Seattle Times Vision for Education

The Seattle Times printed a long, comprehensive Vision for public education in Washington State. They propose a number of changes in the fundamental perspective on education, the most significant of which is an expansion of the State's role in education from K-12 to 3-to-23.

There's a lot here, some good, some flawed, some banal. It is recommended reading.

Washington state must embrace a new vision for education


Anonymous said…
Sounds like the same-o same-o to me. Blame the teachers, yes on charters, find a way to do it.

Sounds like "work smarter not harder" - and except for the teacher blame and charters, no suggestions on how to do it.

But they do support expanding access. No more money but provide more service.

And not every child gets a college degree in Canada or Germany. But the Times expects every child in Washington State to become a college graduate?

Sounds like group-think from a compromised, political and beholden institution like the Seattle Times.

It ain't going to happen without more funding and more realistic expectations.

Unknown said…
"But subsequent debate among policy makers has gone off track in two ways. First, it is too focused on more money as the only solution rather than reforms that improve performance."

No, it isn't. We don't even fund our existing schools to the national AVERAGE. Let's try that for a couple of years and see what happens.

Of course, no one says, "give us money" without having some ideas in mind of what to spend it on. But yes, summer school, college/career counselors, direct interventions for struggling students? Yes, Times, those are things we know do work.

"The so-called innovation schools, hailed as a version of charter schools, serve largely white, suburban populations, leaving the challenges of struggling students unaddressed."

What!?! Did you look up the list at OSPI? Highline, Marysville, Sumner, the Tri-Cities - those are bastions of white suburbs? In fact, the only real suburb I see there is one school in Bellevue. You have your facts wrong here.

"To cure that omission, voters should approve Initiative 1240, creating a pilot program that could authorize 40 charter public schools over five years."

Once again, the big lie. I-1240 is NOT a pilot program. Yes, they could pull the plug after 5 years but as I wrote at the Times, imagine this all-too-real scenario:
Five years from now, if I-1240 passes, we have 40 charter schools.

Following the CREDO stats, 7 would be good, 18 would perform the same as traditionals and 15 would perform worse.

Tell me, Times, would you advocate shutting down the charter law based on those outcomes? I doubt it (even though those are poor outcomes).

No on 1240 - we don't need charter schools for better public education in Washington State. We need targeted funded for our EXISTING schools to at least the national average.
Unknown said…
@n.--Agreed: nothing to see here, keep moving on--but I'd like to see someone lay out a comprehensive picture for what we would like to see happening for kids in this state--not just in the school building but outside of it as well. If we're serious about closing gaps, what is it going to take, and how much is it going to cost? And do we have the political will and imagination to make it happen?

Some basic principles that I think should guide our thinking process:

1. A bias toward de-centrallization. Parents and teachers know what their kids need; bureaucrats do not.

2. An insistence on democratic accountability. Democracy means that an engaged citizenry deliberates and decides what is in the best interest of the community. People decide, not markets. Elected school boards set local policies, not mayors, governors, legislatures, or foundations. Their support is welcome, not their meddlesome, often clueless agendas.

3. A commitment to equity, and this means developing and funding aggressive, effective programs inside and outside the school building that mitigate the negative consequences of child poverty. This is the primary role for the state to play, not in dictating curriculum and standards. This is not a burden to put on schools alone, but clearly schools have a role to play.

4. A long-term plan to improve teacher quality and professionalism. We want to attract the best people and retain them. That means paying them at a level commensurate with their education and professionalism, but it also means, making fundamental changes in the way teachers are recruited and trained for careers in the classroom. It means developing more effective ways of enhancing professional development and collaborative support among teachers. (The current evaluation and accountability systems are useless and counterproductive. They are doing more to chase good teachers out of our classroom than to weed out the bad teachers who shouldn't be in them in the first place. )

Those are top of mind for me. What am i leaving out?
Anonymous said…
More from the Seattle Times

Public School Parent
Anonymous said…
Today's TFA editorial by Seattle Times (linked above) includes some misinformation that KSB was quick to correct. She emphasizes that Board requests were to make sure Seattle Schools is following the law (instead of just rubberstamping).
mirmac1 said…
Repost for Anonymous:

"Today's TFA editorial by Seattle Times (linked above) includes some misinformation that KSB was quick to correct. She emphasizes that Board requests were to make sure Seattle Schools is following the law (instead of just rubberstamping)."
suep. said…
Yes, the latest diatribe from the Times is absolutely outrageous -- and cowardly. It falsely accuses and calls out board members by name but hides behind editorial board anonymity (Lynn Varner?) There's a legal term for publishing lies like that -- libel. The Times should publish a retraction.

It's also absolutely pathetic how much ink and political capital has been spent by the local ed reform business clique on propping up Teach for America, Inc. these past few years.

And is it true that 3 of last year's 6 TFAers have quit already?

(Melissa and Charlie, this probably deserves its own thread.)

Garbage like this editorial illustrates the dangers and mediocrity of a one-paper town -- and highlights the importance and need for blogs.
mirmac1 said…
The same board meeting where an SBAR says five of the six TFA from last year remain, yet another is shown on the Personnel Report as entering the displacement pool. I called WMS and confirmed that the SpED tFA was no longer working there. And Aki let another TFA go last winter. That is 3 out of six. Someone better tell Banda he is misinformed, and is misinforming the Board.
Anonymous said…
KSB's response to the Seattle Times article, as sent to constituents:

The Seattle Times editorial published on September 9th is wholly inaccurate and without merit. I would, as a responsible citizen, ask for the reason it was even written. Who incentivized this editorial?

Every "fact" is wrong. The Board did not "bungle" teaching credentials for TFA teachers ..far from it.

Members of the Executive Committee, upon reviewing the agenda for the September 5 meeting, asked staff to verify the credentials of the candidate applying for a Special Education position at Aki Kurose Middle School. The Directors indicated during the Executive committee meeting that it was imperative that the District was compliant with both State and Federal law. As a district, compliance issues with Special Education guidelines take the majority of the work schedule of a full time SPS lawyer. It is the single most common cause of litigation against the District.

The Board asked that the staff verify credentials, not to see personnel files to be certain the District would be in compliance with the LAW upon hiring a candidate with a conditional certification.

As it turned out, the HR department was not able to verify the credentials because the candidate did not respond to either emails or phone calls placed by the department.

Not one of my colleagues questioned the right or the reasoning for any principal or Building Leadership Team's decision to offer a job to ANY candidate, TFA or otherwise. The two candidates at Emerson Elementary were not in question, but the enrollment at that school proved not to be high enough to warrant the two positions for which those candidates had been potentially hired. There was NO discussion of any of the candidates nor were any of their personnel files requested.

The Times should print a retraction of this bogus editorial and issue an apology to each School Board Director named therein.
Anonymous said…
Bravo, Kay -- for blowing the strong winds of cold, clear truth across the bloviated, heated spin of the Seattle Times.


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