Friday Open Thread

Board agenda.  One key item is the introduction of Policy 0030, Educational Equity (Race and Equity).  The C&I Committee had a back-and-forth on the language of this sometimes delicate policy.  I think it may need further tweaking as the four Directors at the committee meeting all had issues with the language and I suspect the other three will want to weigh in as well. 

There is also the intro for the UW Experimental Education Unit which is not a well-known partnership between UW and the district.  Unfortunately, true to form, this item is not available even though it is just days until the Board meeting.  At some point, the public has the right to see this kind of information in a timely manner.

Also interesting is the resolution for a grant by the Legislature, through OSPI, for $9.4M to do work to reopen John Marshall, Boren and Van Asselt.  Here's the link to the work.  This is good because it frees up BEX and BTA money for other issues.

Also Policy 2200 is back (Program Placement) but I have not yet read and reviewed it.

They also will be approving the budgets for next year.

This is the last weekend for I-1240 to get signatures.  There are many events as well and it is also likely to be a weekend for 4th of July prep.  Get out there with flyers and info to any event/store/market near you and educate voters. 

Urge people to Decline to Sign.

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said…

Public School Parent
nostalgic for the Beth-run blog said…
Sigh, remember when this blog was about people sharing information about what was happening in their schools and helping others find answers. I really miss that.

There used to be a lot more people who could contribute too. Is there any chance you would be willing to authorize new contributors? Maybe representatives from the Alt, Sped, South Seattle, BLT, PTA communities where they could start up topics that would be of interest to parent who are interested in the nuts and bolts of how to be active participants in their children's schools.

I am pretty sick of the non-stop charter coverage. And I know, if I don't like it I can start my own blog, blah, blah. This one has readers who are interested in other things and the site used to be Save Seattle Schools which many of us are trying to do at a local school level. We used to have a forum to do that but now we don't. The open threads are not enough because you have to navigate through so many unrelated topics. Its also not enough to say that you will create a thread because that takes power away from people who have direct knowledge of their communities.
gavroche said…
Nostalgic -- Why don't you use this Open Thread to introduce the issues you are concerned about? What's on your mind?

Charters are a big deal right now because there is a massive, heavily financed effort to bring them to WA State. If that happens, it will affect all of us in public ed., one way or another.

I am grateful to Melissa's coverage of charters and all other issues and have found her and Charlie responsive to requests to start new threads and open new dialogs.

What would you like to discuss?
Jack Whelan said…
This post (by way of Ravitch's blog) presents us with the real choices that lay before us. Link is below::

Here’s the school choice experiment I’d like to see tried. Let our school district require every parent to make an initial choice between two options. If the parents want to put their kids in a classroom governed by policies dictated by the federal government, they could choose the Federal Option. If the parents would prefer classrooms that are governed by policies chosen by the local community, they could choose the Local Option.

For the kids in the Federal Option, school would look a lot like it does now. No Child Left Behind would be in full force, and the district and its school personnel would have to meet NCLB’s standardized testing benchmarks or face the statutory penalties. In these classrooms, the district would do whatever it takes to raise math and reading test scores, regardless of the other values that might have to be sacrificed. Subjects with no direct bearing on standardized test results, such as art and music, would be cut back as necessary. Recess and lunch would be minimized. Untestable qualities such as curiosity, skepticism, creativity, and initiative would not be pursued. Whether the kids actually enjoy learning would be a secondary concern, at best. To keep the kids from squirming during their lengthy test prep sessions -- er, I mean, lessons -- the teachers would instruct them on the importance of unquestioning compliance with rules, and would single out the quiet and obedient students for special praise and rewards.

Down the hall, though, would be the Local Option classrooms. What would they be like? That would be entirely up to the people of our district. Maybe they would decide that there is more to being well-educated than what is measured by standardized tests. Maybe they’d give the teachers more autonomy over what and how to teach. Maybe they’d put more emphasis on developing the kids’ intrinsic motivation and pleasure in learning, and less emphasis on external rewards. Maybe they’d challenge the kids to think critically about the world around them. Maybe they’d recognize that kids need downtime, physical activity, and a decent lunch to learn well and to develop social skills. Maybe they’d treat the kids more like kids and less like employees. Maybe they’d take a few lessons from Finland. Or maybe they’d do none of those things, and come up with their own ideas. Who knows what our community might choose. It’s been so long since anyone asked.

I suppose there could be some awkward moments, when the kids in the Federal Option classrooms, with their ongoing math and reading drills and their nightly worksheets and their behavior charts and their abbreviated recesses and quiet fifteen-minute lunches, saw their friends down the hall having what would likely be a more meaningful -- not to mention enjoyable -- educational experience. Since the Federal Option classrooms would, by definition, be less likely to reflect the parents’ preferences, it might be hard for parents to choose those classrooms for their kids. But as things stand now, we all choose them every day. We’re just not constantly reminded that there could be another way.

Right now, of course, this experiment is impossible. My district could set up Local Option classrooms, but it couldn’t use tax money to pay for them. Why? Because the people who brought us charter schools don’t really believe that communities should be allowed to run their own schools.

What do these people have against choice?

Anonymous said…
It is a little late, but I would like to mention that I was deeply offended that Betty Patu opened her graduation speeches at both Cleveland and Rainier Beach with "I would like to thank the lord Jesus Christ.".... She is aware that both of those schools are extremely diverse and most students don't share her religious beliefs.

South end Teacher.
Anonymous said…
OK, but Betty was doing her own thanking, not others'. So she wants to thank Jesus Christ. So what?

Now, it would be another thing if she had asked the audience to bow their heads in prayer.


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