This and That

According to KIRO tv, 565 teachers and 13,523 students reported absent from SPS.  Wow.   (I had thought of attending but being short makes a parade challenging.  It started late and sounds like an absolute zoo (of the crazy, fun kind but really cold to wait for).

The Police were asking the crowd to keep cell phone use to a minimum because they were not getting 911 calls.

Ed Week reported on Seattle's efforts to have later start times.

Your next job (or probably your kid's) based on video gaming ability?  Maybe.

Remember all that outcry over "bad" teachers?  Turns out that the Department of Education found that "less effective" teaching is responsible for just 2-4% of the achievement gap?  Study here.

Great article from Edutopia about kids and their views on student engagement (and what they like in a classroom).


LG said…
I am so disgusted by the management of the Seahawks parade. WHY WHY WHY was this on a school day? My poor daughter fought the crowds to get to The Center School and back, and for nothing, since nothing happened at school at all, since so many people were out. What a farce.
Anonymous said…
Class sizes at my son's school were awesome today.

- North-end Mom
Greg said…
Seems to me that the teachers skipping teaching is unacceptable. Or am I being too uptight?
LB said…
I agree Greg and was wondering the same thing about myself. But, isn't inconsiderate and disrespectful to the staff and teachers left behind to scramble and find subs/adults to fill the classrooms. And, also to the kids who went to school and did nothing all day (according to my high schooler - although only one of his teachers was gone).

Did the teachers call in sick? Do they get personal days?

It irks me that this whole thing was not handled better, but then I remember we are dealing with SPS. I think Banda leaving it up to principals made it inequitable and confusing.
central parent said…
Wish I could have just decided to not go to work, but I I would then put more of the work load on my fellow workers.
It just convinces me that many teachers suck and don't care about the kids in their care.
Anonymous said…
First the district was the bad guy for not canceling school or for not allowing parade attendance to be an excused absence. Now the teachers are the bad guys if they took a personal day to celebrate with their own children, just like other Seattle parents did? Many 1/2 empty classrooms, but there was sub coverage for most - if not all - absent staff as far as I know.
Ire should be directed towards the city and the idiot mayor who rebuked the school district without understanding that you can't just cancel school on a whim, particularly since many parents, especially low-income parents, work inflexible shift work where a day off means a day without pay or the threat of a job loss. Higher income parents, often those who own their own businesses or who are managers or work in high-tech companies can be more flexible and take that time. If the city had waited until the weekend, more lower-income families could also have attended, the school issues could have been avoided, and many of those poor downtown workers who had to fight the traffic coming and going without the luxury of attending the parade could have had their normal commute.
Poor planning on the part of the city, complete ignorance on the part of the mayor.
Anonymous said…
I have to agree with LB in that Banda leaving the decision to principals was a poor call -- "confusing and inequitable" is right.

I am an SPS teacher, used one of my two personal days today to take my two SPS student daughters (one elementary, one middle school) to the parade. Each brought a school friend. For me, the experience they had not only bonding with me and their friends, but also feeling connected to this wonderful city and community was worth missing the day in school.

The crowd was family-friendly, upbeat, celebratory -- and diverse! I wanted my daughters to be part of this moment in time, they wanted to be part of it, and so did I!

-- Ballard dad
Banda did say at tonight's Board meeting that they felt academics had to come first and that for many families, a short notice that school was out for the day, would be a hardship.
Anonymous said…
Today was a total waste of learning in both of my middle and high schooler's classes.
I am still wondering about the obvious question, why didn't they do the parade and celebration on the weekend???
Anonymous said…
Making national news on Fox Sports when it comes to a messed up day of superintendent Jose Banda stance on the issue. Seems the nation agrees with Major Murry, as votes are being cast.


Skipping School
Anonymous said…
I think how Banda handled it was perfect. He can't close the schools and even though not much learning occurred yesterday, at least poor families did not have to scramble for daycare. Both of my high schoolers went. One is at Hale and the other is in a private school. The private school was cancelled since it was a block away from the parade route. For Hale, I just emailed a note to the attendance office. I don't really care if the absence is excused or not. The kids had a blast and got to experience a great community building event.

