Tuesday Open Thread

Hard to believe at this late date that this is news but the company Land's End is producing - by popular demand- shirts for girls that are science-themed.

Still on the clothing theme, there's a new campaign by a group, Too Small To Fail, to impress upon parents to teach their pre-school children news words by talking to them more.  How? 

The cute kid-sized shirts list conversation topics that parents can use when chatting with their children. The campaign is designed to address the so-called "word gap" that exists between children from low-income families and those from more affluent families. According to research, affluent children have heard 30 million more words by age 3 than children from low-income families.

"One of the things that families told us is that they know they should be talking, reading and singing," Susan True of the Bay Area Council, an organization that collaborated on the campaign with Too Small To Fail, said in a promotional video for the campaign (above). "We also know that families are so overwhelmed that telling them what they should do is probably not that helpful."

True goes on to say, "So we thought, 'What about every time you put a T-shirt on a child, every time you take a bath, every time you put the child to bed, these are all times that families could take advantage of building their young child's brain." 

Time magazine jumps into the "should anyone listen to stars about public education" fight by comparing Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart.  First, one is truly a character and the other is mostly real (should I spoil it and tell you which is which?)  So for me, it's a dopey argument because you are talking about someone who is fictionalized versus someone who is exaggerating their own thoughts for effect.

It's funny because ed reformers get themselves all in a knot over the "outsized" attention stars get (lately, Colbert, Stewart and Louis CK) but what about those knowledgeable ed reformer stars like Andre Agassi, John Legend and Eva Longoria?  We should believe them more?  

What's on your mind?


Kate Martin said…
The UW Institute for Learning and Brain Science I-LABS is doing some great work on those first 1000 days. I signed up for their learning modules and they're great. http://ilabs.washington.edu/ This is where we can focus and really make a difference. Some kind of cooperative extension to amplify their outreach would be nice.
mirmac1 said…
I hope your "Night Out" block parties are well-attended. This is an excellent way to show your students how important it is to: know your neighbors; be involved in your community; and always be aware of your surroundings.
Anonymous said…
What's going on with JAMS? There is no contact information on the website, nada. Opening in one month...

Anonymous said…
There is an editorial in the Wall St. Journal today (8/6) by Marina Ratner about the Common Core. “Making Math Education Even Worse,” describes how bad the new standards are. The University of California at Berkeley math professor says replacing math with pictures, diagrams and elaborate word problems will make math more complex and represents a huge step backward.

The nation is embracing discovery math as Seattle Public Schools finally starts moving away from it.

S parent
Anonymous said…
Thanks for the reference to the Ratner article. WA is similar to CA in that we had pretty strong math standards prior to adopting Common Core (dating from 2008 revisions to WA standards). SPS chose lousy texts, but the state standards were strong.

Is it one step forward (new K-5 texts) and two steps back (CCSS) for SPS students?

From a practical standpoint, the WA math standards (as compared to the CCSS) were clearly defined, with plenty of accompanying sample problems, which made covering the standards pretty straightforward for teachers (or parents trying to tutor their children through the lousy math texts).

Anonymous said…
Yes, middle and high school math textbooks still need improvement. Perhaps with better results at the elementary level by using Math in Focus, the higher grades will follow.

I am just concerned what Common Core will do, if students get more credit for drawing circles than getting correct answers to math problems.

S parent
Anonymous said…

JAMS info:

SPS Fusion Page (includes a list of staff hired):


JAMS PTSA website:

Friends of Jane Addams Music:

Construction has been going on all summer (Phase I of the BEXIV three-stage building repurposing project).

There will be a JAMS Grand Opening event Tuesday, Sept. 2nd (begins at Noon).

- North-end Mom
Anonymous said…
The parent run sites for JAMS are helpful...thank you for posting...but I'm wondering when SPS will have a posted office number for JAMS, links to staff contacts, forms, etc. The really basic stuff parents will need in the next few weeks.

Patrick said…
Wondering, on the Fusion page there's handouts from the community meetings and the handouts have some staff emails in them, at least for the principal.
Anonymous said…

Both JAMS and Fairmont Park have Fusion pages, but no true school website. I agree that this is odd. Seems like both schools should have a school website by now. Heck, they should have had them up and running for open enrollment back in February.

Does anyone know who to contact at SPS about school websites? Maybe they just forgot to set them up for the new schools?

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said…
I also find it interesting that some feel the need to tell less affluent families to speak to their children for a couple reasons:
1. Many single parents, who are likely to be less affluent compared to a married couple, who share expenses and family duties, have very little time to converse with children after working back to back, mind numbing, minimum wage jobs.
2. If for generations families have carried forward poor grammar and limited vocabularies, how then are they to expose their children to varied language and vocabulary with conversation, unless they themselves are given the time and money to improve their own linguistic skills?

We need to flatten income disparities, promote marriage and family, value parenting as much as working, and provide affordable or free ongoing education for all people to solve these problems.

This goes way beyond children's t-shirts.

Jessica, I kind of had the same reaction. It feels a bit like talking down to parents.
Anonymous said…
@North-end Mom: I've noticed that a lot of web sites are missing including my own school's. Perhaps that was a Banda decision to neutralize the competitive nature of the sites? I used to go to other school's site to check out their pizazz but can't do that anymore. No information at all available. Policy must have changed from the top.

another teacher

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