Showing posts from November, 2012

Stupid Tweets from Seattle Times Opinion

I subscribe to the Seattle Times Opinion Twitter feed so I get to see every stupid thing they write on it.

Seattle School Board Retreat

There are no Director Community meetings tomorrow as they will all be at the Board retreat.  It is open to the public for observation only.  Agenda .   Their stated "outcomes": Team (working as), Roles (Board roles) and Strategic Plan (affirming Core Beliefs for the development of a strategic plan). I'm sorry but I thought the policy worked out last December/January DID define Board and Superintendent roles.   A whole day to talk about how to work together and what their core beliefs are to move the district forward and no specifics?  This smacks of the Alliance and I have wonder who came up with this agenda.  And we wonder why more doesn't get done in our district. One (slightly) humorous note is that they will be discussing the Senior Leadership Survey.  Many of senior leadership are either brand-new or interim and I'm sure their input could be valuable but again, the most important thing to discuss?  And really, I think all the staff at JSCEE could give s

Remember Ballard High Staff

The blog wanted to express our condolences to Ballard High School on the loss of yet another staff member.  Teacher John Nygaard recently passed away.   The school also lost security staff member, Gary Smith, and teacher Megan Vogel earlier this year.    That's a lot for one community in one year. 

Friday Open Thread

Two events I wanted to highlight that I missed in my news/events thread. Nova has their annual Winter Craft Fair- with pre-made and make-and-take crafts. Plus fabulous pottery, jewelry, food and more! Fun for all ages. Thursday, Dec 6; 6-8:30p @ Nova- 300 20th Ave E; 98112 Green Lake Elementary is having their Annual Tree Sale through December 19th! All proceeds benefit education programs at the school. Address: 2400 N. 65th on west side of school 4 blocks West of I-5 on 65th. Hours: Monday - Friday 4pm to 8pm Saturday - 9am - 8pm Sunday - 10am - 7pm What's on your mind?

Yeah? What If They Don't?

There's a lot of talk about accountability and why we can't seem to be able to hold anyone accountable in culture of public K-12 education. I think the lack of accountability is built into the system - at every level.

Wash Your Hands, Washington

A cute and catchy video (show the kids!) reminding us about good habits during cold and flu season from our friends at the Washington State Department of Health.

It's a School Zone, Folks

Update: I had originally posted the info below because of an incident at Chief Sealth where two girls were struck by a car during school hours.  However, it turns out the woman who hit the girls meant to. Allegedly there was an altercation over a dog, the woman tried to use a stun gun on one girl, couldn't catch her and then got in her car, circled the block and hit the two girls head-on.   The woman then drove off.  One girl was released from the hospital but the older victim is in critical condition.  The woman turned herself into police, claiming she felt threatened by the girls.  End of update. Unbelievable.  From the Times: Mayor Mike McGinn said he expected traffic cameras near four Seattle schools to catch a lot of speeding drivers when the devices went live Nov. 1. But almost 6,000 in less than a month? "We were surprised," McGinn said. Because there were so many speeders, the warning-citation period that was to end this week has been extended to

Inslee Names Renton Superintendent as Chief of Staff

From the Times: Gov.-elect Jay Inslee named Renton Schools Superintendent Mary Alice Heuschel as his chief of staff in a news conference in Seattle on Thursday morning. Heuschel, one of three co-chairs of Inslee’s transition team, led Renton schools for seven years and last year was a finalist for national superintendent of the year. She also served as deputy superintendent of the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction for six years. I personally like Superintendent Heuschel and while I don't always agree with her, find her a thoughtful person.  I think it's a good call but Renton's loss.  

Seattle School Board Meeting Last Night

I couldn't stay long (darn cold) but I did make some remarks and heard other interesting remarks. First up was Wayne Barnett of the City Ethics department who gave a concise and lively wrap-up of what has been happening with this joint ethics venture between the City and the district.  This is a mid-term report as they are in the middle of the 3-year process. He said that everyone at JSCEE had been given the ethics training as had all the principals. In terms of advice, as of now about 80% of the contacts had been via phone or e-mail.  He said they have slightly less active than at the City level but that is to be expected (given the relative sizes of each). Investigations.  He stated they received their 100th call this week.  He said about a quarter of all calls had launched investigations.  He said about 60% of those calls did not fall under their jurisdiction but that the City had been pleased to act as a liaison between the district and the callers to get the callers to

Closing Bad Charters

The National Association of Charter School Authorizers said 900 to 1,300 of the privately run, publicly financed schools should close because they are in the bottom 15 percent of public schools in their states. Here's a link to their press release  and a Bloomberg News story that the Seattle Times ran.