Anonymous said…
Everyone is entitled to take a day off for something that is important to them. However, one should be prepared to sacrifice (a vacation day or unexcused absence.) What would be sad is if hourly workers trying to work lost wages due to the 3+hour commute.

Chris S.
Anonymous said…
The reason why the parade was on a weekday during the day is simple.

Crime control. Alcohol control.

A weekend or late afternoon/evening parade would have had A LOT more drinking involved, and a lot less family friendly environment.

If the parade had started at 4 pm you can bet there would have been booze involved, and that gets very different. Lots of cities have experience with parades - including ours - and they know that time of day and day of week influences crowd behavior/expectations.

I think it was brilliant to have it at 11 am on a weekday.

Signed: We went
LB said…
Yes, Chris, everyone is entitled to take a day off for something that is important to them. But, SPS does not extend that theory to students and families. Taking my son out of school on the day before Thanksgiving to drive to visit family for the holiday was deemed "unexcused." That was important to my family. More important than a parade. The absences should have been unexcused as he originally stated per the district's own guidelines. That is where it becomes confusing and inequitable.
Anonymous said…
There are many, many instances of things that are confusing and inequitable in the Seattle Public Schools. In that context, this isn't even on the radar. What it comes down to is that if you were not interested in this parade, you were out of synch with the rest of the city. That doesn't make you wrong. I didn't even watch the game and could not have cared less about the parade. But many people did care, and so many of them said they would take their kids out of school unexcused absence or not, that the superintendent did the only thing he could. He faced the face that Wednesday February 5, 2014 was not going to be a normal school day in Seattle. I would have much preferred a normal school day, but people were going to vote with their feet anyway, oh well. Sometimes you're out of synch with the general public around you. Sometimes your priorities are different. That's not injustice, that's just life.

Gen Ed Mom
Anonymous said…
faced the fact. ugh

Jamie said…
My kid went to school (she's in high school) b/c I told her I would not write her a note to go to a football parade. I loathe football and everything it stands for. There were 4 kids in her 1st period class and about a dozen kids in her 2nd period band class (usually over 50). They sat around chatting in both periods. She then texted me begging to let her go home and do her history homework, as she knew the rest of her classes would be sitting around chatting as well. So I gave in.

And what Geez said.
Anonymous said…
I'm sorry to hear that some people are disgusted by the parade and decisions teachers and others made to attend a region-wide celebration of community. Even more sorry to hear that some people think teachers suck for wanting and choosing to attend such an event.

What I think these people don't get is that this parade was a celebration of the 12th Man --- a celebration of US --- as much as it was a celebration of the Seahawks Super Bowl victory. It was a community event more than a sports event. And I think the children that were there, meeting new people and seeing joy and camaraderie, will never forget it.

And because the superintendent made the correct decision to not cancel school, those low-income children who needed it had a warm place to go and warm meals to eat.

It was a phenomenal event for a great many people, I truly am sorry that others found it so disgusting and unacceptable.

--- 12th Man
Anonymous said…
my husband and i were able to rearrange work to go, and it will go down as one of our best family days ever.

championship parades happen as soon as the players get back to town, it's tradition, like a NYC ticker tape parade. i'm guessing the delay from tues to weds was in case of weather delays.

this was a community event, and my kids were just as excited to see the mayor (with his husband at his side) on a float as the football players. it was a historic, community event, not just "a football thing". if it wasn't the right decision for your family, i respect that. but no need to be sanctimonious about it.

the excused/non-excused absence policy bothers me. education of course is important. but learning does not just happen in the classroom and i want to feel free to take advantage of opportunities like this and not have my kids be dinged.

it was a right decision to have school for childcare, meals, etc reasons. still haven't heard from our principal if absences were excused or not. but i did hear other schools received calls, emails, etc clarifying the principal's position, once banda left it to principals. i wish our principal wasn't so non-communicative. there should just be a set number of excused absences allowed/semester and this debate could be moot.

