Showing posts from July, 2013

Roosevelt Teacher Named Finalist for National Language Teacher of the Year

Taeko Tashibu of Roosevelt High School in Seattle, who is a Japanese language teacher.  Congrats to Ms. Tashibu!  From Ed Week: According to the ACTFL, the Language Teacher of the Year takes on the role of spokesperson for the language-teaching profession, promoting the importance of teaching foreign languages and cultures. The current LTY is Noah Geisel, a Spanish teacher at East High School in Denver. (Check out his presentation on engaging students in cultural studies .)   This year's winner will be announced at the ACTFL's Annual Convention in Orlando, Fla., in November. In addition to administering the award, the ACTFL, a membership organization, provides professional development, certification programs, and language-education resources. It also offers scholarship and grant opportunities . The other finalists are three Spanish teachers and one Latin teacher.  

Seattle Council PTSA News (and there's a lot of it)

Want a job with the SCPTA interfacing with SPS staff?  Here you go .  (I would actually be swell at this job but they would never hire me.) They need folks to represent most areas of the city. Do you have an interest in issues that go beyond your local school and affect children throughout the district? If so, we need you! Transportation, capacity, family engagement and district policies are just a few areas that SCPTSA is currently working on. SCPTSA board members have a number of opportunities to serve on committees in the district, as well as meet with district officials and school board members. SCPTSA works with all local PTAs throughout Seattle, including outreach, education, training and troubleshooting. We are looking for Area Directors for : NE, NW, SE, SW and Central Districts. The board meets monthly at the John Stanford Center, or via conference call. Are you interested in helping, but are not sure what role is right for you? Contact us so we can learn about your inte

Quarterly Program Placement report due today

Today is July 31st, the due date for the quarterly program placement report. I was recently reminded of an email I sent to the Board at the end of January in which I asked about the status of the program placement process and the equitable access framework - both of which were overdue then. I was reminded of that email because I just saw it among the documents sent to Linda Shaw of the Seattle Times as part of a public disclosure request about all email traffic between Director Smith-Blum and Mr. Banda in January. Director Smith-Blum forwarded my email to Mr. Banda and asked him: " Just fyi below, and it is accurate - would love to have an update on the EAF - program placement - so we can start to get on top of the process and comply with the policy. Is it possible for Aleta to set a date for us and whoever else might be appropriate in the conversation so I can determine where on the Board calendar we might need an entry point in the plan as well? " Here we are, six m

Common Core Roundup

The fight is still on in many states over Common Core.  New wrinkles have emerged like all kinds of products "aligned" to Common Core and being pushed to states. First (and thanks to Dan Dempsy) is a YouTube video from Ben Swann on the issues around Common Core.   This is the best, most distilled down information on CC I have ever heard.  Recommended. Think CC isn't linked to DOE money?  I'll let Diane Ravitch tell you what happened to Georgia: A few days ago, Georgia announced that it was dropping out of PARCC, the Common Core testing consortium funded by the U.S. Department of Education. State officials said the state could not afford the technology or the cost. The U.S. Department of Education was swift to respond. It wrote Georgia to warn that it is withholding $10 million from the state’s Race to the Top funding . Maybe the timing was a coincidence. Maybe not.  The state says it needs more time to fix its educator evaluation system before it

Smile of the Day

I received an e-mail that Peter Maier is promoting Estey and Blanford for School Board.   And that's fine. What's funny is how he describes them (and given what he writes, I'm pretty sure he DID write it): Estey Suzanne Dale Estey is running to fill the District IV position vacated by retiring Seattle School Board Member Michael DeBell, who has endorsed her. From our work together on the School Board, both Michael and I understand the importance of having strong School Board leadership. Suzanne is a passionate, knowledgeable and experienced leader who will be a strong advocate for high quality education. I have no doubt that Suzanne will make a positive impact on the School Board at a time when we need it most. Suzanne was born and raised in Seattle, and served as the chair of the Inter-High Council and student representative to the School Board while she was a student at Roosevelt High School. Suzanne has two young boys who attend Catharine Blaine K-8. I have giv

