Friday Open Thread

Let's see, over at the Times, it appears that new education reporter, Brian Rosenthal, has learned the Times' method of reporting in his story on TFA.  Separate thread to come.

Also, very interesting talk at the Audit & Finance Committee meeting yesterday about foreign language immersion costs as well as talk about the Graham Hill pre-school issue.  Quite eye-opening. 

The Legislature ended its session without approving a budget.  They will start a 30-day special session on Monday.  There was a lot of finger-pointing but now we wait for them to hammer out a compromise.  Will Senator Tom get what I believe will be a quid pro quo in bringing charter school legislation to a vote on the floor?  Stay tuned.

Director Carr has a Community meeting tomorrow from 8:30-10:00 am at the Bethany Community Church across from Bagley.

What's on your mind?


KG said…
Maureen said…
Not sure if everyone got this notice about the Arts in SPS:

Putting the Arts Back in Education

Five community meetings in March

Seattle Public Schools is partnering with the Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs and community arts organizations to create a comprehensive arts plan focused on increasing quality arts education access for all K-12 students. The work is made possible with a planning grant from The Wallace Foundation.

You can attend one of five community meetings to help shape the arts plan. Parents, students, teachers, artists, arts administrators and supporters of an equitable and well-rounded education for all are invited.

North Meeting

Tuesday, March 13
6:30-8:30 p.m.
Ballard High School
1418 N.W. 65th St.

Central Meeting

Saturday, March 17
1-3 p.m.
Garfield High School
400 23rd Av.

Southeast Meeting

Monday, March 19
6:30-8:30 p.m.
South Shore K-8
4800 S. Henderson St.

Translators for Spanish, Somali, Chinese, Vietnamese and Tagalog will be present.

Southwest Meeting

Thursday, March 29
6:30-8:30 p.m.
Chief Sealth International High School
2600 S.W. Thistle St.

Translators for Spanish, Somali and Vietnamese will be present.

Youth Meeting*

Saturday, March 31
1-3 p.m.
Meany Building (location of Nova High School and Seattle World School)
301 21st Ave. E.

For more information, visit Seattle Public Schools - The Arts

You can also take the online survey.
Anonymous said…
Funn, I was just thinking the other day that I hadn't seen any comments/contributions from Brian Rosenthal on this blog in a while. Upon reading his article this morning, I was struck by how it seemed as if any less-than-glowing impressions of TFA and how it came to be in Seattle were relegated to "the activists". I seem to recall rather questionable emails of Dr. Enfield, UW Teaching program students who were paying FULL UW tuition to get their credentials being rather 'upset' at Dean Stritikus' decisions, and the fact that not many TFA folks were hired in Seattle, among many other items!
Didn't see any of that mentioned in the article. What gives?

Two and a half years to go.
Anonymous said…
Thought I would pull Melissa's comment to my question over from the BEX thread, which has petered out:

"You discovered something I missed - Montlake's score (3.38) is higher than McGilvra's (3.23). Why IS McGilvra on the map list and not Montlake?

It's interesting because the preliminary BEX III list DID include both schools.

I suspect it is because Montlake is on such a small site that rebuilding would not add much capacity and that's what it's all about this time. McGilvra does have a bigger site."

I learned to read District tea leaves from a friend very active in District politics. So my thought, which I took from her, is this: What is the current population of Montlake? What is the current population of McGilvra? How big are they proposing to make McGilvra? If McGilvra could absorb Montlake's population after the rebuild, then you know that closure of Montlake remains a backroom thought. If the numbers don't add up then Montlake is marginally safe for the coming few years.

Charlie Mas said…
Plan now for upcoming events for assorted geeks:

Emerald City Comiccon
March 30, 31, April 1
Check out the AMAZING guest lineup, including George Takei, Jay and Silent Bob, voice talents, and truly great artists.

April 6, 7 ,8

I will be at Sakura-Con, but you may not recognize me on Friday, when I will cosplay Jet Black from Cowboy Bebop, or on Saturday, when I will cosplay Porco Rosso. Now, if you will excuse me, I have to work on creating a fake prosthetic left arm.

