Friday Open Thread

It's Read Across America day - what is your school doing? I fondly remember coordinating Read Across America day at my sons' elementary school. Read to a child (or go dig up a Dr. Seuss book and enjoy).

A sad chapter in Seattle Schools' history surfaced this week via HistoryLink (a free online encyclopedia for Washington State History).

On February 27, 1942, the Seattle School Board accepts the resignation of 27 employees who are Americans of Japanese ancestry. The young women have been pressured to resign by the school district, which in turn has been pressured by a committee led by Esther Sekor, a Gatewood Elementary School mother. The white mothers circulated a petition and received a lot of press. The Japanese American women were further pressured to resign by Japanese American Courier editor James Sakamoto, who insisted that they would be fired if they did not resign.

Forty-two years later, on April 11, 1984, the Seattle School Board began to consider testimony concerning a resolution for redress of this wrong. The resolution for redress passed by a narrow margin. An act of the state legislature was required before the Seattle School Board could recognize a "moral obligation" as a basis for making reparation payments.

The bill (H. B. 1415) passed the Washington State House of Representatives on February 15, 1984, and passed the Senate three weeks later. On April 3, 1986, Governor Booth Gardner signed it into law at a packed and emotional ceremony in Seattle's International District. The ceremony was attended by those former clerks who were still living. One of them, May Namba, had just been rehired by the Seattle School District.

The district has extended the deadline for the Strategic Plan survey until March 7th.  This would be great except it's not a good survey.

Hope to see a few more eyes at the Board retreat tomorrow.  Come for part of the day; it is interesting to listen to how staff/Board wrestle with the direction of their work.   Agenda

Friday funny - only for those who love puns (or have children/teens who love them).

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said…
Nathan Hale High School has two great events coming up for the community:

Pancakes and Performances
Tomorrow, Saturday, March 2
In the Commons at Nathan Hale High School (south side of campus)
Support the Hale music program and enjoy breakfast (pancakes and much more) while listening to the Hale musical groups perform (choir, vocal jazz, concert band, jazz band, orchestra, music workshop).
$7 adults, $5 seniors and with ASB card, $3 children 10 and under…can’t beat those prices for breakfast!

Cabaret Night
Saturday, March 9
Show begins at 7:30, but come between 6:30 and 7:30 for the lobby social, including a raffle, auction, and other fun activities
In the Nathan Hale Performing Arts Center (West side of campus)
$15 adults, $8 students/seniors
Celebrate Nathan Hale’s Talented Community! In an evening emceed by Larry Uhlman, language arts teacher and voice of our upcoming musical’s how-to book, we hope you will join us to catch up with friends, celebrate our talented Nathan Hale community, and see a sneak preview of this year’s Pulitzer-prize winning musical, “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” and much more. We have many exciting performers lined up for your enjoyment including math teacher, Brian Coon, cheer coach, Liz Richards, students, alumni, neighboring schools, and local musical theater professionals! More details at our web site,
Online ticket at:

-A Hale Parent
dan dempsey said…
From ED Week on the sequester =>

Arne Duncan's Education 'Sequester' Claims Questioned

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has long been seen as an administration asset. (Well certainly NOT by many Here) But this past week, he's also been the chief spokesman for the White House claims about the potential impact of sequestration on education jobs. Now those estimates have run afoul of fact-checkers—and that could ultimately undermine the administration's effort to make education a poster child when it comes to the impact of sequestration on domestic programs.

Some background: On Sunday, the White House released a set of claims about the number of jobs that would be lost due to sequestration. We told readers that the numbers were very hard to prove or disprove—the number of actual jobs or positions lost will depend a lot on how districts decide to implement the cuts. (That information was also in our Sequestration FAQ.) And the numbers for key formula grant programs such as Title I grants for districts and special education in the final budget for this fiscal year, which must be agreed upon by March 27 to avoid a government shutdown, will also be key.

Plus, districts have known the cuts were a possibility for a long time, more than a year. Many districts—including most that receive federal impact aid, which supports schools that have a lot of kids from a nearby military base or Native American reservation—have already planned for a possible reduction in federal funding.

In general, federal aid typically makes up just about 10 percent of a district's budget. That doesn't mean the cuts won't hurt, of course. But it does mean that superintendents have already been trying to figure out how to minimize the impact to students and staff. (Great information in this report by the American Association of School Administrators.)


UPDATE: This story just doesn't seem to be going away. Today, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was hammered about the inaccuracies in Duncan's statement to the briefing room, in which,when pressed to name an example of a district that's cut personnel because of sequestration, he claimed that a West Virginia district was planning to lay some teachers off. (He did say that he wasn't sure it was due to the looming cuts.)