Thoughts for STEM and APP in West Seattle

K-5 STEM at Boren needs a permanent home. The District is currently thinking of using the Schmitz Park building, but the school is already too big for that building. Are we spending tens of millions of BEX IV money to take kids out of portables at Schmitz Park just to put a lot of other kids into portables at Schmitz Park? That doesn't make any sense. E C Hughes is another possible location, but it's not much bigger. Either choice would mean moving the kids out of a real building at Boren and into portables at the other site. Either choice would mean committing the District to spend tens of millions to renovate the chosen site to make it suitable. It will be difficult to find the money in BEX IV or BTA. Fairmount Park, by the way, is really needed as an attendance area school. Not only does West Seattle need the additional capacity, but take a look at the map. West Seattle has a string of elementary schools in the north and a belt of them in the south, but none in the middle

Tuesday Open Thread

Kind of an interesting story from Indie Reader to tell your art-inspired kids - the story of the first cover of The Great Gatsby and the ones that came after.  Remember kindergarten ?  I do and it wasn't like this (from Yet there is a growing disconnect between what the research says is best for children -- a classroom free of pressure -- and what’s actually going on in schools. Take the example of a girl who was barely 5 when she entered Gerzon’s classroom. She didn’t know her ABCs, but one day in class she made up a song and taught it to the other children. But because of new requirements, “I had to send a letter to her parents saying that [she] is not proficient,” says Gerzon. “You tell me that [she] is not proficient in language skills!” The Concord resident, who usually exudes a gentle presence, bristles. “It’s destructive, even abusive. That’s a pretty strong word, but what do you call it when you take a group of children and you force them t

You Can't Make This Stuff Up

So continuing on the parade that charters are better, more innovative and, above all, allow more accountability, we have Exhibit 1.  That would be former Indiana and now current head of schools in Florida, Tony Bennett.  I'll let the Fort Wayne Journal tell you what "Mr. Accountable" did (bold mine)(graphic by Jersey Jazzman): But when it appeared an Indianapolis charter school run by a prominent Republican donor might receive a poor grade, Bennett's education team frantically overhauled his signature "A-F" school grading system to improve the school's marks. Emails obtained by The Associated Press show Bennett and his staff scrambled last fall to ensure influential donor Christel DeHaan's school received an "A," despite poor test scores in algebra that initially earned it a "C." "They need to understand that anything less than an A for Christel House compromises all of our accountability work," Bennett wro

Seattle Schools This Week

Tuesday,  July 30th Charter Commission Meeting , 10 am - 5 pm in Tacoma.  Tacoma Public Schools, Central Administration Building, 601 South 8th Street, Tacoma. Agenda not yet available but I do know a couple of things: - Public Hearing on proposed rules : Tuesday, July 30 from 10:15am to 11:15am.  Written comments can also be submitted to RaShelle Davis by mail or email before Monday August 19, 2013 to the following addresses: PO Box 43113, Olympia, WA 98504 or - After both the Public Hearing and Public Comment period (from 11:15 am to 11:30 am), the Commission will go into Executive Sessions from 11:40am on. A bit troubling is that the first Executive Session is about "potential litigation" about the Commission and/or a member.  That seems quick for a group that hasn't existed even a year. Then there are four Executive Sessions to discuss the candidates for Executive Director.  I am not happy to say that one of them is a former Alliance

What is the Mission of Public Education? (And where does it stop?)

Reader Syd said this in a comment to Charlie's thread on Equitable School Funding: Poverty is a real societal problem, and realistically the best place you can serve impoverished children is in a place they are mandated by law to attend. We should feed them, clothe them, doctor them, nurse them (it is different), and mentor them using schools as the center. That's not the schools mission you say? Change the mission. I'm going to express some thoughts on this issue but please understand that they are a jumping off place for a conversation and not necessarily my opinion/belief. 1) Sentence one - that makes sense to me.  If students are not being adequately supported at home and given they are mandated to be in schools, should schools be the place to fill that void?   You'll notice I said "the place" and not that the district itself should necessarily organizing it and/or paying for it. 2) Sentence Two - what services? Seattle Schools provides: -

