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Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Tuesday Open Thread

Over at the Times, they are doing these short video pieces with those who work in education.  (They list upcoming videos and one including Mary Lindquist of the WEA.   I am quite surprised that Mary would consent to do this if only because the Times has been like a pitbull to her organization.  A recent editorial title was Does the WEA stand for Washington Education Association or We Eviscerate Anyone?  That'll make for an interesting conversation.

First up is an interview Susan Enfield.  I find this piece unintentionally funny.  Not that Dr. Enfield doesn't have serious things to say but the Times made some editing decisions that brought a smile to my face.  The music is one of them; when I heard it I could only think of the Henri the Cat series (and that doesn't exactly engender serious thought). 

Heard over on KUOW that (1) Silas Potter is to testify against his co-conspirator, David Johnson, at Johnson's trial and (2) Potter has to pay restitution.  Good luck with the latter.

Summer planning news - Mayor McGinn says he will find a way to make the 4th of July fireworks happen (and be sustainable for the future).  However, the Blue Angels, because the sequestration has prompted the Department of Defense to end military aerial demonstrations, will not be performing at SeaFair this year.


Coming threads: one school may be exiting the PTA system, my visit to the Charter Commission (there will be a pop quiz with that one) and School Board elections.

I am also asking that if anyone attends either the Assessment Taskforce meeting or the Operations Committee meeting (both on Thursday), could you send me your thoughts.  There are three key meetings that day and I'm choosing to go to the Audit & Finance Committee meeting.  My blog e-mail is
sss.westbrook@gmail.com

What's on your mind?

19 comments:

Unknown said...

Good piece by Ann Dornfeld at KUOW http://bit.ly/ZkK4Vn about how school districts calculate inflated graduation rates. For example, Mary Alice Hueschel (former supt of Renton School District and currently Gov. Inslee's Chief of Staff) reported that she raised the graduation rate of her district from 74% to 93% based on the school district's "estimate." The actual graduation rate was 79%, which shows improvement, but wasn't the "miracle" graduation rate touted by Ms. Hueschel.

One thing I didn't know about Special Education until recently is that there is a disincentive to graduate on time with your cohort. Once a student graduates, all services provided by the district stop. For some students, who could graduate academically, but still need job skills support, this may mean they graduate a year or two later.

In another puzzling editorial, Lynne Varner reports that "Gov. Jay Inslee to replace half of the Washington Student Achievement Council." I'm certainly not puzzled about Lynne offering an opinion, I am puzzled because I think the Times has a news division separate from their editorial division. Or so they say. If that is the case, can the news division report on the news and the editorial division offer their opinions separately?

Lastly, I am puzzled once again by an email I received from the League of Education Voters inviting me to a program about different types of approaches to school discipline. This is a topic I am very interested in. I was dismayed to find out that it is being co-sponsored by the Our Schools Coalition. Our Schools Coaltion is the most synthetic of the astro-turf ed-reform groups. Its mission is to participate as a third party in the Seattle Public School district's collective bargaining agreements. One would rightly ask, what is that group doing sponsoring a panel discussion about discipline? The answer is that they are planning on gathering contact information from attendees of color in order to persuade them to join the Our Schools Coalition under false pretenses. Meh!

concerned said...

Is there any update on the plans for SPS to send all of our kids' personal information to Bill Gates and Rupert Murdoch's data harvesting company, inBloom? Also, is it just SPS, or all of Washington State that is signing up for this?

Diane Ravich has written up her take on it: Is inBloom Engaged in Identity Theft?

The original Reuters article: K-12 student database jazzes tech startups, spooks parents makes it clear that this data will be sharable with commercial tech companies. “This is going to be a huge win for us,” said Jeffrey Olen, a product manager at CompassLearning, which sells education software. CompassLearning will join two dozen technology companies at this week’s SXSWedu conference in demonstrating how they might mine the database to create custom products — educational games for students, lesson plans for teachers, progress reports for principals.

Are parents bothered that their kids have become "human capital"? Are parents concerned about the future ramifications of this data as our kids get older? Our kids have many years ahead of them, and no data stays secret forever. It's very likely that all or part of this data will become public, either purposefully or accidentally, over the coming decade. What are the ramifications for our kids, who may not have even entered college or the job market yet?

Jet City mom said...

From what I can tell the " job skills support" offered by the district is pretty meaningless.
This has been the experience of parents who know how to maneuver through the district, so I don't want to think about families who have other barriers.

Unknown said...

@Jet City Skills,
I have heard that in spades. I just never made the connection with the twinning with the low graduation rate of SpEd students.

mirmac1 said...

Not the first time Ms Hueschel talked out of both sides of her mouth.

Watching said...

Concerned,

I don't believe the vast majority of parents even know their children's personal and identifiable information is being distributed to research organizations, and that their children's information will be sent to other entities. As I understand it, FERPA has been reduced to just allowing the district put notification on their web-site. Like who is going to find it!

The district has switched to a Pearson product to manage The Source. Our children's information is not being managed by Pearson. The district is operating this system and Pearson does not have access to this resource.

The district has assured me that our children's photos will not be shared. Medical information is covered under HIPPA. However, Section 3.1 of the MOU allows for CCER to ask for additional information. If I had a kid that was expelled, or was having discipline problems..I'd be very worried.