A Call for Consistency

Check out this guest column in Publicola by former state legislator Brendan Williams:  Legislature Should Suspend Unfunded Charter Schools Initiative

School/District News and Events

Holiday poinsettias for sale through Nathan Hale horticulture program   Holiday poinsettias are available for sale through Nathan Hale's horticulture program 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Dec.1 and 1-5 p.m., Monday, Dec. 3. The school's greenhouse is north of Jane Addams K-8 school at 11051 34th Ave. N.E. Cost is $8.50 per plant or $8 each for 10 or more plants. Contact science and horticulture teacher Jessica Torvik if planning to place a large order of 10 or more. Olympic Hills Pancake Breakfast, Saturday, December 1st 9:00am – 11:00am  Start your weekend off right this Saturday, Dec. 1st. The Lake City Lions’ Club is sponsoring a Pancake Breakfast  to help raise funds for Olympic Hills Elementary. Money raised directly supports classroom field trips. Entertainment includes: Taiko drummers at 9:30am Intermediate choir at 10:00am Primary choir at 10:15am Breakfast includes pancakes, eggs, sausages, juice, coffee and the Lions’ unbeatable hospitality.

Odds and Ends

Tonight's School Board meeting still has lots of speaker slots open. From yesterday's Work Session on Strategic Plan Guiding Principles , a draft document . It's a lot of the same stuff you'd find anywhere.  I'm not sure what specifics will come out of this document. Don't like/believe:   Strengthen family engagement through transparent communications and continue to build partnerships with city, business and community leaders that support student achievement.  Transparent?  As President DeBell has secret meetings (and I'd like to know if the other Board members know this) with Tim Burgess, I'm not sure about that transparency.  And, check out how they want to " strengthen family engagement "?  See that word "parents" anywhere?  That word is not used a single time in this document.  That's where you stand in the Strategic Planning.  Like: Implement an information and communication technology infrastructure and enviro

Special Ed PTSA General Meeting This Week

Seattle Special Education PTSA General Meeting THIS WEEK! SPECIAL DATE! "Meeting Special Education Student Needs in General Education Classrooms" featuring Dr. Bridget Walker Assistant Professor in Seattle University's Master in Teaching Program Wednesday, Nov 28, 2012 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. John Stanford Center, Room 2700 2445 3rd Ave. S., Seattle 98134 We have a fantastic program for you and for your child's teachers. Please invite them, and your friends! "Special Education Students are General Education Students First!" But when the rubber hits the road, with crowded classrooms, funding shortages, limited opportunities for teacher professional development, and parental questions about how to start a conversation with teachers, are our children's learning needs fully being met alongside their typically developing peers? Dr. Walker, who works with school districts throughout the area on special education issues, offers practical, timely, cost-e

SPS Group Selected as RTTT Finalist

Race to the Top finalists were announced .  The group that Seattle Schools is part of is one of them.  To note, we are the first place locally that I have seen this announcement posted.

Tuesday Open Thread

The Times has the most popular names for dogs in Seattle.  They had a top 10 and then by breed.  Perusing the list, I saw this: Shih Tzu & Poodle - Charlie Sorry, Big Guy. What's on your mind?