So any chance all that money being dumped into CCSS and various RTTT extortion tactics will be curtailed?
Anonymous said…
We received a school communication today regarding the Common Core Standards. Our K-8 school is seeking to raise quite a bit of money to support teacher professional development around the Common Core Standards, provide leveled reading libraries in all classrooms, middle school math and science resource materials, 8th grade algebra books, and technology upgrades.

How is the district funding the move to Common Core Standards? What is the district's plan?

Would be interested in hearing others' thought on how teaching or curriculum might change as a result of the move to the Common Core Standards?

Anonymous said…
If you really want to gag, read this article by two tech industry shills re-defining tax give-aways as "incentives" in order to spin their addiction to corporate welfare, while subtly threatening to go elsewhere if we make them pay their fair share.

Op-ed: Washington state should help tech industry by renewing tax incentives

For once, even the Times readers have had enough, and are resoundingly condemning this entitlement scheme for the wealthiest companies in the State, currently dividing up downtown Seattle like their own little fiefdom.

Sorry, but to all my friends employed in the tech sector, you need to read and digest this comment from a Times reader:

I cannot believe the arrogance of this article. The first half whines about having to pay taxes, and the second half whines about not getting enough help from government. Let me make a parenting analogy. When the kids are little, parents provide for all their needs and even give them a little allowance. As they get older, they are expected to contribute more in terms of chores, and perhaps get a part time job for their spending money. When they become adults, they are expected to become self-supporting. The tech industry apparently wants to live in Mom's basement for the rest of its life. - Ellen K

Well put. WSDWG
RosieReader said…
Did anyone attend the Wednesday Budget work session? What was under discussion?
Anonymous said…
Dear FedMomof2,

Here is an informative article on CCSS for Math from EducationNext

You asked: How is the district funding the move to Common Core Standards? What is the district's plan?

Great Questions... In Randy Dorn's original CCSS impact report which was delivered 30 days late to the legislators on Jan 31, 2011.... It was clear that CCSS was at that time a largely unfunded mandate for which the districts would pay about 90% of the costs.

The new Consortium headed by Jessica de Barros may well be able to fund CCSS ProD... I just do not know.

From the EdNext article=>

WSW: When you are so far behind, comparing the United States with better-performing countries through the incredibly narrow lens of standards doesn’t make a lot of sense. I think Common Core is in the same ball park, certainly not up there with the best of countries, but Common Core isn’t up there with the best state standards either, and what does that mean?

--- Note: The Legislature adopted CCSS before they were even written. It was all about getting access to (hopefully) Race to the Top dollars. Given the Consortium scored $40 million that is sort of working out on the money end for some Puget Sound Districts. -- Although Dorn's statewide low ball estimate was the equivalent of 300+ teachers salaries per year to fund the first five years of CCSS.

In math any Districts are placing great emphasis on the 8 Standards for Mathematical Practice and largely ignoring the 73 pages of content standards.

Combined with the above and given that Dr. WASL (Joe Wilhoft) is the executive director of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium .... I am skeptical of this entire undertaking.

-- Dan
Anonymous said…
TYPO above:

In math many Districts are placing great emphasis on the 8 Standards for Mathematical Practice and largely ignoring the 73 pages of content standards.

-- Dan
Watching said…
Sarah Morris is relentless:
suep. said…
Strategic Plan Stakeholder Taskforce Meeting #3 is next Weds March 6th.* We've been encouraged to reach out to the community to ask for input.

So, what's on everyone's wish list?

Please let me know and I'll pass it on.

*(The second one to be inconveniently scheduled on an early dismissal day, hmm...)

(@ Watching -- But of course -- she's a hired gun. It's what she's paid to do. Nothing genuine or grassroots about it. And I see she's trotting out the "Our Schools Coalition" farce again.)

seattle citizen said…
Watching, I just saw that, too. I was checking on the Alliance's "Our Schools Coalition" website to see what nefaroius BS they were up to lately, and saw the link there to piece Sara Morris (head of the Alliance) wrote in praise of (her own) OSC. While she says in it that OSC is "parents, taxpayers, and local employers," we know that it was created by the Alliance, in cahoots with Strategies 360 (a PR firm that has worked with Gates, et al, and whose Lesley Rogers was hired by Seattle Public Schools right after contract negotiations ended three years ago, and who now sits at the table for the upcoming contract negotiations.) OSC is NOT the citizens Morris extolls, but instead the usual "reform" groups (many themselves constructs of Gates), minority groups whose leaders joined OSC (in at least one case without the knowledge of the group's members...) in order to gain political and economic pull with the third group, which is four members of the city council, including Burgess, who was the first to sign on three years ago. (Why is Burgess involved in a Gates-created group whose sole purpose is to ram "reform" agenda items down the throats of teachers through their contract?)

