for kindergarten at Title I schools. In addition, the kindergarten tuition is waived for all FRL families throughout the district.

Some years Graham Hill is a Title I school, some years it is not.

Next year will be different. This year the District required Title I schools to use some of their Title I money for all-day kindergarten. Next year the schools will decide if they want to do that. Apparently the District's authority to require this spending isn't perfectly clear. It's something of a grey area.

Of course I have to wonder what a Title I school could possibly have as a higher priority than all day kindergarten.

Charlie Mas said...

confused,

I'll try to help.

For the upcoming 2012-2013 school year:

5th grade students who are in a Spectrum program will get a default assignment to the Spectrum program at their attendance area school. This seat is guaranteed. They can, of course, request a different assignment during Open Enrollment.

5th grade students who are Spectrum-eligible for the 6th grade, but are not currently in a 5th grade Spectrum program will get a default assignment to the general education program at their attendance area school. This seat is guaranteed. They can request a seat in the Spectrum program at their attendance area school. This seat is also guaranteed but they have to request it during Open Enrollment. They can, of course, request a different assignment during Open Enrollment.

This guarantee of a Spectrum seat for Spectrum-eligible students is for the 6th grade only and only at each student's attendance area school. That is not to say that a student could not gain entry to Spectrum at an out-of-area school, only that assignment is not guaranteed.

So...

A Spectrum-eligible student in an ALO at Hay will get a default assignment to general education at McClure. The student is assured of that seat if desired. The student is also guaranteed access to the Spectrum program at McClure if requested at Open Enrollment. The student may also request assignment to the Spectrum program at Whitman, but assignment is not guaranteed.

Clear?

Dorothy Neville said...

Syd, currently non-FRL kids in Title 1 schools get free kindergarten through Title 1 money. The principals at Title 1 schools want that money to go to other purposes, asked the district that their kindergartens be treated like non Title 1 schools, so the non-FRL students city wide, including those enrolled in Title 1 schools, will be carrying the costs of all day K. Except for the handful of schools where the state pays for All Day K. So the FRL kids at Title 1 schools will get free K, just like FRL kids at all schools. But now, instead of that coming from the school's Title 1 budget, they will be subsidized by non-FRL kindergarten kids citywide, just like FRL kids in non-title 1 schools. It's complicated and I am playing around with a spreadsheet mock-up to see if I can explain better.

What all should know is that kindergarten tuition will be going up next year to about $275 a month.

Anonymous said...

"CAN move outside of the school's attendance zone without losing your seat? I've received verbal confirmation from the enrollment office that this IS true, but I want to double/triple/quadruple check before I consider signing a lease outside of our current attendance zone."

Yes. We enrolled in 2009/2010 for kindergarten and then moved and remain at our original school (against our wishes). They even bus us (against our wishes)!

-Stuck

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Charlie! Very clear, but also not we what heard from our attendance area middle school principal at the packed open house (Whitman). She made it sound like only current Spectrum students (Whittier) were guaranteed a seat, but they'd work hard to also accomodate ALO (3 other feeder elementary schools, but not ours). Left us feeling like our school's spectrum eligible students were out of luck. When I reread what the advanced learning folks said in an email response, it does match what you more clearly wrote. Appreciate it!
(not) confused (anymore)

Dorothy Neville said...

Regarding the Pay4K tuition, I have prepared a spreadsheet with a mock-up of the tuition situation both presently and next year once Title 1 schools that are not State Funded All Day K are included in the tuition program. THIS IS NOT OFFICIAL! I don't have accurate numbers of kids per class, nor accurate percent FRL, nor accurate costs per teacher. And I suspect my model isn't completely accurate either. This is just a ball park so folks can get an idea of why we have K tuition and how it is spread out.

With all those caveats, here it is

Syd said...

I am a little conflicted about the pay4k in Title I schools. I don't have a kindergarten child for next year, but full disclosure I do have a 3 year old (to follow the 8 yr old and the 17 yr old - I am in this for the long haul).

First feeling is - it feels fair. If some middle class students pay for K, why should not all? However....

What I see in my neighborhood in SE Seattle are many, many middle class families fleeing the public schools. One of the draws to these schools is the free K. There are many advantages to diversifying the income backgrounds of the schools - from money and time invested from those parents (for whatever reason, those parents seem to have the time and the will to devote to school) to the positive affects that having higher income students has on the education experience for all students. One possible effect of charging for K, even though it is much cheaper than alternatives, is that more parents go private for that year. And then it is just easier to stay private. It seems like it could be short-sighted on the part of the principals to charge for K.

Dorothy Neville said...

Syd, I hear you and do not disagree. I find this whole thing conflicting. Please be aware that most of the Title 1 schools are in the state All Day K program so will not be affected. There will be 7 schools affected by this change. As far as I can tell, there are 18 schools where the state pays for full day K. While that has been considered by legislators as something to cut, given McCleary folks in the know are less worried that the state will pull that funding.