April 5, 6, 7, 8

This one has everything.
Charlie Mas said…
Speaking of arts education, check out this blog:
SeattleSped said…
You are right Melissa. As a SpEd parent, I was disturbed to see on A&F Committee's list of potential reductions and adds: "Special Education Efficiencies" on the former, and fronting costs for Graham Hill Preschool and McDonald language immersion on the latter. So the federally-protected education of SpEd students will be cut (even more) while SPS $$$ go to 3-4 yr olds who are not SPS students and families who think it would be nifty for their kid to learn a second language. Some of our kids need help acquiring language PERIOD. But the SpEd dept. dithers with providing the assistive technology the child needs and is owed. Disgusting.

It is clear that, to get some Board members to act, it takes a stream of angry parents at board meetings. They hate that. Makes them uncomfortable. It was MacDonald in Jan., and Graham Hill last Wednesday.

Aren't board members supposed to know what is a right and what is a privilege? Assistance with disabilities and ELL is a right, subsidized preschool and "international" schools are a privilege. SpEd and ELL funding is meant for that purpose, not for leveraging their IAs to improve ratios in option programs. I think some of our board members need to be educated on proper use of restricted funds, and it shouldn't take audit findings to do this.
Charlie, you forgot Christopher Lloyd of Back to the Future fame.
Eric B said…
Open Enrollment closes today. I dropped off my older daughter's application for Ingraham yesterday. It's kinda ironic, since my start in District activism was working on keeping my area in the Ballard zone rather than Ingraham. I still think that's the right policy decision, but Ingraham was a better fit for us.

There were 10-20 people in the lobby for various enrollment lines at the beginning of the lunch hour.
Maureen said…
I should know this, but I don't. There is a list of how many Open Choice spots are available at each High School. BUT do they actually place only that many 'outside' students at any given school or do they place that number plus the number that take spots at some other school (or is there some other number placed instead?)?

Wondering if my kid and Eric's are competing for Ingraham's 32 spots! I'm sure someone would be happy to have our kids' spots at Ballard and Roosevelt.
RosieReader said…
Maureen -- The District also published the actual numbers of "who came from which placement area to which high school" a few months back. I think it may have been in the materials you pulled your page from. If you look at that, you will see that Ingraham has many many many more students from different geographic areas -- far in excess of whatever ever number of "open choice" seats you may think should be out there. That is true for both the current Fresh and Soph classes - -the two years for which the NSAP has applied. Bottom line, I wouldn't worry overly about it at this point.
Maureen said…
Thank you Rosie! I think I found the info you referred to in the '11-'12 version of the list.

Probably plenty of room at Ingraham for both our kids Eric! My kid felt like it would be a better fit for her and I got to tell you, I really liked what I saw of Martin Floe and the staff!
Eric B said…
I hope there's plenty of room. Our family found the management at Ingraham to be a breath of fresh air. Where other schools said that it was difficult or impossible to get into some classes, Floe said they add more sections of popular classes. Craaazy, right? It was also clear that Floe has a great rapport with his administrative staff.
Anonymous said…
Charlie—it's a bit of a bummer that Comicon and Sakuracon are so close together. Makes it hard to get costumes together to attend both. Last year's schedule was better.
Anonymous said…
"Our family found the management at Ingraham to be a breath of fresh air."

And it would have been a damn shame had he been fired a year ago.

suep. said…
Apparently the Times' Comments function is "down." So no feedback possible for the TFA or any other stories.

I wonder if it will magically start working again once Rosenthal's TFA Inc. story leaves the front page.
ArchStanton said…
Daughter number one and I have made Norwescon for the last three years. She's into fantasy literature and loves creating costumes and seeing what others have done. She doesn't usually last very long, but her stamina and attention span increases as she gets older. We might try to make one of the others this year.

Charlie, please post a pic of yourself in character somewhere. I promise not to do an unflattering photoshop.
Kathy said…
I also attended the Ingraham tour and was impressed. If my daughter were interested in the IB Program- we would have been pleased to place her in that school.

