Showing posts from May, 2012

SPS Family Survey to Start June 5th

From SPS Communications: Hearing from our families, staff, and students is critical to our efforts to improve education for every student. School climate surveys are given each spring to all students, school staff, and families in the district . We are gathering information about learning environments at our elementary, middle and high schools, including student engagement, academic rigor, discipline and safety, and family involvement. Results of these surveys will help inform how we support each students’ academic success and can be found online here . The family survey will be administered starting June 5 via the district's automated SchoolMessenger system, which will allow families to provide feedback by touch-tone phone response or an online web survey sent by e-mail. SchoolMessenger Calendar for Family Survey There will be two opportunities to take the survey by phone. Phone calls at 6 p.m. on: • June 5 and June 12: Element

Guess Who Dumped ALEC?

Well, there are still things to wonder at - it was WalMart.  From the Center for Media and Democracy: Wal-Mart , a member of ALEC's corporate "Private Enterprise" board and of the Public Safety and Elections Task Force that adopted Florida's "Stand Your Ground" as a "model" bill, announced yesterday that it is "suspending" its ALEC membership. Wal-Mart , a member of ALEC's corporate "Private Enterprise" board and of the Public Safety and Elections Task Force that adopted Florida's "Stand Your Ground" as a "model" bill, announced yesterday that it is "suspending" its ALEC membership. Color of Change, along with CMD, Common Cause, People for the American Way, and others are focusing now on asking State Farm, AT&T, and Johnson & Johnson to cut ties with ALEC . If you have State Farm insurance, encourage them to get out.   I'm with AT&T so I'm going to le

(Not at all Devious) Subversive Plan B

If the charter school initiative actually gains the signatures needed to make the ballot, and if it collects a majority of the votes in the election - two pretty big "if"s - it will become the law and we could see up to eight charter schools authorized for Washington State. We don't know what consequences this charter school law could have for Washington State or for Seattle Public Schools. Maybe some school districts will seek to become authorizers, maybe none, maybe all. It's a wild card that could lead to some seriously uncoordinated charter school authorization. It's pretty likely that some charter school management companies, like KIPP, Green Dot, and RocketShip, will seek to establish charter schools in the state, but there's no telling if they will or not, how many schools they will seek to create, where they will seek to place them, and whether they will seek conversions. The conversion option - making a public school into a charter school - creates

Fair Funding for NOVA Issue Explained

Folks who watch school board meetings have probably heard students from The NOVA Project speak to the board about how their school is funded. You may wonder what the heck they are talking about. They are NOT talking about the 15% reduction in funding that the state grants to Alternative Learning Experience schools. This has nothing to do with decisions made at the state level. Instead, they are talking about how the District unfairly under-funds NOVA, along with The Center School and South Lake High School. The story is not hard to understand, but it it is tricky because it doesn't make any sense at all. Nearly every school in the district is funded through the Weighted Staffing Standards. There are, however, a few schools which are not. It might make sense to fund and staff schools like the Homeschool Resource Center, Interagency, and Middle College differently from the way that other schools are funded. They are not organized or structured like other schools. But if you were to

Creative Approach Schools Lawsuit

This guest post is by Jack Whelan.  Please read it and consider adding your support.  (Somehow it got deleted and I am now reposting it.)  Why We’re Bringing Suit against the Creative Approach Schools MOU On June 22, there will be a hearing to decide whether the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding Creative Approach Schools between the district and the SEA, the local teachers union, is legal. This MOU grants the superintendent the right to waive any Board policy while approving the transformation of neighborhood schools into Creative Approach Schools. This could include waiving whistle blower policy, conflict of interest policies, academic and financial policies--any policy!  It also removes parents from the process.  A group of citizens-- Rita Green, Carlina Brown, Eric Muhs, Robert Femiano, and I—is bringing a suit against the district because we think this MOU is illegal. The lawsuit does not attack the idea of Creative Approach Schools, but we ar

Shooting Updates

Word via Twitter is that the suspect from Roosevelt has shot himself over in West Seattle. Early word is that this is the Roosevelt suspect. If so, it may be true that the Roosevelt and downtown shooter are one and the same. (It would seem odd that if there were two shooters who both fled to West Seattle. There also appeared to be police action around 50th and Roosevelt with police going into a house.