From the Washington State PTA

WAPTA will no longer have a lobbyist at the Legislature.   Expect to be asked to send someone from your school/region to the Legislature to testify; it will become more important than ever. Dear WSPTA Members: As you may have heard, WSPTA took action this week to align our staffing and expenditures with our mission. In particular, WSPTA eliminated three positions on our staff , and made other spending plan changes to align our actions with our mission. We acknowledge these changes will be difficult for the three employees who have left us and for those of you who had meaningful relationships with them. We wish those affected the very best in the future. I want to explain why we took the staffing and cost realignment actions and what we can expect in the future as a result of these changes. As the WSPTA Executive Director, I understand that “everything we do is for kids.” Every dollar we receive from a member must be spent on our mission. Members must be supported w

Worthy Reading from Warren Buffet's Son

And you'd think he would know as he explains in this op-ed .  He doesn't just take on philanthropic giving and investing - he takes on capitalism.  (Bold mine) Early on in our philanthropic journey, my wife and I became aware of something I started to call Philanthropic Colonialism . I noticed that a donor had the urge to “save the day” in some fashion. People (including me) who had very little knowledge of a particular place would think that they could solve a local problem. Whether it involved farming methods, education practices, job training or business development, over and over I would hear people discuss transplanting what worked in one setting directly into another with little regard for culture, geography or societal norms.  Inside any important philanthropy meeting, you witness heads of state meeting with investment managers and corporate leaders. All are searching for answers with their right hand to problems that others in the room have created with t

District V Candidate and Cheryl Chow

KIRO news is reporting that District V candidate, LaCrese Green, sent the late Cheryl Chow (as she was dying), a letter telling her that she might want to repent her homosexuality if she wanted to get to heaven. Green’s letter from last October acknowledged she had Chow had disagreements, saying Green fought bitterly for her views, “but I never considered you a personal enemy.” “To hear of your medical problems saddens me,” Green wrote, “but to think of you as a lesbian is troubling in that I don’t want to believe it. It’s more troubling because of my personal belief is that it won’t go well for you in the hearafter.” KIRO will have a full story with Ms. Green's thoughts on their 5 pm news show. Unbelievable.

Friday Open Thread

Very good valedictorian speech from New York State.  It's worth a listen as this is Common Core on-the-ground experience from a student perspective.  The young woman, Amber Kudla at North Tonawanda HS, is not a great public speaker but she takes on Common Core and gets some great zingers off.  She received multiple applause points (and, at one time, all the adults behind her on the stage were very happy - I think as educators they were happy to hear someone stand up for them).  She was also thoughtful enough to say that yes, their class was now graduating and leaving so why worry?  Because she is concerned for all the students who come after her.  What's on your mind?

Seattle Chamber of Commerce Jumps into Board Election

Here's the link to the flyer that was apparently mailed to homes in District IV.    It is troubling for several reasons. One, it does not have all the candidates in the race - it leaves out Dean McColgan.  This is a signal that Estey's supporters don't consider him an issue or consider Sue Peters, her opponent, a real threat. Two, it tries to look like an apples to apples comparison but conveniently leaves out details that might make it look balanced.  For example, it leaves out that Sue Peters also has a Master's (in journalism from Stanford) and has been a journalist (not just the dreaded "blogger"). It grossly overdoes it when comparing supporters, showing only a poor Times quote about the majority of the Board (who support Peters) and not even putting their names.  Peters is also endorsed by many more Dems groups and other media/entities. I have not seen or heard Sue Peters say that her priority as a director is to "Get the Bill & Melinda

Seattle School Board Votes in Budgets

I wouldn't call yesterday's work by the School Board especially stellar.  (I think the staff did a pretty good job on the budget but, as usual, what was left out is just as important as what was put in.) First came the Audit&Finance Committee meeting of the Whole to discuss the budget. It is unclear to me when the Board received their copies but there had been some small edits.  I am also not sure when the appendices all got put in.  Director Carr told the group she had not read the appendices as she had been on vacation.  President Smith-Blum and Director Patu were absent.  (Smith-Blum is out of town and Patu has a family illness.) I can only point out that one the Board's main duties and powers is to review the budget and then vote on it.  What I saw yesterday did not inspire confidence that the Board understood the budget they voted on. Here are some key links you may be interested in.  Budget Book Appendix A Appendix B Ore-Level Budget Comparison FY14 v

Equitable funding for schools

The budget is supposed to treat every school fairly, but there are seven schools singled out for unfair treatment. The Board should address this unfairness - which clearly violates policy and the strategic plan - when they vote to today to adopt a budget for the coming school year.

