Any Updates From Yesterday?

There were several meetings yesterday including the long-delayed PTA charter forum.  If you attend that forum or the Work Session on the budget, let us know your thoughts.


Dorothy Neville said…
I attended the Budget Worksession. The board gave their informal approval of the increase in Pay4K amount (formal approval comes with adopting the budget in July). Staff provided several pieces of information in an "inform" capacity, sharing data sets on special ed and ELL costs over time (which I don't think are complete, but that will take time to suss out). The other issue that needed addressing is that there's a Title 1 issue coming up. I wasn't paying complete attention to the details but the issue seems to be that temporarily we have decreased funding and that almost certainly the money will be restored in June. But what to do? Staff recommended cutting the school budgets and then restoring them. This is a huge issue for the board, as it is disruptive for schools to have to budget on the reduced dollars only to have the money restored later. Note this is a state thing, not something the district has control over. How to handle this dilemma and be fiscally responsible? Well, the board sent it back to staff to rework, find other solutions perhaps that would not be so disruptive to school budget process.
dan dempsey said…
WOW Dorothy,

Thanks for the Report .....

Now what were the Supremes thinking with its lets wait until 2018 to see how that Constitutionally Correct full funding of education is coming along?
Anonymous said…
Are these meetings recorded anywhere? Audio?

Mr Ed
Charlie Mas said…
I went to the PTA meeting on charter schools. No one said anything that was going to change anyone's mind. No one said anything very crazy or extreme either.

One of the better statements of the evening came from Robin Lake of the Center for Reinventing Public Education when she said that she isn't very interested in labels. She doesn't care if the school is a charter school, a private school, or a public school. For her it only matters if it is a good school. And she had a lot of hallmarks of a good school.

Ms Lake also said that charter schools have been around for twenty years and there have been some lessons learned. She described some of them, but, for me, the critical point was that none of the lessons learned were reflected in the charter school bill that failed in Olympia. It was an extraordinarily bad bill and we're lucky it failed.
Jan said…
Thanks, Charlie. There aren't a lot of education issues that I debate with friends/family, etc -- but charters are one. I also have never changed any minds -- but I have gotten a lot of people to at least have good discussions about the "problems" in charter schools (lack of oversight, effects on public funding and school assignments, poor history in closing them, discrimination, etc. I think that, prior to research on their effectiveness, it was easy for charter proponents to sell the idea (which many firmly believed) that just by virtue of being charter schools, they would do a "better job." (The "private sector always does it better and cheaper" theory). Now that there is clear evidence to the contrary, it is making at least some people more thoughtful in terms of actually thinking about what changes in schools actually increase student learning -- rather than what changes just "change stuff."
mirmac1 said…
If Ms. Lake doesn't care about "labels", then why is her whole body of "research" on charters and how nifty they are?! Puhleeze!
Jan said…
True, mirmac1. But maybe we have a small opportunity (small because some charter folks are driven by ideology, and don't want to be confused by facts contrary to their world view) to build some support for a much more robust support for alt schools and expanded choices and opportunities WITHIN the public system.

The ideologues are busy painting anti-charter folks as anti-change. I want to peel all the people who want change (and just aren't aware of the perils of charters as they have been co-opted by big business) away from the Hanauers, Gateses, etc -- and get them in the "expand opportunities for public school choice and innovation" camp. But that is just me. I am still mourning the NSAP's further erosion of school choice and the damage done to the alts.
I visited Preuss High School in San Diego yesterday. Preuss is one of top charter high schools in the country (and one of the top in the country according to New&World Report).

I'll do a thread on it but it was interesting (and somewhat surprising) in a number of way.
dan dempsey said…
About Preuss High School at UCSD.

The Preuss School UCSD is designed to be a rigorous college preparatory educational program. Through tutor-assisted teaching, a single-track macro curriculum required for all students, small classes and an extensive use of technology and teamwork, the overarching goal of the school is to create a highly enriched secondary school.

Preuss will prepare its graduates to distinguish themselves academically so that they will be competitively eligible for admission to the University of California and other similarly selective four year colleges and institutions of higher learning.

Above all, The Preuss School UCSD must provide an environment of high expectations where students are continually encouraged and empowered to develop a greater sense of confidence through self-sufficiency and pride in their academic accomplishments.

The school fosters a culture of intellectual risk-taking. The students are taught the art of questioning and logical and critical thinking, with the hopes that they will sustain a lifelong intellectual curiosity and dedication to continual learning.

The Preuss School’s mission includes the development of strong character, healthy lifestyles, good judgment, ethical behavior and instilling a sense of service to one’s home community. We believe that the family, neighborhood institutions and school all share responsibility for encouraging young people to develop as both scholars and citizens.

I am looking forward to Melissa's report.

Note: tutor assisted small classes .... Is the legislature in WA planning on providing that for WA students? .. no but how about charters? (Duh!!)
Po3 said…
Interesting Charter school. 23 page application. Parent cannot have attended college and cannot make over a certain income level and must submit tex return.

Also noted nothing of substance under academics. What math classes are offered, language, English, social studies. Electives? All missing. They do post info about all the testing though.

Will be very interested to see the write up.
Anonymous said…

Nice plug for Robin Lake, a colleague of your bud at the Center for Sitting in An Armchair and Criticizing the Work Being Done in the Trenches.

Anyone with Google can name the characteristics of good schools.