Other laughable lines from Morris:
"Integral to passage of that contract was the involvement of the Our Schools Coalition, a broad community alliance..." Broad, my butt. Oh, they must mean the Broad Foundation.

"The coalition demanded positive change and a move away from..." Wait for it....wait for it..."the status quo..." Of course! The status quo! Because educators just NEVER change? Morris is a...piece of work. The Alliance claims to support educators yet calls them unchanging drones.

"[OSC's platform is] broadly supported in Seattle. In recent survey conducted for the Our Schools Coalition [by Strategies 360], 89 percent of Seattle voters supported this package, and 93 percent of Seattle Public Schools parents agreed."

"Recent" survey? The only one on OSC's website is the April 2010 survey, a survey that used names and numbers of staff and families illegally obtained from the Alliance after the Alliance got it from SPS; a survey that was first offered online, only to be called out as biased push-questions, then done via phone; a survey that was STILL push-questions....

Someone should call Sara Morris over there at the Alliance and tell her that we call BS on "Our Schools" Coalition. It's an embarassment and an obvious astroturf propaganda piece that slanders educators everywhere.
suep. said…
Seattle Citizen is right. And once more for the record, here's how organic and grassroots the so-called "Our Schools Coalition" is not -- Gates paid the Alliance to contrive and run it:

Alliance for Education

Date: October 2011

Purpose: to provide the Alliance for Education and its sub grantees, the League of Education Voters and the Alliance for Technology, funds over three years for Our Schools Coalition

Amount: $760,100

Term: 2 years and 2 months

Topic: Community Grants

Region Served: Global, North America

Program: United States

Grantee Location: Seattle, Washington

Grantee Web site:


Anonymous said…
I heard secondhand that some of the minority groups listed as part of the Our Schools Coalition aren't active groups or didn't know they were listed. AKA the coalition is not as big as it pretends to be. True? Urban Myth? Anyone know the answer or heard this rumor?

Anonymous said…
"Strategic Plan Stakeholder Taskforce Meeting #3 is next Weds March 6th.* We've been encouraged to reach out to the community to ask for input. So, what's on everyone's wish list? Please let me know and I'll pass it on."

PLEASE make the plan be specific about where the District should be heading with Special Education, what are the values, what are the indicators.

Anonymous said…
My wish list? A new superintendent -- current one is "mia". Yes, superintendent churn sucks. But, three more years of this, and we won't be any further ahead. And yet, seems like that's what we are headed for. Sad.

It's not about "give the guy a break - he's new". I just think what some might call "empowering his people" and "learning the lay of the land" is him getting away with dialing it in.

-oh no
Maier and SBOE and Charter Rules said…

Click on the link with Shannon Campion. Peter Maier has been spotted in a meeting with the State Board of Education as charter rules are discussed. Interesting.
Maier, Sundquist, SBOE and charter rules said…
Look closely, Sundquist is sitting next to Maier in the SBOE meeting when charter schools are discussed. Write your legislators and let them know that these guys shouldn't be trusted with public assets. (Click on above link)
I feel fairly certain in saying that Maier and Sundquist will not be on the Charter Commission. Could they end up at some charter management group or other charter entity? Sure.
Absolutely disgusted said…!/PSESD

Photo of Mary Jean Ryan and Jessica DeBarros with Arne Duncan regarding RTT. These are the folks pushing the cr** that we have to bow to. And, we all know how competent DeBarros is!
Anonymous said…
Ballard, Roosevelt and Garfield HS jazz bands (plus two others, I think Edmonds Woodway and Mountlake Terrace?) will be in the Starbucks Hot Java, Cool Jazz showcase on March 22. Cost is $20, and the performance will be excellent. If you go, don't miss the middle school jazz bands that play in the lobby during intermission -- they are almost as good as the main show. Tickets will be available at Starbucks locations. I know the sales from the Ballard Starbucks will throw additional support to the BHS band, and assume that is true of the location nearest the other schools.
mirmac1 said…
DeBarros, this is the same person who was rewriting the memo recommending MAP as she was trying to set up that interview for a job with MGJ. Guess what the "independent expert" ended up recommending!
Josh Hayes said…
As is so often the case, the Stranger has scooped the Times on this:

One of the key classes at The Center School has been suspended, pending investigation of a parent complaint. Hard to know what's going on so far, but it sounds pretty -- well, puzzling.

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