Peters Tops Seattle Metropolitan Elections Assessments

That means she got a better score than ANY of the candidates including Blanford. Peters is racking up in points and the endorsements. To update, here is the link to 411 , the online guide by the League of Women Voters.  Please note the LWV does NOT edit any replies so what you read is what the candidate themselves wrote.

TFA in Washington State: No Surprise to Us

Via Mirmac 1, there is this public disclosure e-mail that is quite telling but of no surprise to anyone who reads this blog.  We asked these questions from the start.  From the e-mail (italics Dr. Ginsberg's, bold mine): 1) Whose interests are we serving and, related to this questions, how are we serving the interests of our most historically under-served K-12 students? 2) How are we serving the interests of TFA teachers? of our students and graduates who are working as instructors in the program? 3) How are we serving the effectiveness and morale of state-funded and fee-based funded full time CoE faculty when TFA instructors teach a class with as few as 2 students , while other CoE faculty are currently teaching unprecedented numbers of students.  (Some of our EDLPS colleagues are teaching 60 students in very complex disciplines .) 4) How are we serving the interests of the CoE when faculty have not had a chance to actively and collectively probe the implications and conseque

First Washington State Charter Applicant

And it's a bit confusing. The Enumclaw Patch is reporting that the Cedar River Academy, currently a private school, is applying to become a charter school.  It's confusing because, under the law, a private school cannot become a charter school.  Reading on I see that CRA is a non-profit corporation and, I assume, is going to spin-off a charter. (I am trying to reach them to confirm this.)  Their current school is about 160 students, pre-K to 12. CRA is conducting a "survey of Washington State families to learn of the level of community support for the creation of public schools that provide active learning, project-based and constructivist education."  They are trying to get this backing as a level of support from the community for their application so they invite you to read about them and then take their "survey." I hadn't thought of exactly how charters would be showing this support but I guess a one-sided survey might do it.  Because, if

Is Seattle School District Too Big?

Pop Poll: Should Seattle Schools be more than one district? If so, should it be two, a north and south?  Five, with a NE, NW, Central, SE and West Seattle?   What would be the ramifications, good and bad?  (Many believe in the north-south divide in our district so I would expect it to be even more pronounced if there were a divide.) Would a split mean districts more focused on regional issues and parent needs/wants?  I note that in Tucson, AZ, there are multiple small (and I mean small districts) and friends tell me it is a challenge when considering where to live there.

The Times Has at the School Board...Again

With the blazing headline , " Will election be a solution to Seattle School Board turmoil ?", the Times lights into the current Board.  Some of what is said is pretty face value, that some Board members "don't trust top district staff."  Actually, that's not what any Board member said in the survey.  (I can go back but I don't remember that said.) What I believe was said is that staff felt the Board didn't always trust them.  And who can blame the Board given how many issues of trust have come up?  The Board's job IS oversight and yes, watching over the shoulders of top staff until the Board has regained its confidence. Again, you have earn trust. It is also stated that the Board is "supposed to stick to policy and oversight."  And that oversight does include accountability so yes, they must be sure their policies are enforced.  As well, the definition of what the Board is to do is in the RCW which is widely interpreted in board

Tuesday Open Thread

Want to review the Gates Foundation?  There's an open forum at Yelp .  Very empowering. It is being reported that the City Council voted in unison to use the money from the school zone camera ticketing just for road/ped safety projects by our schools.  So far the tickets have delivered at whopping $3.3M (but I'm thinking that's ticketing and not money collected).  Mayor McGinn had wanted to leave those dollars in the General Fund.  Usage of the funds could include new sidewalks and repainted crosswalks. I note that Buckingham Palace says that Kate "was delivered" of a baby boy.  Well, that's one way to put it, almost as if the stork ran the bell and handed over a baby.  Yes, that's just how it works.  (But I give William lots of credit for being there for the birth and staying the night with his wife and newborn.) What's on your mind?

