Friday Open Thread

A bit of wild week and so into one of the last summer weekends for 2013.

The new principal at Chief Sealth International High School, Aida Fraser-Hammer, will be having a Meet 'N Greet this Monday, August 26th from 10 am to 6 pm (!) with her administrative team.   A really nice thing to do.  Ms Fraser-Hammer seems like a great selection for this school as she is fluent in Spanish and spent a year as a Fulbright Exchange administrator to Brazil and Argentina. 

Rainier School District in Thurston County is the first district to test an app for a school lockdown in a story by My Northwest.

From the Bellevue Reporter, a story about a graduation of 436 students from an early intervention program for special needs children.  

There's also news that City Councilman Tim Burgess will be introducing a resolution to the Council for universal pre-school for Seattle's 3-4 year olds.

What's on your mind?


Mike said…
Who is advising Councilman Burgress? He should've come out with this proposal in the Spring and it would have helped his Mayoral race...
Anonymous said…
I don't think the preschool proposal is a slam dunk. It will be VERY expensive.

--- skeptical
Anonymous said…
The radio report put the cost in the order of $10,000-16,000 per student for universal preschool. Once again, good intentions, but we don't even have free K for all students. What would you prioritize? The money would need to come from a levy.

Lori said…
According to the Times, Burgess' resolution will call for a work plan and feasibility study. I can support that, and we can't really debate it until we see how those things pan out.

It's a great idea to evaluate what it would take to make universal preschool a reality in Seattle, and once we know the details, then we can talk about how we prioritize it, whether and how we fund it, and so on.
Anonymous said…
On another subject:
Look at this part of Jonathan's latest message about the SPS contract negotiations- " According to the salary schedule, we have the youngest certificated staff, making less money. That implies that as members gain experience, we either leave the profession or go to other districts. We say, if you want to keep and retain experienced educators, you have to pay us. SPS says we don’t deserve a salary that matches our experience." Might this be evidence to support that SPS has forced out most of the experienced staff? All in an effort to keep more of tax payer money for their pet projects rather than providing skills honed over years of working with all manner of students. Burn and churn.
mirmac1 said…
You can be sure that, if Burgess' Office of Education is paying for this (with our money), then your child's private information will become part of the Gates giant database.headmsg 12
Anonymous said…
The Department of Early Learning has been working on the goal of universal preschool for many years. It actually was all set to go 5 years ago when the economy tanked, so not enough money to go ahead with it. I do not know why the radio report would say 10,000 - 16,000 per child. State of WA has been offering ECEAP for many years for much, much less.
Unfortunately, ECEAP only accepts kids living
at poverty level, and the program has to rely on the state legislature to approve funds each year. Seattle has the Step Ahead program, which accepts kids from slightly higher income families, since Seattle is so expensive to live in. The Gates foundation has never given any money to either program. ECEAP has been around for decades, Step Ahead around 10 years, and have never breached confidentiality, so I do not see how Gates would suddenly be given access to their student database.
I was part of the committee that worked for universal preschool. We went to look at a couple of states that offer them. If you think it is too expensive to offer kids from poorer families a chance to start kindergarten at same level as kids from families with means to pay for preschool; consider how much more it would cost to get them caught up later on in school and life. Did we not just have several people posting about how expensive it is to educate poor children in SPS, as
compared to white middle class kids?
For those that like to quote research, there are reams of studies about how a little investment in early education pays back hundred folds in future earnings. Just google.

Anonymous said…
@CCA, I am more than well aware of the "reams of research" regarding social and economic outcomes of investments in quality preschool for low-income children. Let's take one statement from the Seattle Times article:

"Some studies of the federal Head Start preschool programs have shown the academic gains from early learning fade over time.

But Steve Barnett, director of the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University in New Jersey, said that’s not true of high-quality programs, which he characterized as having teachers with at least a bachelor’s degree and commensurate pay, small class sizes, evidence-based curricula, rigorous evaluations and several hours of school per day."

These reams of research do indicate that any gains made from early learning do fade by 3rd or 4th grade. But, as Steve Barnett points out, this fade can be mitigated if the preschool programs were of high quality and included the characteristics he outlined. What was not included, either by Barnett and/or the author, is that intensive instructional support must continue for these children in the primary grades --- kindergarten through third grade. If low-income children received high quality preschool AND high quality supplemental instructional support through 3rd grade, their outcomes were comparable to other students who didn't need such support.

How much do you think high quality, full-time preschool currently costs in the north end? It's about $1000 per month and often higher. And this is the cost for those programs that may not accept DSHS children. DSHS provides about $700 per month for subsidized care. That's $300 or more the preschool needs to supplement to cover their costs for that child. If these preschools were to take multiple low-income kids, then the costs would have to rise for the non-DSHS kids.

And, yes, ECEAP and Head Start have been around for decades and the costs for these programs is less than $10000 - 16000 per year. But, let's be honest, many if not the majority are not "high quality" programs as defined above. You can't provide high quality preschool programs on the cheap.

Head Start, on the whole, has been ineffective in addressing poverty (which was its original goal). We're now into 3rd and 4th generation Head Start families. Obviously, Head Start has not provided better outcomes for these families.

I'm hoping the campaign around this issue provides honest information regarding the investment that our community needs to make. The bottom line is that the investment in high quality preschool and high quality instructional support in the primary grades is still cheaper than the investments we'll need to make for these children later in their lives and is, therefore, worth the investment. But, let's be honest about the true costs, then let the community make their decisions. It WILL cost $10000 - 16000 per child for high quality preschool programs.

--- skeptical
mirmac1 said…

I see numerous emails between the CCER (Gates-funded org behind the Road Map Project) collecting data for their Project 3: This project supports the establishment of a strong region-wide PreK-3rd Grade system led by the Puget Sound ESD. The region-wide system will support a team in each district working to implement a PreK-3rd grade plan that aims to ensure all students are ready for kindergarten, and will be successful in elementary math and reading. The scale of this project reaches all elementary schools; it expands on existing efforts and leverages the region’s research and resources in early learning work.

CCER will access WaKIDS scores for everyone in the Road MAP regions, including Seattle.

Remember, this is a "cradle to college and beyond" Big Brother effort.
Anonymous said…
Does anyone know why it takes so long for the district to send out results from the EOC exams? The kids took them in May and June, but still haven't received results. I think they're going to be mailed this week, but there's too long a lag time between testing and results.
-An SPS parent
Anonymous said…
Policy No. 3520 Student Fees and Charges says in part:

The School Board authorizes the Superintendent or building principal to charge fees for optional supplementary supplies, materials, or services to students so long as: (1) the charge does not exceed the cost of the supplies, materials, or services; (2) students are free to purchase them elsewhere or provide reasonable alternatives; and (3) a proper accounting is made of all moneys received.

This is the policy that allows the district to charge a fee of full day kindergarten.

I'd like to hear if people read that to mean the fees can't exceed the cost of services, etc provided to the student, or the cost of the program overall.


Anonymous said…
SPS Parent, the reason it takes so long to get EOC results is that all: (1) all of these tests are paper and pencil and not online and the finished tests need to be shipped to the vendor to be scored, (2) the EOCs include a number of short answer responses, rather than multiple choice and these need to be hand-scored by at least two scorers, (3) the final scores need to be verified by the districts to make sure the scores are applied to the correct students, (4) individual student score reports need to be printed and shipped to the districts, (5) the state needs to receive and analyze the state aggregate scores, and (6) districts need to mail out the individual score reports to the families.

The time between testing and the receipt of scores could be significantly shortened if the tests were all online and all multiple choice. The state has decided that neither of these approaches is preferable.

--- someone who knows

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