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Friday, July 19, 2013

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?

16 comments:

Unknown said...

I wrote to David Bornstein, a reporter for the New York Times, who is also on the board of the "Solutions Journalism Network." The website for Solutions Journalism Network has a tab for ethics and it says it reports all its funders.

However, the recent grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to the Solutions Journalism Network is not reported on the website. This grant was mentioned recently in the Seattle Times as the Seattle Times was a recipient to report on solutions to educational issues in the Seattle area.

Mr. Bornstein did not answer my question about how much the grant was or what the project entailed. This was his response:

"We will be working with the paper to help them develop a series that looks at a broad array of creative responses to problems in education in Seattle and elsewhere. Our focus is on assisting them with the craft of solutions journalism and the development of this solutions-oriented series; they retain final editorial control. You will have to judge the results for yourself when the stories come out. We believe that it will be a series with journalistic integrity, not a PR job for the foundation; we are fully aware that foundation funding for journalism comes with a lot of scrutiny -- and we welcome your attention."

Mr. Bornstein further states that the grant will be reported on the website soon and that he currently is in Seattle ironing out the details of the grant.

I am underwhelmed. The Seattle Times has a decidedly slanted stance when it comes to education, particularly when it comes to reporting facts about education reform.

Charlie Mas said...

Crosscut story by Alison Krupnick on school board candidates.

Unknown said...

About the recent Trayvon Martin postings: there has been a lot of talk about race and how it relates to this case.

But I am going to argue that there is another equally strong leg to the case that is just as wrong, and that is the "Stand your ground" law which makes it legal to shoot someone if you are afraid of them.

The Stand Your Ground law in Florida was developed by gun manufacturers, gun shops and the money and lobbying power of the NRA. It passed both houses and was signed into law by Jeb Bush in 2005. At that point the law was turned into "model legislation" by ALEC (The American Legislative Exchange Council)and shared with legislators across the United States so that now 22 states have virtually the same law on the books.

This is the same process ALEC uses to push for laws that require voter ID, lower taxes, weaken environmental regulations, weaken unions and privatize prisons and schools.

You may or may not be surprised that ALEC currently has a 501(c)3 status as a public charity despite its extensive lobbying. This status is being challenged by Common Cause and other groups, but thus far, there is no change in status.

Notably in Florida a group of STUDENTS is protesting the Stand Your Ground Law and met with Governor Rick Scott overnight. Scott defended his position to not amend the Stand Your Ground" law, and instead issued a proclamation today for a "statewide day of prayer for unity."

Anonymous said...

Do we have stand your ground in WA state?

HP

Unknown said...

HP
Washington is sort of in a gray zone when it comes down to this question. It has a justifiable homicide law which does not deal with the question of whether a person has to retreat or have nowhere to retreat to, before firing a gun in so-called self defense. The difference between our law and the Stand Your Ground laws is that those laws specifically state there is no duty to retreat when there is a perceived threat. Even so, I have seen Washington's law listed as a Stand Your Ground law by some websites.

Carol Simmons said...

I thought everyone would be interested in comments from an African American friend of mine when I told him that our Forum was openly and honestly discussing racial issues. He was very appreciative of this having left our postings sometime back stating that race was never discussed.

It is either a blessing or a curse to be this old and have had this much experience and history in our Seattle Public Schools. The students made it all worthwhile though.

This said, I need to correct some misunderstandings and comments regarding the academic achievement of African American students at the now closed African American Academy.

In reality, as measured by standardized test scores, African American students at the African American Academy did well. African American Academy students from single parent homes, or who received free or reduced lunch services, scored significantly higher than African American students with the same demographic characteristics at other Seattle Public Schools. My husband, who often served as temporary principal at the AAA, frequently tracked student achievement scores at the Academy and compared them with achievement scores at other Seattle Public Schools.

Chris S. said...

I will second what Carol says, although it will reveal my nerdiness. Before AAA was closed, I plotted test (WASL in those days) scores vs FRL percent for various SPS schools in Excel and had Excel make a regression line. Although AAA's scores looked low, given their 95+% FRL they were really an outlier, WAY high above the regression line.

Chris S. said...

While we're back on race, and the discussion on Charlie's thread about the possible mismatch between classroom standards (which sounded kind of rigid to me in all my whiteness and privilegedness) and cultural norms...Does it strike anyone as ironic that most proposed remedies involve increased rigidity? (no excuses, KIPP, zero tolerance, etc) Rigid - to the point of being developmentally inappropriate.

