Showing posts from July, 2012

Education Funding Plan from McKenna

Republican candidate for governor, Rob McKenna, put forward his plan for fully funding education. You can read a Seattle Times news article about it and a Danny Westneat column about it. It comes down to this: cap all other spending to inflation plus population growth and direct all of the savings to education. But how can he cap healthcare spending when the costs are rising so fast? I guess someone isn't going to get their healthcare.

Tuesday Open Thread

Lots of news: - the Rainier Beach PTSA is being honored with one of twelve Champion of Change awards  next Friday at the White House.  From RBHS PTSA: We will travel to Washington, DC and stand together as we accept one of the most significant public honors for this community in some time.  Recipients of this award will enjoy a guided tour of the East Wing, Policy briefing, lunch, Champion of Change event, photo opportunity and story featured on the White House website. Yes, yes and yes!  Congrats to those wonderful leaders at RBHS, Carline Brown, Rita Green and LaCretiah Claytor.  This is how we get it done.  - it looks like Bryant has posted its teacher list at The Source.  Check it for your teachers as well. - from the Columbia Legal Services , the number of homeless students in Washington State has gone up by 19% in 2010-2011.   All but nine counties have a greater than 2% population.  Almost a third are in rural areas.  Over the last four years, most counties  ha

Yes on 1240 Website -Up but not Live

So the early Yes website was a placeholder and now there is this / .  I tried some of the links but they do not work so it is not live yet.  I'll be interested to see what they come up with for the FAQs. Update:   the site appears to be live but I'm not sure it helps.  Let's look at it: - These schools will be subject to strict oversight and public accountability, including annual performance reviews to evaluate their success in improving student outcomes. Again, that "strict oversight" comes from either one of two authorizers.  Those are school boards that have applied to be authorizers and have been vetted through a process by the State Board of Education and the newly created Charter Commission .  The Commission does NOT have to be vetted by the Board of Education.  Now, keep in mind, these people do NOT have to have any kind of education background so you'd think they would need to go through the process.  But apparentl

Sunday Open Thread

Better late than never. What's on your mind?

What's a Program? Why does it matter?

The Board will soon adopt a new Program Placement policy . The new policy, if it isn't amended, won't do much. It won't give the superintendent any guidance on how to make program placement decisions, it won't direct him to make good ones, and it won't require transparency. But it will do one thing: it will define a program. You will be very surprised to learn what is a program and what is not. Very surprised.

Banda Won't Vote for Charters?

Haven't had time to listen but a reliable source tells me that Superintendent Banda, in an interview today on KUOW's The Conversion, said he wouldn't be voting for 1240.  Listen for yourself.  Understand that this is man who already has his hands full - put a few charters in and/or have a charter takeover a couple of existing schools (maybe yours?) and our district will be on very weak footing. I have a feeling he is only going to be the first in a long, long line of district superintendents in this state - particularly in the Puget Sound region and the small/rural districts - who will say no to this poorly-written initiative. 

Times Provides Real Data and Real Insights On Funding of 1240

Well, it's not exactly hell freezing over but the Times has a very good piece about the small group of big money tech people pushing 1240 and examines the spending from previous charter elections.  To whit: State voters voted down charter school ballot measures in 1996, 2000, and 2004. But some wealthy individuals are committed to these schools and are funding I-1240.  Where's the money coming from? Of the $2.3 million raised by the “Yes on I-1240″ campaign as of the July 6 signature filing deadline $1.6 million came from seven families tied to Microsoft . Add one Amazon family to this tech millionaires club, and the total is $2.1 million. to get the initiative on the ballot, the state’s Public Disclosure Commission reports Microsoft executives Bill Gates and Paul Allen have been major supporters of this family of ballot measures to the tune of more than $5 million. Other heavy hitters have joined the cause since the filing deadline. Specifically, Alice Walto