Graham Hill has another issue regarding tuition for preschool, but I do not have enough details to explain that one.

Anonymous said...

Charlie, do you know if you have a non spectrum kid who has been in an ALO school and did all the math pull outs, scored high on the MAPs and MSPs, will this kid get a seat in MS honors math/LA classes during sign up? Or is the guarantee seat only for the identified spectrum/APP kids? We've heard mixed info about honors as we've been told that to get into honors math, for example, you have to have the math scores to get in. Spectrum designation does not mean you automatically get into both MS math and LAs and that kids who are not spectrum designated can also get in based on scores and/or teacher recommendation. Or is this old info? It's very hard to keep up with all the changes. It sounds like you need a spectrum/APP designation to be 1st in the line up this year. But this info is not always so clear in ES, especially if your kids' school doesn't emphasize spectrum identification and why it's important to have such designation later for MS.

confused parents

Anonymous said...

Is the guarantee of a Spectrum seat a new change for the 2012-2013 school year? I have a good friend whose son was in Spectrum at Broadview-Thompson and is now in 6th grade at Whitman middle school (his assigned middle school) but he did NOT get into Spectrum because they didn't have enough spots. The family enrolled on-time. Jane

Anonymous said...

Math is independent of Spectrum/APP designation, so you should be able to get into an appropriate math class based on MAP scores and previous ALO designation (you may need to work with the school's registrar).

If you're at Hamilton, the APP designated school, you can't advance beyond APP level math. If you're at Eckstein, you can advance beyond APP level math. Go figure.

The guarantee of Spectrum placement is for LA/Social studies.

At least that's how I understand it was this year...

-parent

Anonymous said...

We attended the Whitman Open House the other night, and have to agree with Not Confused Anymore... The speaker there forcefully stated that 5th graders currently enrolled in Spectrum would be guaranteed a set in 6th grade Spectrum, while everyone else Spectrum qualified could so choose it and mumble mumble capacity demands and mumble.

- not confused, but not confident either

Baba Blacksheep said...

Does anybody know if they are definitely transitioning to the new algorithm for assigning choice schools during open enrollment? I had heard they were using a method that allowed you to rank schools in true order of preference that still gave you a chance of getting in to schoos other than your first choice, but that they were changing to a method that goes through all the first choices first, than all the second choices, and so on....

Sahila said...

Heads up on charter and teacher evaluation bills...

Reliable word on the street (two sources) say Dem Ed Murray has a "deal" with Rodney Tom to move charters under a different number through Ways and Means....

sneaky, sneaky, sneaky

Charlie Mas said...

Everybody is right.

parent is right. Spectrum in middle school is just the LA/SS class. Math placement is driven by a placement test. So any student - Spectrum or otherwise - who is ready to succeed with the Honors or advanced math should be placed in that class and any student - Spectrum or otherwise - who is not ready for that placement should not get it.

Of course, students don't come in convenient packs of 30, so the school has to figure out a way to create the right number of classes with the right number of students in them for it to work. Often what happens is that a number of students who qualify for the higher placement don't get it.

Jane is right. The guarantee of Spectrum access is new for the 2012-2013 school year.

parent is right. If you're at Hamilton, the APP designated school, you can't advance beyond APP level math. If you're at Eckstein, you can advance beyond APP level math. Hamilton refuses to accommodate students who are more than two grade levels advanced in Math and ready for Algebra in the 6th grade. Eckstein, however, will accommodate them. For those who are curious, yes, the District did promise that Hamilton would offer this option. They broke their promise. You screwed up; you trusted them.

not confused, but not confident either is right. The District made the promise of Spectrum access for every Spectrum-eligible 6th grader. The schools have no idea how they are going to keep that promise. Again, the students do not come in standard sets of 30, so forming classes with 20, 40, 80, or 108 students represent a challenge.
The District made the promise, but the schools have to fulfill it.

And Baba Blacksheep is right. The District is changing the way they process school assignment requests so people will have to gamble and game it. If you don't really have much of a chance at gaining access to your first choice school, then you might not want to name it as your first choice. If you don't get it, then your opportunity to get the second choice school will be in line behind everyone who named it as a first choice. That puts you pretty far back in line. If you give up on your true first choice and name your second choice (a school where your chances at access are better) as your first choice, then you would not be in line behind all of the other people who named it as first choice but in the lottery with them.

Say a school has 30 available seats for out-of-area students. If there are 30 or more people who name that school as first choice, then no one who names it as second choice (or lower in priority) has any chance at access.

Of course, if everyone knows this it could discourage people from naming a school as first choice and therefore open the field. That's where the gaming and gambling comes in. Believe it or not, but back during the days of Open Choice, Montlake was so regarded as impossible to access that almost no one named it and the school actually had available seats.

I wouldn't count on it.