I'm not impressed.

--enough already
mirmac1 said…
enough already,

I agree... I would bet Gates' $$$ that there were far more profound, sincere statements made....
Anonymous said…
Robin Lake's saying that she does not like labels, just good schools, is absolutely a rhetorical game. Public, private, charter aren't labels -- the terms define distinctly different visions of what it means for a democratic society to educate its young generation. For Robin to say it this way proves that the "Center for Reinventing Public Education" has no interest in maintaining public education as an entity -- they want to destroy it, and with it the central pillar of our democracy.

Look at any country without a strong public school system -- parents with any money at all in those countries desperately pay whatever private fees they can afford and in doing so stratify and divide their societies in ways that shut down opportunities for all children except the richest.

Look at how the high private school enrollment in Seattle (highest per capita in the nation) already affects the civic engagement in our schools. It's why the complexion of Seattle Public Schools is so different from our city as a whole. For example, the founding leadership of the Alliance for Education all sent their kids to private schools -- do you think they are really engaged in educating other people's children? Then don't get me started on parents, including many outspoken critics of public schools, who send their special needs children to public schools while sending their other children to private schools. We need to share education as a human right and a common good, period. You're right, Robin, I better avoid labeling you!

Anonymous said…
I thought charters had to take all comers. Preuss does not accept children if their parents have gone to college. They family must be at a low income level. The application is 23 pages long.

Each of these items rules out families. That's not public school. That's not acceptible as a charter school, no matter how worthy the objective.

Run it as a private school that is grant funded, but don't run it as part of the PUBLIC school system. It is wrong.

Anonymous said…
Look at how the high private school enrollment in Seattle (highest per capita in the nation)...

I see this claim cited quite often, but would really like to know the source and whether or not it's true. Anyone?

It's also been said that of the nation's 100 largest cities, the children per capita in Seattle is comparatively low and second only to San Francisco.

Anonymous said…
From the Seattle PI,
"School enrollment declines slightly", D. Bach, 10/24/2005

Seattle has long had one of the highest rates of private school attendance in the country, hovering at 25 to 30 percent for the past two decades. Contrary to popular belief, Cassidy said, the district's declining enrollment is not caused by increased numbers of children attending private schools, but by fewer children living in the city than in the past.

Read more:

According to the US Census Bureau, Seattle has 15.4% of persons under the age of 18, compared with 23.5% in WA state and 24% nationwide. For comparison, Bellevue has 21.2%.

Anonymous said…
Some 2009-10 data for King County shows public school enrollment at 73.6% for the Seattle Region, with the remaining 26.4% served by private schools. It's not clear how homeschooling students are accounted for.

TraceyS said…
FYI, is that 73.6% rate per family or per child? Counting can be a little tricky, because some families have kids in private and in public. The same for homeschoolers - some families pull out for homeschooling in a single subject, and do public school part time.
Anonymous said…
The rate is by student, based on total reported enrollment at public schools and private schools (no mention of homeschoolers, which would further lower the public enrollment %).

TraceyS said…
Thank you for the link, FYI. One other factor that may skew the results slightly is that there are students enrolled in Seattle private schools that reside outside of Seattle, so the private school rate may be slightly inflated. And vice-versa (Kids on my street, for example, go to the French American school on Mercer Island). Though there are certainly Seattle-residing students that go to non-Seattle private schools as well, my gut feeling is that there are more coming into Seattle private schools than going out. PNAIS may have some data on the cross-county rates, and how much those percentages would be affected.

I may be wrong, but I thought home schoolers had to register with the school district. Perhaps they are counted or tracked that way? I fully admit to knowing very little about the subject.
Anonymous said…
Homeschoolers file a "Declaration of Intent to Provide Home-based Instruction" form with the home district. They are not enrolled unless they are part-time students.

You also have homeschoolers attending the district Homeschool Resource Center, in which case they are enrolled with the district, but with Alternative Learning Experience (ALE) designation.

Anonymous said…
Tracey S,
I can tell you from touring the bigger Seattle Private schools (Bush, SASS, U Prep, Lakeside) they draw from all over with very large numbers from Mercer Island, Redmond, Bellevue, Issaquah, Woodinville, etc. The paraochials tend to draw more local neighborhood kids especially at the ES and MS level. Don't forget there are Seattle kids who go to other public school districts too.

looking around
suep. said…
On the subject of charter schools cherrypicking students and not serving everyone, at the PTA charter forum last week, I was surprised to hear Robin Lake of the pro-charter Center for Reinventing Public Education at UW Bothell (CRPE) essentially say she would not send her child with special needs to a KIPP charter school.

This was at the end of the forum when the panel was asked a number of audience questions, including mine, which was: "Would you send your kids to a KIPP charter school? Why? Why not?"

Rosalund Jenkins of LEV first took the question, then admitted she has no children but two miniature schnauzers, mentioned Mercer Middle School as if it were a KIPP school and said she would send them -- kids, not schnauzers I am assuming -- if she had any, to Mercer.

Robin Lake was also asked to respond. She paused, said "It's complicated," mentioned she has a child with special needs, stipulated that she supports charters simply because she supports more options for all kids, and then said that KIPP is not for everyone... and her answer trailed off from there.

I actually thought it was a poignant moment of honesty from her -- if hypocritical.
SeattleSped said…
Yes, I have some interesting exchanges with Lake on the SpEd listserve.

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