Tuesday Open Thread

A couple of things to note about tonight's BEX IV meeting at Eckstein at 6:30 p.m.

One, the meeting is an hour-and-a-half.  That's not much time at all.

Two, they generally take at least five minutes to introduce all the staff and Board members.  Then, they feel the need to explain BEX when really, they could just refer people to the website for that basic information.  People attending want to talk turkey and I urge the staff to keep their remarks to a minimum.

Three, folks, if you get up to speak, please have your comments/questions thought out.  I believe there will be many who want to speak and, in particular, ask questions. 

Also, the Times had a story about the City putting forth a library levy in August to fund cut-backs to this system.  At the end of the article, they noted all the pending levies, both city and county.  I have to say there may be definite voter fatigue by the time they get to BEX IV and the Operations levies in Feb. 2013.  And, these two will be the biggest amount asked for by any entity.  Very worrisome.

Potential future ballot measures

The city of Seattle, King County and Seattle Public Schools all have additional property-tax measures that could be sent to the voters over the next five years.

Year     Jurisdiction                                Measure
2012    City Library levy                       $123M
            City Seawall waterfront             $250M (estimate)
            City Fire Facilities (expires)
            County Juvenile Justice Center  $200M
             County Automated Fingerprint Information Systems (renewal)

2013     County Medic 1 emergency medical services (renewal)
             County Parks open space (renewal)
             Seattle School district Operations/BEX IV, up to $1.3B

2014     City Parks open space (renewal)
             City Pike Place Market (expires)

2015     City Bridging the Gap transportation levy (renewal)

2016     City low-income housing (renewal)
             School District operations/BTA levies


Over at Publicola, they are reporting this bit of news:

"George Scarola, the longtime lobbyist for the League of Education Voters, the moderate education reform group that often finds itself trying to strike a balance between the adamant Stand for Children and the equally adamant teachers’ union, announced last week that he’s leaving LEV."

This is the second person in LEV leadership to leave (Lisa Macfarlane is the first). Well, they always have Chris Korsmo.

I might debate the term "moderate" to describe LEV but versus Stand, then yes, they are moderate.
John said…
I want to thank Melissa Westbrook for her diligence covering things like BEX. If it wasn't for this blog, we wouldn't have discovered that Jane Addams K-8 was in the district's sights again until after tonight's meeting, probably too late. I don't always agree with the commentary around here, but this is a perfect example of what blog journalism can accomplish. The print and broadcast media just can't do something like this in the best of circumstances.

So thanks!
Anonymous said…
Interesting story out of California about how a Ed Reform funded group called "Parent Revolution" who claimed to be grassroots, but was really Gates/Broad funded, tried to mislead parents into voting to create a charter school via the "parent trigger" law there.

Adelanto, California: Parents defeat effort to privatize local school

dan dempsey said…
John wrote:

I want to thank Melissa Westbrook for her diligence covering things like BEX. If it wasn't for this blog, we wouldn't have discovered ...

Amen to MW's diligence in covering so much so often and so consistently. ... Thank You Melissa.
Steve said…
At the BEX meetings this week, I also suggest that we (parents and other interested parties) resist any move by the district to split us into smaller groups and have those groups report out at the end of the meeting. While this may be an efficient way for the district to get information from a lot of people, it robs us all of the information and insight that can be gleaned from an open comment period. With only 90 minutes (ridiculous - should be longer), we'll lose a lot of we don't all share in an open forum.
Steve said…
And I thank you too, Melissa!
Options said…
Does anyone know when we'll find out about the option school assignments?
Charlie Mas said…
I believe there is a meeting this afternoon at the JSCEE regarding Creative Approach Schools with some instruction for folks who are interested in starting one.

It's at 4:00, but I'm not sure which room.
Sahila said…
Student Loans - Bill Moyers calls it for what it is - indentured servitude: student loan crisis - from the cradle to the grave
Not Disgusted Today said…

Another reason to love Betty Patu.
Patrick said…
I use and love the libraries, but as long as most of their budget comes from the city's general fund there's not really such a thing as a levy that's for the library. The City is prioritizing the general fund for unpopular programs, and then having popular programs like parks and libraries go do the begging.

I'd hate for the school's levies to fail because of levy fatigue.
Sahila said…
you know all those boiler plate pieces of legislation springing up around the country, including the ones attempting to embed ed deform in Washington?

