Seattle School Board Meeting Next Wednesday - It Will Rock

And roll.

Looks like there is going to be a LOT of activity at the Board meeting on Wednesday.  Apparently we may see:

- teachers who are unhappy about the possible class size increase
- community organizers unhappy about their exit from the Horace Mann building in order to make way for Nova to come back

and now,

- the so-called Our Schools group.  Here's their reason to be at the Board meeting:

Nearly three years ago, the Seattle School District negotiated a collective bargaining agreement between teachers and the district that outlined strategies for closing Seattle’s opportunity and achievement gaps. Article II Partnership for Closing the Achievement Gap would develop and implement a parent/community engagement process, monitor stability of staff in low-performing schools, monitor data like discipline and attendance records in determining students at-risk for dropping out, and financially support school-level initiatives focused on closing gaps.

The Our Schools Coalition, a group of over 40 diverse community partners, helps influence contract negotiations by providing a third-party voice to the discussion. Its time again for communities to weigh in on our priorities for the next cycle.

Article II lists important strategies that have fallen through the cracks. There is work left undone from the last bargaining cycle. Join League of Education Voters and Our Schools Coalition at the Seattle School Board meeting to show support for the implementation of real strategies that can help close opportunity and achievement gaps in Seattle. 

It's kind of cute because they want people to RSVP (to come to a Board meeting).  Are they going to save seats?

Communities can tell the Board/Superintendent at any time what they believe about the teachers contract.  I don't see the issue with the ability to do that.

But to say the parent/community engagement process "is work undone" is to not recognize the work of SPS's Bernardo Ruiz and his team.  There IS still work to do but yes, a lot more outreach has and is being done and it's too bad the Our Schools front doesn't acknowledge that.  (But for ed reformers if it's not their way, it's didn't happen or it doesn't matter.)

And "monitor stability of staff at low-performing schools?"  Have they heard of TFA?  Because that's the ultimate teacher mobility craze.  Children in low-performing schools who may not have a lot of consistency and constancy in their home lives don't need a revolving door of TFA teachers.

And why do they think the district isn't monitoring data on discipline and attendance (especially in the face of public humiliation over discipline issues via the feds)?  The City just had a very successful attendance program that the district was certainly part of.  Did Our Schools miss that or it's not so useful to their narrative?

The district probably would "financially support" initiative to close the gaps if they weren't spending so much darn money on MAP and other ed reform driven initiatives.

At any rate, this is going to be a crowded and lively meeting.  (Although, after public testimony, look for the crowds to all go away because most people just speak and leave.)


Anonymous said…
Yeah, I remember the Our Schools group during the last contract. They dressed up kids in matching
t-shirts and basically used them as window dressing for their corporate message.

I saw a few former students (the good part) in those t-shirts. I was so confused--"What are you doing here?" I asked. They said that some people wanted them to come to the meeting, they got a ride, so here they were.

These were not white kids, in case you didn't already figure that out.

It was disgraceful.

--enough already
mirmac1 said…
As we learned from this Alliance/OSC report on their Strategic Plan (with SPS just a piece of the puzzle)...

Pg 12 - In the Community Engagement (CE) work, the Alliance had the opportunity and the challenge to build a program from scratch (comment: that would by OSC). The challenges included:

•Clarity of purpose:

It was difficult at times to determine exactly what the purpose was for this work and to meaningfully communicate to a variety of diverse communities. Over time we learned that outreach was much stronger when it was issue driven; but to be successful the foundational relationships had to already be in place.

We now know the Feds embarked on its review of SPS disproportionality of discipline at the request of outside parties. Now we hear this:

"The League of Education Voters has been working to end disproportionality in school discipline. One of the avenues we have tried to influence is the teacher contract. While district policies can change every year, once a teacher contract is negotiated it's usually firmly rooted in place for 2-3+ years. We are doing one last push to ask SPS to include positive discipline practices in the teacher contract AND to actually implement Article II- "Partnership to Close the Achievement Gap." The teacher's union and the school district are finalizing contract negotiations this month.

We are trying to get as many youth, parents, and community leaders to the August 21st Seattle School Board meeting."

These folks' shameless, opportunistic misuse of a serious issue to push their union-busting, ed reform crap really makes me mad!
Anonymous said…
So, if you don't want to be associated with the Our Schools and LEV crowd, what should you wear or what signs should you carry?

mirmac1 said…
Well, I would sign up to testify and call their manipulation out. But that's just me.

Or, my sign would say "Negotiate fairly with students and teachers in mind" or "Don't be wimps!" or something like that.
Unknown said…
RE Disproportionate Discipline:
The federal Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights investigation of disproportionate discipline against blacks was part of a federal mandate. It was what is called a "Proactive Investigation." It was not triggered by any complaints here nor was it triggered by any particular knowledge of statistics. The DOE knows it will find disproportionate discipline in its investigation which will take three years or so, and at some point the district will enter into a voluntary resolution plan.

At a meeting two weeks ago at Rainier Vista Boys and Girls Club and sponsored by the OSC, Superintendent Banda said that he had invited the ACLU to help them with their disproportionate disclipline issue. I have written Banda an email asking for more information on that.

