Friday Open Thread

First, a huge salute to the third-grade Bremerton teacher who helped to save the life of her student when the student got hit by a bullet from a handgun in another student's bag. Doctors are crediting the teacher with saving that girl long enough to get her to the hospital by stopping her external bleeding.

Second, this news item was in the Times/Seattle's Child and may be of interest:

In honor of National Children’s Dental Health Month, The Center for Pediatric Dentistry will offer free dental screenings for children ages 1 through 18 on Saturday, Feb. 25. The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the center, which is located at 6222 N.E. 74th St. in Seattle.

All children in attendance will receive a free brief dental screening to identify potential trouble spots in the mouth (no X-rays will be taken). Fun activities will include some of the 3D interactive exhibit “Attack of the S. Mutans,” which showcases virtual tour guide Dentisha battling mouth bacteria, and the Labyrinth i-Pad game. The Tooth Fairy will also be on hand. No reservations are necessary and every family will be seen. To learn more about this event, visit

Lastly, I have a bit of suspicious feeling about how quiet the discussion over charters has gotten. It has died down publicly in the Legislature (can't find it listed on any meetings anywhere) and LEV seems to be avoiding the subject the last couple of days.

I didn't get in to see either Chopp or Murray. I didn't think I would but I had hoped so. But with Chopp as Speaker (and I guess taking it on the chin from Nick Hanauer who Chopp did have time to see) and Murray as head of the Senate Ways and Means committee, I just have to wonder if they will succumb to pressure and sneak it into a budget bill.

What's on your mind?


mirmac1 said…
Thanks Melissa for going to Olympia and advocating for GREAT schools and against BAD laws.
mirmac1 said…

Details 10 am: We review the news with @LKVarner, Eli Sanders & @Crosscut's Knute Berger. What's your take?

Might be interesting...
Someone sent me a message about an event on March 1 for a rally at Westlake. I wanted to put that up but it somehow disappeared from my Gmail account. Could whoever sent it, please try again?
Jack Whelan said…
This Salon articletalks about the delusions of the educated. It shows how educated conservatives, especially, are likely to allow the ideological narrative trump the facts. This mentality goes a long way IMO to explain the mentality that supports charters and the ed reform agenda in general.

Facts don't matter when you are dealing with ideologues. It's not that ideological thinking is fact free; it's that the ideology is a filter that allows some facts in and blocks others out. And because our society has become so ideologically Balkanized in the last thirty years, ideologues mostly talk among themselves reinforcing their particular set of facts and their interpretation of them as completely legitimate. Everybody they know and respect thinks as they do.

Everybody does this, even liberals. Think how many times you've had your opinion swayed on a subject you weren't sure about, but learned that someone you respected thought X, so you then moved toward X in your own thinking about it, even if at first you were leaning the other way. But, as the Salon article points out, conservatives are more egregious in their committing this intellectual sin than liberals. Why?

The article doesn't explain why, but I think it has to do with liberal ideology being more deeply grounded in the tradition of enlightenment rationality where reasonableness and a cosmopolitan openness to diverse opinions is valued, while conservatives are more deeply grounded in faith traditions (or pop-Nietzchean cults like Ayn Rand's "Objectivism') where the irrational and belief and loyalty are more valued.

And so while liberals might scorn belief and loyalty when conservative positions are counterfactual, liberals almost always lose the political argument. Why? Because belief and loyalty enable the creation of more cohesive political movements. True believers hot for a fight are going to beat cool, fact-obsessed rationalists every time.

In politics facts don't matter as much as organization and zeal. Educated Liberals tend to be individualists who don't do organization and zeal very well. They're more comfortable in being contrarians and in splitting hairs than in manning the barricades in a political dogfight. Conservatives on the other hand, see themselves as an oppressed minority--their adrenaline has kicked in, they are snarling mad, and they look at liberals and their continuous whining about facts as effete pansies.

And let's not forget that the elite 1% couldn't care less about ideology or facts; they only care about themselves and their interests. They will use facts or ideologies cynically as it suits them to advance their own agendas. Shrewd elites are quite happy to keep liberals and conservatives engaged in an argument about facts (or about abortion and gay rights) in the front parlor while they come in through the back and steal everything they can lay their hands on. From the elite's point of view, as long as everyone is preoccupied with arguing, those who would oppose their agenda are divided and conquered and rendered politically impotent.
Anonymous said…
Can anyone help me figure out how school choice and wait lists are processed?

Example 1: school #1 is full and school #2 is full. Which school is child wait listed at?

Example 2: school #1 is full, school 2 is not. Is child put into school #2 and then wait listed for #2?