This is where they come from: ALEC - who are they in your state - listings by state
TraceyS said…
A very sad story of a young high school student, Sierra LaMar, who disappeared while waiting for a bus in the morning. This article talks about the 11 hour delay by the schools in notifying anyone that she was absent from school that day.

It got me thinking about what Seattle's policy is for notifying parents when children do not show up to school in the morning, especially for middle and high schoolers. Is this a school-by-school policy, or is there a district-wide policy that is actually followed?

Sierra LaMar's disappearance raises questions about how schools notify parents when students don't show up for class
Anonymous said…
Did you get your report cards? I was really surprised to learn that my child (who scores high in MAP) was graded as "approaching performance expectations" in Math. The teacher has never contacted us to discuss my child's apparently lagging performance, and I had just assumed there was no problem, that he was meeting grade expectations. Is this how parents find out when something is "wrong"? With the report card?

-- Frustrated
Tracey, my experience with notification is that I would receive - by mid-morning - any notice if my son was not in school. Now, if your child does not go to a later class, then you might not find out. But if he/she is not in any class, you should be notified.

Ask your principal what your school does. I got a robo-call but maybe you can ask for an e-mail to be sent if you are not available by phone.

Frustrated, I'd ask the teacher but yes, for "lagging" I suspect they just let you know in the report card. I would think something serious would have to be going on before anyone would actually call you.
dan dempsey said…
Possible cheating on Tests
in Sumner
School District
reported in the Tacoma News Tribune HERE.

"Sumner is one of four Washington state school districts identified in a recent national investigation by the Atlanta Journal Constitution for showing improvements in student test scores that appear to defy the numerical odds.

The investigation, also the subject of a story in Sunday’s Seattle Times, says the Sumner, Tahoma, Mukilteo and Kennewick school districts showed suspicious swings in year-to-year standardized test results.

Sumner officials strongly defended the security of their testing regimen on Monday. In a statement to The News Tribune, they said staff has done exemplary work the last few years to rise to meet federal standards, and that any suggestion “teachers or principals are cheating to improve school performance is defamatory at best.”
Eric B said…
I may be being naive in believing the District, but everyone keeps saying that these plans are a starting point. From a practical standpoint, they have to be, since the program placement issues are not on the table yet. I expect that the plans will be set in something firmer than gelatin in the near future, probably after the comments from this meeting are processed.
Anonymous said…
Anonymous "... I was really surprised to learn that my child (who scores high in MAP) was graded as "approaching performance expectations" in Math. The teacher has never contacted us to discuss my child's apparently lagging performance,..."

There is an on-going grade manipulation effort by staff through-out the district. This is because teachers and admins are being so harshly evaluated according to student "progress".

Students can be and are being raised and lowered almost by whim so teachers can show "improvement".

This is happening across grade levels.

Your student may be high in the spring and then low in the fall, reaching middle by February.

So how this works?

Grades are not ever going to show you what your student knows. Or how they are truly progressing.

Next up for discussion, social promotion.

Anonymous said…
Along the line of Tracey S and "not disgusted" today posts, this past week in S. Seattle 2 more stories about young teenage girls being assaulted (one's an attempted assault) on their way to schools. So yeah, it's quite the pisspot gauntlet kids have to cross just to make it to school (who needs to see the "Hunger Games" when you can live it since we are also a mecca for sex offenders too). But hey, on the bright side, Seattle's making headways with a new school for SLU, greenways for bikers, rain garden, green roof, luncheon for A4E, and a rocket for Mr. Amazon Bezos.

-making whoopee in dystopia
Sahila said…
Vulture Capitalist/Philanthropist ~ One who picks apart a business or public institution to obtain saleable parts/revenue streams to benefit himself...
Anonymous said…
I'm dying to attend the BEX meeting tonight in support of elementary northend APP, but I can't make it. Will there be any blow-by-blow reporting I can follow?

-Sorry to miss the meeting
I'll try, Sorry, but I can't make any promises.
I'll try, Sorry, but I can't make any promises.
mirmac1 said…
"making whoopee in dystopia" OMG, I am there. Sorry to say it is true. We are spread thin but must do what we can to protect our kids.
Syd said…
I agree about the library funding. Funding the library out of the general fund is not a good plan for sustaining the library. We should take a look at how the San Francisco libraries are funded. The library system there has completely separate funding.
Anonymous said…
my post got eaten :(

KUOW weekday this week interviewed Dr. Shepherd Siegel (career and technical education manager for Seattle Public Schools) about alternative paths from high school and ways to keep kids (esp those at risk of dropping out) engaged and in school til graduation.

