Tuesday Open Thread

What's on your mind?


mirmac1 said…
Reposting from another thread.

Did you know that Tucson is currently under court order to desegregate its resegregated schools, offer choice schools, recruit minority teachers, and offer more opportunities to disadvantaged students?

This stems from a federal civil rights suit. TUSD is doing today what SPS will be required to do tomorrow.

TUSD undos "neighborhood schools" under court Special Master
mirmac1 said…
I also see more SPS TFA Hire emails.

Interesting that two TFA teachers have a fulltime TFA "volunteer" in their classes on Fridays. Do ALL novice teachers get "free" classroom assistance?

Oh, and I see the Director of Government Relations at LEV personally introduced the Southshore principal, Keisha Scarlett, to TFA's NW director. LEV now controls the New School Foundation - so Scarlett knew what she needed to do.
Anonymous said…
Blaine K-8 losing both principal and vice principal. VP leaving in March, principal will stay to end of year.

Mag Parent
Nancy said…
Reminder - A charter school forum sponsored by WA State PTA
February 29th, 6:30-8:30 PM
Washington Middle School Cafeteria
2101 S. Jackson St. Seattle WA 98144
Steve said…
Susan M , the principal of BF Day Elementary in Fremont is also retiring at the end of this year, after 14 years at the helm (is this some sort of record?). She's a really great principal in my opinion, and has created a welcoming school environment for everyone. Here's what she wrote in the principal newsletter recently:

Many of you already know this, but I
thought I should inform all of our
families that this will be my last year at
B. F. Day. I have been here for 14
years and I absolutely love working
here. But after 14 years, it’s time for
new leadership. I’m grateful to our
district for letting me stay so long at B.
F. Day. The average stay for a
principal is about seven years, so I feel
very fortunate to have doubled that."
Steve said…
Sorry, the BF Day principal is Susan McCloskey.
Patrick said…
I feel sorry for school districts. We had segregated schools based on segregated neighborhoods, and we're ordered to desegregate, and we do. Forced busing, whole nine yards. Then we used race as a tiebreaker in school assignments. We go all the way to the Supremes to defend it and are told "no." So no more race tiebreaker. Now the inevitable result is resegregated schools and that's also unacceptable? Is there some way to win the game?
Anonymous said…
A professor -who says he couldn't hack it as a K12 teacher- sticks it to Nick Hanauer and his Corporate Ed Reform Crowd in this new, kick-a*&()( Open Letter.

Giving great examples, he calls Corporate Reform "anti-progressive" and calls Hanauer's arguments "deeply disingenuous".

It's a must read opinion piece.

Savvy Voter
mirmac1 said…

I believe no one wins until all schools offer equal quality and opportunity. Skimming through the TUSD docs, it appears that the resegregated schools did not offer much for its students, like advanced learning etc. The Ed Reformers, with all their equity rhetoric, don't do squat.
Anonymous said…
I don't feel sorry for school districts. SSD knew by going to NSAP (and quietly dropping 10% set aside which they promised on) what will happened. That was an acceptable result in ordeal to deal with the capacity issue (some of that problem was self inflicted). NSAP is great for community building and involvement by ways of supporting and keeping kids and money raised in their local schools. For the better schools it's ideal. For those stuck in poorer schools, not so great, unless you call joining the latest "charter experiment" a choice. That's what you get for living or belonging among the "unfortunates". Lack of access justified by some cute saying of "well, life's unfair, that's how the cookie crumbles, or go make lemonade out of lemons, etc." There's more interest in raising money to buy a goat, for UNICEF, or help fund a school library in a developing country than the SCPTSA developing a way to look at how we can help our fellow schools who are 5 miles down the road that don't have a PTA or cannot raised the same 100K wealthier ones can.

To me, that's what we lost out as a community of whole vs. community of islands.

-standing lonely
Jan said…
Fabulous, fabulous link, SavvyVoter. Thanks.
mirmac1 said…
I would LOVE to be able to write like Bill Lynne! Hanauer's had his *ss handed to him.
Anonymous said…
What steam me is how easy for people to draw a line across the city and declare one area improverished and struggling and apply the one prong strategy to schools stuck in the zone. Never mind that there are plenty of individiual kids stuck in the "yet to succeed" school who are doing ok and could be doing EVEN better if they were appropriately challenged given access to rigor, depth, and accleration. Somehow, their individual needs get lumped into one struggling, yet to meet the achieving gap mass. Kids don't need to be told they are a "star" while being reminded they are "poor", and "struggling learners". What they need is an opportunity to learn, to be challenged, and to show they can do it on their own merit. They know when they shine and know when they don't.