Interim Executive Director for Special Education

In a comment on the Tuesday Open Thread, pseudonymous commentor "Sick and Tired" wrote: Anonymous said... They are hiring an interim ex. director, again. BiHoa Caldwell-- no offense to her but really!!! Sick and Tired If this is correct, then there are two matters for discussion: 1) An interim as opposed to a long-term hire. 2) The choice of BiHoa Caldwell, who was principal at Aki Kurose for years and most recently at TOPS. I think we also need to think a bit about the job. What exactly do we expect from the Executive Director of Special Education. What authority does this person have and is that authority commensurate with the job responsibility? What change can this person effect? Does this position have any authority to direct principals or teachers? Assuming the new Executive Director for Special Education had a clear and compelling vision for inclusive classrooms, how could they work to realize that vision in Seattle? I think some people would like the

Start School Later

Start School Later Seattle is gearing up to testify for a second time before the Seattle School Board on August 15 and we need your help. The focus of the testimony will be on the health and safety issues associated with middle and high school start times. If you are an adolescent health care provider (school or community based) and/or sleep clinician and would be willing to give a two minute presentation to the board please contact Dianne Casper at: (cut and paste this address).

Accepting Nominations for School-Family Partnership Committee

Seattle Public Schools is seeking nominations for its School-Family Partnerships Advisory Committee to the Superintendent. The committee will be comprised of parents/families/guardians who reflect the diversity of Seattle Public Schools families. This committee sometimes serves as a stand-in for broader community engagement. See this notice if you're interested. I've done it.

Traffic Tonight

A quick heads up from WSDOT - Obama arrives at 5:50 p.m. and will be headed for the eastside.  Also M's versus Yankees at 7:10 p.m. Plan accordingly.

Latest Poll Shows Major Measures Without Strong Support

From the Times , a reporter that the latest Elway poll shows, same-sex marriage, tax limits, charter schools and pot legalization are ahead but only one - Tim Eyman's - is over 50%. “Because support typically fades as the campaign goes on, a ballot measure needs to be polling at 60 percent or better at the start of the summer to still have a majority in November,” Elway wrote. Elway’s poll showed I-1240, which authorizes publicly funded charter schools, led by 46 percent to 37 percent. Charter school measures have lost three times previously, in in 1996, 2000 and 2004. That leaves 17% of voters undecided.   The poll surveyed 405 registered voters from July 18 through July 22 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percent. It's not money that will decide the charter vote; it's education on an education issue.  It's telling the full and complete truth about charters and, very specifically, about this initiative. It doing a cost-benefit analysis -

Tuesday Open Thread

Looks like the School Board's manager, Erinn Bennett, is leaving as her job is being advertised.   Rumor has it she might be the next in line for Holly Ferguson's job in Governance. I haven't read it but the Washington Policy Center has put out a "Guide to Major Charter School Studies".  The brief is not inspiring.  Nowhere does it mention "peer-reviewed studies" which are the gold standard for any study.  They also, right from the top, try to discredit the widely-used CREDO study.   And they continue with the use of "ban" to say that Washington State "bans" charters.  Show me that law.  We don't allow them and that's because voters (remember us) have said - three times and we will a fourth - no . Let's read it and we can discuss it further. What's on your mind?

TFA update on Dr. Royal's Speech

First, I thought Dr. Royal's speech in Philadelphia to TFAers had been taken down at YouTube but apparently not.  This inspired Trish Millines Dziko, noted educator and head of Technology Access Foundation and the TAF Academy in Tacoma, to weigh in.  She, like Dr. Royal, is an outspoken advocate for children and public education.  She is strong and fearless.  Here's what she had to say in reference to Dr. Royal's speech: Pacific NW Education Reformers Pay Attention to This! Our public education system needs a lot of work in order to provide the type of education our children need to succeed. However, those leading the education reform movement (particular ly here in the PNW) have pushed their toes on the line of paternalism and are heading toward colonialism. Dr. Camika Royal (an African American woman who is also a former Teach for America member) really laid it out in a way that you should all take seriously and make the necessary adjustments. She knows w

Not A Good Day and now a Worse Day

Ichiro traded.  To the Yankees.  Say it ain't so, Joe.  What a classy professional who gave his all for the Mariners.  Now, there was a baseball player to show you kids because he took his work seriously and was never a clown or show-off. And now Sally Ride has died.  She was just 61 years old.  God, I hate cancer.  Bless her for all her work and continuing to help another generation learn about space travel.  From the AP: She was also a physicist, a science writer, and after retiring from NASA she became the president and CEO of Sally Ride Science, which promoted science and technology education and helped students pursue careers in science and engineering.

