Friday, August 10, 2012

Friday Open Thread

I hope to post a photo later in the day of the event at the White House honoring twelve Champions of Change including Carlina Brown of the Rainier Beach High School PTSA.  From her essay at the White House website:

Parents must be recognized as experts of their children, and be present at the table when building foundations not after the building is built.

We pride ourselves on our broad network of well seeded leaders in our city. Our names are synonymous with our school and our PTSA. Thank you to Rita Green, LaCretiah Claytor, Pam Berry, Valerie Fisher and Taloyna Greene, the executive team of RBHS PTSA Seattle, WA. This kind of representation takes a sisterhood/brotherhood that is strong and unified and we are one when we speak.

Traffic heads up for this weekend.  Seahawks game on Saturday night at 7 p.m.   This from the Seattle Times:

The southbound I-5 offramp at 85th Street, north of Green Lake, will be closed from 10 p.m. Friday until Aug. 27, while westbound lanes are being repaved. Eastbound access from 85th to the freeway is already closed until Aug. 31. Lake Washington Boulevard East, inside the Washington Park Arboretum, will close from 7 p.m. Friday to 9 p.m. Sunday.

And the Ballard Bridge closes overnight from 11 p.m. Saturday to 7 a.m. Sunday, for lighting improvements.

What's on your mind?


Jack Whelan said...

I’d like to direct you to an RSA video of a talk given by Iain McGilchrist, the author of an important book called "The Master and the Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World." It’s the best thing I’ve come across that gets at the root of what I’ve written about here as this battle between the humanistic and technocratic mindsets.

McGilchirst calls the two mindsets Erasmian and Machiavellian, but his main point is that the two don’t have to be in conflict; the mind is at its best—its most creative, sharpest, and productive—when both hemispheres work together, but too often they don’t. And the greatest impediment to their working together comes from the arrogance of a left-brain dominant way of experiencing the world that gives us bureaucracies, the need to control and manipulate, and a basically dead, abstract picture of the world. (Watch the video if you need a refresher on what the different hemispheric functions are—it’s far more nuanced than right = emotion; left = logic.)

So the problem lies in that left hemispheric thinking tends to reject what the right hemisphere delivers as too soft, too hard to control, too uncertain, too mysterious, and so it goes its own way assuming that its limited, static, and rather abstract grasp of the world is the only one worth knowing about. But in doing so it fails to realize that it is living in a dead mirror world cut off from the living, changing, buzzing, concrete world of particulars delivered to us by the broader cognitional capacities of the right hemisphere. The right hemisphere, on the other hand, knows its limitations, and knows of its need for what the left hemisphere contributes, and so is by necessity more wholistic.

Corporate education reform is in this sense a left-brain dominant vision for our schools. It is a soul flattening, mechanistic, dead kind of education that focuses on results that are meaningful only within the limited mirror world of its own attenuated imagination. For that reason it must be resisted by anyone who wants a more humanistic education, one that does not look at kids as widgets that have to meet a certain production standard, but as individual souls each with his or her own developmental path. And if we care about our kids and care about the future health of American culture, we’ll figure out a way to pay for it and deliver it to every child, not reserve it only for those who can pay for it in private schools.

Jack Whelan said...

P.S. For those of you who want to read a more in-depth review of McGilchrist's book, I found this post at The Philosopher's Magazine helpful. This is not pop psychology.

Jamie said...

Way to go RBHS PTSA! That is so fantastic. Nice to see you being recognized for all the hard work you've put in tirelessly for so long.

Kathy said...


Whether or not you support charter schools, Initiative 1240 raises many concerns and unanswered questions. Please check out the above facebook page. Invite others to do the same.


Unknown said...

Looking at next week's school board agenda I see that Policy No. 0030's title has been changed to read Ensuring Educational and Racial Equity.

Anonymous said...

What is a "fluid milk product?"

The Board agenda includes a contract for "Milk, Miscellaneous Dairy and Juice," only it's called "Fluid Milk Products, Miscellaneous Dairy Products and Juice Products." Not milk, but "fluid milk products"; and not juice, but "juice products."

(and wow, they serve a lot of chocolate milk)

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Charlie Mas said...

I had to delete an unsigned comment, but it raised a question about the proposed Ensuring Educational and Racial Equity Policy.

Although the comment didn't put words to a specific question, I think it was asking how the District could, as a matter of policy,

"* Raise the achievement of all students while narrowing the gaps between the lowest and highest performing students;

* Eliminate the racial predictability and disproportionality in all aspects of education and its administration (e.g., the disproportionate over-application of discipline to students of color, their over-representation in Special Education, and their under-representation in various Advanced Learning programs);

* Ensure all students regardless of race or class graduate from Seattle Public Schools ready to succeed in a racially and culturally diverse local, national, and global community.

I could be wrong, but I don't think it was the absence of a policy requiring it that was keeping us from doing this.

Anonymous said...

mmmm fluid milk product...

--- Homer S.

Anonymous said...

Does the proposed Educational and Racial Equity Policy mean that they must reconsider the math curriculum - because it's not bringing about equal outcomes for all students? Using that filter, the discovery based books should go and the district should be using something more in line with Singapore or Saxon, which have been shown to increase achievement for all students, and lessen the achievement gap (Mercer and Schmitz Park).


bummed said...

* Raise the achievement of all students while narrowing the gaps between the lowest and highest performing students;

Ouch. You might as well just come out and say you're going to downgrade all advanced-learning programs. We all know it's VASTLY easier to ensure that the high achievers aren't allowed to excel than it is to actually give proper supports to struggling kids. It's also quite PC in this city to cut off opportunities for high achievers, so I see this as a given if the wording doesn't change.

Narrowing the achievement gap does NOT have to mean "narrowing the gaps between lowest and highest". Instead we all need to consider that it can also mean we set a reasonably challenging bar for each grade level (and we already have EALRs and GLEs, how handy!), and then we strive to narrow the racial/socioeconomic bias in the percentages of kids that pass that bar. That way we can actually work to increase the achievement levels of the struggling kids AND allow the high achievers to rise as well.

If we do anything other than this, we are making it a zero-sum game and ensuring that some kids are guaranteed to lose. Please talk to your Board Directors and encourage them to use this more positive definition for all kids.

Anonymous said...

Yes, "all kids" is such a loaded term, and doesn't really mean all kids, does it?

You've clarified what was bothering me so much about the policy.