The school offered a wide variety of options for kids. Kids leading the tours were amazing. I'm sure, with the help of Ingraham- there futures are bright.

Every 2 hours the kids get a 15 minute break. I found this type of common sense refreshing.

Kudos to Principal Floe, PTA and teachers.

In the meantime, I thank Eric for his work on capactiy issues. :)
Anonymous said…
ArchStanton...good one! : }

Mr Ed
I applaud parents for seeking out information about a school before making choices. Eric is absolutely right; the best fit with a child for high school is what matters. You can have a great program but if your child isn't interested, it doesn't matter.
Maureen said…
SPS is reporting that the power is out at 14 south end schools and at JSCEE. School will continue to the end of day, but no after school activities.

The email I got says: The District will extend Open Enrollment through 12:30 p.m. on Monday, March 12.
Maureen said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eric B said…
Aww, thanks Melissa and Kathy. You're too kind. :)
Charlie Mas said…
The District doesn't need to expand McGilvra to close Montlake.

All of Montlake could fit in the empty space at Lowell.
Anonymous said…
What was the discussion regarding the Graham Hill montessori?

Charlie Mas said…
Here I am as Jet Black in 2009, posing with an Ed cosplayer. Photos 61-64.

Here you can see the first arm:

This is me as Pops Racer last year, posing with a Speed Racer cosplayer.

Here I am as Porco Rosso
Charlie Mas said…
If I have the time, next year I want to sew together a Mr. Incredible costume (the old one) and from when he was out of shape. I will make most of it from waffle weave long johns - black and teal. The wig was proving impossible to find until I talked to a cosplayer at Chibi Chibi Con in Olympia. I will use yellow felt sewn to a swim cap.
Charlie Mas said…
Does anybody know the deal on the Hamilton Middle School outing to see the movie The Hunger Games?
Anonymous said…
The 6th graders at Hamilton are all being taken to the Hunger Games movie as a field trip. This is all being done with the full support of the principal. It includes 6th graders in all programs at the school.

I don't understand how this fits into the curriculum.

ArchStanton said…
Thanks for sharing those, Charlie. It's good to be reminded that everyone here has a life outside of this blog. I was just looking over some programs and thinking there might be a hooky day in our future ;)
Anonymous said…
I'll take it Spedparent.You say don't rob sped to pay for anything except the basics for the district? That is insane. Lobby for your group, right on, but don't trash parents who want immersion, preschool, and even band, I presume.

Anonymous said…
Hunger Games for 6th graders as part of a school field trip? There don't seem to be district guidelines, but perhaps they should institute some.

Issaquah's policy (as an example):

The District recognizes that field trips when used for teaching and learning integral to the curriculum are an educationally sound and important ingredient in the instructional program of the schools.

another reader
SeattleSped said…

I'm trashing school board members who would collude with staff to divert restricted use funds for other purposes. Yeah, and I believe basics must be provided BEFORE frills. Frills costs extra. Lawmakers and the courts have ruled that things like assistive technology for a child struggling to speak is not a frill.
Anonymous said…
Public request emails from StopTFA show that one TFA candidate was selected by an interview team at Hamilton but not hired (emails dated Nov. 2011).

SPS parent
Talar said…
On the Hunger Games Field of the APP Language Arts teacher sent an explanation of how she intends to integrate it into her curriculum. I do think it is possible to make it part of the curriculum if properly planned.
Anonymous said…
I am also interested in how taking the entire 6th grade class to see The Hunger Games fits into the curriculum. I am sure a few creative teachers will figure out a way, but in general it seems like a day off of school. Pretty dismayed at the situation...of course I am letting my child go, but I could think of many better ways to use 6 hours.

Hamilton Mom
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
Just because some 6th graders have read The Hunger Games doesn't mean that it's appropriate as part of the 6th grade curriculum.

This is only one of many instances in which kids are exposed to material that isn't age appropriate and of questionable educational value. Yes, there are some parents that are okay with it, but there are enough other parents that aren't okay with it that it should give the school some pause.

Is this limited to Hamilton, or is it typical of other Seattle middle schools?