Ed News Roundup

First up, this is not directly ed related (although peripherally), a letter from a whiter-than-white (his term) Republican who was mightily unhappy with his party this election.  (Caution: he minces no words so if you are a delicate reader, do not read this section.)  He does speak to some of what ed reformers on the Dem side like to do; namely, name-call and harangue which to my mind, never works.   One of the reasons my family is affluent is that my wife and I have a collective fifteen years of university education between us. I have a Masters degree in Science and Technology Policy, and my wife is a physician who holds degrees in medicine as well as cell and molecular biology. We are really quite unimpressed with Congressional representatives such as Todd Akin and Paul Broun who actually serve on the House science committee and who believe, respectively, that rape does not cause pregnancy and that evolution and astrophysics are lies straight from Satan’s butt cheeks. These are,

Seattle Schools This Week

Monday, November 26th Superintendent Banda's meeting with the Latino community from 6-8 pm at El Centro de la Raza. Feedback, concerns and questions are welcome. Tuesday, November 27th Work Session: Strategic Plan Guiding Principle s from 4:30-6:30 pm.  No agenda available. Work Session: Ethics Training from 6:45-7:45 pm.  (I'm not sure who this is for - the Board or staff or both.) No agenda available. Wednesday, November 28th School Board meeting starting at 4:15 pm.  Sign up first thing Monday morning if you want to speak. Agenda. Action items reflect the 2013 Legislative agenda, approval of "superintendent evaluation instrument: the CSIP approvals, voting in a new Policy 1400 about Board meetings. To note about Policy 1400, it appears the start time is to remain at 4:15 p.m.  It also changes the policy that saying that any changes in the prepared agenda may be requested by the Superintendnetn or a Board member and is approved by majority vote (and redl

What Charters Will We See?

The Times has an article in this morning's paper about what we might expect about what charters come in first. They get it right in the opening paragraphs (with some irony): The first charter schools in Washington probably won't be run by the nation's best-known charter groups with years of experience and strong reputations. During the successful campaign for Initiative 1240, which will allow as many as 40 charters to open here over five years, supporters talked about wanting Washington students to have a chance to attend the kind of schools operated by the nation's top charter operators. But the highest profile chains are in such demand that most won't be looking to expand here anytime soon — if at all. Some national charter-school experts say the wait-and-see stance of many big charter groups is not surprising. Of course not.  No high-profile charter group will want to come into an uncertain situation.  It costs them time and money and those ar

Times Editorial - Wrong Again

I don't know why I even bother, but here is another misguided editorial on education from the Seattle Times.

Charter Update in the Times

Linda Shaw, writing for the Seattle Times, reported today on the likely near-term future of charter schools in Washington,  Modest start for charter schools expected . Her predictions and report aligns with our predictions: national charter school chains will hang back, if they come to Washington at all. After all, they didn't have any plans to expand into Washington before the vote and they want to wait and see how the regulations are determined and how the inevitable Court challenges are decided before they spend money on making any plans. They also prefer to work in concert with school districts rather than in antagonistic relationships with them. That's certainly what we were reckoning and it makes sense to anyone who has ever had responsibility for a business. The exception may be Green Dot, which represents a lot of the worst stereotypes about charters. Even Green Dot, however, may defer.

Friday Open Thread

A few updates: One - with less than 8,000 votes to count statewide, I-1240 appears to have passed .  (I'm sure it's true but I'm not the Secretary of State and in a position to officially call it.)  The margin appears to be 1.36% of the vote which is just under 41,000 votes.  A win for sure but certainly no mandate.  Two - Thanks to SPS Leaks for some very illuminating reading.  To whit: Lynne Varner gets it wrong in an Times editorial and SPS gently points this out to her.  I note that Varner says "sources" told her certain things about the departure of Superintendent Enfield.  So, as you see, journalists have sources and they don't reveal them (and sometimes not even by the order of a court) and that's how it goes.  (I, of course, still contend that I am not a journalist but I have sources.  I do get my hand slapped occasionally by readers demanding to know my source.  Not revealing them is how you keep your sources.) Three, I think most of

Tuesday Open Thread

I know - kids at home and Thanksgiving dinner to get ready for but I'll ask: what's on your mind?

Alliance for Education Strategic Plan

" On a mission to ensure every child in Seattle Public Schools is prepared for success in college, career and life ." That's what is says at the top of the Alliance for Education home page . With that mission, the Alliance has no business with anything outside Seattle Public Schools. This includes private schools, schools in other districts, and, of course, any charter schools should they appear. That mission statement is repeated on the web page for their Strategic Plan . C'mon. You had to know that they would have a strategic plan , didn't you? I suggest you read it. It is an illuminating document. This tells what the Alliance sees when it looks at itself in the mirror. It may be a different vision of what you and I see when we look at the Alliance.