I know, I know, we shouldn't complain after all, some of our schools got the best of the brightest stars, those lovely 5 week trained eager beavers. Ahh, the answers to my kids' prayer. Actually what they want for their school (if we ever win the lotto) is a high quality star (of the night sky varieties) gazing telescope, better, more powerful microscopes, and gasp-- those lego Mindstorms, but that's another doesn't quite fit into science kit, MAP testing, or must have laptop learning experience.

standing lonely
Anonymous said…
@SavvyVoter - thanks for sharing the link to that marvelous marvelous piece - it should be required reading for anyone interested in Education reform.

a reader
Anonymous said…
On a lighter note, my tween read this in the NYT and now feels quite justified with her "like" and "so ridic!" usage. All about liguistic trendsetters in the NYT's science section, no less. Interesting though, they didn't even nod at the everybody a "dude" usage. What's with that?


The somewhere in be"tween" mom
Anonymous said…
A few weeks ago there was a thread about PTA money at McGilvray and how it's unfair etc. I wonder how how poor families who can't afford to give money feel. I wonder if it alienates them. I almost think to be fair donors should only be allowed to donate to the district as a whole or maybe to the state Ed fund. Does public really mean public?

Anonymous said…
SLOG picked up the Bill Lynne anti-Corporate Reform piece too.

Lynne turns the ed reform-as-civil-rights issue on its head and SLOG applauds Lynne. It's brilliant.

Anonymous said…
Does anyone know where I can find when the terms of the three veteran Board members end and when they will be up for re-election? I'm not having much luck locating it on the Board website. Thanks.

Standing Lonely, working on the Advanced Learning committee, I have some thoughts on how ALL schools can get better. I'm not at a place to explain that but we need to truly be doing things that benefit ALL students in ALL schools and there needs to be a concentrated effort on that.

The next School Board election will be Fall 2013. Believe me, it will be a doozy. Will DeBell run again for a third term? No doubt he will receive tremendous pressure to do so.

And, clearly as we see from the Times and Crosscut, there are those who are out to replace Betty and Kay. I'm sure at the end of the election I will once again smile as most of those who want to replace them really don't understand School Board elections. Maybe they should hire me as a consultant (but I wouldn't work for anyone trying to unseat Betty or Kay).
Anonymous said…
Way to go AKI KUROSE! I thought this was an education news blog - where is the post about Aki Kurose's celebrity visit?!

mirmac1 - I just read through 200+ emails and I see nothing about 2 Aki teachers having a full time volunteer every Friday. The email says the two Aki teachers and the volunteer would "meet on Friday to set up a plan." How did you get "full time Friday volunteers" from that?!

-more snow please
peonypower said…
thanks savvy voter for that link- made my day!
Anonymous said…

From the ST article, regarding banning the use of PTA money to fund staff positions in Bellevue, Lake Washington and Issaquah:

"A similar shift is unlikely in Seattle, said School Board President Michael DeBell and Lauren McGuire, president of the Seattle Council of Parent, Teacher and Student Associations. They each cited the issue's political sensitivity and a reluctance to do anything that would limit donations in the current budget climate."

Leadership at its finest. Don't govern by fairness and ethics but by "political sensitivity."

--enough already
Kathy said…
Pettigrew to get $3M for Seattle Public Schools:

Patrick said…
Robocall waiting on the answering machine from apluswashington.org, a pro-charter group. Apparently they don't think the charter bill is dead.
mirmac1 said…
More snow,

Pg 133 and 152. Regular volunteer in Robinette's and Abernathy's classroom. Let's clone her for everyone else.
mirmac1 said…
Pettigrew is throwing our money around.

Pettigrew slips $3M into budget
mirmac1 said…
Politicos, have a clue before blowing a million here or there. May not be much for Hanauer but the rest of us would like to see some planning and actual follow-through. Or is this just to buy your vote, Eric?
Anonymous said…
The apluswashington site is light on content and connected to "Excellent Schools Now."
suep. said…
Astroturf Alert!