News Round-Up

In the ever-continuing line of "is there nothing Michelle Rhee won't say to get her way", comes this latest video from her group, Students First.  It's a play on the Olympics (by the way, Michelle, you might want to watch that usage because the REAL Olympics is highly territorial about the use of the word).   It's a cheap shot video that has earned her a lot of criticism.  There are rumblings coming out of Chicago, which may have a teachers strike, that TFA is going to roll in with 5,000 TFAers.  There is a word for people who cross picket lines and if that happens, it will not be pretty.  It will be ugly and it may mark a very dark day for TFA.  We have many, many teachers in this country and if you are in a union, as hired TFAers are, you NEVER cross a picket line against others in your union.  Quit the union and then try it - you'd be better off.   I have to shake my head at the idea.   On the upside for TFA, a story of bravery and one young woman&#

Winners and Losers (So Far) in House Appropriations

From the House Appropriations Committee work of last week, comes these results (via Ed Week ): Winners: Extension of allowing teachers in alternative certification programs to count as "highly qualified" through the 2014-2015 school year.  This would include those "higly qualified" TFA 5-week trained teachers.  Losers :  organizations, many of whom support disabled/Special Ed students, like the council for Exceptional Children, National Center for Learning Disabilities and the NAACP who do not want the provision extended.  Here's what they said: Absent expiration of the problematic provision ... low-income students, students with disabilities and English-learners will continue to be disproportionately taught by teachers-in-training and that fact will be masked from parents and local communities. Yes, because while TFA thinks the world of their teachers, they don't feel districts have any obligation to tell their parents where their teacher cam

PAA - Ideas that Work

From Parents Across America (PAA), a video of their forum on May 31st at Rainier Beach High School, Moving Forward in Public Education; Ideas That Work .  Worth listening to for insights.

Meeting to Talk Charters

As you recall, CRPE's Robin Lake had invited us all (well, most of us) to come for a discussion over coffee today.  I attended part of the discussion as did a couple of SPS parents, two administrators from other districts and a colleague of Ms. Lake's.   I can't tell you what the discussion was about because I was asked not to. I can tell you that it seems apparent that not everyone knows this initiative as well as you might think.   And, it certainly help me see that CRPE is not exactly neutral on this topic of charter schools. But honestly, how could they be?  A large portion of their research is about charters and how great they are and how to grow them.  They are funded (and have been funded) for years by the Gates Foundation which also loves charters. I can only say that while I would never challenge their expertise about charters, I'm not sure I would believe everything they say is neutral or balanced.  In the coming months as we battle over this initiativ

Required Reading

One of the BEST things ever written about public education here at The Answer Sheet at The Washington Post.   This is a guest post by Jeff Bryant, a marketing and communcation consultant for nonprofits.  He writes about public education policy. Here's his bottom line (to me - emphasis mine): Furthermore, nothing about school choice, regardless of the form, guarantees parents get the kind of school quality they desire . Studies have shown that in a typical school choice program, the private school services that parents mostly desire — small class sizes, well-rounded curriculum, individualized services — will still be out of reach for most parents. He  talks about people getting a laugh over the Texas GOP's education plank of their platform but goes on to say we really should be worried about Dems.  He's right.  If Obama doesn't watch out charters/TFA will be his NCLB (as NCLB is the tattered legacy of George W. Bush). Speaking of Bush, here's somethin

Friday Open Thread

From the Eastlake Ave. Blog, concern over by TOPS from neighbors about a new development that says it is just 5 units but: "...neighbors note that it will actually have 39 individual units grouped around common kitchens on each floor (a basement and four other floors, with one kitchen on each floor). The neighbors also question locating such a project, which they fear will have transient occupants, just two doors from the TOPS@Seward School and two houses away from a daycare center."   There are also concerns around parking (which really is difficult around TOPS).  DPD seems to think it about the size rather than the number of units and that it part of the Residential Urban Village (under the Comprehensive Plan).   I've heard of this kind of "apartment" which is basically a small room with a bathroom (smaller than a studio).  I'm sure it fills a need but it seems like the City should take into account how many people could potentially live there