Update on McDonald Issue

From Duggan Harmon: "I have just confirmed that there is no district funding going to the Graham Hill Montessori pre-school program for 2012-13. This is consistent with the information shared with the board earlier and the message communicated to the Graham Hill community back on March 15th." I have no word on McDonald yet. To me the point is not whether this is the right thing to do or the wrong thing to do. It's about being open and transparent in how the district spends money and why they make the choices that they do. I understand the need at McDonald and they have had to take on a lot and very quickly. So when I hear something, I'll let you know.  

Later Start Times for High School Meeting Tonight

Start School Later Seattle will meet at the Wayward Coffee House at 5 pm on Wed 5/30.  The coffee house is at 65th and Roosevelt, parking is off the alley just west of Roosevelt Court. 

Downtown Shooter Likely in West Seattle

Be alert and aware.   The car the downtown shooter car-jacked has been found in West Seattle, reportedly at 30th and Genesee. The woman he shot downtown has died from her injuries. Police are advising residents to stay in their homes or businesses. Brian Rosenthal at the Times says police are saying, especially to Roosevelt parents, do NOT come and get your children.  They are safe and it would complicate matters. There is nothing at the SPS website yet and no media update so I have nothing to report from the district.

Shooting in Roosevelt Area; Gunman Still at Large

 Update at 1:30 p.m.  Spoke with Phil Brockman over at RHS.  They have moved to a "shelter in place" mode (a notch down from complete lockdown).  Students are to be released at regular time when school ends today per police belief that area is clear.  I did see two cop cars race up 15th Ave NE next to the school at a very high rate of speed but an officer on the scene said they are going to every reported sighting they have as quickly as possible.  end of update There has been a shooting in the Roosevelt area by NE 65th near the freeway.   KING-5 is reporting two people dead, another injured.  The gunman, a white man, is still at large. Roosevelt High School is on lock-down and so is Green Lake Elementary.  No word if Bagley or Bryant are as well. I just drove through the area not a half-hour before this happened.  This violence has got to stop. Update:  there was also a shooting in downtown Seattle at 8th and Seneca.  A woman was shot as she got car-jacked.  They f

Judge Rules Two-Thirds Vote Req'mt Unconstitutional

From the Times: King County Superior Court Judge Bruce Heller has ruled the voter-approved requirement that two-thirds of the Legislature approve tax increases is unconstitutional . The judge's order issued Wednesday morning says the "supermajority vote requirement violates the simple majority provision" of the state Constitution. The lawsuit was filed last year by two statewide education groups and a dozen Democratic state lawmakers seeking to overturn the two-thirds requirement. I would assume Mr. Eyman will go to the State Supreme Court but this is a big win (and hopefully, for education funding).

McDonald School - Extra Funding for IAs?

 (I know this is going to make many angry.  I'm sure the McDonald parents will be quite angry and I even know some of them.  My intent it to explain and to report on budgeting in the district.  If the Board is making decisions to benefit one program at the expense of others, then that deserves discussion.) Background:  When our district created John Stanford International School, there was big excitement.  This was to honor a fallen superintendent and it was a modern step forward for our district.   And, it was a huge success and a highly sought-after school. But there were a couple of big issues and one secret.  The issues were the creation of more of these popular schools AND where do the elementary students go after K-5?  I guess when they started JSIS, that seemed far away. But like all issues, the chickens came home to roost and there was a push for more schools and they were created.  And, they finally had Hamilton become the first feeder middle school.  That then put

More Diversity Sought in Media Advocacy

Associated with but not directly to, education, I wanted to put out this information about a media institute for journalists of varying backgrounds.   If you know a journalist or are one yourself, consider applying.  We need more voices, of all kinds, in our media.  GLAAD announces 2nd Annual National People of Color Media Institute GLAAD, the nation’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy and anti-defamation organization, today announced the 2nd Annual National People of Color Media Training Institute as a part of the organization's National People of Color Media Initiative. The Media Training Institute, funded by the ARCUS Foundation and created specifically for people of color who are LGBT or LGBT allies, develops passionate and visible leaders to speak in national media outlets about issues that impact the lives of LGBT people and their families. “While there have been major strides to increase visibility around the stories and issues LGBT p

What Do We Want?

