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Friday, August 02, 2013

Friday Open Thread

First weekend in August and it's starting out cool (but I'm not complaining as I know we have more great weather to come).

Report from KING-5 on the upcoming Board races.   I spent awhile talking with the reporter and yet a lot of it didn't make it here.  I also want to say that this statement I made in the story:

The difference in achievement between different ethnic groups is another tough issue facing the board.
"If a child's not in school, a child's not learning," Melissa Westbrook said at Seattle Schools Community forum.


What NOT about the achievement gap but about disproportional discipline.

I did say this:

"If they are disrupting learning in the classroom, something has to be done, but don't take them out of school," said Westbrook.

But they left out that I said it was important to examine the reasons for the behavior and give teachers/principals training in cultural difference that might help.  

Fun Event on August 9th
 Seattle Summer Streets: As part of the Seattle Summer Streets neighborhood event, 826 Seattle will play host to the UW Portable Planetarium. Fly deep into outer space, explore new worlds, and marvel at nebula, quasars, and funny shaped galaxies. Tours start at 6pm and last about fifteen minutes. Pick up your free tickets at the Greenwood Space Travel Supply Co. starting August 1.

There IS a School Board meeting next week (fun thing to do - look around the room and see all the SB candidates there who are normally not in attendance, looking very attentive and serious).  This might be a good time for West Seattle parents to organize a speaking list for the meeting about K-5 STEM placement and general boundary issues because there is likely to be very little competition for speaking spots.  Call first thing Monday morning, 252-0040.  

What's on your mind?

13 comments:

Carol Simmons said...

There is an excellent article in the July 31st Real Change Newspaper. The article is titled "A loss of Heritage" and describes the Indian Heritage program representing the pinnacle of education for local Native students.
Since the death of Robert Eaglestaff, the Seattle public school district's treatment of the Indian Heritage School/Program has been a combination of shameful neglect and purposeful destruction. Superintendent Banda promised to "revitalize" the program. We shall see what resources (both human and financial) he will allocate to the program for its revitalization.

Unknown said...

It's too bad they butchered your interview, Melissa. It sure seems like they confused achievement gap with discipline disproportionality.

Speaking of which, I would like to know what is going on as far as the DOE's investigation of the district. I was at a meeting the other night and Superindent Banda said that the district had invited the ACLU in to help them. I have not heard anything about that before. He also said that the district had lost funding for 4 teacher coaches on cultural differences, and so those positions were now gone, but that they were looking for new sources of funding. He also mentioned a 3 year plan for responding to discipline disproportionality, but it wasn't clear what 3 year plan he was talking about. I would like to have a report from someone at the district what they are doing in this area. I would like to hear about what the positive school climate council is doing as well as the equity and race advisory climate is doing. Do they have a list of recommendations for the Superintendent, and how has he responded to the recommendations. What exactly is going on with the ACLU working with the district? ETC.

mirmac1 said...

OSPI has faulted SPS for violating a special education student's rights under FERPA. Granted the corrective action is a wet noodle, but it feels good to give Ron English and his pit bulls Karr Tuttle a wet raspberry. Thanks Mary and Melissa for your assistance with this.

This is business as usual for these folks - part of the district's "systemic issues" identified in the OSPI WISM report.

FERPA Citizen Complaint and corrective action

ConcernedSPSParent said...

mirmac1, the document is private and cannot be viewed.

mirmac1 said...

Oops, technical difficulties. Now it's working : )

Melissa Westbrook said...

Mirmac1, glad to help. The district needs - more than ever - to protect student privacy data.

mirmac1 said...

Just got this in my inbox:

"...we now have new guidelines for hiring athletic coaches. We are now required to have a parent and student on the interview committee when we interview coaches. If you would like to participate on an interview committee please fill out the following form and submit it. We will be hiring a Girls Soccer and Ultimate Frisbee coaches the last week of August."

I'm sure this is a direct result of a horrendous set of incidents with the soccer coach at Ballard HS last year. Think of this the next time someone gripes about board directors getting involved in constituent matters. If Director Peaslee hadn't inquired, this dude would still be kicking students in the balls. This exemplifies how a) some district staff think it's their job to cover each other's a**; and b) parents can complain until they are blue in the face and these tin-eared folks could not care less.

ConcernedSPSParent said...

Thank you to whoever made the complaint.

mirmac1 said...

You're welcome : )

Anonymous said...

Mirmac1
I see SPS redacted certain names from records such as the coach's name, students' names, a parent (P2), but why is the name of the one ballard parent (TP) who started the ball rolling with his complaint letter not redacted? Is that normal?

curious

Unknown said...

Never met him, but TP is a hero in my book.

mirmac1 said...

FERPA protects a student and her/his PII (including parent's name). Not sure about TP, I don't recall if he has a student there while this went on. The district's public records officer is usually very diligent (though I've seen the occasional slip) so I trust she left his name intentionally.

I agree with Mary. We need more parents like him.

mirmac1 said...

News on the misuse and vulnerability of massive data warehouses:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/04/us/other-agencies-clamor-for-data-nsa-compiles.html?hp

A Washington Riddle: What Is ‘Top Secret’?

"It was this pooling of information that allowed Private Manning, sitting at a remote outpost in Iraq, to download cables from the American Embassy in Beijing, and let Mr. Snowden, at a small base in Hawaii, to download — without setting off alarms — documents about intelligence collection operations and secret court decisions that had nothing to do with his job.

“This failure originated from two practices that we need to reverse,” Ashton B. Carter, the deputy secretary of defense, said recently. “There was an enormous amount of information concentrated in one place,” he said. “That’s a mistake.” And second, no individual should be given the kind of access Mr. Snowden had"

And completely unrelated:

Testing, Testing
More Students Are Taking Both the ACT and SAT


Did you know that one of the Road Map Project "investments is to pay for every 11th grader in the seven So. King County districts to take the College Board exams (no matter they ability to pay)? The CB will give a discounted rate to the PSESD/Feds to pay for this. Market share.

Seattle didn't have enough signed up this year, which meant they couldn't get the discount, so look for pressure to make your kid take the test. How does this really help students be ready for college and careers? Will they be letting test-prep companies access lists of those who didn't get 1600? (Sorry, hyperbolic, I know)