Friday Open Thread

For anyone who thinks women are doing just fine, here's yet another example that might interest those of you who have girls who are athletes. 

When 12-year-old McKenna Peterson opened her new Dick’s Sporting Goods basketball catalogue recently, the Arizona basketball player and superfan was frustrated to find a glaring misstep: The only girl in the catalogue’s pages wasn’t actually playing basketball — she was sitting in the stands.

I note that the Microsoft CEO has tried to backpedal on his statement about women and raises but now he says that HE got this "generic" advice about "good karma" and raises from his mentors and had "followed it in his own career."  Sure he did.  That's how he got to be CEO and that's how it works in business. 

Those of you concerned about bell times and teen sleeping habits, you should read this.  I have a high school friend who is now a doctor and researcher at Tulane and his work is around sleep.  I am convinced he is right about the issue of darkness and sleep.  I am also convinced of this:

Many people believe their sleep is already adequate, but they are often not aware, or can no longer remember, what a truly good night’s sleep feels like. In order to correct your circadian rhythm and get optimal amounts of sleep, you should avoid blue light for 2 to 3 hours before bedtime.

I think many teens (and young adults) sleep with their phones/laptops, on and next to their beds, and use them into the night.  Might be worth trying to cut back on if your teen is having sleep issues.
FREE Side-by-Side Concert at Chief Sealth High School tonight
Seattle Symphony Performs at Chief Sealth High School
2600 SW Thistle St, Seattle, WA 98126
  Saturday Community meetings - (Both of these directors have said that attendance at their meetings is low so if you want a Board member's undivided attention, you might consider attending one tomorrow.)

Director Blanford from 10:00-11:30 am at Capital Hill library
Director Martin-Morris from 10-11:30 am at NE Library

What's on your mind?


mirmac1 said…
Interesting item about sleep. With those leds these days, glaring from every electronic device, it's a wonder anyone can sleep.
Question said…
1B is a research project and it is called P20. Students will be studied for the next 20 years.

If 1B passes, will the city control student data? Will the city have the ability to provide data to various entities including the Gates Foundation?

Research 101 first rule: Who gets the data and what will they do with it.

Let's face it: The city is working hand in hand with the Gates Foundation to push prek.
Eric B said…
I need to read the text of both initiatives once the voter's pamphlet arrives, but I'm leaning toward a tactical vote to 1A. My thinking is that if 1A passes, there will be enough economic impact from increased wages that the city will be forced to pass something akin to 1B, hopefully better on costs, sliding scales, and data. Passing 1B leaves everything in the hands of the city, and no need to do something like 1A.
Anonymous said…
On the issue of high school capacity, it seems things are moving very slowly (or not at all). Here's what I heard back from SPS Enrollment Planning:

"When ready, we will release the updated enrollment numbers to the public via our website. In regards to the capacity of High Schools, this is not a static number, as it depends on the program placement at each of the schools. We work directly with Capital Planning to plan for mitigation of any intermediate term capacity issues in a 5 year projection document, which we post online as well. With annual implementation of Boundary changes, we had baseline projections formed but have yet to finalize a new set of five year projections this year. These data are usually ready by May, thus we will release the five-year projections in May of 2015. Both Capital Planning and Enrollment Planning have directed their efforts to address short-term and long-term enrollment situations."

I guess that would make the projections just in time for last minute changes over the summer, eh?

On a related note, I just saw that the Growth Boundaries FAQ for 2015-16 has been recently updated. A response dated 9/22/14 includes this: "No additional high school capacity will be added until the renovation of the Lincoln Building is complete. The estimated date is 2019."

It appears nobody is too worried about a short-term HS capacity problem. I hope they know better than we do...

Anonymous said…
Eric B, it's ludicrous to think that raising the wages of one small sub-segment of the workforce will have any affect whatsoever on the economy.

If you don't want to vote for 1B, which I agree wholeheartedly that you should not, just do so.

--- swk
Transparency Please said…

The City of Seattle is putting 1B on the ballot. The initiative is now funded at $656K. $425k comes from 8 individuals. There is also an interesting PAC, from Washington DC, that has contributed $71K to 1B via In Kind donations.

The City of Seattle has a bloated Office of Education and has the capacity to run Seattle Public Schools and control the board. Burgess, on the campaign trail, Burgess dismisses this fact.

Question to Burgess: He has been a consistent critic of Seattle Public Schools. So, why does he want Seattle Public Schools to be involved. If Burgess thought the district was so terrible...why doesn't the city run their own program?

