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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tuesday Open Thread

Really interesting photography series on children and their toys.  Might be interesting to ask your child if you were taking the picture with them in it, what toys would surround them?

Update: I just learned that Superintendent Banda had a death in the family and is out on bereavement leave until Friday.  Naturally this means he will not be at Wednesday's Board meeting.  Our sympathies to the Superintendent and his family.

Also new, from the West Seattle blog comes the notion that because we had no snow days this school year, the last day of school is likely to be June 14th.  That's one of the earliest end dates I can remember in a long time.

What's on your mind?


14 comments:

Anonymous said...

When I handed my daughter a camera (when she was still in early elementary), she proceeded to take numerous shots OF her toys. Beanie baby cats were grouped in bedspread caves as members of The Warriors series. Breyer horses were placed on rocks and "pastures" in our garden.

Solvay Girl

Jet City mom said...

Ive been thinking about what a class/money = power driven society we are.

In Steubenville and in Seattle, football players have status. We can't be smug, it wasn't long ago that a developmentally delayed student was raped in a high school building by a member of the football team and although it had been reported to the principal, relatives of the victim were the ones who contacted police.

Has emphasis on wealth & power gotten us to where we want to go?

Perhaps we should look closer at countries we envy.

Yet one of the most significant things Sahlberg said passed practically unnoticed. "Oh," he mentioned at one point, "and there are no private schools in Finland."

This notion may seem difficult for an American to digest, but it's true. Only a small number of independent schools exist in Finland, and even they are all publicly financed. None is allowed to charge tuition fees. There are no private universities, either. This means that practically every person in Finland attends public school, whether for pre-K or a Ph.D.


http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/12/what-americans-keep-ignoring-about-finlands-school-success/250564/

Anonymous said...

Finland is a red herring. Finland has taxes that we don't have to support the system they use, with wrap-around health care and more. The taxes they DO have are much higher than we have. The population is much, much more homogenous. It's easy to say "we should do that" without bothering to look at HOW.

Two Words

Melissa Westbrook said...

That's true TW BUT I went to the talk where Finland's system was explained. They dedicated money and years of work to get where they are. It takes a real commitment and not a lot of talk.

Jet, ah Steubenville, we may have a discussion about that.

Maureen said...

An Ergonomic Chair fro School Children.

Maybe it would keep them from balancing on two legs all of the time! I also like the slanted desktop as described (though, in our experience, SPS seems to have lots of two or three seater tables, not desks.)

Eric B said...

@TW: To have a reasonable budget debate, we need to decide what kind of society we want to have, then decide how to fund it. There will certainly be negotiations over how it gets implemented, and not everybody will get a pony. Regardless of politics, a rational facts-based economic analysis will result in giving strong wrap-around support for Pre-K to 12 and maybe to university. Why? Because all of the research says that spending money on education pays back in spades later on. The economic return on early learning is about 7:1. That's just the dollars, and doesn't account for other things like reducing crime by increasing the graduation rate (also proven).

"Conservative" attitudes like yours are why we aren't having that conversation, though. It's too bad, because it's the path that benefits most of the communities that the conservatives claim to support.

Anonymous said...

No, you're missing my point, Eric. I am NOT conservative and I'm NOT trying to avoid the conversation. The problem I'm trying to highlight was the topic of a many-email debate on an email gifted-ed list I am on. My point was that you can't provide the kind of services and programs available to Finland's children HERE because of the differences in funding and taxation.

As well, the COMPLETELY different population, i.e. homogenous, would make it difficult if not impossible, to replicate here. Finland schools don't have 100 languages in one neighborhood. The country doesn't have a relatively recent history of slavery for one of the most underserved populations there. There is not, by the very make-up of the country, as much of a chasm between the haves and have-nots. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

If we're going to discuss Finland and what's great about it, we should also be honest about how much we'd need to change here to make it possible in any form even close to what they have.

Two Words

Melissa Westbrook said...

The issue is also how they train their teachers, treat their teachers and how they teach their students. While the homogenous factor and funding factors are important, I'd lay odds if we did our teaching training and support the way they do, we'd see better results across the board.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Two Words. Canada is multicultural, with an excellent public education system. It's more useful to find out what Canada is doing right (and it's more likely that can be replicated here), than whatever may be happening in Finland!

-Apples&Oranges

mirmac1 said...

I'm very sorry to hear of Mr Banda's loss.

mirmac1 said...

Five civil-rights reviews are under way in Washington school districts — two in Seattle Public Schools, one in the Lake Washington School District, one in Yakima and one statewide probe related to Title IX.

RosieReader said...

Mr. Banda's loss?

mirmac1 said...

An intriguing op-ed from Jon Greenburg of the Center School:

Removing Courageous Conversations from Center School’s race and gender course is outrageous

Maureen said...

Rosie, at some point Melissa added this to the original post:

Update: I just learned that Superintendent Banda had a death in the family and is out on bereavement leave until Friday. Naturally this means he will not be at Wednesday's Board meeting. Our sympathies to the Superintendent and his family.