Friday Open Thread

Last day of Spring Break vacation for the kids. 

Hey, we now know who the mystery date superintendent finalists are.   I am planning to be ready with at least three questions to  each finalist (I'll be lucky to get one but better to be ready).  

Upcoming threads:
- International Education and its costs
- CTE - looks like the Obama administration is coming back on-board with that issue

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said…
Anyone know when the district will post the document showing the number of kids on wait-lists at each school?

NW mom
Jack Whelan said…
A good question for the new sup candidates would be to ask about the positive or negative impact of Race to the Top. He or she would win me over with a statement like this one from Montgomery MD super Joshua Starr. See this link.

Is there a chance that any one of these candidates is in the Starr mold?
seattle citizen said…
Globally, we've been suspecting, Facts has been ill. We've seen as much in many stories about education, for instance. We ourselves have been aiding and abetting this tragic demise in comments made by both "sides" of the education debate (including yours truly.)
Now it's come to this: Rex W. Huppke, Chicago Tribune reporter, reports that Facts is dead.

Facts struggled gallantly to the end, especially lately: "Facts, which had been losing a battle against the 24-hour news cycle, blogs and the Internet...Florida Republican Rep. Allen West’s claim that as many as 81 of his fellow members of the U.S. House are communists was the fatal wound for Facts..."

RIP, Facts (360 B.C.-A.D. 2012.) We'll miss ya. Sorry I wasn't always with you there towards the end; I wish I'd been more supportive. In your memory, I'll try to be more dilligent in my truthiness, uh, I mean my facts.
Jack, what a find! I love this guy:

'Starr added that he isn’t opposed to charter schools, which are publicly funded but independently run, but said he “doesn’t know why they would be needed here in Montgomery County.. . . I don’t see what the value add would be,” he said. Charter schools have struggled to gain a foothold in Montgomery during Weast’s tenure."

He really seems to be operating from the lens of "what will help my district?" Impressive.
Sahila said…
Reminder: Michelle Rhee's ed deform astro-turf lobby group - StudentsFirst - has Washington State in its sights; begins its campaign with this event:
Anonymous said…
Speaking of Joshua Starr, check out the previous superintendent of Montgomery County , MD schools, Jerry Weast, who retired last year. He wrote a book called "Leading for Equity, The Pursuit of Excellence in Montgomery County Public Schools." He was able to reduce the achievement gap in his district.

There are models out there of successful method to reduce the achievement gap, albeit ones that take a lot of effort and change. I am not sure why we keep trying to re-invent the wheel, or are we not willing to go the distance to make it happen.

Wake County, NC also made some amazing innovative changes in the early 2000's.
Jan said…
Oooohhhh -- anon at 3:14. Moniker! You have to sign with some name! So -- here is your post, reprinted to save it for posterity! You wrote:

"Speaking of Joshua Starr, check out the previous superintendent of Montgomery County , MD schools, Jerry Weast, who retired last year. He wrote a book called "Leading for Equity, The Pursuit of Excellence in Montgomery County Public Schools." He was able to reduce the achievement gap in his district.

There are models out there of successful method to reduce the achievement gap, albeit ones that take a lot of effort and change. I am not sure why we keep trying to re-invent the wheel, or are we not willing to go the distance to make it happen.

Wake County, NC also made some amazing innovative changes in the early 2000's."

Thanks for the book reference. In terms of reinventing the wheel, I don't think the issue is whether "we" are trying to reinvent the wheel or not. I think it is more that a group of "pre-vetted," "pre-approved" solutions has grown up around an ideological model (pro-private enterprise, anti-collective labor, pro-business-oriented-solutions). These solutions involve things like TfA and teacher evaluation reform (both of which are useful ideas -- but not as now implemented) that diminish the professionalism of teaching and the power of teachers' unions and teacher input; high stakes testing -- across all subjects, and often, using a nationally standardized curriculum (helps with evaluations and the push against teacher tenure), provides a (faux) basis for comparing schools against each other and from year to year; gives a (faux) sense of overall student achievement on a state/national level; and charters/vouchers/privatization of the delivery of educational services and the transfer to the private sector of school/education-related public assets.

The groups espousing these reforms are ONLY interested in this stuff, and are specifically NOT interested in anything that runs contrary to it, or significantly detracts from their message. They want only so much "accountability" as will advance their agenda and preferred solutions, and none that might inconveniently suggest that these solutions don't work or are harmful.