Here's What the Charter Initiative Should Be

Update:  the final word? From Jennie Shanker, Albert Shanker's daughter; she passes her father's legacy NOT to neo-liberal ed reform but to Diane Ravitch: Your stance on this issue is diametrically opposed to his values and intent, and you are dead wrong to shame Diane Ravitch for her position. Indeed, if you consider your thinking to be in line with my father's, I recommend that you champion her work, as my family does.  If anyone can speak for my father in this day and age, the person who should be most trusted is Dr. Ravitch. It's unfortunate that many people who read your article will not see this comment. I would like to respectfully request that you reconsider further publicizing your characterization of my father's position on this topic. From what is in evidence in this article, despite your love for the man, you are in no position to speak for him.  Kind of a "I knew Jack Kennedy and worked with Jack Kennedy.  You sir, are no Jack Kenn

It's Not Teachers - It's Poverty (and when will that get the attention?)

A heartfelt guest post from The Washington Post's Answer Sheet written by Brock Cohen about the REAL issue that holds back schools in closing the achievement gap.  This was written by Brock Cohen, a teacher and student advocate in the Los Angeles Unified School District who contends that we can no longer afford to trivialize the critical role that poverty plays in a child’s learning experiences – and that true school reform begins with social justice. Brock’s students were recently featured in an NPR piece that charts some of his students’ daily struggles as they pursue their education. He starts off with hearts and flowers from NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Michelle Rhee, Arne Duncan and even the President.  That's all good and well but charters and TFA are just distractions.  What had grown increasingly clear to me was that my students’ academic struggles did not simply stem from inaction, ineffective parenting, drug use, or neglect. While these elements were usually pre

Grants for Youth Problem-Solving

From Youth Changing the World (via the Mayor's office): Want to make a difference? Take action? Solve a tough community problem? YSA can help! Each year, YSA supports youth-led service with over $1 million in YSA Grants.   Deadlines for many of our programs for the 12-13 school and program year are fast approaching! YSA Grants with application deadlines this month include: YSA Grants & Awards for K-12 Schools State Farm Good Neighbor Student Achievement Grants 75 grants of $1,500 - Deadline: July 31  Sodexo Foundation School Engagement Grants 12 grants of $5,000 - Deadline: July 15  Harris Wofford Award - Young Educator 1 award of $1,000 - Deadline: July 22  YSA Grants for Community Organizations Global Youth Service Day Lead Agency Grants 100 grants of $2,000 - Deadline: July 15  Sodexo Foundation Lead Organizer Grants 12 grants of $2,000 - Deadline: July 15  MLK Day Lead Organizer Grants 16 grants of $4,000 - Deadline: July 15  YSA Grants &

White House to Pay More for STEM Teachers

From the White House (partial): Today, the Obama Administration announced the President’s plan to create a national Science, Math, Technology, and Engineering (STEM) Master Teacher Corps . The STEM Master Teacher Corps will begin in 50 locations across the country, each with 50 exceptional STEM educators. Over the next four years the Corps will expand to include 10,000 of the best STEM teachers in the nation. In joining the STEM Master Teachers Corps, these educators will make a commitment to champion the cause of STEM education in their respective communities, and will receive additional resources to mentor math and science teachers, inspire students, and help their communities grow. In a roundtable today with a group of K-12 math and science teachers at the White House, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Domestic Policy Council Director Cecilia Muñoz, OSTP Director Dr. John Holdren, and PCAST Co-Chair Dr. Eric Lander announced the proposal, which the Administrat

Holly Ferguson to Leave SPS

Yes, it is true; governance leader Holly Ferguson is leaving on July 26th.  She says after 11 years, she has " determined it is time now for me to seek other opportunities." While I certainly haven't always agreed with Ms. Ferguson, no one can deny that she is an exceptionally bright person.   It's always a loss at some level to lose smart people in our district. However, this leaves Superintendent Banda another open space to fill at the top.  It is important that he surround himself with people who share his vision and agenda.