Seattle Schools Announces Big Leadership Changes/Shifts

From SPS(bold mine): With an increasing number and complexity of Seattle Public Schools’ capital projects underway to accommodate enrollment growth, safety upgrades and technology infrastructure, Superintendent Jose Banda announced today that he is making organizational changes to provide additional leadership in the District's Capital, Facilities, Operations and Technology departments. Voters approved a $694.9 million Building Excellence IV (BEX IV) capital levy, the largest and most comprehensive in Seattle Public School’s history, in February 2013. This, along with the current Building, Technology and Academics (BTA) capital levy, has significantly increased the scope of work in capital projects over the next six years. To ensure that the district is organized effectively to implement this work, the Superintendent asked for two independent reviews of the district’s organization related to capital projects and operations. The reviews were conducted by the national Council of the

Seattle Education This Week

I was mistaken when I previously said there were no district meetings until August. Wednesday Audit and Finance Committee meeting of the Whole from 4-5 pm.  The only agenda item is to debate any last issues on the budget for 2013-2014 and presumably move it forward to the Board meeting. Public Hearing on the 2013-2014 Budget Your opportunity to weigh in on any topic in the budget.  If you have a real concern, it really is important to get it on the record.  You may sign in to speak starting a half-hour before the hearing. You will have three minutes to speak. Special Meeting of the Board from 5:15-6:00 pm Just one action item - voting on the new budget .  They will be taking public testimony so there are speaking opportunities for any topic.   The City Council will be debating and voting this week on whether to create a separate fund for the money from the school speed zone tickets.   So if these are about safety around schools and the City wants to help the district, he

The One-Two Punch of NCLB and Common Core

The fight is on.  Some in Congress are trying to rewrite NCLB (as this work has been put off/ignored for years).  Some of this push is about the use of Common Core which several states are now dragging their feet on.  This rewrite by Rep. John Kline (R-MN) and Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN) is called the Student Success Act and passed the House on Friday.  Rep. Tom Harkin (D-IA) has released his own bill called Strengthening America's Schools Act of 2013 .  Via Diane Ravitch comes this great editorial from the LA Times on this issue.  From the editorial: After Congress dragged its heels for six years on the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act, House Republicans suddenly passed a jumbled bill Friday that could best be described as the No Accountability Act, eliminating virtually all the school improvement mandates that were in the original law. President Obama has rightly vowed to veto it in the unlikely scenario that it reaches his desk, but even as he does so, h

Is Signing of new SEA Contract Near?

In the comments section at the Times about an education op-ed, there was this recent comment: Just in from "the bargain." SEA Prez Knapp guarantees they will get what they came to the table for - 1% across the board. All that other stuff is just confusinggggg. Membership will vote on the 500 page package in two hours at a place to be named later. SEA recommends passage as the best contract the district would offer. A bit hard to decipher.  They will get a raise but everything else is up in the air?  Is a raise all teachers want (hard to believe given their rising workload). We'll keep you up-to-date as news comes in.

Seattle School Board Race District IV

Update:   I noted in this thread that Suzanne Estey's campaign manager is former Seattle Student Senate rep, Dexter Tang (who is a great kid).  Which is kinda sweet but also to note, her consultant in the campaign is none other than Christian Cinderman who has been a very high-powered consultant to numerous campaigns.  Also to note, Stephan Blanford's and Suzanne Estey's newest contributors?  None other than the CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer and his wife, Connie, who both maxed out at $900 each for each candidate.  I believe Mr. and Mrs. Ballmer reside on the eastside. End of update. The District IV race seems to be shaping up along two lines (and no surprise what those lines are).  (District V seems to be all Blanford and there sure are confusing signs from him.  That's another thread.) I refer to Suzanne Estey and Sue Peters.  (Dean McColgan doesn't seem to be a strong candidate and is seems to be on the ed reform side although I think it is more a case

