Thursday, July 03, 2014

(Thursday) Open Thread

Going with a Thursday Open Thread due to the holiday tomorrow. 

From The Atlantic, a somewhat troubling story about a study finding that kids care more about "achievement and happiness" than caring for others and that teachers are aware of this issue.  The study is from the Making Caring Common project at Harvard and is called The Children We Mean to Raise: the Real Messages Adults are Sending about Values.

In the study, “The Children We Mean to Raise: The Real Messages Adults are Sending About Values,” the authors point to a “rhetoric/reality gap,” an incongruity between what adults tell children they should value and the messages we grown-ups actually send through our behavior. We may pay lip service to character education and empathy, but our children report hearing a very different message.

Surveyed students were three times as likely to agree as disagree with the statement “My parents are prouder if I get good grades in my class than if I’m a caring community member in class and school.”

I have mixed feelings on this because, of course, getting good grades does not preclude being an empathic or kind person.  But kids themselves may not always make that connection and put less effort into friendships and kindness if they are not worried what parents think.

 Don't know if you missed it but, Rhode Island put a three-year ban on all high stakes testing. 

Wishing everyone a happy (and safe) (and warm) 4th. 

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said...

Caring more about achievement and happiness comes as no surprise to anyone who reads the APP blog once.

--driving by

Melissa Westbrook said...

Really? Going into a holiday weekend and you just felt compelled to jab at APP?

What a sour note.

Anonymous said...

@ driving by, is this an example of you exhibiting "caring for others" instead???


Joe Wolf said...

I got a tour of the BEX IV project at Horace Mann yesterday. 29 photos from the tour here:


Some observations, not all purely objective:

- The classrooms in both the 1904 and 2014 buildings will be airy and full of light. The art room - in the NW corner, 3rd floor of the new addition - is going to be effing amazing.

- The hallways. Wow.

- I'm so happy this will be Nova's home once again. The school provides a safe, supportive space for many young people who really need that.

Wishing you all a happy and safe holiday.

Patrick said...

That does look nice, Joe. Thanks for posting the photos.

Anonymous said...

driving by,
why do you read the APP blog? Don't all parents care about their children?

Anonymous said...



Amy Hagopian said...

I have felt for several decades now that the school board should have its OWN STAFF to gather data and conduct analysis. It would be a significant improvement to school district operations. Staff who report to the superintendent are accountable to him, and those interests aren't always aligned with those of the board.

The city council and state legislature all have their own staff--they don't rely on staff provided by the mayor or governor or other chief executive.

dan dempsey said...

I went to college in the 60s. My oldest in the early 90s.

The caring more about achievement and happiness was the norm at NYU in the 90s. Get a good job and make a lot of bucks was the plan for most NYU students in the 90s.

I found many students in the 60s to be more oriented toward social causes.... of course the cost of college was way less in the 60s.

dan dempsey said...


I like the School Board staff idea. The SB staff could fact check the School Board Action Reports for starters. (Some of the SBARs from the past substituted propaganda for facts.)

-- Dan

Anonymous said...

What the heck is wrong with caring about achievement and happiness? Altruism is egoism and self-centeredness in extremis.

#Runawaytrain said...

Chris Korsmo is working with Seattle Public School administration to bring Preschool for All into SPS and we do not have adequate funding.

The city does not have adequate funding and Korsmo is helping to identify funding gaps. The plan is to work with philanthropic partners.

SPS administration has placed the preschool initiative in the strategic plan..even though the state only covers K-12 and full day K is not funded. This is an initiative that the board will not fully understand funding and costs because preschool costs are "embedded" into the Strategic Plan.

As I see it, Preschool for all will impact facilities, data and IT, administrative positions, nutrition, human resources and more.

The city wants to use portables and wants the district to pay for these expensive buildings.

The city has not answered the question as to whether or not they plan on partnering with charter operators.

It appears the district will begin enrolling pre-school children into the city's plan even though the voters have not approved this initiative.

Banda was concerned about not being included in planning. Does he know his executive level staff is and has been working with the city? Does Banda know that Holly Miller from the city believes the board should not be involved? Essentially, the board has been left in the dark..even though this plan is in full swing.

#Runawaytrain said...

Bex IV will require schools to incorporate pre-school classes into schools.

It appears we are headed for prek-12 system before K-12 is adequately funded.

Less resources for more.

dan dempsey said...

From EdWeek

NEA calls for Arne Duncan's resignation:


Anonymous said...

My children attend Van Asselt and I am very concerned by the new teachers who have been hired who have never taught before. I am concerned with the huge exodus of teachers leaving Van Asselt and finding positions in nearby elementary schools. Is there any checks and balances in this district? Many teachers who have left have told me that it's due to the poor leadership at the school. I don't understand considering that Van Asselt is a Title I school, why the principal would hire teachers directly out of school instead of teachers with more experience.

Frustrated Van Asselt parent

#slowthePfAtrain said...

The City of Seattle will ask the district to sign a partnership agreement with SPS. The board has not been briefed on the issue of Preschool for All. This initiative will impact the district and will no doubt impact staff, facilities and SPS budget.


This agreement may have already been signed. It is worth noting that we can expect 5 classrooms to open within SPS and voters haven't approved funding.

#SlowPfAtrain said...

Language related to city and SPS partnership agreement can be located in above document--Section 11.

Has anyone seen this partnership agreement? What has the district agreed to??

Disgusted said...

Dan is absolutely correct. Staff incorporates propaganda into school board member's Board Action Reports.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Train, good question. It is unclear to me whether the district has signed anything. One place in the City Council plan it sounds like there is one and in another place, it sounds like a maybe.

Lynn said...

Frustrated VA Parent,
Does your principal choose to hire teachers with no experience - or are they the only ones applying for the open positions? Teaching in a Title I school is very challenging. If we want more experienced teachers in those schools, we need to ask them what would make the job more attractive - and be ready to offer some combination of lower class sizes and more planning time within the school day.

mirmac1 said...

Interesting stories from Oregon:

Under state orders, Portland Public Schools develops new process of investigating complaints from parents

Portland Public Schools failed to meet minimum requirement for class time for three years