After Reuven Carlyle's pro-charter blog post over at his blog , Charlie posted to it, asking why Reuven wasn't engaging since it was he who opened the conversation and from his thread, a lively conversation ensued. Here was his answer: Charlie: I’ve been reflecting on the issues and ideas. I’d like to ask you and everyone for genuine and sincere suggestions: What legislation would you like to see introduced and supported in Olympia? Seriously, if you could introduce a real piece of legislation–in addition to all of the McClearly work we have going–what would it be that would unite folks? I value your insight, judgement(sic) and counsel. So there you have it.  What would you like to see the Legislature do?  I'll throw out some ideas (not necessarily mine nor do they have my endorsement): 1) income tax just for K-12 education (iron-clad) to fund at least to the level of the national average 2) legislation to support counselors/career specialists in all hig

Tuesday Open Thread

Noticed the ads have come up.  I had to smile - one of the first ones was for charter school information.  I've deleted that category. What's on your mind?

Hawthorne Community Does the Hard Work

I visited Hawthorne earlier this year when they opened their Family Support room.  The Times has a story about the energy surging through this school from both parents and staff.  This is how a community retakes and rebuilds its neighborhood school. The story I was told was that a couple of neighborhood parents, when their kids were preschools, thought, "why wouldn't I go to my neighborhood school?" when neighbors tried to warn them off.  Undeterred, they enrolled their children and had potlucks and neighborhood gatherings to talk about how to support the school and what incredible diversity they would be giving their own children (not to mention being able to walk to school).  These are real parents making a real difference.  Their principal is totally supportive and works with all groups.  This is how you do it.  I am also aware of efforts at Northgate Elementary for parents in that neighborhood who want to have a neighborhood school and will make the effort to

Devious Subversive Plan A

Okay, let's suppose - for the moment - that the money behind the charter school initiative is successful at both getting it on the ballot and getting it passed. So now Washington State has a charter school law as outlined in this document . I really encourage folks to read this document and learn what the new rules may soon be. You'd be surprised what strategies present themselves once you know the rules. If you know how to look for them, you'll see some holes in this proposal that create opportunities to subvert the whole deal.

Seattle Channel's Discussion on Banda

I participated in a discussion about our new superintendent, Jose Banda, on Seattle Channel's program , City Inside/Out.   The panel included Chris Eide, ex-TFA teacher (now a sub), Lynne Varner of the Times, and Kim Mustafa, an SPS parent (who I believe is from the south end as that is w-here her children attend school). Some interesting quotes: Stephanie Jones of CPPS: " He needs to get to know the many communities in Seattle ." Mariellen Sereno, Independent Citizens Oversight Ctm in Anaheim: "I think he knows what it takes to be looking at that uphill battle and to be looking at those areas that really need attention." Lynne Varner: He's an extremely good listener.   He reminds me of former Superintendent John Stanford.  Later on, she said in an editorial coming out that he needed to set clear boundaries "or he would not be their employee but their servant."  Re: the School Board, Ms. Mustafa said that Banda sounded like a puppet a

Decline To Sign - New Facebook Group

Join my new Facebook group - Decline to Sign - Charter-Free Washington.   It's pretty simple - when (if) this charter initiative gets out to petitions, just Decline to Sign .  Getting it on the ballot is NOT an invitation to discussion (despite what the Times' says/thinks).  If they want a discussion, the time is NOW , not after it's on the ballot.  Tell your friends, neighbors, family members, co-workers and fellow PTA members, Decline to Sign. The way the timeline works out, the coalition that is pushing this may have between 2 weeks to 10 days to get signatures. I spoke with the Secretary of State's office to make sure I understood the timeline for the pro-charter folks to get this on the ballot. 1) Their initiative is now being reviewed by the Code Reviser's office.  That could be up to a week (although the person I spoke to said the language was already well-written).  May 21-May 25 2) Then it goes back to the pro-charter people for any

