Tuesday Open Thread

Great article at Publicola on the McCleary ruling (with slide from the Office of Financial Management).  Meanwhile, over at the Times, the editorial board is saying that the Supreme Court is "menacing" the Legislature.  They say that "so far" the Legislature has done everything the Court has asked.  Except fully fund education in a clear and explainable manner.  The Legislature went back into session to make Boeing happy.  How about the 1M Washington state public education students?

Horrifying (but good) article at Crosscut about homeless teens in Shelton. 

The Shelton School District tracks homeless youths in order to receive federal money for programs that serve them. For the 2012-2013 school year, the district counted 374 homeless children and youths; 38 were high school juniors, 62 were seniors. Nearly 14 percent of the seniors at Shelton last year were homeless.

Last, you will hear that the completely made-up group, National Council on Teacher Quality that is funded mostly by Gates Foundation and Broad Foundation (and let's not forget the Walton Foundation), has a "report" coming out today on teacher education programs.  Naturally, they find most of them wanting.  Like by 90%. 

Most of the institutions they write about would not talk with them because of NCTQ's lack of credibility. So most of the report is what they found on the Internet.  Guess who was the highest for alternative teaching programs? Teach for America (and they, too, are famous for not giving out real information).  

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said…
The superintendent of Montgomery County, VA pulled his support at the 11th hour for the same sort of bell time switch we are talking about in Seattle.

He cited cost and competing priorities. Montgomery is a leading public school district and SPS often cites it in making changes - or not.

Did staff notice this move and will it point to it to slow down the conversation here? I'd bet on it.

Story in the Washington Post.

Anonymous said…
Still hoping someone can provide an update speaking to what the TIERS group is recommending for SPED, we are 3 days away from the C-CAP deadline and I know the district is not in compliance and from my understanding 2013-2014 Citizen Complaints both with OSPI and OCR are at a 10 year high.
Another year "POOF" gone without any measurable improvements in academic achievement for our kids.

Anonymous said…
Don't our high school students take Metro? We aren't incurring school bus conflicts are we? What other costs are involved?

It is funny that staff say that there are competing priorities. When our elementary school changed its hours this past year they barely notified parents. Seriously, it was such a tiny aside on the teacher assignment postcard that you easily could have missed it.

What else is there? Sports? Extracurricular athletics should dictate school hours?

I would say do sports before school but I recall getting up early to do early runs and by the time I got to school I was wasted with fatigue.

Ann D
RosieReader said…
Ann D, whether or not extracurricular athletics should or should not dictate high school hours, there's no doubt that they do. Nor should there be any doubt that families with athletes are passionate about protecting those after school hours for sport.

E.G., to complete an IB Diploma a student must complete an introspective and intellectually rigorous course known as "Theory of Knowledge." Because we under fund our schools, and have an inadequate number of periods during the school day, it is impossible for students at Ingraham to take this course during one of their normal 6 periods. Ingraham, like many other IB schools, chooses to schedule the class after school, offering two and three day a week options. (The class takes place during the second semester of the 1st IB year, and the first semester of the second/final IB year.)

Each year, without fail, parents of athletes complain that this hurts their students' ability to participate completely in their sports. They would prefer that this intellectually rigorous class take place at 7 a.m., even though their high school students are no more awake and alert at that hour than mine are.

Anonymous said…
Another charter school uh-oh:


A high school German teacher in Middlebury, Indiana claims he was fired for complaining about the religious environment at the charter school where he taught, The Goshen News reported Sunday.

RosieReader said…
I meant to close by saying that different people have different priorities. And if the folks who want to delay high school start times want to get any traction, they need a better response to the athletes than "athletics shouldn't take precedence over academics."
Ragweed said…
On a completeley different note - over a three-year period between 2001 and 2004, the students of Alternative School 1 hand-carved a 40' Cedar ocean-going coastal canoe under the direction of Haida artist-in-residence Saaduuts Peale. The Canoe was completed in February of 2004 and gifted to the Haida community of Hydaburg, Alaska, at a potlatch in April. The canoe, named the Ocean Spirit, has gone on several Canoe Journeys and been in use by the community for more then 10 years.