The Onion's Hilarious Point/Counterpoint on TFA

Thanks to Southpaw for the laugh of the day. From the kid's side: You've got to be kidding me. How does this keep happening? I realize that as a fourth-grader I probably don't have the best handle on the financial situation of my school district, but dealing with a new fresh-faced college graduate who doesn't know what he or she is doing year after year is growing just a little bit tiresome. Seriously, can we get an actual teacher in here sometime in the next decade, please? That would be terrific. Just once, it would be nice to walk into a classroom and see a teacher who has a real, honest-to-God degree in education and not a twentysomething English graduate trying to bolster a middling GPA and a sparse law school application. I don't think it's too much to ask for a qualified educator who has experience standing up in front of a classroom and isn't desperately trying to prove to herself that she's a good person.


From Superintendent Banda via SPS Communications: Today I am pleased to appoint two new Executive Directors of Schools. Kim Whitworth, principal at Eckstein Middle School, will be Executive Director of Schools for the Northeast region. Carmela Dellino, principal at Roxhill Elementary, will serve as Executive Director of Schools for the West Seattle region. The new positions will start in mid-August. They join four other Executive Directors of Schools, who support principals’ instructional leadership in order to increase student achievement and close opportunity gaps. This includes using data to monitor school progress, coordinating professional development, one-on-one coaching and principal evaluations, and conducting frequent learning walks through school buildings to ensure quality instruction. Together, they supervise and support more than 100 principals. Ms. Whitworth is replacing Phil Brockman, who has been appointed to a new grant-funded Executive Directo

Tuesday Open Thread

Interesting article from Ed Week on yet another thing Finland gets right - its school buildings. School design has become of increasing concern to American and international educators alike, as buildings age and research emerges on the effects of schools’ physical structure on student health, safety, and motivation. The buildings are laid out in clusters, with multiple gathering places inside and out. In part, this is necessity: While American schools are cutting recess, Finish schools set aside a 15-minute break after every 45-minute lesson, coupled with a half-hour lunch break, even though they traditionally have shorter school days overall than those in the United States. In the current issue of the research journal Children, Youth, and Environments, published in the spring, Ellyn M. Dickmann, associate dean of education and professional studies at the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater, found building design could exacerbate bullying problems. Schools that included few wi

UW's CRPE Dumbfounds with Lessons on Charter Law

Over at UW's Center for Reinventing Public Education, they wrote a one pager about "lessons for Washington State" on getting high-quality charter schools.  I have to laugh as I wonder if they even read I-1240. Highlights: • Strong authorizing is key to quality o Districts cannot be only authorizer, but authorizers need to build competency o Weak or negligent authorizing leads to many low-performing schools - Promote authorizer clarity/accountability in law, implementation  So the CRPE must be against I-1240 because: - the Charter Commission does NOT have to be pre-authorized in the same way School Boards do.  It seems odd that an elected board would have to go through a process that the members of the Charter Commission don't.  (This isn't explained in the initiative.) - also, CRPE doesn't like " weak or negligent " authorizing?  Well, unfortunately, the Charter Commission has no oversight, elected or otherwise AND there's no way to

Privatizing Public Education - There is Money to be Made

If you read nothing else about the takeover of our public schools by people who want to control the system (and some who want to make a buck), please read this article from The Nation Institute.  It is probably one of the best written and in-depth articles around.  Highlights : If the national movement to "reform" public education through vouchers, charters and privatization has a laboratory, it is Florida. It was one of the first states to undertake a program of "virtual schools" — charters operated online, with teachers instructing students over the Internet — as well as one of the first to use vouchers to channel taxpayer money to charter schools run by for-profits.  (More on Florida which has continued it fall in education AND business rankings.  Scientology in charters in Florida. But some in Florida are fighting back against these reforms and winning.  Lamenting this series of defeats, Patricia Levesque, a top adviser to former Governor

Talking Education in Ballard

This from reader CT.  I would go but it's only an hour and I'm sure it will be tightly controlled.  But if you go, let us know what is said. Oh look! Here's a chance to ask the creators of the "model" charter legislation directly. This week, there will be an opportunity to join a community discussion about local education. Two groups, the Excellent Schools Now Coalition and Stand for Children are posing the question, “If you could change one thing about your school, what would it be?” in a forum at the Ballard Library on Thursday, July 19 from 6 to 7 p.m. They say children are welcome and food will be provided. From Anne Martens with Stand for Children: The Excellent Schools Now Coalition and Stand for Children invite you to join parents, teachers, students, and community members like you for a discussion about our schools, our kids, and our future. This is an intimate

Five Steps That Take Five Minutes

Here is link to a blog post on another blog, 5 Steps That Take 5 Minutes and Can Supercharge Your Child’s Education . Note the reference to the Washington "Choice Law". All of these people saying that we need to pass the charter school initiative to give families school choice when, right now, families HAVE school choice. The other tips are also good. There's some emphasis on digital learning because this is a digital learning blog, but there is a place for online learning. I do it all the time and you're doing it right now.

