Tuesday Open Thread

From a reader:

White mothers of biracial daughters and sons are invited to participate in a study. I will be in Seattle April 10 - 14th to interview mothers for this critical study. Please let families know about the study and interested families can contact me.


Great story out of South Glens Falls, NY.  It seems that this high school has had a dance marathon since 1978 and this year donated the proceeds, nearly $500,000, to help people tackling huge life challenges.  From the AP:

Students cleared a path for a group who walked or were wheeled to the stage set at one end of the gym. One by one - a woman battling cancer in a stocking cap, mothers of ailing children, car crash survivors - thanked the teenage dancers, who just raised almost $500,000 to help them tackle life's challenges.
"When a community comes together to help lift financial stress, which allows a child to get the proper care and have the best chance in life, that's priceless," Kate LaFoy told the hushed crowd in a choked voice. Her 15-month-old daughter Alessandra has Turner syndrome, a genetic condition. "You know how they say it takes a village to raise a child? You're part of our village now. We are forever grateful."
South Glens Falls High School students donated the hefty sum to LaFoy and 39 other recipients by dancing around the clock this weekend as part of an annual event in this small, weathered village just south of New York's Adirondack Mountains.
"You're raised in the South Glens Falls community, you're expected to dance in the marathon dance," said senior Carly Weller, a member of the student committee that organizes the dance and selects recipients, all local. "And after you do it once, you're hooked."
This dance marathon is different from the old endurance contests in which the last exhausted couple on the floor escapes the tap on the shoulder to win. The teenage dancers get a couple of hours to sleep, plenty of food and drinks and some other breaks from Friday night to Saturday night. There are costume parades and opportunities to chill out on the gym floor.

"Physically I'm exhausted. Emotionally I'm exhausted," Weller said. "But I've never been as happy in my life."
 What a great school, what a great lesson and what great students to give back to the community they call home. 

What's on your mind? 


mirmac1 said…
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Anonymous said…
News on Seattle Times and on the radio just now that District is being investigated by Feds: Disproportionate discipline for African-Americans.

LEV has been pushing this issue lately.

mirmac1 said…
Actually the population with the greatest disproportionality with discipline is special education students. And, of course, they are also the most bullied.
Maje said…
What's the responsibility (if any) for the schools with the kids after school? A friend's kid missed the bus twice in the last few weeks and sat at school for an hour before anyone noticed. Yes, their after school care dropped the ball on that, but how could a little kid be left alone for an hour and no one noticed?
Maje, you might call Transportation. My recollection is that there was a teacher or the principal seeing kids on the bus (in elementary) every day. And, the bus driver usually noticed if some kid was missed (and not on the absence list).

That's not a good situation.
seattle citizen said…
In today's Seattle Times: Op-ed: MAP boycott is about keeping test scores out of teacher evaluations, by Michelle Rhee

How uniformed is Ms. Rhee?
"Some local teachers union members have decided to reject Washington state’s student assessment program..."

Uh, earth to Rhee...Not only is the boycott supported by parents, students, citizens, nationally recognized education experts, but, hello: MAP is not "Washington State's student assessment program.

Great googly-moogly. Who IS her editor? Lynne Varner?

A new low by the Times, as if this charlatan's self-serving propaganda carries any weight.

It goes on with similarly bizarre claims:
"Why are labor unions latching on to Seattle’s MAP assessments, entangling them with a completely separate national debate over using standardized testing as a means of measuring teacher performance?"

Great googly moogly! The headline of the piece writes about how the test is used in evaluations! Is not MAP, a standardized test used in evaluation, part of the national debate?! Where is her logic?

I'll leave other commenters to parse this paragraph:
"The arguments against the MAP can be dispensed with quickly. First, some argue that because the MAP assessments have no bearing on a student’s letter grade, they aren’t taken seriously and therefore aren’t useful. But that’s something many educators can remedy by setting an example and choosing to take the assessments seriously themselves. Moreover, the MAP assessment was agreed to within the union’s collective-bargaining process just three years ago, and is scheduled to be a bargaining issue again, appropriately, within the contract-negotiation process."

As was clear to all who watched the boycott unfold, it was driven by a desire to stop wasting students' time. It had little to do with evaluation (until Rhee claimed it did, I guess) The Times is just getting worse and worse.
mirmac1 said…
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mirmac1 said…
Glad I don't read that POS anymore...

Thanks seattle citizen for giving me a heads up.
Anonymous said…
Any tips on how to file a public records request?

Can a person file one to find out how a school has spent their "self-help" fund?

NW family
mirmac1 said…
Absolutely. Email the helpful PR officer Ms Clarkson at ckclarkson@seattleschools.org and say:

I would appreciate all public records from (start date) to (end date) relating to (x) including, but not limited to (y).

It is good to write your request broad enough so as not to give anyone reason to try to narrowly interpret your request (even though court rulings preclude them from doing that), at the same time not make it overly broad.

The law requires that you receive an acknowledgment or response within 5 days.
Rhee should back off and shut up. She has it wrong about this issue and makes it teachers =bad and testing =good.

That the Times feels she is the person to address our local issue - both for Seattle Schools and Washington State - shows how low they have sunk.
Anonymous said…
Any other info on the study mentioned above? I passed it on to a friend but she's wondering if there's a link for more info anywhere.

-Garfield Mom
dan dempsey said…
Huffington Post:

Misadventures in the Common Core

.... The reason, we learned, is New York's recent embrace of the "Common Core" that has been adopted by 46 states. It's the latest experiment put into place by educational policy experts who continually jockey to get the newest big ideas into the classroom.

... What I know right now, though, is that it is asking third graders to approach math in ways that seem terribly unsuited to them.

Reminder: The WA Legislature approved Common Core sight unseen.

I think because BMGF initiated the CCSS and drives the reform bus through America.

Until then, we'll just keep reassuring her that the problem isn't her ability to understand math; the problem is how she's being asked to understand math. The problem is the experimental "big idea" that she's unknowingly become part of. --> courtesy of the Oligarchs

Check out Obama's recent appointee
Sylvia Burwell
to see who drives the bus.

He chose Sylvia Burwell as new Office of Management and Budget (OMB) director. She replaces Jeffrey Zients. She’s president of the Walmart Foundation.

Previously she was Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Global Development Program president. She prioritized profit making over good will.

In 2001, she joined the Gates Foundation. From 2002 – 2006, she was executive vice president, CEO and executive director.

Earlier she was Clinton’s OMB deputy director, assistant to the president, and deputy chief of staff. She served Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin in the same capacity.

Prior to entering government, she did financial consulting. She did so for McKinsey & Company.
dan dempsey said…
Liv Finne writes:

This morning the Senate passed SB 5328, which would create a pilot program to implement Governor Inslee’s A through F school grading proposal by giving letter grades to schools in five school districts. School grades would be based on the State Achievement Index and on schools’ progress towards improvement. The bill passed 26 to 23.

Senator Litzow (R-Mercer Island), the prime sponsor of SB 5328, said: “This bill is about creating an easily understood and transparent accountability system that is clear to every parent.... At the end of the day, this is about clarity and transparency for parents. Everyone understands it. What we have now is a murky description which does not define the difference between Good and Very Good, between Fair or Struggling.”


What Senator Litzow fails to mention is that this bill puts a system in place that purports to be accurate but is NOT.

The difference between Good and Very Good, between Fair or Struggling will not be statistically valid. In many case the sample size for elementary schools is too small and inconsistent year to year comparisons will be but one short coming of this scheme.

Litzow wants a school rating to talk about ... apparently he is unconcerned about the accuracy of the rating. .... SO how is any of this going to improve classroom instruction?

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