Washington State and Regional Ed News

Looks like most of the operations/technology levies for Puget Sound regional schools are passing - Bellevue, Lake Washington, Issaquah, Northshore, Mercer Island, Shoreline, Federal Way and Kent. 

Bond measures for buildings - which have to have 60% to win - are a mixed bag. Bellevue's, at $450M, was passing easily while Lake Washington's is just short at 57% for their $775M measure (larger than SPS' last BEX). 

Mercer Island revamped their last capital bond measure that lost in April 2012 at $196M to one at $99M.  It appears to have easily passed. 

It is still a shame that our districts have to beg voters for the money needed to run our schools instead of our state legislature fully-funding those costs.  It's interesting that the state wants new initiatives like Common Core but doesn't seem to want to pay into what needs to be done to make sure they roll-out well.

Speaking of capital money, Seattle legislators like Gerry Pollet and Reuven Carlyle (among others) are sponsoring a bill - HB 2780 - in support of money for SPS capital needs.  It had a public hearing on Monday morning.  I know that at least two SPS parents went to Olympia (for a hearing at 8 am) because they are so concerned for our district.  When I get the video, I'll put it up because I understand there were also district staff who testified. 

I urge you to let your rep know that you support this bill.  It could really help accelerate money to SPS for our building needs. 


mirmac1 said…
This must be the first of Seattle Times' data-mining products

Seattle Times: educational research professionals just because FERPA says they can be.
Anonymous said…

"The Seattle School District is investigating how an 8-year-old student with special needs was dropped off at the wrong address Monday afternoon, all alone.


Brianna rides home from school on Mercer Island in an Orange Cab. The company contracts with the school district to transport children with disabilities."

I am curious that SPS pays for transit for children out of district, is this normal for some programs?

Anonymous said…
@curious. Perhaps her parent works as a teacher within SPS. Children of teachers and other employees are given entrance to their parents' schools.

This dropoff mixup was an accident waiting to happen. SPS has been subpar on SPED transportation oversight for more than the decade that I have watched.

Catherine said…
@curious - I recall that when a district can't provide certain services for a child, they can contract with a neighboring district to provide those services. I would imagine MI doesn't have the breadth of specialities that a larger district might.
mirmac1 said…
I expect you are correct Catherine.
Benjamin Leis said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Benjamin Leis said…
HB 2780 is written so that it applies automatically to school districts with an enrollment of greater than 48000. Gee that's only Seattle. I wonder how that's going to sit with all the representatives from the rest of the state?
Anonymous said…
As per the contracting with a cab service, are the drivers screened to the same level as a school volunteer?

Maje said…
Another bit of news -
Bill Gates did a Reddit AMA on Monday and had this to say about education:

Redditor: What’s one of your goals for the next year… and how can we help?
Gates: Wow. That is a nice thing to ask. I wish the debate about education would focus on helping teachers improve and what we know about that. Right now it is caught up in state versus federal and testing versus no-testing. In general politics needs to focus on the problems rather than attacking the other side. Asian countries are helping their teachers improve and the impact is huge.
When Bill Gates apologizes to teachers for attacking their work and their union, then I'll believe he wants to support teacher improvement. Until then, those are just words.
Anonymous said…
mirmac, I wonder if the Seattle Times got their information from this publicly available report: http://bit.ly/1eV1C6g rather than some phantom 'data mining' project. The link to this report was right there in OSPI's recent AP press release.

You do know that OSPI never had a data-sharing agreement with the Seattle Times, as KUOW originally erroneously reported than corrected, right?

--- swk
SWK, that may be true but I was told, by OSPI, that they would still be releasing data.
Anonymous said…
Melissa, to whom would OSPI be releasing data? And which data are these? Are they releasing these data to a third party without a data-sharing agreement? Would personally identifiable data on individual students be released? Who at OSPI said they would be released these data?

--- swk
SWK, the subject was the Times and OSPI. I was told by OSPI that they were releasing data anyway. (I have an e-mail.) I was not able to get back with OSPI to ask why this was but I do not believe any PII can be released.

Anonymous said…
Thanks, Melissa. I would certainly hope that OSPI would not have released any PII. I do believe, though, that OSPI is obligated to share state- and district-level aggregate data on student achievement, etc. In previous pieces of legislation, OSPI has been directed by the legislature to make student achievement data MORE accessible, not less. Of course, they must operate within the confines of FERPA. If they are not, that is a big problem. As I don't need to tell you.

--- swk
Anonymous said…
There is a school on Mercer Island for kids with very serious Special Education needs. SPS sends children from the district there because our district does not have the services needed for their education.

mirmac1 said…
Interesting swk. I could've sworn I saw a signed, executed data-sharing agreement. I have also seen many emails between OSPI and Seattle Times colluding to attack the KUOW report. The KUOW report was correct; there was a data-sharing agreement (as you can see on the link). They were incorrect in reporting that personally-identifiable information would be released, but as Melissa has noted it is possible to identify students given a small enough dataset.

OSPI has 16 data-sharing agreements last year, including with me. That proves ANYONE can get educational records.
Anonymous said…
mirmac, I stand corrected. Mea culpa.

--- swk
mirmac1 said…
no prob. ; )

I will see if those collusion emails are lying around somewhere....
Linden said…
Mirimac's records indicate that the Seattle Times was receiving teacher names.

This project is funded by Gates and I'm sure Shaw et. al. will be unrelenting.
mirmac1 said…
The school board should read this before swallowing all that "blended learning" BS:

Growing Pains for Rocketship's Blended-Learning Juggernaut
Oh yes, the Times data request includes teachers and their schedules. That was part of the deal from the start. I'm quite surprised the SEA has said nothing publicly.
Anonymous said…

yes all contracted taxi drivers are screened and receive mandatory training on SPS procedures & policies.

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