Thanks in advance!!

open enrollment parent
StepJ said…
You will be waitlisted at the school you list as first choice. Unless you get in to your first choice school. If that is the case you are not on any wait list.

In your second example, your child would be assigned to school #2 and waitlisted at the school you listed as first choice.
mirmac1 said…
@EdReformPR Tweets

Details BREAKING: NYC releases reams of data on teachers. IN UNRELATED NEWS: Number of new tching applicants in NYC plummets. #edreform #edchat #NYC

City Teacher Data Reports Are Released
mirmac1 said…
"“The purpose of these reports is not to look at any individual score in isolation ever,” said the city Education Department’s Chief Academic Officer Shael Polakow-Suransky. “No principal would ever make a decision on this score alone and we would never invite anyone, parents, reporters, principals, teachers, to draw a conclusion based on this score alone.”

Then why waste so much time, effort, $$$, and goodwill then?!
mirmac1 said…
The release of the individual rankings has even been controversial among the scientists who designed them. Douglas N. Harris, an economist at the University of Wisconsin, where the city’s rankings were developed, said the reports could be useful if combined with other information about teacher performance. But because value-added research is so new, he said, “we know very little about it.” Releasing the data to the public at this point, Mr. Harris added, “strikes me as at best unwise, at worst absurd.”
dan dempsey said…
ABUSE OF POWER COMES AS NO SURPRISE .... and I am not even talking about the "illegal moves" in theTFA fiasco or the $800,000 waste of funds on New Tech Network.

Duncan and the Abuse of Research (As Well As Power) from Jay Greene's Blog.

There is an incredible misuse of research and in the case of the WA legislature an absence of thought when it comes to things about k-12 education.

The charters that are above average would be the ones most likely to have an extended school year and an extended school day. Keep in mind the "Eurpoean and partners" OECD average is a 195 day school year. Remember 2 million minutes and the amount of time spent in study by some top students in USA, India, and China.

WA State has no interest in funding the school system adequately. Even the WA Supreme Court took a bye on making it happen for the next 6 years.

(continued ...)
dan dempsey said…
The research is clear for math instruction.... None of the top down experts with funding power have a clue about improving math.

In the last couple of weeks, the esteemed What Works Clearing House has reported on a large well developed Professional Development program study = $21 million dollars worth. The program was designed to improve the content knowledge of rational numbers for seventh grade math teachers and to improve 7th grade student academic achievement in math. The program was done by competitive bid and followed the guidelines and specifications of the "finest minds" in Math Education (and blah blah blah). The result was that 114 hours of professional development produced "ZERO" .... there was no change in the teachers knowledge of rational numbers and there was no achievement gain difference from the "Control Group".

I guess the good news about the above 114 hours of PD is that at least the student performance did not get worse. ... At Cleveland HS the UW ran a 5-year PD including three years of a school wide "experiment" with IMP textbooks that lowered scores.

The SPS has shown a remarkable ability to make lousy math choices. The EDM disaster and the Discovering disaster were the latest flushing of dollars. EDM 2007 and Discovering 2009. SO HOW CAN Math Teachers be expected and evaluated on student gains when required to use inferior tools? So who evaluates the administration, the Board, OSPI, SBE, US DoE, and the Legislature because that is where the source of the problems reside.

NOW here comes STEM .... complete with its allegiance to Discovery/Inquiry in huge amounts which requires a lot more time for students to learn because it is not an efficient effective way for most students to learn, especially in k-8.

WWC reports on results from Alabama's big move with STEM Education HERE. This was aimed at grades 4 through 8.

While the headline reports:
New Research Finds Benefits From Alabama STEM Initiative

The spending produced very little gain or benefit .... it was designed to produce an effect size of 0.20 greater than the control groups but produced an effect size of 0.10. which was a 2% gain the first year and a 2% gain the second year.

IMO this is another demonstration that
(1) John Hattie needs to be listened to
(2) The Ed Guru's are so wedded to an unproductive ideology that money is continually dumped down the same rat hole.
(3) If strategies that do NOT work are reused, they still do not work. The Alabama STEM was as is currently in vogue: big on excessive Active Learning, Discovery Inquiry, and Project Based Learning. ....

The WA legislature has ZERO clue about how to improve anything in Education.

Teachers need a professional organization like the IEEE for electrical and electronic engineers, which is research based and improves the profession. Instead teachers are stuck with NEA, WEA, SEA and math teachers have the NCTM .... (This looks like the terrorists won ... in terms of results in education produced by these four groups).