RTTT - District-Style

Secretary Arne Duncan and the Department of Education recently announced RTTT grants that allow districts, not just states , to apply for funds.  From the Ed Week article: The department anticipates giving out about 15 to 20 four-year grants, of up to $25 million each. Districts will be able to apply for the funds individually, or as part of consortia with other districts, even those in other states. And charter schools—as well as other organizations that are defined as a "local education agency" by their states—can compete, too. Yes, you can be a single charter school and apply.  That sure makes it a whole lot easier than it would for a full-fledged district like say, Detroit or LA.   Because, yes, charters get to be LEAs all by themselves.  The caveat here is that they have to serve at least 2500 students and there aren't as many single charters with that population but there's always KIPP, Green Dot, etc.  And, it goes on to note that even if your state

Seattle Schools Week of March 29-June 1

Wednesday, May 30th Work Session: Special Education from 4-5:30 p.m. at JSCEE - no agenda available yet. Thursday has two great events on solutions, yes solutions, that education experts are going to be presenting to parents and communities.  I have a feeling that this discussion will not be around charters, testing and TFA so if you want to hear different expert voices, attend one of these meetings. Thursday, May 31st Community &  Parents for Public Schools (CPPS) Annual Meeting from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at JSCEE Agenda: CPPS Highlights for Year, Parents' Bill of Rights Overview, Guest Speakers, Board Election.  "Building Quality Neighborhood Public Schools: What Can We Do?" Speakers:  Dr. Margery B. Ginsberg, Associate Professor of Education at UW and co-director of the AIM Center at Cleveland High School Dr. Joshua Garcia, Federal Way Public Schools' Assistant Superintendent of Teaching for Learning.  More info: Parents Across Americ

News Roundup

Of possible interest to our readers: From Education Week - an article about "a new breed of national education advocacy organizations " and the debate "about whether they can play a grassroots 'ground game' comparable to that of labor. Another article on these groups, this one from Education Next, about Fight Club for ERAOs (Education reform advocacy organizations) in D.C.  You remember the first rule of Fight Club?  There is NO Fight Club.  Why this emergence of these groups?  This article links it to charter operation frustration.  This is possibly the best article I have read in summing up these groups, how they interact and their growing influence. Many of the groups talk to one another frequently,, through a regular conference call organized by the Education Trust, at meetings organized by funders such as the Walton Family Foundation, and at conferences convened by groups such as the NewSchools Venture Fund.   The 34 organizations in the network op

Everything You Need to Know about Charters

I got a tweet from Stand for Children - Washington: Everything you need to know about non-profit public charter schools. with a link to this page .

Poetry Reading

All of you with an interest in social justice, special education and poetry are invited to hear poet and educator Dennis J. Bernstein read from his new collection of poems, Special Ed: Voices from a Hidden Classroom. These poems are about the kids who were Bernstein's students when he taught in the New York City public schools, before embarking on a career as an internationally known investigative journalist. For these kids, switchblades, police cars and hunger are more instructive than textbooks. Bernstein is currently the producer and co-host of the news program, Flashpoints, KPFA Pacifica Radio. This will be his first speaking engagement in Seattle. He will be speaking at the University Temple United Methodist Church, 1415 NE 43rd Street, Seattle, on Saturday, June 9 from 5:00pm - 7:00pm.

How Meta is this?

I have reserved the previous thread for the conversation with the Seattle Times, but I know that people will want to comment on that conversation (whether the Times shows up for it or not). So here is a thread for public comments on that thread. Too meta?