The net result is that people who are satisfied with their default assignment will feel free to use their first choice in Open Enrollment to take a long shot at a highly desirable school because they would accept missing it. People who are really desperate to escape their default assignment will have to find a less popular school to name as first choice or their escape effort may fail.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
suep. said...

Anonymous, I'm reposting your comment otherwise it will get deleted (you need to assign a name to it -- pseudonym is okay).

But first, let me say I think your hypothesis is incorrect:

They wrongly assumed that a strong school like Lafayette would be a good fit for a principal with no standards for education.

I believe they assumed one of two other things:

1. That yours is such a strong, organized parent community that would not stand for such a damaging leader and would rise up, protest and force the district to remove this incompetent principal, just like McGilvra did a few years ago, and possibly TOPS with your current principal (maybe Lawton). Talk to parents at both of these schools and find out what kind of documentation they needed to maintain in order to make their case.

Michael DeBell admitted in one of his community meetings a couple of years ago that Goodloe-Johnson was doing this -- purposely putting incompetent principals in charge of strong schools so the school community would do the district's dirty work for it. It appears this tactic is continuing under Interim Supt. Enfield. DeBell was not happy about it, btw.

I recommend you and your community send a barrage of letters about this to the school board and your executive director.

In the case of Lafayette, it appears the district applied one of its zero-sum tactics. Coe Elem. had a bad year with an unsuitable principal last year. I believe they rose up and complained. So the district gave them a strong principal this year -- yours. Problem solved for them -- but at your expense.

2. Another possibility is that district leadership is purposely trying to sabotage the strong schools and programs in the district. Sounds unbelievable, but there is plenty of evidence. Look what it did to Lowell Elementary. Looks what it's doing to your school and Bryant. Look what's happening to Spectrum. Why would this district do this? Either to render everything so mediocre that everyone will cry "uncle!" and will welcome an alternative -- specifically charter schools, the pet project of the ed reformers who run this district and their underwriters (Gates et al).

Or, it's an effort to "close the achievement gap" (which is in truth an income gap) by pushing down from the top of the achievement spectrum, bringing it down to a middling level, so there is less of a gap between all the students in SPS.

Mediocrity for all. No one achieving. No one accountable.



Anonymous said...

Dear Bryant poster, we feel your pain! I'm a parent at Lafayette and incredibly saddened by the downward spiral our school has taken since Jo Lute-Ervin became our principal. The District has moved this ineffective leader from school to school. They wrongly assumed that a strong school like Lafayette would be a good fit for a principal with no standards for education. We went from being one of the best elementary schools in the city to now one of the worst! We can attribute 100% of that decline to our new principal, Jo. She has absolutely no leadership skills, is a horrible communicator and does not involve the teachers in decision making. Her standards for education are incredibly low and many of us feel she's 'dumbed-down' our school. Parents and teachers have been complaining since Day One of school! We're starting to see our test scores in reading drop. I sincerely hope that when Jo leaves our school she is NEVER placed at another school again. And, if you find out she's placed at your school, do everything you can to fight it. I remember reading this blog when I first heard that Jo was our new principal. Many of you warned Lafayette of what could happen. Everything you said was true! In today's economy with so many people out of work, it's shocking that the District doesn't have better employees to lead our schools!

2/12/12 10:02 AM

Anonymous said...

ARRGH! That was me at the brick wall. Between Charlie's and Sue P's last postings, it's enough for me to say UNCLE! Problem is I belive what they say because we have been living it. First of all, that's just suck for kids who are stuck in a poor NSAP school because no matter how you cut it, they probably have less access to a better school, while a kid who is in a pretty good school to begin with can go through open enrollment and ask for their desired 1st choice without as much risk as their default is still a "good" choice. And as for insufficient honors/program seats, I guess it's the same story, kids get told "sorry, but life's not fair. It's really a game (access/network) or gamble! So go make lemonade out of lemons." Yes, indeed, education is a Race to the Top with winners and losers.

sucking lemons

Baba Blacksheep said...

Thanks Charlie-so my understanding is that they are definitely transitioning to this method for the 2012-2013 school year? It sounds like we may be out of luck in getting any option school then. It sounds like most of the ones we are interested in will have waiting lists, and a few (including Thornton Creek and Queen Anne) are expanding their GeoZones. This is frustrating-option schools are not really an "option" for all.

Anonymous said...

For those of you who need more proof of who is writing our legislative bills to suit their agenda, check out this OpED in NYT about ALEC. Many of our largest corporations and conservative groups are on ALEC's board including Koch, NRA, and Exxon. ALEC's reach is everywhere and covers not just laws on education, but the environment, voting rights, firearms, corporate liability, limiting federal law coverage, to healthcare. It's scary time for our republic because they are so successful in getting state bills passed into laws.

Guess who is behind the Washington charter and teacher eval bills? Will the ST ever run a story about this?

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/13/opinion/the-big-money-behind-state-laws.html?hp

-voter (whose vote is becoming less relevant each day)

Sahila said...

Follow The Money - Sober, Unemotional Account