Ed News from Around the Country

I'm finally catching up on some backreading on education issues. Arne Duncan.   According to this article in Ed Week on the first speech Secretary Duncan has made since the re-election of President Obama, it appears he will stay on if asked.  His priorities? In his first major postelection remarks, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said that he will use his second term to continue to leverage education improvement at the state and local levels, with a new emphasis on principal preparation and evaluation.  And, he made clear that if Congress isn't serious about reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, of which the No Child Left Behind Act is the current version, then his department won't devote a lot of energy to it. Duncan said, repeatedly, that he did not want reauthorization to happen through a bad bill. "We will lead, we will help, we will push, but Congress has to want to do it," said Duncan, who says he plans on staying in th

Who is Paying in Washington State?

Following up on Charlie's post about Crosscut's article on how business says it cares about public education, here's more input from The Stranger Slog.  David Goldstein has been laying out the case against the levy swap for our school districts and the supplied graphic says it all. King County, with roughly 29 percent of the state population, produced 42 percent of state tax revenues, yet it received back less than 26 percent of state benefits. That's a return of only 62 cents on the dollar for our state's Democratic stronghold. Compare that to the generous $3.16 return on each dollar enjoyed by taxpayers in hard Republican Ferry County in deep northeastern Washington. All in all, only six counties qualified as "net donors" to the rest of the state—San Juan, King, Skagit, Kittitas, Whatcom, and Snohomish—while the remaining 33 counties enjoyed an average return on investment of over $1.40 on every tax dollar sent to Olympia. If King County

Brilliant Story on Education Hypocrisy

An absolutely brilliant story appears on Crosscut,  Business support for education: Just big talk? by Dick Nelson. This story shines a bright light on the hypocrisy of Washington State business groups who decry the state of public education in Washington State - preK to college - but also adamantly refuse to pay any of the cost of improving it. It reveals them for the whiny babies they are. A few business organizations in particular are taken to task. The whole story is written with a flat, Joe Friday, "Just the facts, ma'am" sort of tone. It's calm, rational, and devastating. I highly recommend it. I can't wait to see if there is any reaction.

Just Wondering

It is always my intention to learn so I read whatever is handy.  So I was in a business office this past week and there was the Puget Sound Business Journal (which I don't regularly read).   So I'm reading this article about how the EMP wants a break on its rent.  (Apparently Paul Allen might not subsidize it forever.)  EMP agreed with the City that there would be rent increases every five years from the time it opened in 2000.  But now EMP is saying they are a non-profit (albeit fronted by one of the wealthiest men in the world) and they say they do lots of "cultural education" to local schoolchildren.  It is also mentioned in the artilce that EMP has an exclusive liquor license that means no new potential restaurants or bars at Seattle Center can serve liquor.  (Talk about a benefit.)  So the City did offer them a rent break in exchange for giving up that exclusivity but EMP said no.   (To which I would say, then sink or swim on your own.)  But in terms of ou

Seattle Schools Week of Nov. 19-23

A short week due to the Thanksgiving holiday.   No school for elementary and K-8 students for Parent-Teacher conferences (really? three whole days).  Enrollment Services close at noon on Wednesday and one-hour early dismissal on Wednesday for all students.   Community meeting with Director Patu on Saturday the 24th from 10 am to noon at Caffe Vita, 5028 Wilson Avenue S. I missed this but the district received in October- via the UW Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity - a new Upward Bound Math-Science grant from the DOE.  The five-year, $1.25 million grant is designed to help low-income and first-generation students succeed in high school and pursue post-secondary degrees, especially in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. UBMS will serve 65 students at Seattle’s Chief Sealth, Cleveland and Franklin high schools and is a sister program to OMA&D’s existing Upward Bound program that assists nearly 80 students at the same schools . Over two-

Correcting the Times

Correcting the Times gets tiresome but they just don't seem to want to get it right and/or be truthful. Today there is a wag-of-the finger editorial to Inslee, et al. about the passage of 1240.   The Times should not be telling Inslee what to do given how roundly they denounced him as a candidate.  That said, I-1240 does put quite the rush on the State Board of Education to get its work done under 1240 as well as Inslee, Chopp and Lt. Governor Brad Owen to get their work done (selecting the Charter Commission members). Lynne Varner starts off by saying people will be "watching" who Inslee, Chopp and Owen pick and she's right there.  LOTS of people will be watching as well as asking questions.  We will be able to know who every single person who applies is.   Here are my comments on the editorial: First, many, many people will be watching and asking Chopp, Inslee and Owens about their process for picking the Charter Commission. But you need a BALANCE in the

KUOW Story on Teacher Evaluations

Ann Dornfeld of KUOW reports on Seattle teacher evaluations based, in part, on student test scores.