Seattle School District Updates

Both Green Lake Elementary and Genesee Hill Elementary buildings are being considered for city landmark status. From the Landmarks Preservation Board: The Landmarks Preservation Board will consider landmark nomination for Green Lake Elementary School at   2400 N 65th Street. The meeting will be on Wednesday, August 21 at 3:30 p.m. in the Seattle Municipal Tower, 700 5 th   Avenue, 40 th   Floor in Room 4060.   The public is invited to attend the meeting and make comments. Written comments should be received by the Landmarks Preservation Board by 5:00 p.m. on August 20 at the following address: Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board, Seattle Dept. of Neighborhoods, P.O. Box 94649, Seattle WA, 98124-4649. A copy of the nomination is available for public review at the Green Lake Branch Library, 7364 East Green Lake Drive North (206-684-7547); and at Seattle Department of Neighborhoods Office in the Seattle Municipal Tower, 700 5th Ave, Suite 1700 (206-684-0228). The nomination is p

Friday Open Thread

Coming threads: - Some in Congress are trying to rewrite the legislation that brought us NCLB.  And it's a dozy and it's started a real fight (just like Common Core). - Interesting event put on by the Alliance yesterday at a school board conference here in Seattle.  Much was said that was surprising given the Board infighting.  (Also, look for that to continue in the Times soon.  I wonder how that could be if they all agreed, just recently, to support each other.  I think there's the fine hand of Michael DeBell at work - again.) - also the Inside Man series on CNN with Morgan Spurlock is featuring the MAP boycott this Sunday, the 21st, at 7 pm.   What's on your mind?

Gifted Student Information/Advocacy Next Week

From Education Week : Next week ( July 21-27, 2013 ) marks National Parenting Gifted Children Week , a time of focused awareness and advocacy regarding the needs of gifted children. The week, which is listed on the National Special Events Registry, is sponsored by SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted) and coincides with SENG's annual conference , taking place this year July 19-21 in Orlando, Florida. One feature of this year's celebration is an offering of four free webinars about parenting gifted children. (Each of the offered webinars certainly has helpful insights for teachers, administrators, counselors, and other education and mental health professionals, too.)

Hamilton Assistant Principal moves to become Principal at McClure

Word has come that Shannon Conner, assistant principal at Hamilton International Middle School , is leaving to become principal at McClure Middle School.  She has a child who will be attending there this fall. This year, like others past, certainly has been a principal version of musical chairs.  West Seattle seems to have been hit the hardest. Ex. Director Carmela Dellino is leaving (after a year in that post) to work for the City for the Families&Education levy. The next Chief Sealth International High School principal is Aida Fraser-Hammer; she's new from Kentwood High. Chandra Oatis is leaving Alki Elementary for Van Asselt Elementary Rhonda Claytor has been appointed principal of Leschi Elementary, leaving Gatewood. Henterson Carlisle is leaving as principal at Madison with Robert Gary, Jr. coming in as interim. Bruce Rhodes moves to Sanislo as principal from JSIS as ass't principal. Robert Gallagher is the next principal of Lafayette Eleme

What's Going to Happen to the Money from School Zone Tickets?

The Stranger follows up on this question with some answers (but still with question marks): As you may have noticed, the city began using automated cameras to enforce speed limits near four schools in December of 2012, and they're going to expand the program to install cameras near five more schools next year. By June, the city had issued 30,400 tickets at $189 a pop. While initially estimated to bring in some $800,000 in revenue for the year, they're now expecting closer to $5 million. Five million? Wow, wouldn't that fund crossing guards (the City used to pay and stopped several years back)? This morning, the council's government performance and finance committee approved a bill that would create a separate fund for those traffic-camera dollars, so that how, when, and on what the money is spent would be more carefully restricted. There's been talk of simply making sure whatever amount is raised from traffic-camera tickets would then be budgeted toward school


A reader, Budget Reader, asked some questions about the seemingly low budgeting for APP@Lowell/Lincoln (which to most people's minds are two schools but not to the district).  BR followed through and asked the district's Joe Paperman.  I thought it worth having its own thread for institutional memory and because several parents have asked the same questions. This is NOT a thread to start in on APP (so please don't). A thank you to both BR and Joe Paperman for doing this work. From BR: As a follow-up to my earlier post about the budget document and APP @ Lincoln, I sent my questions to Joe Paperman, who is in charge of budgeting for the District. He was kind enough to send a detailed response:

