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Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Tuesday Open Thread

From Think Smart, an article about Elizabeth Smart who,when she was 14, was taken from her home and held for nine months.   This incredibly brave woman has created her own foundation to educate children about sex abuse.  She speaks out against the danger of having only abstinence education in schools.  She talks about how she felt after her rape(s) and why emphasizing purity can leave girls feeling less valued.

Social psychologists and sexual abuse counselors agree that comprehensive sex education can help prevent sexual crimes. Teaching children about their bodies gives them the tools to describe acts of abuse without feeling as embarrassed or uncomfortable, and it also helps elevate their self-confidence and sense of bodily autonomy. A shame-based approach to genitalia and sexuality, on the other hand, sends kids the message that they can’t discuss or ask questions about any of those issues.

On a completely different subject, a heads up.  It is on my radar that something of a concerning nature about SPS may be coming out publicly very soon.  I don't have details but it is clear something is amiss at headquarters.  

Update: Tomorrow sees two Work Sessions and the Executive Committee meeting and yet, still no agendas for any of them.  Fascinating how things work in SPS.   But again, words used like "transparency" seem to be thrown around for effect.


What's on your mind?

37 comments:

Really!? said...

Oh my God,

"Something of a concerning nature"

Wow!

Please, Melissa, this is like junior high rumor spreading.

You want to have the credentials and prestige of a journalist...and then you write something like this?

Melissa Westbrook said...

"Something of a concerning nature.."

I don't know what junior high you went to but we certainly didn't talk like that at mine.

"You want to have the credentials and prestige of a journalist."

Never said that, ever. (Also, not so sure journalism today has all that much prestige.)

I'm just the canary in the coal mine.

Jamie said...

I am in awe of Elizabeth Smart. She is an inspiration.

Journalism said...

Melissa,

You have, in the past, tried to protray yourself as a "citizen-journalist" when the district would not allow you to ask questions at a press conference.

You have also said (Sept 2010) that you are recognized by some as a "citizen-journalist."

In February 2011 you used the phrase "citizen-journalist" to describe yourself.

And again in April 2012.

I think you used to draw a distinction between yourself and "professional" journalists who get paid.

Now that you have paid advertisements on your blog, would that change you from a "citizen-journalist" into to "professional-journalist?"

There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a journalist.

I'd say go for it.

ConcernedSPSParent said...

Peter Maier is also a finalist for BOE position.

mirmac1 said...

Melissa, thanks for having your ears open on goings-on at JSCEE. Otherwise, things would just get swept under the rug.

AnonoSnark said...

Peter Maier is also a finalist for BOE position.

Aaack, I don't want to lose KSB, BUT! :O

ConcernedSPSParent said...

I hear you AnonoSnart

Melissa Westbrook said...

How does putting ads on the blog make me a journalist? (I am always amused at how getting paid somehow makes what you do more valid.)

Being a citizen-journalist is quite different from being a professional journalist. I am always careful to make that distinction. That said, I appreciate the encouragement.

Peter Maier? Sigh. I would hate to lose Kay but Peter would not be helpful to the BOE.

mirmac1 said...

We cannot lose Kay. End of story.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I think if people think that Kay should run again, they should tell her that. Ed reformers are coming after Betty and Kay and they will need all the support they can get.

I'm not sure I agree with Kay that the BOE would be less time than the School Board (at least there would certainly be more travel down to Olympia).

ConcernedSPSParent said...

I am confused by KSM saying time is an issue; it was only recently she stood for Board President. Why do that if you are pressed for time?.

mirmac1 said...

Why do that? Because KSB wants to see positive change. And she will burn the candle at both ends to achieve it. For that, I applaud her.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Concerned, because she was stepping up and knew that if she didn't, it would likely have been Harium or Sherry.

The more I think of Peter Maier, the more disturbed I get. Concerned, are you sure?

He should not serve on any public board again for how he betrayed the members of his own board and the public.

ConcernedSPSParent said...

The SeattleTimes mentioned the candidates..." The other five finalists for the state board post include former Seattle School Board member Peter Maier as well as Sue Corey, Angela Griffin, Fred O’Neal and Bill Williams."

I applaud KSM for stepping up, she is far better that Carr and Martin-Morris. It just seemed odd to me she took the extra role (more time) and then says 'I don't have time for this and may stop down'. Perhaps her circumstances changed?

Anonymous said...

New Student Night at Nathan Hale Monday June 3rd. Spaghetti dinner, club and sport presentations, tour the school and buy Raider Gear (cash or check only).

Traditionally, Freshman wear red, Sophomores wear white, Juniors wear blue and Seniors wear red, white and blue. Raider Gear will be available in all of the school colors.

Lots of fun and a great way to see your new school!

HP

Melissa Westbrook said...

Thanks, Concerned, I missed that.

Also, about Kay, I believe it's like many people. A good example is Susan Enfield. The popular myth is that she was driven out. No she wasn't. She even told people, including me, there were personal issues. I took her at her word because I don't think she would have said that if she didn't mean it.

ConcernedSPSParent said...