Go Roosevelt Rough Riders!

I had heard Roosevelt's football team was doing well this season but I had no idea they were playing for the quarterfinals today against the #1 team in the state, Skyline, current state champions.   The game is at 7 pm tonight at Memorial Stadium.  It is the first time since 1195 that Roosevelt has been in the playoffs.  They were a powerhouse in the '60s.  One issue is that Roosevelt, Garfield and Franklin joined KingCo league which are full of powerhouse teams that start playing in middle school. 

Friday Open Thread

twere evenAs a reminder, Director Carr and Director DeBell have community meetings tomorrow morning (see Seattle Schools This Week thread for details). Also the district is having an event, co-sponsored with WSU on Sunday, the 19th at Garfield from noon-4:30 p.m.  Imagine U @ College! is a unique program that educates people on the benefits of a college education, how to apply for admission and pay tuition, and how to be successful in college. For the first time, WSU is partnering with Seattle Public Schools to make the program available to all students and families in the District. The program is free and lunch will be provided to the first 500 attendees.   A second Seattle Imagine U @ College! Program will take place the following day, Nov. 19, at Garfield High School. This one will provide similar workshops for all Garfield High School students. This program includes a family night at Garfield beginning at 6 p.m. or more information about Imagine U @ Col

School Segmentation Explained

Seattle Public Schools has this School Segmentation thing. It's a bit unclear how this segmentation is done, so  I'll direct your attention to the appropriate document and try to offer some of the missing transparency.

Educational and Racial Equity

When the Board adopted policy 0030, Ensuring Educational and Racial Equity , there was a bit of a stir because, at one point, the word "Racial" had been removed from the policy title. I guess some folks were concerned that if there was no reference to race in the title of the policy, there would be no focus on race in the implementation of the policy. The content of the policy was not in question, just the title.

Wednesday Open Thread

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

Legal Issues for I-1240

Interesting article/op-ed from The Sun Break about just some of the legal issues that may arise from I-1240.  Another question is whether charter schools are in fact "common schools" (i.e., public schools), as required by the Washington State constitution if they are to receive public funds: The legislature shall provide for a general and uniform system of public schools. The public school system shall include common schools, and such high schools, normal schools, and technical schools as may hereafter be established. But the entire revenue derived from the common school fund and the state tax for common schools shall be exclusively applied to the support of the common schools.  I-1240 simply states that charter schools are public schools. But that’s precisely what’s at issue with the debate over charter schools versus public schools. Are they? Is it still a “general and uniform system” if charter schools are granted the freedom with curriculum they’ve been granted, and

Executive/Operations Agenda This Week

As previously noted, there is an Executive Committee meeting tomorrow morning.  Here is the agenda.    These agenda seem to be quite terse with topics like "government relations", "community engagement" and you have no idea what the specifics of that discussion might be. They are going to be talking about audience participation at Board meetings so if you don't like either the new Board meeting start time and/or 2-minute limit, you might want to let Board members know this. ( There is to be an Executive Session of the Committee at the end of the meeting on "real estate matters". The Operations Committee also has their agenda available.  Looks like they will be looking at: - some capital issues including Genesee Hill.  - Tracy Libros from Enrollment will be speaking on enrollment, child custody and district attendance area transfers as well as the student assignment plan for 2013-14.  - short-term and intermedia

More Speed Cameras Around Some Schools

From the Times: Starting Monday, Nov. 26, $189 tickets will be automatically mailed to registered owners of vehicles caught speeding past cameras installed in four Seattle school zones. Those zones are near Broadview-Thomson K-8 School, Thurgood Marshall Elementary, Olympic View Elementary and Gatewood Elementary. Before setting up the new speed cameras, the department coordinated with the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) last year to analyze which school zones could benefit most, Doss said. Despite the installation of more than 50 sets of flashing yellow beacons in school zones across the city, speeding was a persistent problem around several schools. Eventually four areas were chosen for the speed cameras. School principals were contacted about the pilot program and supportive of it, according to police spokesman Jeff Kappel.