I've probably told you all before how much I love Alfie Kohn but in his education book he talks about a Kohn-esque classroom (e.g. student-centered, democratic, intrinsically motivation, etc) helping behavior and learning even for a class of THE MOST disillusioned, disruptive students.

Not that I think I know the solution, but ed reform strikes me as giving poor/minority kids what white people think they need, rather than what they really need, and not stopping to think or listen when it doesn't really work. I'm SO bored with the talking points recently recycled by Liv Finne. It's time to try something different. Something kinder & gentler please...

Rant over. What do I know.

Anonymous said...

Chris S., there have been several opinion pieces on the very thing you mention, charter schools for minority kids often are very rigid and almost like an old time reform school. I think it does come from affluent people thinking they know what is best for poorer folk, especially poor folk of color.

Mary, thanks for the clarification. I had read conflicting information.

HP

dw said...

ChrisS said: Before AAA was closed, I plotted test (WASL in those days) scores vs FRL

How many schools did you include? Enough to really have a robust, city-wide regression line?

This makes me want to scream! Do you know how many times I heard "AAA just isn't working, the kids are NOT doing better" prior to it being closed? I'd always wondered about this exact thing, i.e. FRL vs. any meaningful benchmarks, but never saw it collated.

Do you still have those documents? Some of the data might still be around. It might be kicking a dead horse, but hard data like that is valuable.

seattle citizen said...

Kevin C. Washington, "founding member" (along with Gates, the Alliance, LEV, and Strategies 360) of the astroturf Our Schools Coalition gets to do a double whammy in a Times op-ed today: He gets to perpetuate the "board is dysfunctional meme AND regurgitate the usual OSC/ALEC talking points regarding the ongoing techers' contract negotiations:

Guest: Focus on reforms that work in Seattle teacher contract

Say again? said...

Well, I was just over at Crosscut and read about school board races. This is what Estey had to say:

“its hard to not just respond to loud voices,” she says. “But when we set goals, we have to keep our eye on the ball.”

Doesn't sound like Estey will be at all responsive to community,

Voting Peters.

Hmmm said...


Here is what Charlie Staadecker had to say in relation to education. Glad this guy doesn't have a chance:Charlie Staadecker said the city should hold back funding from the schools if certain benchmarks aren’t passed in areas such as third grade reading, eighth graders passing algebra and graduation and drop-out rates.

Murray is interested in looking at board governance. Very concerning.

Murray Alert said...

http://stand.org/washington/blog/2013/07/19/seattle-mayoral-candidates-education

joanna said...

I am relieved that finally this fact is being discussed. If the AAA data is compared to data of other option K-8s that were not under the no-child-left-behind-standards you will find that AAA was performing better than most of those schools. It was the only one targeted and closed. They all had performance problems, especially in the 6-8 portions of the schools. AAA was targeted due with the federal standards due to the ration of free and reduced lunch students. Middle class schools were not disrupted since those schools did not have a high enough number of free and reduced lunch students to be held to the rules under the federal guidelines. The fact that areas of poverty and revitalization could be so easily disrupted with little chance to make their case was atrocious. Again and again low income students are constant targets of experiments with little consideration that they and their neighborhoods need room and opportunities to build stable good accessible neighborhood and option schools like everyone else. These neighborhoods and students deserve better. During many meetings many have dismissively nodded politely as I explained that AAA's performance was as good, if not better than the most of the other K-8s in the district at the time.

joanna said...

Melissa feel free to delete the post just prior to this one. joanna
I am relieved that finally this fact is being discussed. If the AAA data is compared to data of other option K-8s that were not under the no-child-left-behind-standards you will find that AAA was performing better than most of those schools. It was the only one targeted and closed. They all had performance problems, especially in the 6-8 portions of the schools. AAA was targeted with the federal standards due to the ratio of free and reduced lunch students. Middle class schools were not disrupted since those schools did not have a high enough number of free and reduced lunch students to be held to the rules under the federal guidelines. The fact that areas of poverty and revitalization could be so easily disrupted with little chance to make their case was atrocious. Again and again low income students are constant targets of experiments with little consideration that they and their neighborhoods need room and opportunities to build stable good accessible neighborhood and option schools like everyone else. These neighborhoods and students deserve better. During many meetings many have dismissively nodded politely as I explained that AAA's performance was as good, if not better than the most of the other K-8s in the district at the time. I believe the stewards of AAA were as willing as any other school to make any necessary changes with little support from the District. The recognition of the facts would have made for better discussions with them.