Another parent posted this elsewhere:

And from my 7th grade student: in homeroom the teacher wanted to show us the Kony 2012 PR youtube video 2 days ago but instead he said it is a homework. With no discussion before/after.

Are there any guidelines teachers are following when they pull together class materials?

Earlier in the year, a Hamilton teacher had the class read this:

@NLM: There was no 'leaving things out' in this incident. Start with page 121 and keep going:

It continues on to the content that's on page 124, which Google excludes.

-- not even going to use my usual pseudonym

Do the teachers themselves not have the internal filter to decide what probably isn't appropriate, or is there a total lack of oversight?

really confused
Anonymous said…

New York Times article on Hunger Games entitled "Peer Pressure? How about, like, fighting to the death?"

This Seems A Bit Much
TraceyS said…
Interesting discussion about the Hunger Games books. My current 5th grader has deliberately chosen NOT to read the books yet, because she feels she is not yet ready to handle the fight-to-the-death aspects of the book.

Though I would personally be ok with her reading the books, I also respect her wishes to approach difficult material like this at her own pace. She reads a lot of material that does not shy away from difficult topics - Harry Potter and Ric Riordan come to mind - so I have confidence in her ability to handle difficult material.

But 6th grade seems pretty early for this particular series. It is recommended for ages 13 and up, after all, and the topic is certainly quite grim. These books seem far better suited for 8th graders, who are developmentally a little better equipped to handle it.

Oh, and taking the entire grade to see a movie as a "field trip". I am not too keen on that plan, to be honest. Wait for the DVD and show it inclass, and save the field trip time for visits to places that need to be experienced in person, such as museums.
ArchStanton said…
Taking an entire class of 6th graders to the Hunger Games before parents/teachers have had the opportunity to prescreen it seems like a bad idea. We don't know if the class has read the book(s) and while some kids may be able to handle the material, surely many will not. Sure, many kids are exposed to media that is probably 'worse', but not usually with their school's endorsement.

I do think it's important to recognize that the books and movie are about to become culturally significant in that everyone will be discussing them and many kids younger than the intended audience will be reading/watching them. They touch on subjects that our kids worry about (war and it's aftermath, scarcity of resources, social and economic inequity) much like many of us used to worry about 'the bomb'.

I think a thoughtful and skilled teacher could work the Hunger Games into meaningful studies and discussions, but it could very easily be botched (e.g. SPS & Brave New World)
Anonymous said…
A few years ago APP 4th graders were taken to see a play based on Dickens' Tale of Two Cities. Beheadings were involved. Parents weren't warned or given the chance to prescreen the play. Was there a similar outcry over that or is the problem this time because it's "popular culture"?

Calico Cat
Okay, just to set the record straight, unless there is public outcry/notice of an issue of appropriate curriculum in the classroom, it may not get wide attention. So you can't say for certain why somethings get play and others don't.

I recall from Director DeBell's community meeting some weeks back that parents from McClure were not happy about 6th graders getting the graphic novel of The Kite Runner. This is a great book but it has some graphic violence that happens to children and it has big themes. I myself thought this inappropriate and I know several parents told the McClure administration.

I don't know what teachers are told. I should probably ask Kathy Thompson about that issue.

I worked in a children's bookstore and I can tell you there are many books with big themes (as kids are becoming more aware of adult issues) that don't have to be graphic or violent. I'm not sure if teachers want to stay with popular culture (thinking it will engage students more) or if they just don't know of other books.