I-1240 Passes

According to the Associated Press.  Apparently, charter supporters are hoping for some as early as next fall (and I wouldn't be surprised unless there are lawsuits which might give some charter operators pause).  According to the Times: Some charter-school groups have already expressed interest in coming here, and the superintendent of Spokane Public Schools is interested in having a charter in her district, according to The Spokesman-Review. Interestingly, only one member of the Spokane School Board came out against I-1240 so maybe so.  Unfortunately, the Times leads readers to believe that only the Charter Commission will be okaying charters but if a school board gets vetted by the DOE, they, too, can approve charters.   Randy Dorn, the elected head of the state's Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, believes that the state Constitution requires all public schools to be under his department's jurisdiction. Charter supporters say they're confi

Coming of Age with Autism; New KUOW Series

KUOW is launching a series of stories about young adults/teens coming of age who have autism.   It debuts Tuesday, November 13 with a call-in at 9:30 am (543-5869) or e-mail comments, It's an inspiring series and one that hits close to home for me.  I think as the number of people who are on the autism spectrum grows that it's important to learn about their challenges and help them find acceptance in our society.  

Finnish Ed Leader In Seattle

From the Times: Pasi Sahlberg, who heads the Centre for International Mobility and Cooperation in Finland’s Ministry of Education and Culture, will be in Seattle this week to talk about how his country achieved its success without standardized tests, teacher merit pay, school choice, or many of the other trends in American public education. Sahlberg, who started his career as a teacher, has written a book about that subject, titled “Finnish Lessons.” Sahlberg will speak at a luncheon Wednesday at the Rainier Club at 820 Fourth Ave.  The luncheon starts at 11:45 a.m., costs $27 and requires an RSVP.  He also will give a free public lecture at  7 p.m. Wednesday at the University of Washington’s Kane Hall,  Room 210.

Race and Education

We are just coming off a presidential election where, to some degree, race mattered.  Governor Romney lost because the GOP seems to be tone-deaf to the fact that what they allowed various GOP officials, including Romney, to say about Hispanics and women really DID matter.  The GOP can continue this at their own risk but the numbers are against them (and so is history and common decency). The NY Times had two articles about students and race and its impacts that I thought worthy of posting.  Both are about Asian-Americans. One article is about Asian-Americans in college.  This is a large and diverse group of students with varying outcomes.  By the numbers, Chinese, Japanese and Korean-American students tend to do fairly well in school.  Pacific Islanders, Samoans, Vietnamese-Americans tend to do less well.   Add into those groups Pakistani, Indian, Filipinos, and Cambodians and you get a lot of people under one umbrella who are wildly different in their attitudes and outcomes a

Charters in Washington State

I am collecting names for those that would like to continue watching over the charter school issue.  Contact me at and include your area of interest (watchdog, legal, etc.) and your phone number. 

Odds and Ends

 There's a sinkhole problem in West Seattle directly on the route that buses to Pathfinder take.  This story from our friends at the West Seattle Blog . Thought-provoking story this morning on NPR about how Eastern and Western parents view their children and their ability to learn.  (I have often thought that persistence, resilience, and encouragement are more important than what intellectual capacities you are born with.)  Interesting article from the Huffington Post about who serves special needs children especially those with more severe disabilities.  The high cost of educating students with special needs is disproportionately falling on traditional public schools as other students increasingly opt for alternatives that aren't always readily open to those requiring special education.  The issue is particularly acute in districts where enrollment has declined due to demographic changes such as low birth rates and population shifts combined with an influx of cha

New Documentary about Public Schools: Brooklyn Castle

In case you missed it, The Daily Show interviewed Brooklyn Castle He meant chess, but could have been talking about a lot of arts programs. The clip is here: watch/thu-november-8-2012/ katie-dellamaggiore---pobo-efek oro

Should Student Tweets Be Revealed?