The Seattle Times Wants a Conversation

In an editorial published today, " A worthwhile conversation about charter schools ", the Seattle Times calls for a conversation on charter schools. Maybe this time they mean it. So, once again, I have reserved a space on the blog for the Seattle Times to engage in that conversation. This space is just for the Seattle Times. All other comments will be deleted. I am ready to have an honest discussion about charter schools. Are they? I sure hope so, since they are the ones calling for the conversation. Here is the space for the conversation they wanted. Let's see if they have the courage and conviction to show up. UPDATE: The Seattle Times, it turns out, does NOT want a conversation about charter schools. Tweet from Lynne Varner: @ charlie_mas  Sorry Charlie, I'm already in a convo w/ tens of thousands thru  @ SeaTimesOpinion . Works fine. You follow my every utterance. Of course, the Seattle Times Opinion page is not a conversation at all. Lynne Va

Heads Up for Blog Changes

After six years, Charlie and I have decided to monetize the blog.  It'll be a slow-go with Google's own AdSense.  There will not be any flashing ads and no pop-up ads.  We are not so interested in making a profit as maybe just paying for gas to go all over the city.  It will start sometime over the weekend and we'll see how it goes. 

City of Seattle-Protect Neighborhoods Where Our Schools Sit

I can't tell you how many times you hear the Mayor or the City Council members lament that they want to do more for Seattle Schools. They don't have governance of the schools.  But while the district is responsible for what goes on inside and on the grounds of every school, it is the CITY'S job to protect the areas around the schools. The Rainier Beach High School area (which also includes South Shore and Dunlap nearby) has had a huge amount of violence and shootings incidents.  RBHS suffers as a result of it and is that their fault?  It is not. And now we have an innocent father killed while driving his children and his own father, right by Garfield High School. He  got caught in the crossfire of two thugs shooting at each other.  This story from the Times. This is completely crazy and needs to stop.   No more of the "no snitching" mantra.  I don't care what people feel about the police themselves (clearly the Feds don't think a lot of the cu

Friday Open Thread - Oh What a Beautiful Morning

Do we not live in a beautiful place or what?  I told Superintendent Banda that I was from Arizona so I know the kind of getting used to that Seattle can take.  But, I also said that when the sun is out, it's not just nice but dazzling to live here with the mountains and water all around. There is one community meeting tomorrow with Director Patu at Cafe Vita, 5028 Wilson Avenue S, from 10 am - noon. And finally, some answers to a long and drawn out mystery - RIP sweet Etan Patz.  

Why It's Hard to Find Middle Ground

In case anyone didn't already know it, I sometimes meet and talk with people who are often cast as villains on this blog. I've met with Kelly Munn of LEV, Liv Finne of the Washington Policy Center, the former Executive Director of the Alliance for Education (not the current one), a lot of the staff at the Alliance for Education, and, recently, with Robin Lake of the Center on Reinventing Public Education. It has always been nice. In addition to these folks, I have good relationships with a lot of people at the school district - after we meet and they get to know me. I used to have friendly relationships with Lynne Varner and Bruce Ramsey on the Times editorial board. Those relationships may not be as friendly as they once were. However I may appear in print, I'm actually a pretty easy-going guy who works to see the other person's perspective. It's good for people to meet me in person and see that I don't have horns or a pointy tail.

Lafayette Principal Announced

From Dr. Enfield, I am pleased to announce the appointment of Shauna Heath as your new principal, effective July 1. Ms. Heath comes to Lafayette from the Kent School District, where she served as principal of Sunrise Elementary for the past two years. Ms. Heath is not only a great educator, but she lives in West Seattle and will be an excellent fit for the Lafayette community. Ms. Heath started her career as a special education teacher in King Salmon, Alaska and then as a special education teacher for the Shelton School District in Washington. She was the assistant principal for Tillicum Middle School in Bellevue from 1998-2002, served as an elementary school principal in Clinton, Tennessee, and was a middle school principal in Riverdale, Georgia. Before moving back to Washington state, she was the pre-kindergarten through 5th Grade Instructional Services Director for City Schools of Decatur, Georgia. Ms. Heath holds a Washington State Administrative Certification from the Universit

The Appeal of Charters

I can certainly see the appeal of this charter school initiative. We have all come to see that district-level rules and bureaucrats are the real impediment to reforming our schools so they serve students better. Charter schools go around that impediment by working outside those structures. Isn't that a good thing? I think it is. Sure, I'd like to fix the problem instead of working around it, but I'm not very optimistic about fixing the problem in my lifetime. The temptation to just bypass it is pretty strong.