"A+ Washington"

was apparently spun off of the "Excellent Schools Now Coalition"

which apparently gets money from LEV (and possibly the Washington Progress Fund)

originating from Gates (of course).

From the Gates' grants site:

League of Education Voters Foundation
Date: September 2011
Purpose: to launch a regional teacher advocacy group supportive of the Excellent Schools Now Coalition goals
Amount: $150,000
Term: 1 year and 6 months
Topic: Community Grants
Region Served: Global, North America
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Seattle, Washington
Grantee Web site: http://www.educationvoters.org

Washington Progress Fund
Date: March 2011
Purpose: to better understand the positions and perceptions of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community on education reform topics, such as those put forth by the Excellent Schools Now Coalition; and to provide training and opportunities for these communities to get more involved in education change across Washington state
Amount: $300,000
Term: 2 years
Topic: Community Grants
Region Served: Global, North America
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Seattle, Washington
Grantee Web site: Not available

Anonymous said…
I was at a PTA meeting tonight and a parent asked if there was anything our school PTA could do to let the state PTA know we were against charter schools. No one had a good answer. Any suggestions?

mirmac1 said…
Do you think Olympia legislators are interested in real NY "value-added" data?

No correlation, let's call it good.
Jane said…
Yes, way to go Aki Kurose!

mirmac1 said…
"Gary Rubenstein has two excellent posts where he analyzes what happened with the New York Public School System’s value-added measurements for teachers, which were just released.

He discovered several very important things:

(1) There is almost no correlation between a teacher’s score in 2009 to that for the following year.

(2) There is almost no correlation between a teacher’s score when teaching math and when teaching reading – to the same kids, the same year, and in the same elementary class.

(3) There is almost no correlation between a teacher’s score when teaching different grade levels of the same subject (i.e., Math 6 versus Math 7, and so on).

In other words, the Value Added Methodology is very close to being a true random number generator — which would be great if we were playing some sort of fantasy role-playing game or a board game like Monopoly or Yahtzee. But it’s an utterly ridiculous way to run a school system and to evaluate teachers."
TraceyS said…
mirmac, the scatter plots in Rubenstein's article are truly mind boggling.
You know you could just tell us the good news from Aki. We count on our readers to be our eyes and ears as we cannot be everywhere at once.
Catherine said…
@FEY - write your legislators TODAY as individuals

Tell them that you are opposed and why.
ws said…
does anyone know if you need to enroll in person for Kindegarten?

I have been told by several people that this is the case, but I find nothing on the SPS website indicating this. Tried calling enrollment but have not been able to speak to a live person.
Anonymous said…
Here's the URL for the info on Aki:


They won the attendance challenge and got a performance by a hip-hop star as their reward. I hope attendance will stay up (3.5% I think) without the carrot.

Anonymous said…
Too bad 300K from Gates didn't go directly to Seattle schools. Think how many books, microscopes, gym equipment, or xtra tutors that could buy instead of some attempt to convince certain ethnic groups to buy into "ed reform". What are you promising us? Let's get real. The 300K will pay some well educated people a nice salary to cover their lobbying/marketing effort. You need to round up some kids and schools to be the showcase subjects. I've worked overseas with plenty of NGOs and aid development to know what you need to do to keep money from donors coming.

standing lonely
Charlie Mas said…
I got a robocall from A+ Washington but I couldn't get their "plan" document to download to my computer.
Anonymous said…

I get "more snow's" point. This blog often posts stories about things happening in NY, California, and now Arizona, not to mention prominent mention of Roosevelt and Ballard bands getting awards. About Aki, doing something more basic and more critical-raising school attendance, we get crickets. It was in the media, both print and television.

There's a certain skepticism among some South Seattle residents about well-intentioned north Seattle people wanting to help them. It's this kind of thing that's part of the reason why.

On Cedars
dan dempsey said…
Lets hear it for Eric Pettigrew on trying to bring home the $3 million worth of pork, to help his reelection.

Now lets see ....
Will the bacon drippings in my eyes cloud my vision of his backing of all things Gates and Duncan?...

Eric loves Common Core and RttT.