Institutional Racism, a primer

This comment appeared in the Trayvon Martin thread: " Could someone calmly describe the institutional racism is Seattle Public Schools? Whose actions are racist - and what exactly are they doing? Is it a policy issue? What policy is it? I'd be happy to read something if you could direct me to it. " I'll try to respond to this because I think it's really important. There is a range of opinion here and there will be others with views very different from mine. Those views have equal merit. Since the request was specifically to do this "calmly", I know that I will disappoint a lot of people with the gentleness of my answer. I ask their forgiveness in advance. I also apologize for the incomplete nature of my answer. I believe that members of the dominant culture come to understand institutional racism as a voyage of discovery, so I'm not going to connect all of the dots for you. You need to connect them for yourself.

Stranger Endorses Peters, Blanford

The Stranger's endorsements for School Board were pretty much on point.  (The Times hasn't issued their endorsements for School Board but does have a sweet editorial about how expensive it is to go to weddings.  No, really, apparently that's the burning issue of the day.) District No. 4 Sue Peters As if you needed more proof that the Seattle School Board is a dystopian shithole, the board members, in a self-evaluation released this summer, anonymously described themselves like this: "The poster-child for a dysfunctional school board." "It's like Kabuki Theater." "A board like this will repel all people of quality." Seriously, we didn't even have to make any of that shit up. Consequently, school board races are normally filled with wackos. But this year, the candidates were thoughtful, intelligent, and for some god-awful reason, engaged in the minutiae that makes up school board work. Take Sue Peters, for instance. An education buff wh

Washington Board of Education Denies SPS' Request for Waivers

From reader DK: Looks like the 2013-14 school calendar will not be what the district originally assumed- our kids will actually be with their teachers for 3 more days than planned, as Seattle’s request for the 3 full Waiver days for professional development has been denied for a 2nd time by the State Board of Education last week. From the posted July 10-11th meeting highlights: BASIC EDUCATION ACT WAIVERS “ The Board considered requests from 13 school districts for Option One waivers from the basic education requirement of a minimum 180-day school year. Six of the requests are resubmittals of requests presented but not approved at the May meeting, with additional information provided by each district as requested in May…The Board directed staff to provide written notice to Columbia (Walla Walla), Fife, and Seattle districts that their requests were not approved.” Among the reasons given for the final denial for Seattle- lack of community support or engagement (required by state law).

Tuesday Open Thread

In the lull that is summer, it seems that there is more behind-the-scenes action around the School Board than you might think.  At the end of the week, I'll have a thread about this subject but understand that there are people who are up the food chain who want to either bully or limit the School Board's power. In good news about teenaged boys, two 15-year olds saw a 5-year old get kidnapped and took off after the car.  They chased the car for 15 minutes before the kidnapper stopped the car and let the little girl go.  Very brave boys. Q13 news story about the number of Washington state seniors who did not pass the math test to graduate.  I'm one of the speakers in this story. What's on your mind?

Ugh. The Seattle Times

Today's Seattle Times features this guest column:  Education reforms for state students blocked by WEA  by Liv Finne of the Washington Policy Center. In this one, brief guest column she manages to squeeze in nearly every single lie about public schools. It is a remarkable achievement.

Washington Charter School Doom and Gloom from the Washington Policy Center

Honestly, they have some of the most entertaining posts over at the WPC.  Omit details, pump up (to the point of near explosion) any point they feel they must - it's all good fun. So they have one post about how a Highline School Board director, Susan Goding,  wrote - on her education blog how she thinks charter schools will hurt districts.  I can only say that she is entitled to her own professional opinion (indeed the state directors association came out against 1240).   She also explains how Highline has many of the programs that Spokane addresses in their application (and so does Seattle).  Almost seems like Spokane is too lazy to do any of this development of programs on their own. But the WPC?  Not buying it. This article is a clear attempt to discourage implementation of the new charter school law. This statement shows an elected school board director actively campaigning to influence school districts to deny their students access to charter schools.  Note to W