Teachers, what can you tell us?
Hamilton parent said…
There is a huge difference between introducing the bk HGames in class, vs attending a (not previously screened) Hollywood movie rated PG-13 for scenes of graphic teen-on-teen violence, for 6th gr class trip. These kids are 11 - 12 yo. Was this really the best choice? The other grades went to Skate King and Puyallup Fair for their class trip. Lots of kids are opting out on their own, yet others are afraid to see the movie but feeling much peer pressure. What kind of msge is the admin sending with this plan? MANY parents are complaining, but admin is refusing to adjust the plan. I have no issue with having it fit into the curriculum -- its supposed to be a fun trip where kids get a chance to socialize. This is only creating stress among many parents and kids. It also indicates that the admin has a strong disregard for parents concerns, IMO. Meanwhile, a few wks ago Hamilton abruptly cancelled showing Finding Kind for 6th graders as it would be too disturbing (showed it to 7th and 8th gr girls only..?? WTH!) This is one more example of teachers/admin that are not in tune with the values of the population they are serving. Yes many parents and kids are fine with and excited about seeing HG, but enough are seriously upset that its created a huge backlash. Personally, I'm baffled at this choice and dont see the upside for the admin. Bad decision making.
Linh-Co said…
Hi math fans.

It's spring again, and time for fresh sprouts of math activism. Save the date. We need some momentum for a new middle school textbook adoption in Seattle School District. Now's a great time to make this a reality, but we need your voice.

Please let us know if you can come so we can have enough handouts printed. Feel free to forward the invite. Plenty of space at the library.


Come join us for a parent-focused public meeting about what you can do to promote success for your middle school student.

When: Saturday, March 17th 1:30-4:00 PM
Where: Ballard Public Library Meeting Room

Topics to be covered include:
- State standards for grades 6-8. What your student should be learning.
- MSP & MAP. Understanding the state and district assessments
- Instructional materials. What you need to seek out in your textbook.
- Supplementing at home. How much, what topics, resources?
- Benchmark assessments. Check how your kids are doing at their level.

Contact Rick or Linh-Co at
Anonymous said…
The PG-13 rating makes this a poor choice for a school trip for 11-12 year olds. Some families may be ok with it and others not. A school trip should be age-appropriate for everyone.
Charlie Mas said…
Now I understand the movie trip a little better, and a little worse.

It's not intended as part of the curriculum but as a fun outing for the kids.

So now instead of thinking that it stinks as a choice for learning I think it stinks as a choice for a community event. Even before we get to the content of the film, how does it build community for the whole sixth grade to sit quietly in a dark room facing the same direction for two hours? How can there be community without interaction?

Then there is the fact that there isn't enough space for everyone to do. Nice community event, when some kids are told that they can't come.

Then, finally, there is the content. What says community event like a little teen-aged gladiatorial combat to the death? Who would choose a PG13 movie for 11- and 12-year-olds?

A lot of this strikes me as an odd choice. I'm not opposed to odd choices, but I think the folks who made the choice - even if they are committed to going forward with it - should at least acknowledge that the choice comes with some questions. They should be forthright in addressing those questions.
Anonymous said…
In our culture, violence is far more acceptable than sex, so I can see why some parents and kids are ok seeing this movie even with younger age groups. IMO, for a school to sponsor a movie as an outing, it has better be a spectacular, not to be missed, once in a lifetime movie. Otherwise, skip it. Save the community fun, blow out event for Wild Waves.

If this was part of a LA curriculum where you are reading the book as a grade, discussing it and relating it back to the real HIMS world and the world that HIMS kids may never see (where kids do face life and death battle), then at least there is some context and background. But if this is just another simplistic teenage anst ridden fantasy and ends there, then save it for family Saturday matinee or netflix.

I will add the same concern for the KONY phenomenon because it takes a very complex problem (a psychopath operating the LRA with the background of the Sudan civil war and Ugandan and Congo border conflicts) and reduce it to a face on a WANTED billboard. Why chose this man, why now (the probem was there in the early 90's), is it relevant now, and what will be the end result? Will this prevent ongoing widespread atrocities and abuse of children (i.e. sex trafficking and sweatshops)?

All in all, it sounds like the adults need to do a bit of work with the kids about the content of this movie first before heading off to the cinema.

-relating to kids
Charlie Mas said…
I've just read the email that the Hamilton principal sent to families who were concerned about the Hunger Games outing.

I thought it was a pretty good email that acknowledged (if it did not address) concerns about the outing. The message described how the decision was made - it was a team decision. The governing policies were reviewed.