Consider this from Utah:

Here's the resolution and the amendments that are now in front of the Utah Legislature. Both are brief (3 pages each) and power packed.


This bill: provides that the state may exit any agreement, contract, memorandum of understanding, or consortium that cedes control of Utah's core curriculum to any other entity for any reason


This concurrent resolution of the Legislature and the Governor urges the State Board of Education to reconsider the board's decision to adopt the Common Core standards.

Lawmaker wants Common Core standards reconsidered

I would love to see Eric Pettigrew step up with a reasoned argument for something .... other than the big Money players said to do it.
Sahila said…
No, Its not hyperbole... we're all living the HUNGER GAMES and it begins in schools: Crazy Think and Education Policy
mirmac1 said…
Seriously, I feel it is my job to post happy news about Madison MS, like its recent awards. Yes, it was in the press and later got a thread (with all the other winners as well), but I don't expect Mel to know and follow everything about every school. And I don't view it as a conspiracy. We all have to represent our schools.
John said…
Our PTSA board passed an anti-charter resolution last night. Still some work to do, but our plan is to forward it to the WAPTSA as well as legislators. We're going to try to pass it on to other Seattle PTSAs as well.

We realize it's too late for this session, and maybe charter legislation is off the table anyway, but it'll be back, I promise.
On Cedars, I'm sorry you are offended.

I'm on a mini-vacation right now (visiting my elderly mother) but I'm sitting here working on the blog. Charlie is working full-time. We honestly do the best we can.

You can search this blog. There are many posts about good things going on EVERYWHERE in this district.
Anonymous said…
Aki got great press on local media. Good on you to showcase it on this blog Jane, Cedars, and snow. Just like Mag parent, Nancy, and Steve bringing news about their local schools. It does take a group to keep us all up to date. Thanks.

blog reader
Anonymous said…
I would like to share with you that I was kicked off the Washington State PTA listserv.
mirmac1 said…
Okay Dora. I asked to be added to the WAPTSA listserv...
mirmac1 said…
Well Dora, I got kicked off the listserv...

Kidding! : )
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Chris S. said…
Dump PTA next year! The district now has a listserve so schools with non-pta parent groups can get the same informational emails from the district! Free of spam! I'll figure out how to subscribe and let you know.
Maureen said…
Way back on the Are We Fighting Each Other? thread we talked about how the LEV blog seems to delete many comments but has been allowing Charlie and Melissa's to stand. I proposed a theory that LEV may want to make them look isolated to discredit this blog. I proposed that we all cross post our LEV comments here so we can see if they do delete other opposing comments.

I posted a reply to Chris Korsmo's 2/18 Roundup. It made it through moderation and appeared there for at least a day or two. Today, I happened to go back and check and it is gone. I posted the below reply which contains my original comment (which I had cross posted on the Fighting thread linked to above).

Wow, how weird, LEV seems to have deleted my reply to this thread (it had made it through moderation and appeared for a little while). Good thing I had copied it onto a thread over at the Seattle Schools Community Blog! I’ll recopy here and see if it is allowed to stay this time. Please do email me if you think I am somehow being uncivil or breaking a rule. It seems odd that mine got deleted and Charlie’s didn’t given that he called you a ‘puppet’ and I called you a ‘smart education advocate.’:

Over the past 50 blog posts (excluding Ms. Korsmo’s roundups), LEV mentioned charters at least three times more often than they did early learning (about 15 to 5 ratio). It’s pretty clear where LEV’s efforts are being expended. I don’t understand why so many of Washington state’s smart education advocates are spending so much time and money supporting charters. We can certainly learn from what good charters have done in other states (extended day, targeted interventions, cradle to college supports) and implement them in more of our existing public schools. But that sort of investment will mean fully funding education in Washington. I would like to see LEV put all of their efforts behind that goal.

2/24/12 12:45 PM

(that date and time is when my comment originally appeared here)

(I edited the above to correct two typos)
Maureen said…
My LEV comment is posted again and the moderator apologized and said they lost some posts because they had to reinstall Wordpress.
Benjamin Leis said…
@WS I ended up emailing administration last year after being annoyed by the entire archaic enrollment process. I was told that yes you could email/fax the forms in. You should email them for instructions if its unclear on the official site. Its ridiculous as the primary process to force parents to stand around for an hour and a half on a fixed set of days when if their kids show up on the first day of school the district is still obligated to take them.