Washington State Agencies Ask for Feedback on Charter School Regulations

Both the Board of Education and the Charter Commission are soliciting feedback for draft rules for charter schools. From the BOE: At its July 10-11 meeting, the State Board of Education approved for public hearing draft rules pertaining to annual reports by charter school authorizers under RCW 28A.710.100(4) - proposed WAC 180-19-210 . We are seeking public comment on these draft rules. We encourage you to review the proposed rules and provide feedback by contacting us at . Your input will be valuable to the board as they consider these rules for adoption. The Board intends to hold a public hearing on the proposed rules at its September meeting in Yakima, Washington. Formal notification of the date, time and location of the public hearing will follow through the process prescribed in RCW 34.05.

KUOW Interviews with School Board Candidates

KUOW's Ann Dornfeld interviewed all the candidates and got some telling responses. The transcript of each interview is what you will see and not a recorded interview. I will also encourage those of you whose children enjoyed Glee to read the NPR story about Cory Monteith who was found dead in his hotel room early Saturday.  To anyone who watched Glee, Mr. Monteith was a fresh-faced talent and many thought his high school football star persona on the show was real. It was not.  He got into drugs when he was 13, dropped out of school at 16.   Didn't get into rehab until he was 19.  It took a long time for him to get where he was when he died.  He had tried rehab again in April of this year. We don't know the cause of death (except it does not appear to be foul play).  In some ways, I hope it is something like an undetected heart issue and not caused by drug/alcohol use.  If it is from drug use, it's terribly sad. From the story, what he had to say earlier this y

The Value of Connections

What is the value of having School Board Directors with connections to the Seattle Establishment and the ruling elites in Washington? How does it benefit the district and the schools for the Board to have positive relationships with the City Council, county officials, members of the State legislature, powerful non-profits, and corporate leaders? I think we have enough data to decide. In the last ten years we have seen four boards - two with good relations and two with poor relations with the Seattle Establishment. What does the evidence show?

The Value of Experience

Odd as it seems, most school board candidates have little or no direct knowledge of the District prior to their election. Most of them never went to Board meetings before filing for their candidacy. Most do not follow the board of the district closely. They are unfamiliar with the schools, the programs, the departments in the central administration, the current issues, and the history of how we arrived at our current status. Consequently, they spend their first couple of years just learning who people are and how things work. During this period, when they don't know much of anything about the district, they are not only ineffective, they actually cause damage.

I'll Say It - the Trayvon Martin Verdict is Wrong

First, if states have these dumb "stand your ground" laws, then you're going to see some very odd verdicts. That issue notwithstanding, I find the verdict innocent (of even manslaughter) is completely baffling.  For me, mainly it's about the "trail" that Zimmerman left behind.  He was the source of his own problem.  From start to nearly finish, he lead the way.  In the end, Trayvon, like many young men before him, decided to fight back from being stalked.  (And, it is likely he wasn't just annoyed but probably a little scared.  After all, his father lived at that complex so why would this guy continue to follow him?) Mr. Zimmerman complained, at two different times, to police/911 that "these punks always get away."  He might go look in the mirror because I think he's right.   One thing we did learn from OJ Simpson, if you cannot find justice in the criminal court, go after the person in civil court.   One thing that canno

Seattle Public Education and Mayoral Candidates

I have attempted to interview all the mayoral candidates with different measures of success.  I am not going to endorse one candidate at this time but, for our purposes, hope to give you guidance on their thoughts on public education in Seattle.  (Personally, I don't vote for candidates based on one issue but offer this to help broaden your outlook on the candidates.) There are nine candidates.  I have tried to reach each candidate a couple of times but was unable to connect with or secure interviews with some. Given that the primary is in the depths of summer - August 6th - and that older voters tend to dominate the voting ranks, every vote will count.  If you care, you will vote.  Otherwise, some may get a surprise when the candidate they favor doesn't make it out of the primary.  As supporters of public education, please let friends and neighbors know what you think because it matters to our city. Summary: Who seems to know public education in Seattle?   Peter Stein