This is largely a judgement thing. As a general rule I support the decisions of the professionals on the front line. If I have questions about those decisions, however, I think that they should be able to address those questions. I think the principal's email does that.

I don't expect to agree with the decisions 100% of the time, but I do expect the staff to be able to adequately defend their decisions 100% of the time. This judgement - and it was a judgement call - was made with thought to the negatives. I don't think we can ask anything more.
Anonymous said…
My take on the administrative response was totally different than yours, Charlie.

The letter acknowledged concerns, but essentially said they're moving ahead anyway. It says that it was a team decision that weighed the positives and negatives without stating what the merits of the trip really are. It clearly said it was not an educational trip.

They are fully aware of concerns and aren't concerned. That is the story of our year at Hamilton.

-Hamilton parent
Anonymous said…
Nothing like figth to the death gladiator style to stir up the blood. Maybe that's why teens go for "fight club" battles and post them on You tube as it feed the urges, gain notoriety, and real street "cred" at the same time. Still not all end up so cheerful.

KOMO news headline: Teen beaten bloody at rave under First Ave. South bridge

-relating to kids
Anonymous said…
I am aware of no Board policy or guideline about field trips beyond the principal needing to approve them and having the required chaperones and permission slips.

So, yes, they can say they checked policy and there wasn't anything preventing them from taking 11-12 year olds to a non-educational PG-13 movie. You just need parents to sign off and you're good to go.
Anonymous said…
I am aware of no Board policy or guideline about field trips beyond the principal needing to approve them and having the required chaperones and permission slips.

So, yes, they can say they checked policy and there wasn't anything preventing them from taking 11-12 year olds to a non-educational PG-13 movie. You just need parents to sign off and you're good to go.

-Hamilton parent
Anonymous said…
Wonder if people just miss the irony of this whole outing. The book is a fantasy with the plot line of a post apoclyptic world where the haves and have nots combat for entertainment (Nero had the right idea). It's pretty riveting, page turning book kinda like the "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" thriller. Bestseller and cult classic! Gee, think what kids on TV with legs blown off and shrapnel wounds in Syria fighting a combat of their own to survive would make of it. Really you need fantasy to illustrate this? Nah. Better to save it and make it a fantasy, because then we can watch it without it being "educational" or too much about the "heavy stuff". Let kids enjoy and be kids.

-relating to kids
Anonymous said…
Hamilton parent,
What letter are you referring to? Just curious, as we got no such letter and are

Also Hamilton Parents (of a 6th grader)
Anonymous said…
The letter being referenced is a response to those voicing concerns. It wasn't sent to all 6th grade parents.

Anonymous said…
Thanks! Interesting, though, as we have emailed Chris Carter about this -- and got no letter or response from him.

Also Hamilton Parents
Anonymous said…
School Board policy D121.00, Student Activities General Standards and Regulations, dated July 1985...

"Each student activity should be planned to attract maximum student participation. Throughout the year, activities should be sufficiently varied to encourage every student to participate at some time."

another parent said…
Many parents emailed Mr Carter to protest HG as a choice for 6th grade class trip. Many of these parents are fine with taking their own kid, excited about it even, they do not however see the merit in HG movie as an all-class trip for 11 -12 yr olds. Mr Carter's "form"letter went to a few parents who emailed him earlier this wk. and did not specifically address the various concerns that different parents have - there are in fact many issues with this trip, some have been mentioned here. As he received many more emails later in the wk, neither I nor the many other parents I know have received a response from him. Maybe they are weighing what to do. There has been quite a bit of conflict and concern among parents with the Hamilton administration and teachers this yr. It might behoove Mr Carter to just take a bit of an easier path for the rest of the yr - I don't think this was a good judgement call and could easily have been avoided. It's not like a HG field trip is common among other 6th grade classes, I havent heard of a single other 6th gr class planning this, although maybe we'll hear more as we get closer to the release date.
Talar said…
Another parent:

You haven't done a web search clearly...there are lots of schools nationwide doing field trips to see the Hunger Games both middle schools and high schools. Based on the information on the websites some of those even include 6th graders.


