Tuesday Open Thread

FirstThursday Seattle, an advocacy group for black and small businesses, is having a Town Hall meeting on charter schools on Thursday, March 1st at noon.  (I know, that's not an easy time to make if you are working.)

It's at the Rainier Vista Boys & Girls Club, 4520 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way S.  Bring your own brown bag lunch.  There will be drinks made available by the FirstThursday Board of Director. 

RSVP at: info@firstThursdayseattle.org. For more information go to the FirstThursday Seattle web site: www.firstthursdayseattle.org or call the FirstThursday Seattle office: (206) 280-9941.

What's on your mind?


David said…
Good editorial in the New York Times today on charter schools, "Shuttering Bad Charter Schools".

From the article: "Despite a growing number of studies showing that charter schools, financed with public money and operating in 40 states, are often worse than traditional schools, the state and local organizations that issue charters and oversee the schools are too hesitant to shut them down. That has to change if the movement is to maintain its credibility."
Anonymous said…
Can anyone "in the know" shed some light on the Greg King situation? I'm assuming that since he was not only kept on but renewed for next year that the investigation that cost him the Tacoma job came out in his favor? Some of you seem to have inside information about this. I'd like to see something positive in light of all the accusations and innuendo when the story about the Tacoma job came out.

Cheshire Cat
The investigation has NOT come out. It should come out soon.

I have no idea in whose "favor" it will come out. My experience is that when an investigation takes this long that it is fairly serious.

All we have to go on is that he remains at his job and Nancy Coogan, the Executive Director, says he will remain principal at Lowell.

He did attempt to leave Lowell in the middle of a school year and now he says he is very happy to be back at Lowell. That must be confusing to parents and students.
Anonymous said…
Melissa made a statement on a different thread that I'd like to repeat:

Duncan is the worst mistake Obama made.

Agreed. I can't find a teacher willing to campaign for him in term 2. It's that bad.

Sign this petition. Share with friends.


Patrick said…
The new captcha images are a lot harder for me to read. It generally takes me 3-4 tries to get them now. Is that something the webmaster here has a choice about? Were there problems with robot posting here that I didn't notice?
Anonymous said…
Just heard the Ballard High School Jazz Band is a finalist for the Essentially Ellington competition at Lincoln Center -- the kids are going to New York! Woot!

Last year they placed in the top 20. The top 15 nationwide are the finalists. Come see them at the Hot Java/Cool Jazz show at the Paramount next month.

--I usually post as Lisa but am not logged in at the moment
Anonymous said…
Middle and High School Math Questions:
Can anyone tell me how advanced math works at eckstein, hamilton, and whitman? Are students able to test into classes that are one and two years ahead? If you've had a student in these classes, have you/they been happy with them? Also, if a student has taken advanced math in middle, do they test out of what they've taken in middle into the next step in their first year of high school or are they automatically placed in the next level after completing the class? Finally, if a high school student takes a math class over the summer, are they given credit for that or do they have to take a test to move on to the next level? Thanks!
math curious
Anonymous said…
Patrick, ditto on the captcha. I mentioned it on a previous thread.

David, it seems like once an idea has been propagandized as much as charter schools have, there is little chance of changing beliefs that they are better. We are seeing that in every area of our democracy. Haven't you noticed? :)

It is scary. Historical drama replaces history. Fiction replaces non-fiction. We are no longer an educated citizenry.

Anonymous said…
At Whitman, kids can test into math 1 year ahead, but not two. Because Whitman currently only offers two advanced math classes (7th grade math) in 6th grade, the classes were very crowed at 38 and 39 kids in each class, though my understanding is that over time some of the kids have moved out bringing the class size down a bit (maybe to 34-35 kids).

As far as being happy with the class...? It's acceptable. Could be better, could be worse. Of course, the class size has a big impact.

-middle school mom
Anonymous said…
and religion replaces science . . .
Anonymous said…
math curious, at Hamilton kids can be placed up to two years ahead. My kid is in that class -- they call it "double honors." Most kids came from APP elementary, but not all. I'm pleased with the teaching but the books in use are the same stupid ones used throughout middle school.

Anonymous said…
Tacoma News Tribune is at it again: supports the ed bill.
See Publicola http://publicola.com/2012/02/21/news-tribune-applauds-ed-reform-bill/

ws said…
was there ever a write up of the charter forum at Arbor Heighs? interested to hear how it went.
Anonymous said…
@Math Curious - for the 6th graders at Hamilton this year, placement was based on the recommendation from the 5th grade teacher. There was no math placement test as there had been in previous years. Parents also had the option to request a 1 year acceleration above whatever the teacher recommended. I don't know if the District will use this process again or will change it.


p.s. I agree with Patrick - it seems like the captcha inmages have become more difficult to read.
Anonymous said…
A King 5 Poll has just ranked the Seattle School Board lower in approval than any major civic body or individual leader in town except the Seattle Police Department.

This is what the Alliance and DeBell and Chris Korsmo's snippy Friday updates for LEV have accomplished since the election. Tearing the board apart and giving it a bad rep. This is the fault of those "helping" the system. I hope they will now stop it with the public attacks and the whisper campaigns. These paragons of Civic Virtue are hurting our district.

Someone said…
FYI - Whittier Elementary principal retiring Whittier Elementary principal retiring
Yes, I noticed that captcha issue as well. I'll investigate because it's nothing we did on purpose.