Making a profit from education...

http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130506/OPINION01/305060303#ixzz2ScjRSnY6

A-mom said...

My 9 yr. old daughter just came home from taking the MSP and she tells me she was required to sign a gag order regarding the test.

I don't appreciate the school district promoting secret keeping without any consult.

Anyone know why this is done, and for how long?

Jane said...

I am floored that there is not yet a calendar issued for next year. I need to plan for my kid's out of state surgery! ARRGGHHHH!

-Looking for dates.

Anonymous said...

Years ago, when my husband and I wanted to see our daughter's WASL test I was amazed at the protocol involved. We had to turn over our phones and sign statements that we would not tell anyone what was on the test.

SolvayGirl

k5parent said...

Yes, my kids, too - on all of the MSP tests. I explained to my daughter that they wanted to keep the questions private in order to keep it fair and prevent cheating. Then I explained that since she's under 18, it's not really binding legally, but ethically, it's just the right thing to do (not talk about it). Then, well, we talked about it and agreed to keep it secret.

Jan said...

Just about the time I get ready to get all riled up -- along comes k5parent with such a common sense solution!

I will say, though -- I don't think that kids should be encouraged by teachers/administrators at schools to agree to secrecy from parents and other school administrators. Especially if it is not legally binding -- because it promotes the concept that the schools have no problem asking kids to do stuff that the law does not support. There ought to be a way to reinforce that without making a 9 year old sign a legally invalid, and morally problemmatic "gag order."

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, especially if you don't inform parents.

Children should NEVER be told to keep secrets from their parents. That's just what a predator wants.

ConcernedSPSParent said...

Why is the district wasting resources on these gag orders? My child thinks he cannot talk to us about it - we have always discussed any topic with him.

Anonymous said...

Re: "Gag Order" on MSP

I am an SPS teacher who proctors the MSP. The cover of the test booklets includes a place for students to sign stating that they are not to talk about the test with anyone.

a. This is a state mandate, not a district provision.

b. As proctors we are not allowed to vary from the script provided in the MSP instructions manual. We have been informed that doing so could invalidate tests. I have bigger curricular issues to tackle and this is a battle I choose not to fight.

Personally, I disagree with the secrecy policy for soooo many reasons, but I do agree that the testing "experience" should be as consistent as possible around the state.

Good on ya for talking with your child.

Ms P

Watching said...

My child also informed me that she can not talk about the MSP with other students. Testing will take place over several days and they don't want kids getting a heads-up on test questions. Atleast, that is what my child told me. I'll ask more questions, though.

Yes, Peter Maier is also being considered as a State Booard of Ed. Director. Please consider leaving a comment in the Seattle Times section- I understand the comment section is looked at and considered. Also, please consider writing the State Board of Ed and Inslee regarding any concerns about Maier. Frankly, given what I saw from him, he shouldn't be anywhere allowed to influence our children's educational experience. He was a "yes" man to administration and failed to give consideration to parental concerns.

ConcernedSPSParent said...

Thanks Ms P

Anonymous said...

The only reason for the "gag" order is so that they can reuse test questions next time, and save the dough. It's ridiculous that these aren't public. People should know what these tests are all about, including the content after the fact. I encourage students to talk about them as much as they want. It's a free country - and these tests were forced down their throats. No, you don't get to also put an unenforcible gag order as well.

-parent

Anonymous said...

Parent: they eventually release the writing prompts and teachers use them for MSP prep in the following years (you can google released items and they pop up) The secrecy is to keep people from sharing the prompts so that other people can "prep" their kids/students better for the test than the kids who took it first. It would be like giving some kids all the test questions before a test, but not others. I totally agree that all content should be shared after the testing is over (and I wish kids/parents got feedback when it was still relevant...not months after the test was taken). It's all kind of weird and creepy but they are measures to try to make it the same testing situation for all kids.

-FormerSPSTeacher

Melissa Westbrook said...

Again teacher, this should be told to parents BEFORE the test. No child should be told to keep a secret from their parents.

A-mom said...

My point exactly Melissa.

Po3 said...

Students are also told not to tell parents the secret code word that puts a school in lockdown. (not sure if all schools use this procedure.)

Anonymous said...

Apparently Bob Vaughan has announced that he will retire at the end of the year. Any thoughts about the timing/implications of this?

Sniffy

Veronica said...

Well, Bob is 63 and if Charlie is right about the new direction of AL, it's a good time to get a new director who can see through all the changes.
I am waiting for Sup Banda to make an announcement about AL soon. Is it true that parents will be able to go their neighborhood school next year even if they have enrolled at an APP site? How will parents know if their kids will be eligible for self-contained when the new plan goes into effect? Will there still be a site-based program for these kids and how does one get assigned to it?
Seems like with Charlie's thread and Bob V.'s resignation, the new plan is coming.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

I do not understand the school district marketing secret keeping with no consult. I do not believe that kids ought to be urged by instructors at schools to accept secrecy from parents along with other school managers. Especially if it's not legally binding since it encourages the notion that the colleges don't have any problem asking kids to complete items that what the law states doesn't support. personal injury attorney medford oregon