Tomorrow, the Ocean Spirit will arrive in Seattle where it will go to the Center for Wooden Boats on South Lake Union for some needed restoration. Saaduuts and his assitants will be working on sanding and restoring it through the remainder of June and part of July, before it returns to Hydaburg for what we hope will be many decades more use.

Please stop by the Center for Wooden Boats and see the work of past generations of AS1 students.

John Chapman
Licton Springs K8 (formerly Pinehurst formerly AS1)
Anonymous said…
Article in Parent Map on Math Wars:

Linh-Co said…
The Stranger article on Seattle Math Adoption:

Linh-Co said…
The Stranger article on Seattle Math Adoption:

Thanks HP. Cliff Mass and I noted at Parent Map several factual errors or omissions. It's too bad that happened.

Good article at The Stranger from Cliff Mass.
Anonymous said…
When do we get to dump CMP2???

That garbage is the worst!!!

Please, SOS -- we need the board to prioritize middle school math adoption NOW!

Anonymous said…
Local personality Cliff Mass just got this published:


Now that we have won a great K-5 curriculum, we must now address the next battle.

MIF will not by itself lead to better outcomes for our kids. We need the teachers to actually learn more math. They can't teach it if they don't know it. Washington's K-8 teacher certification standards set a low bar for math knowledge, and many, probably a large majority of K-8 math teachers in WA, have insufficient math content knowledge.

So now what is imperative is that the school district establish a high quality professional development program. The program must teach math content (like how to add two fractions of dissimilar denominators, and the conceptual reasons why the procedures work). If the professional development is not designed for the core purpose of raising the level of math achievement of our K=5 teaching corps, then we will not see any improvement in K-5 math scores flowing from the implementation of Math In Focus.

My teacher friends and co-advocates for high quality math curricula tell me that the typical professional development provided by the district is heavy on constructivist pedagogy, and pretty much absent math content.

So here is how parents can help now: copy or paraphrase one or more of any statements below with which you are in agreement, and send to your principal AND school directors. It is very helpful if you cc the school board. You can cc individual directors (Peter, McClaren, Patu, and Peaslee, in particular) or cc the full board at schoolboard@seattleschools.org.

Thank you for taking time to do this chore. It may well help to bring about better outcomes for all our kids across Seattle, and put tutors like me and companies like Kumon and Sylvan Learning out of business! .

Anonymous said…

1. Write to your k-5 principal, and let them know how happy you are about the new adoption, and that your are looking forward to seeing it implemented.

2. Write to the school board, and tell them how important it is that the professional development program emphasizes the teaching of MATH CONTENT, rather than "pedagogy" and rather than how to access the bells and whistles of MIF. The PD needs to be designed to RAISE THE MATH ACHIEVEMENT of our teaching corps.

3. Write to your middle school principal, and tell them you hope that CMP is soon replaced with the grades 6-8 of Math in Focus or with JUMP, and that s/he will support that adoption when the 6-8 adoption process is underway

4. Tell the board that you want the team of district math coaches, and one lead math teacher from each K-5/K-8 school building to take 10 to 15 days of training from Richard Bisk (or from some other expert in teaching math content to teachers). Dr. Bisk has evidence that his 15-day program is sufficient to raise the level of math achievement of even math phobic teachers to such a level that they can become effective teachers of math. My perception is that our district's math coaching core is pro-constructivist and anti-direct instruction. These coaches are supposed to work with classroom teachers to help them become better math teachers. If we get at least these people to take the courses that raises their math content knowledge to the level of at least pre-algebra, then they might be more "constructive," and help to cause a better more effective implementation of Math In Focus, with results that will show up in student test scores

5. Tell the Board that - unless the math coaches are willing to take a course similar to Dr. Bisk's -- you want the math coaches replaced with people that can score at least at the Algebra level on the COMPASS test. The COMPASS test is the placement test for community college courses. All new entrants to the state's community colleges must take this test. You could even suggest that the Board write a policy that sets reasonable minimum qualifications for math coaches.

Anonymous said…

Downtown school?


Charlie Mas said…
Here's a link to that article about the Federal Reserve building being a possible future school.

The bid from the homeless group was rejected, so that puts the school district next in line.

Flip Herndon is quoted as saying that they are looking at it.
Curious on Zones said…
With some of the geozone changes this year, anyone seen numbers on how that played out for kindergarten option schools? Which schools got filled up by geozones, which had room outside of zone?

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