Advanced Learning Update (to come)

Today the Advanced Learning Programs Task Force is having a meeting (from 4:15-6:15 pm at JSCEE, room 3802 - yes, you can attend).   Our long-awaited decision on a draft recommendation for a location for APP elementary north will be coming out (and wordsmithed).  Frankly, things have been slow and not-so-steady.  I am hoping that with a new facilitator (the last one left us), we will get more done.  I was a little surprised to see on the agenda an item for "introduction of new participants" so I look forward to finding out what that means.  I believe this will be the last meeting to include Cathy Thompson, head of Teaching and Learning, as she is leaving the district.  Updates to come after the meeting.

Facebook "Brawl" at Whitman

This from the Times: A fight yesterday morning between students, siblings and parents at Whitman Middle School in Crown Hill apparently started as a result of Facebook messages related to a student’s sexual preference, according to police. One participant was arrested, according to a Seattle Police Department report. Two others suffered minor injuries. The brawl started at about 7:45 a.m., as parents were dropping off their children for school, according to the report. One parent told police she was there because she heard her daughter was going to be attacked by other students who had threatened her on Facebook. Another participant said she was dropping off her little sister when she was approached. An argument broke out, which led to shoving and then a full melee, according to the report. At least five people were involved. It ended when Whitman Principal Sue Kleitsch got tangled up in the melee, according to the report. Police, called to the scene, helpe

Amazon Quits ALEC

Breaking news from our friends at the Stranger Slog. Protesters invaded Amazon's shareholder meeting in large numbers.   One key issue was Amazon's association with ALEC, the secretive group that uses money and legislators to enact their agenda. Goldy from the Slog reports that he got a text message saying Amazon has announced they are not renewing their membership in ALEC. Good move, Amazon.

Nightmare Charter School Scenarios

The more I think about this charter school thing, the more my imagination runs wild.

Competency Based Systems

Seattle Public Schools, in fact all Washington state school districts, are working, more like blindly groping, towards awarding credit based on competency. We already have a policy for this, and the credit policy  is due for revision over the summer and fall to allow students at Cleveland to earn full credit for less than 150 hours of planned instruction. If they don't update the policy in time, then Cleveland will have to be an Alternative Learning Experience school and the state will only pay 85% of the usual funding. I think that the District should be more ambitious and should re-write their credit policy so that all of our ALEs will be able to award regular credits and get more funding. Either way, competency based credit is coming and I think we should all learn a little something about how that works. Here is an article about it.  10 Elements Towards Eliminating the Batch-Print System  by Tom Vander Ark was originally published on  CompetencyWorks . Please, let's

Charter Initiative; LEV, Why So Quiet?

If you were a prominent education advocacy group and you joined a coalition of groups for a major initiative to be put on the ballot in November, don't you think you might actually have some information on your website?  I mean given your address is the address of record and your chief of staff is the public info contact for the initiative.  Not LEV.  Odd. So the News Tribune has a good story with both press releases from the coalition group and the WEA.  I had to smile at Rep. Pettigrew's statement: “This initiative will finally bring Washington into the 21st century in terms of educational opportunities for public school students,” Charter schools are the most cutting edge thing you can do in education today?  If that's true, we're in real trouble. What I didn't realize (and this is useful) is how tight the timing is to get the signatures (so that means spending a heck of a lot of money just to get on the ballot): Supporters acknowledge they won’t be