The WEA and the SEA failed to oppose the Common Core State Standards .... The CCSS are going to be an incredibly expensive boondoggle because there is ZERO research and NO Prototype that supports this course of action. In previous blog posts Jay Greene does a nice job exposing this nonsense. (I'll put some links to this below.)

(cont ...)
dan dempsey said…
So now we suffer through the Legislature filled with legislation that entirely avoids
(1) Looking at the actual problems that face us
(2) Looking at relevant research

We need truth, leadership, and solutions as usual the legislature is 0 for 3.

But instead it listens to the same "Ed Experts" that produced the last decade and more of ongoing unproductive nonsense...... as if WASL was not a big enough boondoggle now the thinking is a "FEDERAL" version is needed.

OH and don't forget those math scores at the school the new West Seattle k-5 STEM school principal came from in AZ .... they got even worse under her guidance. You see the "right ideology" as in politically correct to get the WS k-5 STEM job .... completely fails to produce satisfactory results under normal conditions.

{{Cleveland STEM Algebra scores were better as Algebra is taught everyday for 85 minutes}}
Jay Greene's link to recent posts:

This Deal Is Getting Worse All the Time
More Vegetarian Conspiracy Theories!
School Choice Researchers Unite in Ed Week
Lance Izumi on Nationalizing Education
Common Core Chickens
Common Core Quality Debated
The Desperate Need for Market Forces in Education
Duncan, the Bizarro Ed Secretary
U.S. Department of Ed Really is Breaking the Law
Sahila said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
dan dempsey said…
Jay Mathews in the Washington Post on 2/23/12

Why Common Core standards will Fail

Virginia, take a bow.

While Maryland, 44 other states and the District are spending billions of dollars to install new national standards for their schools, Virginia has stuck with the standards it has. Mounting evidence shows Virginia is right, and the others wrong.

Common Core standards are the educational fashion of the moment, but your child’s teacher can name many similar plans that went awry.
Anonymous said…
Has there been any discussion on the changes to mid-winter break next year?

I really wish they would go to year round schooling with 2 or 3 week breaks between semesters rather than shortening mid-winter break and lengthening summer break. We are going from private to public for high school for our youngest and this change has really messed up our planned family vacation. The spring breaks already are off from public and private, now this too. Makes me wish we had just stuck with private.

Anonymous said…
Susan, I sympathize, but FYI many private schools do not have midwinter break. When my kid was in parochial school he had Friday off before President's day, and then the Monday holiday.

I used to feel as you do about year-round schooling, but now that I have a high-schooler who is eying a summer job I am glad he will have a long enough break for that opportunity.

You can't please everyone, or maybe you can but not all at the same time ;)

Kate Martin said…
I'd like them to go to the community college schedule with summer quarter optional and full of enrichment, experience, recreation and work opportunities. I'd like to have a freeflow of students to the community college throughout high school and this would facilitate that as well.
Renee said…
I read this on the Washington Post's The Answer Sheet, then linked to the original. It is about the Education Equality and Excellence Commission, EdReform, and refers back to "A Nation At Risk" Great reading.
seattle citizen said…
There is a change to mid-winter break:
Next year (2012-13) there will only be a four-day, extended weekend on President's Day weekend, rather than the nine-day week off that has been the norm since...since....way back.
seattle citizen said…
Chris Eide is still calling himself a teacher (tho' he wuit after just a couple of years) over in a new op-ed at the Times, arguing to do away with seniority....

Protect effective educators: rethink 'last in, first out'
Anonymous said…
I've always voted against the mid-winter break but I have to confess that when it comes, I like it. I've spend the last three days in my classroom. When you teach six hours a day and have little planning time or paperwork-completion time, it is nice to have the free time to get those things caught up. There were three other teachers there with me all three days. I know because their classrooms are next to mine.

I think you have to walk in our shoes to know how much we do at the elementary level.

KG said…
The Seattle Times this week in the editorial page said the legislature
ought to get rid of I-732 and I-728

How about all the money which has been siphoned by the Boeing corporation from these dollars for education so the state can help the war machine.

Why do we not fund education properly?

Because our state is a war monger state.

Think about it.
dan dempsey said…
2/ 24/ 2012 NY Times

Teacher Quality Widely Diffused, Ratings Indicate

The ratings, known as teacher data reports, covered three school years ending in 2010, and are intended to show how much value individual teachers add by measuring how much their students’ test scores exceeded or fell short of expectations based on demographics and prior performance. Such “value-added assessments” are increasingly being used in teacher-evaluation systems, but they are an imprecise science. For example, the margin of error is so wide that the average confidence interval around each rating spanned 35 percentiles in math and 53 in English, the city said. Some teachers were judged on as few as 10 students.