What the OSC and other groups should be agitating for, rather than insinuating themselves into the bargaining process, is for Superintendent Banda to agree to a voluntary agreement with the DOE sooner rather than later. He's going to have to do it at some point, and as a way of improving the educational outcomes of black, native american, special education, ELL, students in poverty and foster students, he should get to work right now. Period. That is what I am going to testify about at that meeting.

I plan on wearing a "Not with OSC" t-shirt.
mirmac1 said…
Mary, where can I get one of those t-shirts!
GMG, I would write:

- listen to ALL parents, not just OSC
- OSC does NOT represent me

Thanks for asking. Ditto on the shirt Mary
Anonymous said…
Thanks for your comment, E.A. I find such cringe-worthy exploitation to be one of the lowest forms of deceit. Maybe a good T-Shirt would be aimed at those very kids, and say: "If only you knew..." Somebody paid for those shirts and rides, so again, follow the money. It literally sickens me to see such easy prey for neo-liberals used as pawns. Why not just dress them up as decoy ducks? That's what they're there for, and many folks just eat it up like they're the real thing. Either way, it's the fig leaf of legitimacy that deflects legitimate criticisms as racist, insensitive, uncaring, etc., etc., and that's the most important thing to corporate America's profit-seekers and their henchmen. WSDWG
Anonymous said…
"At a meeting two weeks ago at Rainier Vista Boys and Girls Club and sponsored by the OSC, Superintendent Banda said that he had invited the ACLU to help them with their disproportionate disclipline issue. I have written Banda an email asking for more information on that."

And when asked what concrete things would be in place come Sept 4th 2013to curtail discipline disproportionalities, he said he would be forming a task force and that it would take about 3 years.

Really out of touch.

Ezekial, CD
Anonymous said…
Miramac -

" We are doing one last push to ask SPS to include positive discipline practices in the teacher contract AND to actually implement Article II- "Partnership to Close the Achievement Gap"

Positive discipline is good, in fact it is interesting to see it mentioned as it is such an enlightened practice. I haven't seen a lot if it in use at SPS though and I imagine that there has been little training in this regard. Am I misunderstanding the intention here in that quotation? Is this not to improve discipline practices?

Anonymous said…
Here is a summary of positive discipline used in schools:

Classroom Management with the Positive discipline approach

mirmac1 said…
Absolutely GMG. SEAAC has been hearing about PBIS in SPS since ex-Ex Dir of SpEd Marni Campbell used to make stuff up. Parents want to see it put to use, not used as a prop at board meetings.
Anonymous said…
Actually Mirmac, the nationally recognized approach to improving school climate and behavior is PBIS - positive behavior interventions and support. NOT "Positive Discipline" - which some Johnny-come-lately "how to" self-help product some schools in the district are using... complete with a bunch of consultants and classes. EG. it features "intrinsic motivators" (which often don't work). Do teachers work without a paycheck? Why do we expect kids to be "internally motivated" all the time? Why not use the nationally recognized PBIS? That is what is really researched based, and that is what has been promised for a long time... even if a few schools have been sold this other thing.

Yes it's good that the ed-reformers have clued into disciplinary issues, but they need to clue into the solutions too.

-sped Parent
mirmac1 said…
sped Parent,

I believe I referenced PBIS. Positive Discipline. WT heck is that? Sounds like S&M. No thanks!
Anonymous said…
Why don't they look at what Walla Walla is doing?

Anonymous said…
The thing that is federally mandated and has a lot of support and research is PBIS. It is related to RTi (response to intervention). I know everyone supports this, but the devil is in the details on both of those efforts. Who wouldn't want "positive behavior intervention"? Who wouldn't want "response to intervention" for everyone who needs it? PBIS is a broad umbrella term for a federal mandate recognizing discipline as a school issue.

Positive Discipline - well, not so much. It is not a nationwide effort, it is more of a product sold by a company. Of course it sounds good. But, the notion of teaching "Discipline" or doing "Discipline" is narrow. It's idea seems mostly to be rooted in the idea that negative reinforcement doesn't usually work. Fine, but not very deep.

The understanding of the roots of the issue are somewhat different. Positive Discipline is about teaching kids. PBIS is about creating a culture and school climate. PBIS recognizes that sometimes the lack of respect that students exhibit is actually a reflection of the bad behavior they witness by adults, including school staff. Principals who are bullies, for example, often have bullying problems in their schools. PBIS grows out of the special education notion of determining the function of behavior.

From Wikipedia:

Positive Discipline (or PD) is a discipline model used by schools that focuses on the positive points of behaviour, based on the idea that there are no bad children, just good and bad behaviors. You can teach and reinforce the good behaviors while weaning the bad behaviors without hurting the child verbally or physically.

PBIS intervention, like RTi, is based on assessment for behavior functionality.

Sped Parent
mirmac1 said…
What Sped Parent said....
mirmac1 said…
Not related, but really is. This demonstrates the attitudes our children face from professionals and idiots neighbors like the one in this letter:

Family Of Boy With Autism Receives Shockingly Offensive Letter

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