You Tell Me; What Does This Mean?

 There are several passages in I-1240 that I cannot discern what they mean.  I have read them out loud, had others read them and we can't find a consensus on the meanings.  First up, how the Board of Education picks its final cut, once it receives all the approved charter proposals from authorizers (either approved School Boards and the Charter Commission). Unclear part in italics: Section 215, Pages 21-22 (2) To ensure compliance with the limits for establishing new charter schools, certification from the state board of education must be obtained before final authorization of a charter school.  Within ten days of taking action to approve or deny an application under section 214 of this act, an authorizer must submit a report of the action to the applicant and to the state board of education, which must include a copy of the authorizer's resolution setting forth the action taken, the reasons for the decision, and assurances of compliance with the procedural requirements an

District Seeks Calendar Sponsors

From District Communications: Local businesses, nonprofits and other organizations can now partner with Seattle Public Schools to help defray the costs of our annual calendar, while at the same time reaching a large audience with sponsored advertisements. The calendar, which reaches an audience of 55,000 families, staff and community members, is an essential resource to the district. Becoming a sponsor is a great way to help support the district, staff and students by helping us to fund the printing of the calendar and increase community involvement.  “During these lean budget times, many school districts have eliminated their calendar or placed it in an online-only format, which isn’t easily accessible to all families, especially those without regular Internet access,” said Lesley Rogers, Chief Communications Officer. “With these sponsorship dollars, we can continue to provide our staff and families with this useful information.” Interested businesses ca

Friday Open Thread

Love those Seattle sunsets - stunning.  From the West Seattle Blog , it's not Apocalypse Now or M*A*S*H - it's the Museum of Flight taking delivery of 23 (!) helicopters today and tomorrow for their show, American Heroes Airshow , “Courage at the Speed of Flight."  It's a free show at the Museum tomorrow between 10 am and 3 p.m.   From Ed Week , a summer reading list around family engagement in schools .  Fun fact that I learned from doing some research on SPS, the late John Stanford, beloved superintendent?   He modeled some of his reforms on charter legislation that was in the Legislature.  But charters themselves?  Not so much.  He said, " We've prepared ourselves to be competitive. "  Interesting. Hearing rumblings of a couple of parent/community driven campaigns against I-1240.  Gee, I thought it was only the union against it.  Guess not.  One early "no" out the gate?  Those solid citizens at the Washington State League for Wome

Oh Texas - Not Much for Thinking, eh?

From The Answer Sheet at the Washington Post, Valerie Strauss says it best: "In the you-can’t-make-up-this-stuff department, here’s what the Republican Party of Texas wrote into its 2012 platform as part of the section on education: Knowledge-Based Education – We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority." And there you have it.  No smarty-pants thinking for Texas kids.  They obviously do not get that critical thinking - and thinking broadly - brings the kind of entrepreneurial ideas and innovations that built this country.     They also oppose: "..early childhood education, sex education, and multicultural education, but supports “school subjects with

Factual knowledge is worthless

I read an article by Esther Dyson in a 1992 edition of WIRED magazine about where to find value in the information economy. The article was so good that I still have it. It turns out that in an information economy, information itself is essentially worthless. The rules of supply and demand remain the same, and, thanks to the internet, there is a grotesque surplus of information. So where is the value and how can we educate our children to prosper in the 21st century?

Pro-Charter Op-Ed in the Seattle Times

Here it is, the first of many:   High-performing charter schools can close the opportunity gap I have nothing to say about this. It is impossible to have a discussion when we cannot even agree on the facts.