And boy, what a newsy bunch! Thanks for all the updates.
Eric B said…
My 8th-grade Whitman student is in Geometry now, which does count for HS credit. The teacher we have is certified to teach high school, although I'm not sure if that makes any difference. The 7th-8th honors math teacher makes no bones that students should want to be in her class. She has high expectations of the students, and it seems to go pretty well. The texts are stupid, but there's no getting around that without going to Mercer.
Anonymous said…
Climate Change Hoax for Kids

"...internal documents acquired by ThinkProgress Green reveal that the Heartland Institute, a right-wing think tank funded by the Koch brothers, Microsoft, and other top corporations, is planning to develop a "global warming curriculum" for elementary schoolchildren that presents climate science as "a major scientific controversy"...".*

Ana Kasparian and Cenk Uygur discuss on The Young Turks.

"Funding fake scientists to write fake reports…"


Mark Ahlness said…
In the better later than never category...

Melissa, thank you so very much for being the Fact-Checker at the Charter Schools Forum at Arbor Heights on the 16th. You did a fantastic job - thanks!
Anonymous said…
SPS is having a series of five community meetings to help shape an arts plan. The District was awarded a $1 million planning grant from the Wallace Foundation in July 2012 that ends January 2013.

North Meeting
Tuesday, March 13, 6:30-8:30 pm.
Ballard HS

Central Meeting
Saturday, March 17, 1-3 p.m.
Garfield HS

Southeast Meeting
Monday, March 19, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
South Shore K-8

Southwest Meeting
Thursday, March 29, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Chief Sealth International HS

Youth Meeting
Saturday, March 31, 1-3 p.m.
Meany Building


There was an Arts Education Forum last week with the Mayor McGinn, Wendy London of SPS Curriculum and Instruction and some youth as panelists. Did anyone attend? Thoughts?

Jan said…
Dora: I am confused. From the link it is clear that the RBHS community (or some of them, at least) have ASKED for an apology. But it was not clear (to me at least) that LEV had agreed to give one. Am I missing something?
Karma Exists said…
So glad Kris Cosomo is over at LEV: she does a great job discrediting them. Looking forward to the public apology.

suep. said…
Wild and Crazy Theory of the Day:

re: that King 5 poll. Now I think I know what's going on. Could it be that the business roundtable powers-that-be in this town who are trying to run our school district, are attempting to discredit the school board in order to make the case for doing away with it entirely and going to mayoral control?

After all, that is the corporate ed reformites' preferred setup -- no pesky, democratically elected school board members to offer due diligence and get in the way of their privatizing, union-busting, online learning agenda or their Broad or Gates-backed superintendent.

(But as cities like New York under Bloomberg have demonstrated, mayoral control of a school district is bad news.)

I once had a chat with Tim Burgess about mayoral control of the school district and he said it all depends on who the mayor is.

What if the mayor is him? Is that what he and the corporate ed reformers would push for if he got elected next year?

If so, demonizing the school board, with a major public assist from school board president Michael DeBell, fits right into that scheme.

Which leads to another thought. If elected mayor, Burgess will be able to appoint someone to fill out the remainder of his term on city council, right?

That could be an appealing next step for DeBell, whose time on the school board is almost up as well, and appears to have a less than collegial view of most of his board colleagues anyway.

Is it possible that board policy that DeBell mysteriously drew up over the winter break which weakens the board, and his disparaging insinuations to the media about his colleagues on the board are part of some kind of quid pro quo that might land him in higher office?

Or are the corporate ed reformers in this town simply having one big fit about the fact that two grassroots candidates who aren't in thrall to their agenda got elected to the board, and two other members actually think for themselves, and their Broad supt. got run out of town and their TFA cheerleader supt. has essentially quit?

Or might it be option D: All of the above?
Anonymous said…
Rainier Beach High School is awaiting their apology although at this point I don't think that it's going to make a difference in terms of LEV's standing in the community or any other organization that approaches them at this point including SFC and CPPS.

Suep., that could be right. I've forgotten to post the document that McGinn received at a recent mayors' convention (chaired by Michelle Rhee's husband, Mayor Kevin Johnson of Sacrament).

Interesting reading.
Josh Hayes said…
Sacrament? O!

Disgusted said…
Will LEV offer an apology before or after the legislative period?
Anonymous said…
Eckstien's math placement policies seem to change every year. Usually they do a placement test a couple of weeks into school, then move kids around. working two grade levels ahead is not unusual. Some movement happens later if teacher initiated & if it fits the schedule. Kids are sometimes moved into a lower level of math as well.

For kids who are 3 or more years ahead the situation is less clear. Many years there is a group doing Int.3/alg2. But some years there is not. Staff changes, class size, number of kids can affect that. and some years there are kids working further ahead that that doing independent study in some other math class. That is something worked out by teacher/parent.

There are mostly really good math teachers at Eckstein, many of them depart from CMP. Not seeing that so much with disovery, just lots of graphing calculators.

I do not know about getting credit, but I am not sure why bother. If they are mathies, they'll still want 4 years of high school math anyway.

As of couple of years ago, kids who took correspondence or UW summer classes just took the same placement test when they arrived back at school in the fall. If they passed, they moved up. Not sure if that is still true, but you could ask.

Moving to Roosevelt, middle school math teachers did the placements so they also moved kids up or down there.

Summer before high school some kids also took math, not sure of the process for placement though.

Still with cmp & discovery math , you need to make sure they are getting the basics at home.

eckstein parent
Sahila said…
check out #SOSChat on Twitter to find out what other teachers, parents, community members really think about ed deform and what its doing to our children.... dedicated discussion on specific topics every Tuesday evening....
Kate Martin said…
The FirstThursday event is actually not really a charter schools forum, but an achievement gap / ed reform forum that will include the charter schools debate among other issues.
Someone said…
suep - very interesting speculation - not that any of them would admit such a plan if directly asked - but it does make sense of some of the things that have been happening lately. Oh to find a extremely public way to daylight such backroom machinations - if that's the reality.....hmmmm....

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