Between those willing to live with the status quo (not a huge group -- and the accusation leveled by ed reform against anyone opposing their slate) and those who are actively pushing ed reform to the exclusion of any other solution, there isn't much ability for anyone else to get a solution on the table these days, no matter how willing they are.
Sahila said…
According to the StudentsFirst page, Rhee's event has 10 people committed to attending... including Rachel Hug, Communications Coordinator at Alliance for Education (Seattle) and people from Lake Forest Park and Monroe...
Linh-Co said…
Montgomery County was using Singapore Math with those amazing scores.
anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
seattle citizen said…
Anonymous 4:55 - as Jan indicated, you have to either come up with a user name, or come up with a name (yours or made up) to put on the bottom of your post. It helps everybody keep track of "who" says/thinks what, and blog admins will delete un-"signed" posts.
Here's your post again, in case it gets deleted. Thanks for pointing us to Weast - I'll have to look into what he's doing, sounds interesting.

Anon 4:55's post:
In response to Jan, in response to me. First of all thanks, I am new to this.

In terms of re-inventing the wheel, I was not referring to the various "theories" of "reform" that are bandied about by the many folks who seem to know how to solve the achievement gap. I am referring to actual whole school districts that actually have reduced the achievement gap. See what works in practice in a large scale and from many points of view (teachers, unions, parents, students etc).

I confess, I haven't read Jerry Weast's book but just learned about him from someone who heard him speak in Vancouver, BC last weekend. The woman who heard him speak said he got the unions on board, had the teacher's design their own evaluation system, researched extensively what a successful college graduate looked like in kindergarten and worked very hard at kindergarten readiness. He stressed that he did not use the work reform in his work as it is degrading to teachers.
Sahila said…

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Education should not be unnecessarily made into a scarce resource for the purposes of profit. People should not be branded "failures" by an impoverished K-12 school system that has failed them, only to leave them as fair game for the prison system. People should not graduate with tens (or hundreds) of thousands of dollars in debt for deciding to go to college in order to gain skills that will be used in the name of the common good. For these reasons and more, we are having a national DEBT JUBILEE on student loan debt and developing a system of FREE EDUCATION FOR EVERYONE.


Beginning at 6pm on April 25th, people will gather at Westlake Park to share their respective experiences with the education-prison-military industrial complex as a horizontal teach-in on that subject. Through this process of collective sharing, we will create the knowledge we need for our collective liberation from this system that was never built to serve our interests in the first place. There is also likely to be free food, music, speak outs and possibly even theater.

We will be liberating learning and knowledge creation from the clutches of the 1%. WE WILL democratize the dominant economics through free sharing of knowledge. Since knowledge sharing can happen freely and knowledge expands in quality and quantity as it is shared, sharing it freely creates an environment of rich abundance in the knowledge economy. Here is where we must look at the picture of the economics of education.The dominant schooling system, the education-prison-military industrial complex, functions on a paradigm of scarcity of access to "legitimate" or "qualifying" knowledge (i.e. there are X number of jobs and Y number of prison cells with the distribution of people to jobs and prison cells closely relating to their "success" and "failure" with respect to the school system.) After high school, many people are forced to join the military as the only option promoted to them for entering "higher" education through which we are told we will be able to escape poverty. However things do not have to be this way. Knowledge can be freely and democratically shared and through doing so we create an economy where everyone wins; subjugation to both a knowledge economy and the more general market economy dominated by the 1% are easily escapable through collective operation in a horizontal and mutualistic fashion.
Watching said…
Here is an excellent forum. Too bad it is in Spokane:

The forum deals with the media and superintendent candidates, and FOIA requests.

Brian Rosenthal, we are counting on you for complete and unbiased reporting.
Watching said…
Oops. Seminar is conducted from a then superintendent candidate regarding FOIA. Still, should be good.
Anonymous said…
The National Council for the Social Studies will be holding its annual conference in Seattle this fall (Thursday - Sunday, November 15 - 18).
The conference will be in the Washington State Convention Center and in the hotels nearby.

Sandra Day O'Connor will be in Seattle for the conference!

--Old School Music
Anonymous said…
Watching Jessica Gao on The Impact interviewing Rodney Tom last night on TV. I almost got up and ran around the room I was so mad at him.

He said in so many words including these that our system of teacher evaluation is failing and the proof? Just look at all those "hot" young teachers being riffed in favor of older teachers.