Anonymous said…
I am not disgusted by football,'s football. It's a game. And not everyone is the US that the 12th man supposedly embodies. I let my high school kid go with her father because they are fans. I was ok with that only because I knew she wouldn't get much done in school and was all caught up in all of her classes. I went to work where I was warm, and everybody was happy. But I truly don't think so much fuss should have been made. There are so many other great achievements that get little to no attention.

Not #12
Anonymous said…
This whole situation bothered me for so many reasons:

1) that the city blithely made the decision to have the parade in the middle of a school/work day. Apparently this is because the the Garden Show is on Saturday and they didn't want to mess with that; or it's because the Seahawks are going to Hawaii on Saturday and god forbid that we interrupt their vacation to have a parade for them.

2) that Mr. Banda muddled the situation by rambling on about this being an historic event. blah, blah, even though he was going to keep schools open. Of course he would keep the schools open--that's his job--but the way he did it made things worse. He should have just stuck to the facts that school was going to continue and that if you chose to pull your kid out of school, that was your choice but would be an unexcused absence. End of story. Why all the whining from the parents? I don't get it.

3) that Mr. Banda then made it worse by then putting the problem onto the shoulders of the principals, who were put into the horrible situation of either bowing to peer pressure or being thought of as a "meanie."

4) that the whole thing turned into a peer pressure situation for the parents who didn't want to or couldn't take their kids out of school.

5) that the teachers who actually did the right thing and went to work were rewarded by significantly fewer students in their classrooms and the knowledge that it wasn't worth their time to teach something b/c so many kids were absent

6) that the kids who went to school were rewarded by a wasted day at school.

7) the lack of awareness of what civic pride and community is. It is not about football and a parade for football. If you want to be an uber-fan, fine. But acknowledge it for what it is: fandom.

-Middle school mom
Anonymous said…
Not every class was wasted. I was with 7th graders in LA/SS at Washington. There were nine kids who were absent from 4th and 5th periods. The rest of us dived into some "bonus topics" on the ancient Rome unit that was being studied. We were very productive and nobody even asked me to stream the parade. The ones who wanted to see it were gone.

Anonymous said…
Wow, I wish my 5yh grader had been in you class, sidneyd. They had to go to the library and watch the stream, and weren't allowed to get up and grab a book instead.

Anonymous said…
In fact, one of the Roman topics discussed was "Bread and Circuses". The connections to events of the day were not hard to draw...

Jamie said…
Weren't allowed to get up and get a book? That is outrageous. That makes me furious. Because football is more important than reading, sure. Good grief - this city has lost its mind.
Anonymous said…
Would that there were half as much attention and celebration for the troops' homecoming.

Fan of sports AND learning said…
There were nine kids who were absent from 4th and 5th periods. The rest of us dived into some "bonus topics" on the ancient Rome unit that was being studied. We were very productive and nobody even asked me to stream the parade. The ones who wanted to see it were gone.

Wow, I wish my 5yh grader had been in your class, sidneyd.

I think the 'd' stands for 'dear', but that may just be me!

This is the kind of thing that happens when you have quality teachers that really care about learning and their students. They find a way to make things work; a way to continue learning, in spite of (or even helped by) circumstances. It doesn't need to be material that will be on a test the following week, but it's not hard in most classes to come up with some kind of supplemental material that keeps kids in the groove of learning.

If there's anyone here from the JAMS hiring team, I've heard sidneyd is available this fall. IMO, she would be an outstanding hire for that building.
Anonymous said…
"If there's anyone here from the JAMS hiring team, I've heard sidneyd is available this fall. IMO, she would be an outstanding hire for that building."

If she's interested, then by all means she should apply for a position at JAMS (there's an interview process, etc...).

- North-end Mom
Jet City mom said…
From what I remember, it's been up to the principals to decide about absences of their students.
Just a couple years ago?, Ted Howardlll was put on the spot because the group that took over from GTA ( global technology academy) wanted to continue their program which ran over spring break & a few more days.
Howard told them it would be unexcused & blamed it on the district.
The students then complained at a school board meeting & were told it was up to the principal.

A lot of learning can take place out of the classroom. If I was a teacher, I would have used the parade as a field trip & given kids whose parents couldn't afford to take the day off a chance to participate in a historical & positive community event.

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