If you are any of the parents who don't want their child to go or your child is feeling peer pressure, it is time for you to step up. The school has offered you an option to not have your child not attend, take them up on this. IMO, the best action you can take is to not send your child, that is the only true demonstration of your discomfort. If you choose to let your child go despite all of these discussions then all of this is moot and these discussions are nothing more than more Internet noise.
Anonymous said…
Talar, nice more internet noise that maybe, it doesn't take away that 11 year old kids and parents are not ready for HG. This is a community event. Supposed to be fun, involving the student body of the 6th grade. Why choose an activity that might be uncomfortable for kids? It's one thing if they read the book first and have a bit of discussion about it. Check the blogosphere (Amazon and commonsense book comments), many kids this age group and parents have commented on this book that for younger readers like 11 year olds, it's a book that is not for everyone. Even more true about the movie especially if kids have not read the book as it's more graphic.

-a little common sense please
Anonymous said…
Problem here is the adults. The movie is PG13 for goodness sake. Even the film marketers agreed to that rating. The decision was made with all good intentions. It doesn't mean it's the right decision. This whole debacle makes a good plotline for a novel. You have a case where a decision is made, and feathers are ruffled, but people are not going to give an inch because that would mean a concession or an admission to a mistake. Yet we preach to kids all the time about how it's ok to learn from your mistakes. It isn't ok to say if you are not comfortable, you can opt out. That was said about prayers in school remember? It's not as if the movie itself has an educational component. But the firestorm surrounding it has certainly been an education for our family.

SPS parent
Anonymous said…
What's old is new again.

Nonfiction Curriculum Enhanced Reading Skills, Study Finds

An "experimental curriculum" from E.D. Hirsch/Core Knowledge was shown to improve reading comprehension. Lucy Calkins protests. Are the tides turning?

seattle parent
Scrawny Kayaker said…
Just heard a short bit on NPR's Morning Edition about school testing, which was actually mainly about a specific charter school. Paraphrase of parental quote: We were attracted to this charter school because they only spend a two week period on test prep, not letting it railroad the entire year's plan.

NOT mentioned: Does the charter school face the same immediate sanctions as a regular public school if their test results are not up to snuff, and are they in the same place in the NCLB/RTTT death-ratchet system or state laws? (I don't know the answer, so if someone could Google that for me...thanks!)

If the answer to both those questions are "yes" then it's not *crucial* to mention that for fairness, but it's a sufficiently important issue that they surely could have found time to squeeze in a clause like "even though the school faces the same high stakes for test results as public schools.

If the answers are "no," then this piece is a biased hatchet job that leaves unstated the fact that public schools that fail in the impossible demand to constantly ratchet upward in standardized test scores will be shut down and be replaced by charters, which won't be under the same pressure. In practice, most of those charters can be expected to be run not by parents or genuine community groups but by the same Ed Reformers and astroturfers (Gates, TFA, LEV, etc) currently driving the Democratic party to the right on education issues.

Of course, even if charters have the same test consequences, they may have less worry about test results due to cherry-picking or self-selection by more motivated students. That's always a powerful advantage for charter schools.

Looks like another example of Nice Polite Republican's center-right radio programming. Consider switching to KCBS and Democracy Now for your public radio programming if you agree that NPR is too much a captive of the corporatists.

Cross-posted at
-Scrawny Kayaker
Scrawny Kayaker said…
Oops: That's KBCS (Bellvue College's radio station). Also forgot to close my quote at the end of third paragraph. Typo-fest!
hschinske said…
Lucy Calkins just said it wasn't a great study, which is entirely possible, and even if true would have nothing to do with the merits of the actual curriculum. From what I've read of Calkins (admittedly some years ago now), I don't see why she would be opposed to the general philosophy of more content-rich materials being used. But I could be missing nuance here, especially local political nuance.

(Full disclosure: Lucy Calkins is a relative of my stepmother. I've never met her.)

Helen Schinske
Anonymous said…
FYI for anyone following this thread, Principal Carter of Hamilton MS cancelled the Hunger Games field trip, citing parent concerns. He said an alternate activity will be planned.

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