Education officials cautioned against drawing conclusions from numbers that are meant to be part of a broader equation.

I believe the teachers will be right in feeling assaulted and compromised here,” Merryl H. Tisch, the chancellor of the State Board of Regents, said in an interview. “And I just think, from every perspective, it sets the wrong tone moving forward.”

In releasing the reports, New York became only the second city in the country where teachers’ names and ratings have been publicized. In 2010, The Los Angeles Times hired a statistician and published its own set of ratings, in spite of fierce opposition from the local teachers’ union. Many thousands of people visited the newspaper’s Web site to check the rankings, though, and Arne Duncan, the federal education secretary, praised the effort, saying, “Silence is not an option.

Whether or not they are made public, such ratings have been gaining currency, in part because they are favored by the Obama administration’s Race to the Top initiative. New York City principals have made them a part of tenure decisions. Houston gave bonuses based in part on value-added measures, though that program was reorganized. In Washington, poorly rated teachers have lost their jobs.
dan dempsey said…
With Teacher Ratings Set to Be Released, Union Opens Campaign to Discredit Them

The New York City Education Department will release the ratings of thousands of teachers on Friday, ending a nearly year-and-a-half-long legal battle by the teachers’ union to keep the names confidential.

The ratings, known as Teacher Data Reports, grade nearly 18,000 of the city’s 75,000 public school teachers based on how much progress their students have made on standardized tests. The city developed these so-called value-added ratings five years ago in a pilot program to improve instruction and has factored them into yearly teacher evaluations and tenure decisions.

Even before their release, the ratings have been assailed by independent experts, school administrators and teachers who say there are large margins of error — because they are based on small amounts of data, the test scores themselves were determined by the state to have been inflated, and there were factual errors or omissions, among other problems.
dan dempsey said…
Say I Threatened You Again, And You’ll Really Be Sorry!

by Neal McCluskey

Apparently, if you try to undo something the feds want you to do, they’ll slap you around until you confess they’ve never threatened you. At least, that’s how Education Secretary Arne Duncan rolls when it comes to national curriculum standards.

Petition to Dump Duncan

Great idea.
Anonymous said…
Colorado has a bill designed to eliminate transfats from its schools. Any bets?

Anonymous said…
I signed the petition several days ago, Dan. How comical is Arne Duncan and who can take him seriously. What a dud.

Now, the Highline Schools public meets for Engle, Garcia and Enfield are over. I wonder when we'll know. She was the only Harvard applicant. I like Garcia's resume best. He's got his doctorate from SU and Engle's is from SPU. That's pretty local.

Meet the Superintendent Candidates

Anonymous said…
Washington State Democratic Party Chairman posted an open letter regarding education reform. You can read it at Washington State Democratic Party Chairman Dwight Pelz speaks up on ed reform.
dan dempsey said…

This whole thing is pretty bizarre .... My PhD trumps yours etc.

Anyone ever care about results?

Enfield's selection of Dr. Shannon McKinney appears to have been yet another prime example of NO Research done by Enfield.

The most wacko portion of this K-5 STEM principal selection is that Dr. McKinney's efforts produced results in math at Hohokum MS that were pathetic.

I just found her PhD thesis HERE


completed in Dec 2008

Check those scores at Hohokam MS in math for 2010 and 2011 ..... and Enfield picks her to be a k-5 STEM principal.

Clearly resume Blah Blah trumps NO Positive RESULTS.

The big problem is clueless leadership and management at high levels in k-12 education.
SeattleSped said…
I have a strong suspicion McKinney applied for the SpEd Exec Dir position, for which she has NO qualifications except maybe she thinks she does because there were lots of minority students in her school.

The fact she made it to the final interview then got passed over by Enfield tells you: 1) HR does a bang-up job vetting candidates; 2) SPS ignored parents that said they wanted a leader with SpEd background; 3) McKinney must have known the writing was on wall in Ariz and 4) talk the "transformational" blather and you'll breeze through interviews.
Po3 said…
Speaking of bathering through interviews, watched a bit of Enfield in Highline.

Interesting to hear what she would do as a super and compare to what she did as CAO and interim super in Seattle.

I am pretty sure Highline will see through her, especially the closing remarks about wanting to plant roots in the community for five, no wait, ten years. Yeah 10 years sounds great!
Anonymous said…
What are you talking about SeattleSped???? If Ensfield wanted somebody in particular for executive director of special education, or for any other directorship - she would have just hired them. She wouldn't even need to have interviews at all. I can't think of ANY manager or director of special ed in SPS that has EVER been hired to SPS with a "round of interviews". Can you? Which of all the special ed directors, managers, or supervisors can you think of... that was ever hired as a result of an "interview process". It simply doesn't happen. Or, hasn't happened yet.