Here's a dilemma (or maybe not).  Over at the Jezebel blog, they found that there were a number of teens who, after the reelection of President Obama, sent out very hateful and racist tweets.  Jezebel looked these teens up and where they went to school, checked their school's code of conduct, and then contacted their respective administrations.  In many cases, either the school code of conduct and/or student athletic code of conduct was violate. Jezebel says: We contacted their school's administrators with the hope that, if their educators were made aware of their students' ignorance, perhaps they could teach them about racial sensitivity. Or they could let them know that while the First Amendment protects their freedom of speech, it doesn't protect them from the consequences that might result from expressing their opinions.  Additionally, several of the teens use imagery of their high schools' sports teams on their Twitter accounts and Facebook p

Seattle Schools This Week

Monday, November 12th SPS closed to honor our veterans, both past and present.   I want to thank my father, Sam, and his brothers, Jack, Pat and Bill, all who served in WWII.  I want to thank my mother's cousin, Charles Oles, who served in WWII and died in the Bataan death march.  I would like to thank Harry M. Ravenna, the soldier in Vietnam whose name I carried on a metal bracelet on my wrist in junior high.  I found out decades later that he was killed in action.  Thank you to all who served and are serving. Community Meeting with Director Peaslee at Lake City Library from 6:30-8:00 pm Tuesday, November 13th Road Map to College event.  One of a series, this one at Rainier Beach High School from 3-6 p.m. Krista Rillo, College Bound Scholarship Counselor , , (206) 252-0075 Superintendent Meeting with Native American Community at Wilson-Pacific from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, November 14th Executive Committee Meeting from 8:45 am-10:45 am.  Age

Yes on 1240 Declares Victory

Update at 4:40 pm:  I still think the trend is not enough to say No to 1240 but it will end up being as close as it can be.  At this time the Yes has dropped to 50.78% and No is at 49.22%, a difference of 1.56% and less than 42K.   From their press release: After comprehensively reviewing ballot returns to date, The YES on 1240 Coalition announced today that Initiative 1240, the Washington Public Charter Schools Initiative, will be approved by a majority of Washington voters. With over 2.6 million votes counted, Initiative 1240 is leading with 51% of the vote.  According to Washington state law, election results will be officially certified and Initiative 1240 will take effect on December 6th.  The initiative calls for members of the Washington State Charter School Commission to be appointed within 90 days of the effective date of the law.  This is to be expected.  What is really troubling is the " FAQ " they published (and let me just state that their previous FAQ o

Eckstein Burglars Wanted...Musical Instruments?

In yet another odd police report for SPS this week.  From SPD: Three juvenile burglars arrested.  This morning at approximately 1:30 a.m., officers responded to Eckstein Middle School at 3003 NE 75th St to an alarm. Officers arrived and contained the area.  Three suspects were observed inside with flashlights attempting to steal musical instruments.  All three suspects dropped the equipment and fled out of an exit door. The suspects were taken into custody without incident.  They were fingerprinted and photographed.  All three juveniles were later interviewed and released to their parents.

Teacher Versus Student; All's Well That Ends Well

Very interesting story from our friends at The Stranger Slog: According to the police report, a female student at Nathan Hale High School walked into the classroom "asking for some note cards" when she was allegedly struck with a 500-page copy of Homer's The Odyssey around 9:00 a.m. on November 1. By way of explanation, the teacher reportedly told police, "I was in a dramatic moment of teaching and when I was interrupt[ed], I wanted to show the students how important that moment was."  It's unclear who called the cops—most likely an employee of the school. When police arrived, the girl told them that after interrupting the man's class, "he yelled at her to get out of his classroom." According to the police report, she "thought the [teacher] was joking at first and again asked for some note cards." The teacher "again yelled for her to get out," at which point, the girl "realized the [teacher] was not jo

Friday Open Thread

It is to be a good weekend, weatherwise. We are coming off an exhausting campaign season that saw us retain a President that others thought might be easily defeated.  The power of numbers (and Nate Silver's ability to use them - go math!). Linda Darling-Hammond, a professor Ed at Stanford University and a star in education nationally, is in town and speaking this morning at a UW event.  I have not been able to find out if it is open to the public.  A source tells me that she is meeting with some members of the School Board at some point.  I hope they listen. What's on your mind?