My Note to KUOW about the Charter Initiative

Just listened to Shannon Champion from Stand for Children talking about the charter school initiative on The Conversation.  A couple of things: - go back and listen to the tape.  She didn't answer virtually any of the actual questions that Ross asked.  You might want to keep that in mind going forward on this issue.  You won't get a straight, precise answer to questions like his question "can anyone open a charter school?" and the answer is "yes, anyone who follows the application process and has the background to open one."  She dodged that one. - I have gone thru the initiative (versus the charter bill legislation which is its template) - some interesting changes/additions/deletions but plenty for folks to have concerns with including the very controversial parent/teacher "trigger". - There will be organized opposition to this measure should it qualify for the ballot and it will NOT just be the union (or union supporters).  There ar

Big Money Rolling in for Charter Initiative

Well that didn't take long. Crosscut is reporting that the initiative is receiving a $4M boost from the Gates Foundation and $1M from Nick Hanauer (and I suspect the rest is from Stand or some other booster). Oddly, LEV has nothing on its site about sponsoring this bill. Bad news for Dem candidates: Speaking of Jay Inslee, if the charter initiative does go forward, watch for the anti-charters Washington Education Association, the teachers' union, to match the charter camp in spending, which will drain a traditional source of money away from the Democrats in the governor's race. I think this assessment is true but that's what happens when people in political parties split over a single issue. I wonder if people will have a reaction to that kind of money being spent on an education measure (either way).   I have read through the initiative which uses the charter legislation bill as a template. There is some definite tweaking which I will have to ponde

Sign Your Name to Posts? Or Else?

From our friends over at the Stranger Slog , Did you hear the one about the New York state lawmakers who forgot about the First Amendment in the name of combating cyberbullying and "baseless political attacks"? Proposed legislation in both chambers would require New York-based websites, such as blogs and newspapers, to " remove any comments posted on his or her website by an anonymous poster unless such anonymous poster agrees to attach his or her name to the post ." From the story at Gizmodo : The Senate and Assembly measures, which are identical, cover messages on social networks, blogs, message boards or "any other discussion site where people can hold conversations in the form of posted messages." The bills also demand those sites to have a contact number or e-mail address posted for "such removal requests, clearly visible in any sections where comments are posted." Oddly, the bill has no identification requirement for

Lafayette Investigation; Missing Some Pieces?

A very carefully worded investigation "report" from Paul Apostle to Susan Enfield about the Lafayette incident  and investigation report from Safety and Security was released today.  Also, a letter was sent to parents, also carefully worded, from Ex Director, Aurora Lora.  (I can't seem to create a link but I will get it up as soon as I can.)   A story is also in the Times and it, too, is carefully written and leaves out a lot.  No link to the investigation at all.  You have to wonder why all this tiptoeing is happening.  (And thanks to the Times for leaving out that we here broke the story - something to keep in mind in the future.)  Clearly, this is story many people don't want to tell. The Times leaves out that while the investigation didn't violate school district policy (i.e. Board policy), it left out the Superintendent's own procedures which are very clear on what is to happen if there is a sexual complaint.  Mum's the word on those both in t

Charter Schools Ballot Initiative Filed

From the Times: A coalition of education advocacy groups filed an initiative this afternoon to ask voters once again to allow charter schools in Washington state. If the groups can collect nearly 250,000 signatures by the July 6 deadline, the issue will go on the November ballot, joining a slew of other high-profile questions. Well, given that Stand for Children (and who knows who else) will be funded the signature drive, I have no doubt they will get the signatures. This initiative would cap the number of charter schools at 40, to be established and approved by the state over a five-year period. Priority would be given to charters that serve at-risk students or students from low-performing public schools. “It’s very unusual to be filing in May,” said Dave Ammons, a spokesman for the Secretary of State’s Office. “Time is very short.” The initiative was filed by Tania de Sa Campos, the chief of staff of the League of Education Voters. She could not immediately be

Proposed Policy 2220

As the Board considers revisions to Policy C56.00, the program placement policy, they should think about what they want this policy to do. I will link to a copy of the draft proposal as soon as one is available.