Interesting stuff, esp. how they'll involve kids in the discussion about the future (college, CC, other) so it's not tracking into skills courses (tracking -what adults do to kids) but finding out what kids are good at and passionate about and involving kids in discussions about working to find paths to foster those aptitudes. (hoping to eliminate any 'not college bound' stigma)


More Job Training Coming To Seattle Schools: Not all high school students head to college after they graduate, and now Seattle Public Schools has started a new program offering training for those who want to go right to work. This fall, the district will open a new Skills Center, offering vocational courses in aerospace science, health science, digital animation, game programming and information technology.

--sps mom
I interviewed Shep and just have to get it all together for a thread. I am very excited about the work he is doing for our students.
dan dempsey said…
Check it out:
Jay Greene's Blog =>
Review of Marc Tucker’s Book in Ed Next

Jay has a review of Marc Tucker’s book, Surpassing Shanghai, in the new issue of Education Next. It’s a general critique of “best practices” in education as well as a particular critique of Tucker’s ability to sell band instruments — er, I mean, sell Common Core — based on picking and choosing among the practices of high-achieving countries, like Finland, China, Canada, and Singapore.

Oh we got trouble. Right here in the US. And that starts with “T,” whose solution rhymes with “C,” and that stands for Common Core.
CT said…
Hey look - another charter school operator is in trouble. Shocker!
seattle citizen said…
Shep Siegel rocks, and has for quite some time. The CTE program has struggled financially, and has struggled to articulate its place in a district where things often to only focus on "college bound" activities.

I hope the community continues to support Dr. Siegel in advocating for, and building out, these wonderful opportunities in CTE and other alternative pathways. CTE needs our support. Dr. Siegel is capable but, as mentioned, is often working with very little in a charged atmosphere.
Anonymous said…
The District has a system called ESIS into which I am supposed to enter my attendance first thing in the morning. And I do unless I get distracted and forget which occasionally happens. Usually, the secretary will call the room via intercom and ask about the attendance. Honestly, they try to do it early so that parents will be notified in a timely manner.

Anonymous said…
Sahila, your link to ALEC didn't work. Do it again please.

Anonymous said…
Seattle Times reporter picks up on the Seattle Times editorial (different writers) from last week urging direct public interviews of superintendent.

Geez anytime Lynne Varner, Stand for Children, The Alliance and parents agree on something, you'd think the Board would jump on it. But no... I sense the hand of board president DeBell here.

Also, anyone notice how much weaker Smith-Blum is on civic engagement than she was last year? And disappointed in McLaren for the same thing.

Ed Voter
Well, I believe that DeBell wants to keep a firm hand on this process. However, given recently disclosed e-mails, I have to wonder if there will be some behind-the-scenes introductions for certain groups/people (not counting the Mayor or City Council who I would assume would get to meet these people).
Po3 said…
Meet and greet at Frank Greer's for $500 a plate?
dan dempsey said…
Shep Siegel has an excellent grasp of the big picture. He is a tremendous resource. I've spoken with him on a few occasions and been very impressed.
Anonymous said…
RE: Creative Approach Schools. Does anyone know whether the 80% threshold for staff to buy into this is also required of the parent community at the school? Must 80% of the parent community at a school also buy-in to have the plan go forward? Seems that without that requirement, we have hijacked the process and decision right out of the hands of parents who are assigned to that school.

- Curious
Curious,no, there is only 80% of staff.

That was one of the things I was arguing about is the lack of parent oversight/vote.

The MOU/facts sheets say there should be grassroots parent involvement but there is NO requirement for it. There is not requirement to take parent input and use it. There is NO requirement for parents on the BLT. There is no requirement for any parents to be on the district oversight committee which is SEA and district staff.

Yes, we hijacked this idea away from parents AND took the Board oversight away.

Not the smartest move.
Charlie Mas said…

There will be a committee that will review the applications for Creative Approach Schools. For applications to gain approval they must meet some as yet undefined and eventually subjective standard of community engagement set by the members of the committee.

It is unclear if failure to adequately engage the community could, by itself, cause an application to be denied.
Sahila said…
Another well-funded, well-organized organization of the 1%, particularly focused on education, is the PIE Network. Funded by the Waltons, the "millionaire boys club" Gates-Broad people, and other similar people, it masquerades (of course) as a pro-student group. This is a dangerous organization. Pay attention to it.

PIE Network
Sahila said…
Right wing DeVos family has a new astroturf, pseudoparent, anti-union, privatising organisation- ParentsKnowBest

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