Transparency Please said…

I think inidvidiuals will vote for 1A because they are afraid of 1B.
Anonymous said…
And if you currently have or will soon have a child in preschool, you should be afraid of 1A as well. It will be a disaster for preschools.

I get people's opposition to 1B. I share that opposition. But frankly, 1A is much worse.

I am praying that neither pass.

--- swk
Eric B said…
SWK, that disaster for preschools is exactly what will put the pressure on the city to provide additional support for preschool. I'm not thinking of overall impact to the Seattle economy, I'm thinking of several thousand parents getting a notice from their preschool that rates are going to increase by X dollars or they close. That action may be to provide a funding stream on a sliding scale, or it may be to repeal and replace (to steal a term) 1A with something else. I don't know Seattle's rules for initiatives, but I'd be surprised if they couldn't find a 2/3 vote of the council to make major changes.

Again, I do plan to read the entire text of both initiatives before voting. I may be in the minority, but I do think that one of these should pass and that 1B even with its flaws is better than nothing.
Anonymous said…
Eric B, with the cap on tuition at 10% of a family's income in 1A, there's unlikely to be a rate (tuition) increase. Rather than passing the additional costs of increased wages, training, and certification on to the families, the preschools will have to eat these increases and/or cut costs elsewhere, e.g., language instruction, arts, drama, classroom materials, etc.

--- swk
Anonymous said…
Huh - there are some interesting donor to 1B - including just about every ex "reform" School Board member. The in-kind group Transparency mentions is not a PAC but a " non-profit" - they are weirdly registered as both a Corp AND charity here in WA - not sure why that would be. Ex-Microsoftie Charlotte Guyman is on the Board.

Wheels within wheels as is often the case with the ed reform crowd around here.

Enormous Mess said…
Let's remember Burgess, at election time, for this mess.
Ragweed said…
Reader47 - I think that is the norm for Washington. Non-profit corporations have to register with the Sec. of State as a corporation, and must also register as a public charity if they bring in more than 50K per year and engage in more than direct fundraising. They also have to register with the department of revenue and pay state B&O taxes and payroll taxes for any employees if they have an actual business they run (like a thrift shop). This is over and above the federal 501(c)3 status.

That is my understanding from working with the state on a school-supporting fundraising foundation.
mirmac1 said…
Thanks for the donor info. Looks real "grassroots" to me. More like schleps who crave Burgess' patronage.
mirmac1 said…
On a happier note

Poetry on Buses, one of King County’s most beloved public art programs, is back!

The poems will come to life – on the bus and online – this fall. Come to the Launch Party, a celebration of poetry and music at the Moore Theatre, on Nov 10. It’s free and all ages.

The Poetry on the Bus gala is Monday, November 10 at the Moore Theater.

Poetry on the buses
I will have a thread on the preschool measures as I have been speaking at several endorsement meetings. As I go along, I have found that there is a WIDE variation of thought.

I think one measure might kill at the polls or the whole thing could go down in flames.

Eric, I do want to address one thing you said.

You said voting for one is better than doing nothing.

First, voting for anything on a ballot just because it's for kids does a disservice to those on a fixed income (like seniors) or the working poor. There is no "free" preschool - we will pay taxes for it.

As someone who examines every single education ballot measure carefully, I am always aware of what it might mean to taxpayers.

Second, nothing? Perhaps you are not aware that there are many, many preschool classes in SPS facilities. As well, we are now paying taxes - for preschool services - as we speak. Why? Because $61M of the Families and Education levy IS for preschool services.

Anonymous said…
If we're dissecting campaign funding, I think it's fair to also point out that the only contributors to the 1A campaign are SEIU and AFT, for a total of over a million dollars, including in-kind (also from SEIU and AFT only).

No 1A
Eric B said…

There is some context missing in my statement. I think that it is a good public policy decision to have universal preschool. Unless there are irreparable flaws in BOTH initiatives, I expect that I'll vote Yes on the first question. I've seen the arguments back on forth on both, and I recognize that reasonable people can disagree on this.

My thinking on the tactical vote for 1A is that the changes to the system 1A makes are incomplete, simply because 1A backers expected to have an up or down vote on both initiatives, not an either-or. Because the system is incomplete, it will require additional legislative action from the City Council (and possibly voters) to set in place the revenue stream and other policy sections that are presently in 1B. That allows another opportunity to try to convince city leaders to fix the flaws presently in 1B.
Eric B said…
PS While I feel for people on fixed incomes, taxes are the price of civilization. WA is in the neighborhood of #35 among states in percentage of income taken by taxes (at last count I saw). We can't have progressive social programs on a red-state tax base.
No 1A, where do you think they got that money from? Thousands and thousands of members. There's a difference between a few very wealthy people driving a campaign and thousands of people who belong to an organization.