Updates on 1240

1240 - Still 600K votes still to count and it's down by just under 46K.  So doable but the number crunching from the top counties where each side leads just don't support a win unless there is some big turn towards No.   Ditto on the race for Governor.  The numbers are just not trending McKenna's way so I believe Inslee will take it.  Frankly, I think that even though Inslee has been somewhat vague on funding issues, he is far less rigid than McKenna on education issues.  And, the Legislature is going to have to do a lot of the heavy lifting of figuring out how to fund and enact the McCleary decision. I do go on record here.  Whether you like charters or not, McCleary should have been figured out and enacted BEFORE any vote on charters.   We only muddy the waters by bringing them in at this point and that will be just one more issue that makes this a difficult process. Good article from the Seattle Weekly 's Nina Shapiro about the conversion portion of I-1240. 

1240 - It Battles On

Over at the No On 1240 Facebook page, I had unofficially said I thought this was done.  To understand, nearly all the counties were trending the same as they had since Tuesday night and it did not seem possible to overtake that slight Yes lead.  Today, I realized that the Yes on R74  campaign  had crunched the numbers (even as their lead had been as slim as the Yes on 1240 lead Tuesday night) and said they won.  So, I thought, if Yes on 1240 has all this money, why haven't they crunched the numbers and announced THEIR win?  Or did they but they really can't be sure? All I know is the latest numbers from the Washington Secretary of State yesterday were these: Yes 51.11% No  48.89% As of 4:45 p.m. Yes 50.9% No  49.02% The difference is about 43K votes.  There are three large counties to drop new numbers (and they hadn't since Tuesday night) at 5 p.m. - Spokane, Snohomish and Skagit.  Again, the trending is not there for a win but I do love that Bill Gate

Wednesday Open Thread

Gee, Tuesday got away from me.  I wonder why. Hoping to parse through the BEX IV vote and ask you to consider what happens now.  There is a lot of vagueness in this BEX so it's hard to gauge what will be done and when.  Also, probably a year back now, Director Carr said at a Work Session that there would have to be a heck of a good narrative to sell this to voters. Okay, I'll ask you - what is the narrative that will sell this to Seattle voters?  Keep in mind, you are selling over $1B of levies.  On another subject, Superintendent Banda.  I am still feeling good about him.   I find him quietly assured (but not in an Olchefske-type way).  But, what would make you feel assured?  What one thing, that's within the realm of possibility, could he do to make you feel like he's on the right track?  Or is there a signal you would look for that would make you believe he can't/won't be co-opted by the powers that be? What's on your mind?

Public Education Election Updates

There are still one million ballots to count in Washington State so I-1240 is still in flux at about 51-49%. According to KUOW, the Yes group was very confident last night until the first numbers came in.  (I do find it funny that they kept their "guests" from the media at their event.  I don't get that.)  Apparently a LEV spokesperson said their campaign kept things  "factual".   Factual?  That's a stretch. It's wrong to not tell the truth.  But after not telling truth, telling half-truths is next in line and that's precisely what the Yes side did. In G eorgia , voters passed a constitutional amendment embed a charter commission into their Constitution.   It mirrored the race in Washington State in terms of the big money put into it.  The vote turned out to be 58% to 42%.   The issue was that event though 9 out of 10 charters that applied to school boards did get passed, it wasn't enough.  So they have create a state charter commission t

Student Walk Out over BEX IV Plan

This story in the Seattle Times,  Rainier Beach students protest lack of remodel plans for their school , about students demanding a remodel of their school building. Page 96 of this building condition report  rates Rainier Beach as a 2.9 on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being the best condition and 5 being the worst. It was marked down some for having an enrollment far under capacity. From the report: "Rainier Beach is housed in a middle aged facility that has worn very well (with some good maintenance) The current enrollment is very low, resulting in many unused spaces in the school. The traditional layout is a rigid grid, but its efficiency and logic tie programs together fairly well. Most classrooms and program spaces are traditional size and configuration. The performing arts center is one of the District's finest." This building condition report (see page 136) gives Rainier Beach a rating of 3.3 and says: "Rainier Beach High School was constructed in 1961 a