Sahila said…
From a post on the SaveOurSchools Florida Facebook Page:

"I work in a sanctioned school where they are promoting TFA to improve the school. LOL. One of the TFA's shared with me that her supervisor at TFA told her that within the next 5 years TFA plans to replace us all with TFA's including administration. HMMMMM Cheap labor- they only work for 2 years and TFA pays a part of their salery- no union- they don't join because this is not their career- just a temp job to get their student loans forgiven- no pensions- eventually no benefits. Are they planning to turn teaching into a temp job????"

Anonymous said…
Can TFA spell "salery"? Or is it celery? Wouldn't want to replace that!

ws said…

thank you for the info. I find it ridculous that i kept getting a busy signal on the enrollment phone line.
Anonymous said…
According to KOMO news, Washington legislators passed the teacher eval bill that will used student test scores as part of the eval. Not even a close vote in the house (82-16). What does that tell you? Testing companies must be rejoicing last night. At this point why eval teacher, just teach what the kids get tested on and can have the testing companies do that on-line (more $$). Easy peasy. Numbers go up and problems fixed. Venture capitalist will have lots to invest in now. Now if we can just get that charter bill through somehow... 13 billion$ in K-12 spending is a lot of motivation to get this pa$$.

-get use to MAPs and class size of 35
dan dempsey said…
About that House vote on VAM .... It is right in line with what is supposed to be done for RttT and CCSS.

Here is some critical information about the CCSS

Duncan and CCSS pushes the USA Onward to an even more dumbed-down nation. The WA Legislature approves these actions.
Anonymous said…
From the Seattle Times comments on Pettigrew's $3M earmark for Seattle Schools:

It is time for the Seattle School District to live within it's means, just like the other 294 public school districts must do.

This, after MLK was sold for nearly $3M under market value...

Incoming parent said…
We are in the midst of trying to decide what kindergarten to send our son to next year. We live in the Broadview-Thomson reference area and are considering Queen Anne and TOPS but with the new geozones, we know our odds of getting in anywhere are pretty low. Sigh.
dan dempsey said…
South Carolina also has questions about CCSS.


So why are WA districts stuck with funding CCSS with at least $165 million from district funds? .... Largely because few "with power" actually care about much in the way of improvements to education .... Too Busy Posturing to do any real research.
Maureen said…
Incoming, TOPS has had a K set aside for Eastlake families for several years (about five kids). We were told by the District and neighborhood that the Geozone only contains a similar number or fewer kids so the chances at TOPS may be no worse than they have been in recent years and may be better if the new algorhythm and other uncertainties are keeping people from applying. I'll see if I can find out how many K spots went to the GeoZone this year (does anyone else know?)

Also, have you thought through transportation? Nine years is a long time to schlep a kid from Broadview to Eastlake!
Anonymous said…
Spreading a little good news:

Tiny Neah Bay school (gr.6-12 with about 160 kids) is a finalist in a Samsung $100,000 science and technology contest. They are there for their project to use mushrooms to clean diesel contaminated sand on Tatoosh Island. You can read about it in ST today. Also if you go to the article, you can go the contest site and read up on their presentation and vote for them to win. They are 1 of 2 schools represented from the West coast. Pretty impressive!


-go RD
sarahsmiles said…
Incoming parent said...

We are in the midst of trying to decide what kindergarten to send our son to next year. We live in the Broadview-Thomson reference area and are considering Queen Anne and TOPS but with the new geozones, we know our odds of getting in anywhere are pretty low. Sigh.

What's wrong with Broadview Thomson?
Charlie Mas said…

What do you like about TOPS and Queen Anne?

What don't you like about Broadview-Thomson, or the next closest schools, like Viewlands?

What are you looking for?
Charlie Mas said…
Also, I believe that there are a lot of neighborhood schools that are pretty good bets for space available and option schools where the odds of assignment are pretty high.