Tuesday Open Thread

To note; there is a rally outside the Seattle Art Museum this Thursday at 8:30 am where Amazon is having its annual shareholders meeting.  I had mentioned this previously as a way to let Amazon know it should get out of ALEC.  I have learned that this will be a fairly large rally as the Occupy Seattle folks will also be there.  If you are planning to attend, know it is likely to be large and noisy (as it should be).  What's on your mind?

That Divide Among Democrats on Education? Widening.

Rep. Reuven Carlyle has come out on his blog with a post that firmly aligns him in the ed reform camp.  This is his choice to make but it is not what I have heard from him in the past.   He also says some very unfair things and uses straight-out-of-the-book ed reform jargon.  (Seems he's starting getting the daily faxes from Stand on talking points.) I predict this divide is going to really be sharply felt next legislative session.  I think it is going to make for some really hard feelings (and hard choices) for many Democrats, both voters and elected officials.  But frankly, so be it.  I just wish that the ed reform side had the courage and courtesy to make some real acknowledgments about the other side - the "there are plenty of other things we can do" side. But I just want to go through Carlyle's piece and point out a few things: He completely echoes Nick Haneur on many points and I suspect these are the new talking points that are being passed around.  The

Curriculum and Instruction Policy Committee 5/21/12

The Board's Curriculum and Instruction Policy Committee met on Monday, May 21. The meeting started just after the scheduled start time of 4:00. All three committee members, Marty McLaren (chair), Sharon Peaslee, and Harium Martin-Morris, were present. No other board members were in attendance. They quickly approved the agenda without amendments and then approved the minutes from the previous meeting, also without amendments.

Stronger Spam Filter

The spam filter on Blogger is controlled by Google.  Charlie and I have very little control over the spam filter.  I have heard from a few readers that posts are getting eaten and I checked the spam box.   I found just a couple (and hundreds of spam messages) and all of them were anonymous.  It may be that Blogger has upped the filter and didn't tell us but understand that it is more likely for a comment to get eaten if you do not sign a name or moniker (as is our policy). Also, we are respectfully asking that you do not follow one comment of yours with another.   It is off-putting to readers (and to me).  It's fine to comment more than once, just not one after another. 

BEX Updates

Earlier in the month the Board had a Work Session on BEX IV.  Here are some highlights and commentary. The beginning of the meeting saw staff go over the input from the BEX IV community meetings .  It was surprisingly thin.  All that was said was that there were 510 oral and written comments and that Option #2 received the most yes votes (although I later saw the numbers and it was close between #2 and #3).   Director Martin-Morris had to ask about how this informs the Board what the community is thinking on this issue.  Pegi McEvoy said that info in was in a Friday update that had been published two weeks prior.  Here's a link to the webpage on the community meetings for BEX IV. Head of Capital Building projects, Lucy Morello, said they would be carrying over some major maintenance from BTA III.  This puzzles me.  I thought we had a separation of BEX and BTA precisely so that each has its own discrete area.  This goes to the issue of co-mingling of these funds and projects

Important C & I Committee Meeting Today

The Board's Curriculum and Instruction Policy Committee will have a very important meeting today. They will discuss a number of critical issues that they have needed to talk about for some time.

Seattle Schools This Week

Monday, May 21st  Curriculum&Instruction Policy Committee Mtg from 4-6pm, JSCEE Agenda .  Promise Neighborhoods MOU with Neighborhood House 2163 School Policy, Supports and Interventions 4110 Superintendent procedure, Family and Community Advisory and Oversight Ctms Policy 2200, Equitable Access to Services and Programs Teacher College Contract NWEA Contract Cost increase for Social Studies Adoption Policy 2420, Running Start and Homeschool discussion 2163 -not sure what they want to change here 4110 - as Charlie as pointed out, this one doesn't always get followed so I'll be interested to see what is said here 2200 - must be new as I don't see it under the current policies 2420 - at the Board webpage, this seems to be about grading so I'm confused here  Promise MOU - this one hadn't been on my radar but it's an agreement with Neighborhood House, Seattle Housing Authority, City of Seattle and SPS to support families and schools in the so