Umm, age discrimination anyone? I wonder if we shouldn't vote out old useless people like Tom in favor of some "hot" younger legislators.

BTW, I thought in most vocations, one wanted age and experience. My home tile setter is in his seventies and knows more about tile than anybody else I know. And master craftsman in any profession, vocation, whatever, usually designates someone who has been around a while and knows the craft.

That comment was purely reflective of age discrimination. And he then called himself a "progressive."

He's no progressive. He sounds like a Republican. Sheldon - who votes with the right often - Katayama, and Tom. What a not-so-hot trio.

BTW, Gao should have called him on that - "Isn't that age discrimination, Senator Tom?"

The worst part of his age-discriminatory claim is that it shows his values. It is better to take older women out of the workforce? Where will they go? Too young for pensions (plan 2 requires you to be sixty-five) and social security isn't available until sixty-two.

There are so many corrupt and moral collapes in his little interview that went unnoticed by Gao. Unbelievable.

seattle citizen said…
Tom's "...look at all those "hot" young teachers being riffed in favor of older teachers." complaint is Reform code: "Hot" refers to "on fire" or "energetic" or "with today's program." By combining that with "young," Tom the Reformer is inferring that only young, new teachers are any good. From THAT inference, we read a large part of the Reform agenda: Hire young teachers who will work twelve/seven, use up their energy, then discard them (for of course REAL people, as they age, have complex and demanding lives outside of the classroom, and will therefore become distracted and, hey, tired old people, at which point they should be discarded.
Another inference made from this, as you note, is that experience doesn't matter, that decades of nurturing and succoring and elevating young people doesn't teach a body anything, that only what the "hot" young people bring to the classroom in their first years matter, which is the training they've received from TFA in five weeks. Teachers don't need practice or experience: Everything is packaged for them and they are to deliver this, extended day and into the weekend...with home visits and tutoring and buying lunch (in other words, by being social workers as well as teachers)...
Experience doesn't matter, age creates un-"hot" people...
Get rid of 'em: Reform the system so that young, idealistic people out of college can be handed jobs for two years (which they will certainly take, in this economy) and so create a revolving door of "young and hot" people who will only use the little bit of training they are handed by the minders, the test/curriculum companies.
Solves two problems: It creates a new sort of docile, inexperienced teacher corp who don't have time to learn to really TEACH, and so merely mouth the Reformer's mechanistic rote, and b)education itself is made into mere pap, numbers-chasing, a training program for non-critically-thinking sheep who can push buttons and act on command.

Oh, and bonus: Experience increases value: A new teacher makes half what an experienced teacher makes in salary. Cycling through new, hot, short-timers instead of creating, over time, experienced educators, saves bundles of money.
Anonymous said…
I agree with your entire post. I would love to see a challenger take on Tom and push those words right back into his arrogant Republican face and ask for an explanation on why he supports age discrimination. He is the Scott Walker of WA State.

If I worked for a candidate and we were challenging him, those words could be used with great effect.

He's no progressive. He's an idiot.

I tried to respond to Gao's show but couldn't find an email address or even a comments section. There was a blog at TVW but all it seemed to feature were news stories. I think they need some feedback.

Anonymous said…
BTW, anybody know when he is eligible for his pension? At what age after working in the legislature for how many years? I'd like to know.

mirmac1 said…
Great letter from the National School Board Association. Wish our board subscribed to these values.

NSBA begs Obama for parental sanity in Ed policy
Sahila said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sahila said…
And it’s awfully clever of them to hold it at Aki because then anyone protesting looks like they're dissing the school somehow - its already got a reputation as being the worst performing school in the district. That was no accident ESPECIALLY AS ONE OF THE AKI TEACHERS IS A STUDENTSFIRST FELLOW. Scroll down to the bottom of the post and see who's on the panel - all LEV people... StudentsFirst In Seattle
Sahila said…
Movie on effects of poverty and corporate education "reform" on children, created by my housemate yesterday: Mad World
Sahila said…
Join more than 6300 parents and educators and sign the Letter to Obama at Dump Duncan>
Sahila said…
Follow the #StudentsFirst and #ALEC money in #edreform: money, money, money
Anonymous said…
Support for ability grouping in classrooms (it's an older article, but quite relevant):

Montgomery School's New Take On Ability Grouping Yields Results

By Daniel de Vise
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, November 4, 2007

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