Choice is not completely gone.
Maureen said…
Thanks for that link mirmac!. Wow, only 13 open seats at Roosevelt! No wonder they didn't bother to do tours (just one, very crowded, evening open house). Does anyone know if more seats open up if some number of neighborhood 9th graders go elsewhere? And can we assume that the APP/IBx seats do not come out of Ingraham's 32? And, what the heck, if you have 133 spots for 10th graders,why can't you squeeze in a few more 9th graders who are prepared to go into Geometry and Bio?.
Anonymous said…
@ Charlie: What good neighborhood schools have openings, and how do people even find that out? Like Incoming, we are interested in option schools too. Why? Because we want a more engaged and progressive approach then a traditional school provides. That is what the option schools were initially intended to do, NOT become capacity management tools for the district. One's neighborhood school is not always the best fit.

-Kindergarten bound
Anonymous said…
Incoming k and kindergarten bound, check out Pinehurst k-8. It's an option school with room and a pretty decent transportation range. The school has changed a lot so you should definitely check it out for your self - lots of things people loved about it are gone but so are a lot of the things that scared people about it.

- no longer there but still a fan
Anonymous said…
@ no longer there but still a fan:

I love Pinehurst and even toured it early in the year. I liked the principal, and their attitude toward special education. Lovely school, a bit far from us (in Fremont) but not too bad. What I keep hearing is that they are threatening to close it down.

-Kindergarten bound
Incoming Parent said…
Sorry, I started a discussion and then took off!

I don't mind Broadview-Thomson and if we land there I'm sure my kid will be fine--he loves to learn and he's a likeable kid, and he'll probably be fine wherever he ends up. I also love that it's a diverse school. But my main concern is that after touring quite a few schools, what we discovered is that schools in Seattle are struggling to fund basic programs and are surviving on their PTAs' ability to pay for things. TOPS and Queen Anne are clearly able to raise huge sums of money. B-T's PTA officers talked about looking for grants. Which is what happens when 51% of your students are living in poverty, the parents simply can't make up the difference and fill the holes left by our society's total failure to fund public education adequately. Also, some of the reviews of B-T that we found online talk about bullying, although I take that with a grain of salt--the internet isn't always a reliable source of info.

For us, both TOPS and Queen Anne could be part of our route to work, so it's not a huge deal to do drop off/pick up. The only school we're in the transportation zone for is Salmon Bay, and frankly, I wasn't that impressed. We liked the vibe at Queen Anne and TOPS and I was especially impressed with the teachers we spoke to at each school.

We also don't necessarily plan to stay in this neighborhood, which makes an option school more appealing--if we move to, say, Ballard, we wouldn't have to face the choice between leaving our son at B-T and having to drive him all the way up here, or having him start at a new school in a few years.

TOPS will have 2 K classrooms next year. That's about 50-ish kids. They had over 100 kids put them down as a first choice this year. So half the kids who listed them first didn't get in. Add in siblings and the geozone, and the odds are even lower for the rest of us. When we visited Thornton Creek (my parents live nearby and could do before/after school care for us), they told us that if we don't live in the geozone, the odds of us getting in are pretty much slim to none. TC will have either 2 or 3 K classes and also had about 100 kids list them as a first choice this year.

We are also looking at Greenwood, which seems nice and again could be on our route to work. Viewlands' program didn't really ring my bell, it seemed like we'd be just as well off at B-T (and B-T is closer to us). We looked at Salmon Bay too but I just wasn't impressed and DH was horrified by it. He's a tech guy (he's practically obsessed with QA because of their tech focus--note to readers: it is not a STEM program, just a program that uses tech to support their teaching) and was concerned at the near total lack of tech at Salmon Bay. One of the PTA parents there basically told us in a PC way that the teachers are so old as to be afraid of their computers.

I was scared off from AS1 because I don't think the district has a commitment to that program. I like the idea of Jane Addams, but it had a little bit of a test-scores-are-the-focus feel to it. It just felt a little MJ-G to me, although the parents we spoke to seemed to love it there.

Like I said, if we wind up at B-T, we'll be OK--we'll get involved and volunteer, and our son will make friends and be fine. But it's frustrating knowing that if we'd been doing this process last year when the geozones (especially the ones around TC and QA) were smaller, we'd have a much better chance of getting into an option school.

Also, I think it's kind of unfair that there are so many option schools in the NE part of the district, and so few everywhere else. Especially because most of the neighborhood schools there are good, so if you're trying to get out of a struggling school and into an option school, you have less of a chance to get in than a family whose neighborhood school is already good.

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