If she, McKinney, "made it" to the final interviews.... because Ensfield wanted that... then it makes no sense for Ensfiled NOT to hire her, as it was her decision alone to make.

-sped watcher
SeattleSped said…
Sped Watcher,

Families were updated on the "search" for the Exec Dir of SpEd. Too bad nobody downtown noticed that the top finalist had NO SpEd background. Oops. Enfield KNEW we wouldn't be happy about that. Besides they had a juicier assignment, K-5 STEM. So what if SpEd families are left twisting in the wind another year.
Anonymous said…
How is an option school really an option for people with two parents working? For example, there is no transportation available to Salmon Bay so if you want to attend you have to put your kid on a metro bus (or two for most people) in the dark (a great deal of the year) or work part time. Or find a carpool (cross your fingers there is one that goes to your neighborhood).

How is this really an option?

What does this mean for option schools in terms of sustaining enrollment?

I fully understand that transporation is expensive, but I really don't understand how option schools can are really an "option" to families that have both parents working. Or families that don't really believe 11 year olds are ready to do the multiple bus in the dark thing.

-Call me disappointed again.
Anonymous said…
My option school rant above was about trying to attend an option school for middle school.

-Call me disappointed again.
dw said…

What do you suggest? Providing dedicated door-to-door transportation for all option schools from all parts of town? It's just unrealistic.

Many, many families with 2 working parents manage to make it work. You need to figure out how to make it work according to your own situation and what you're willing to sacrifice for your kids. And yes, it does take sacrifice if neither of you are willing to compromise your full-time work schedules.

One parent might choose to work a slightly earlier or later shift, if that's possible. Carpools are great if you can arrange them (and many people are eager to do so at non-neighborhood schools, because you're all in the same boat!).

If nothing else, Salmon Bay offers child care before and after school for elementary kids, and FREE (!) after school programs for middle schoolers, funded by the 2005 Families and Education Levy.

What more do you want? If none of the above work for you, perhaps an alternative program just isn't that important to your family. There's nothing wrong with that. But for many families, it is worth the sacrifice, and therefore I'm very happy programs like Salmon Bay exist.
Anonymous said…
dw. I cannot agree with you, sorry. I did ask for door to door service. Your response to an issue of equity, makes me seem unreasonable.

How about letting us walk to a local school and catch a bus there. The community stops? Remember that?

How about offering equal access to options programs to families that maybe cannot go part time? Do we really think that most people can just make a work schedule happen? How about that? Is this what we expect of families in order to have equal access? Really?

Options schools are becoming to me much like immerson schools. They provide uneqal access to those who are lucky enough to live close by.

-Call me STILL disappointed.
Anonymous said…
Clarifiation: I did NOT ask for door to door service.

-Call me STILL disappointed.
Jane said…
Still disappointed, there is an option middle school with transportation for almost all of the service areas. I agree that it is disappointing the all city transportation was dropped for Salmon Bay, but there are several option schools with middle school programs. Depending on where you live, you can get transportation to Jane Addams, Orca, Pathfinder, TOPS, etc. If you live on Queen Anne you seem to be out of luck though, which is ridiculous. Not sure if QA gets transportation to Blaine?
Anonymous said…

Thank you for post about the other option schools. I did not realize that and will look into it. Really appreciate your response. Thanks again!

-Still disappointed, but I apprecate the help!
Jane said…
If you do the "address look up" on the SPS website it will tell you which option school with transportation is available to you. I hope you find a middle school that works for your child and your family.
Maureen said…
SD, not sure if you are still reading, but Option school middle schoolers can generally get onto the yellow buses that pick up the K-5 kids (they may say you get a Metro card, but if there is a nearby yellow bus that has room you can ask to put your kid on it.)

Also, my 8th grader started taking Metro to TOPS from Greenlake in 7th grade and it really has been fine, plus she has gained really useful bus skills. We did get her a cell phone and that really helps how we feel about it.

Also, you can ask to have your kid picked up at a stop that is not close to your house, but easier for you to get to (work? friends house?). You can have a kid dropped off at an activity or community center (but not at a random address that is not close to your house/work/daycare). I heard about parent of Salmon Bay kids from the north east trying to set up a community stop yellow bus (maybe just for a.m. or p.m.?) for this year. You may want to check in with the SB PTSA (or other Option school) to see what families there are doing. Goodluck!

Popular posts from this blog

Tuesday Open Thread

Seattle Public Schools and Their Principals

COVID Issues Heating up for Seattle Public Schools