Private Public Meeting

 Update: KOMO had it wrong.  The presentation is only being done by the Downtown Seattle Association.  It is not presenting with the district and the event has nothing to do with the district.  It's a presentation for the neighborhood group, Uptown Alliance.   There will be a public meeting tomorrow evening at which Seattle Public Schools will present, jointly with the Downtown Seattle Association, a study showing the need for a downtown elementary school. The District has made no announcement of this meeting, but KOMO News reported it. Here's the entire story by KOMO News Communities Reporter Michael Harthorne: Facing overcrowding and growing numbers of children living downtown, Seattle is considering building a new elementary school in north downtown . At Thursday’s Uptown Alliance meeting, the Downtown Seattle Association and Seattle Public Schools will present a study outlining the need for a new school in the area. For anyone uninterested in schools, there will

How Much Did It Cost To Get I-1240 on the Ballot?

That would be about $2.1M , most of it going to a consulting company in California for "petition services."  That would be about $6 a signature.  Yes, all very grassroots. Nearly $2,000 was spent on "meeting services" at the Washington Athletic Club. Because, of course, you want to meet somewhere nice (but couldn't Gates have offered up space for free at the Gates Foundation?) Understand, all the money that Gates and his wealthy friends have given?  It's mostly gone but don't worry; there's more where that came from. In the 2004 charter referendum, it was defeated by a group - Protect our Public Schools - at just under $1.5M.  It mostly came from the NEA, WEA, AFL-CIO, and various ed associations. The other side supporting charters?  That would have been Bill Gates ($1M), John Walton of Wal-Mart ($1M), Donald G. Fisher of the Gap ($965k), Eli Broad ($200k) and Reed Hastings of Netflicks (4190k).  I note that only one of those people lives in

It's 7-11 - Free Slurpee Day

Yup, 7-11s are giving away free Slurpees from 11am to 7 p.m.  A nice summer treat for all.

What Knapp Says

As you may recall, on the same day as the Creative Approach MOU was remanded back to the Board by a Superior Court judge, there was an interview in the Seattle Times with Jonathan Knapp, the new head of the SEA.  It was quite a nice profile and had some telling bits.   Here's Knapp on change in relationships: "Simply saying 'no' is no longer an option," said Jonathan Knapp, a shop teacher who crafted the approach as union vice president. "The climate has changed, and we have to be advocates for public education in a way that 20 years ago we didn't," Knapp said. "And the way that we do that is building relationships, not by confronting people and saying it's our way or the highway." I agree.  Being adversarial is not the way to build relationships and work for better academic outcomes for children.   However teacher Robert Murphy fires back: We've already compromised too much," said Robert Murphy, a Franklin High ma

Not About Program Placement

I swear, this post is not about Program Placement, but a lot of folks will think that it is. The District staff is making a new distinction, between things that are programs and services and schools that have a distinctive "curricular focus". All of the things that they will recognize as programs and services exist to address student academic needs. They are pretty much limited to special education, bilingual education, and advanced learning. Nothing else - including a lot of stuff that you might think are programs - is a program. Language immersion? Not a program. Montessori? Not a program. Same for alternative schools, STEM schools, and international schools. None of these are programs. They are each, instead, a curricular focus. So what? So this: since they are not programs, they will not be governed by the proposed policy 2020, Equitable Access to Programs and Services. In other words, the District won't be under any obligation to provide equitable access to any

TFA - The Beat Goes On (in more ways than one)

So first up, it looks like Renton is getting the full-court press from TFA (even though Renton previously announced they wouldn't be hiring any  TFAers).  We'll have to see what happens.   As well, I'm sure Dr. Enfield's first agenda item is to convince Highline to sign on.  I suspect this is happening for two reasons.  One, TFA is probably getting pressure from Stritikus and UW to fill that program.  Operating it at a loss (as they did last year) when UW is pressed for money doesn't look or sound good.  Two, TFA is probably quite embarrassed that they have gotten any pushback at all.  Also, there's this video from the HBO show "Treme" that features one character doing an anti-TFA rap.  The whole thing is funny.   (Thanks to Reader X for the tip.) I also saw this article from US News and World Report about "tips for finding the right college" and look was at the bottom: Who do you want to work for? A financial conglomerate? A small