I've taken Burgess off of list of mayors because he wants to gain control of SPS. Then there is a guy named Charlie Staadecker. Staadecker is heavily involved with the RTT dollars and CCER's project to use our children's personal information until 2020. I have to take Staadecker off of my list and share this informaiton with others.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure about that HIPPA thing: I believe that only applies to medical providers. I've been meaning to see whether IDEA affords some privacy protection. Also, whether the CCER MOU follows best practices for mass disclosures like this.

Mirmac1's phone

Maureen said...

From the NYT Economix blog: How the location of colleges hurts the economy (and, I would add, students.)

Massachusetts, home to 6.6 million people, has 22 of the country’s 236 most selective colleges, as defined by Barron’s, based on test scores and grades. That's a rate of 33.1 per 10 million people. The corresponding number for Washington state is 4.3 per 10 million.

Why does this matter?

All else equal, students who live near a college are more likely to attend college, research by David Card of the University of California, Berkeley, has found. And students who live near a selective college are more likely to attend a selective college.

Because students who attend a selective college are more likely to graduate than similar students who attend a community college or nonselective four-year college, the geographic dispersion of colleges creates winners and losers. Students who live near selective colleges benefit – and those who do not pay a price. The economy also pays a price, because so many talented teenagers, many of them in smaller metropolitan areas in the Sun Belt and Mountain West, fall far short of their potential.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Maureen, the NYT also had an article about how students in NYC pick what public school they attend. Also eye-opening.

Hmmm said...

http://mcclurems.seattleschools.org/

Gates Foundation to go to McLure Middle School. Discussion around defining effective teachers. I wonder what this will look like.

mirmac1 said...

Wow Maureen, that is eye-opening. WA is behind Arkansas and Tennessee. Tell Bill Gates there's other things he could do to prepare his future employees in WA.

Watching said...

Mirimac,

I'm not sure if counseling would be protrotected under HIPPA.

dw said...

Watching said: The district has switched to a Pearson product to manage The Source. Our children's information is not being managed by Pearson. The district is operating this system and Pearson does not have access to this resource.

Do you know this for a fact? The Pearson product (Powerschool -- and Fusion as well, right?) can be managed either by the districts themselves or by Pearson. I've wondered which it is for a while now, but didn't dig to find out. Is SPS also hosting their own Fusion site? And without divulging your sources, how would one know which plan SPS is on?

I have to take Staadecker off of my list and share this informaiton with others.

Thank you for sharing. I followed your link on the mayoral post, and he's off my list now as well.

I don't believe the vast majority of parents even know their children's personal and identifiable information is being distributed to research organizations, and that their children's information will be sent to other entities. As I understand it, FERPA has been reduced to just allowing the district put notification on their web-site. Like who is going to find it!

I agree that most people don't know about this yet. It's up to all of us to get the word out. If you're reading this, please follow the links above in 'concerned's post and tell your fellow parents. If you're a room parent, or PTA officer or have any capacity to bring this up at any school meeting, please spread the word!

Anonymous said...

Melissa, do you have a link to the NYT article? I can't seem to find a recent article on high school selection.

Thanks,
HP

Watching said...

dw,

If you have concerns about the district sharing our children's personal and identifiable information with CCER, you can contact Nicole Turner at:
njvanvoorhis@seattleschools.org


I'm not certain the level of information the district will share with CCER in regards to IEPs, discipline etc., but it is definately worth looking at.

The district's IT person (can't remember the contact info) informed me that the district is operating the Source information. Nicole Turner can put you in touch with the district's IT person.

mirmac1 said...

Here is helpful info on FERPA and data-sharing:

The U.S. Department of Education established the Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) as a “one-stop” resource for education stakeholders to learn about data privacy, confidentiality, and security practices related to student-level longitudinal data systems.

Many helpful webinars and best practice guidance. For example, in discussing FERPA, the Federal Register notes: "Inform the public about written agreements. transparency is a best practice." Hah!

I thought this document was interesting, as it discusses the link between HIPAA, FERPA and IDEA.

Finally, I see there is reference to agency resources that would assist with a FERPA complaint.

mirmac1 said...

Uh. I should say that none of the DOE's info is reassuring.

Basically, they have sold our students' info down the river...

data said...

The district's IT person (can't remember the contact info) informed me that the district is operating the Source information. Nicole Turner can put you in touch with the district's IT person.

Yes, this appears to be true. STS's powerschool web site is hosted by wa-k20.net, which is a state-run organization that provides infrastructure for WA education. That seems like a plus for the district.

On the other hand, it looks like the "Fusion" pages and chunks of the individual school sites are managed by another organization, Edline/Blackboard. Aren't kids using the Fusion pages to post stuff?

Mirmac1, isn't Edline/Blackboard tied into the ed-reform movement? Are they exempt from COPPA laws?

mirmac1 said...

Wow data, I wish I was that smart. No idea. I will keep my eyes peeled.

One thing I've noticed: while our district falls further and further behind on the tech hardware front (but for our heroic PTSAs), there isn't one piece of administrative software they aren't gaming to try, to limited effect.