Eric, this is a prelude to universal preschool. There is nothing universal about this pilot program - at least nothing they can say definitively.

Also, I will vote No to the first question but vote for 1A (as you can vote for one or the other even if you vote "no" on the first question).

My belief is that more low-income children - from birth to five - will have better outcomes from better trained, supported and paid caregivers and teachers than will 1B. As I asked last night, who knows, for certain, which one would help the most children? I don't for sure and I don't think anyone else does.

As for money, the Families and Education Levy has $30M set aside for special programs. If 1A wins, they say the mandates in their measure would be about $3-4M to enact (there is some dispute over that 10% of income issue).

Also, amen on your tax analysis. But until that changes, I have to think of all the taxpayers.
Question said…
If 1B goes down, the city can still use the $30M-$60M to help support prek efforts.

1A wants prek works to make $15?hr. Are these individuals working for the city?

Chris S. said…
I saw on Facebook the PDC is hiring an investigator. I shared it there, but I think all you follow-the-money wizards hang out here!
No, the people working under 1A would work for their employers. 1A decided to asks/say that the $15 per hour wage that the City Council passed, will kick in sooner for them.

But sooner or later, everyone on minimum wage will make $15 a hour.

I'm writing up the part two of the School Board meeting and that question of who works for who within Seattle Schools and any new preschool classrooms came up. Got some vague answers there.
Anonymous said…
Honestly, I think $15/hour is too low for preschool teachers. Even if they work full time, that works out to $15/hour x 40 hours/week x 52 weeks/year = $31,200 a year before taxes, which is not very much given the cost of living in Seattle. These people are responsible for caring for and educating our young children. Higher salaries generally lead to lower turnover (this was a big problem when my daughter was in preschool), and also attract people with better training - both of which seem very important for a job like this.

I'll be selecting 1A because it is a step in the right direction, but personally I think they should be paid more than $15/hour. If this means spending some taxpayer money to keep preschool affordable, that's fine with me (and that is what 1B should have been about, not foisting a particular curriculum - and assessments - on 4 year olds!!)

-Montlake Dad
Anonymous said…
Mortlake Dad, I'd be surprised many if any preschool teachers are making less than $15/hour. It is the assistants and others who provide playground supervision, clean up messes, etc. that are likely making less than that (i.e., those with less than an AA degree).

--- swk
Anonymous said…
@swk - You clearly haven't been out in the woods of preschool/daycare. You bet preschool teachers are making less. Try minimum wage, unless you are talking about the ones charging substantial tuition to upper middle class families.

Seen It
Anonymous said…

In my local public school, the very expensive private preschool, located in one the the dedicated school childcare spaces, as of a year ago, paid many of it's classroom employees $10.00 and hour and NO/zero benefits or sick leave. Perhaps they are not "head" teachers, but most have college degrees (BA)) and are as important and involved with the children as the "head" teacher, who, btw, didn't seem to be around that often. I found that appalling.

mosfet said…
Anyone know what happened to the OCR investigation (started in spring 2013) of SPS for racial disparities in discipline of students? I checked the news, but the only thing that I could find past April 2013 was a blog post in Jan 2014 urging action, so I'm not sure what was done.

FWIW, here's OCR's plan for Oakland USD to eliminate racial bias (Title VI) in discipline.
Anonymous said…
A friend of mine works in Daycare/pre-school, and it pretty much tops out at $14 regardless of experience or education. A couple of teachers who have been around for 20 years she said made $16 or $17, but several different places she's worked at and looked into have put caps on wages across the board. With 15 years experience in the field she's stuck at $11.50, which will go all the way to $12.50 or maybe $13 if she gets a 2-year early childhood degree.
It's hard to understand how children can be "our most precious resource" when as a society there seems to be little concern for those managing it.
Glad I left
Anonymous said…
In the voters pamphlet, for the 1B description it says the "The City Council may amend the program as necessary" which is worrisome to me. I get it from a practical standpoint (they find out that xyz works better and need the flexibility to correct course) but that the City Council can just amend something that was voted on - it sets off a warning bell.

Not enough details on 1B - what curriculum, how will 'assessment' be done, who will manage/have access to data, and WHERE will these programs be located.

-no on 1B
No on 1B, yes, I saw that as well. Very helpful to them,no?

All those concerns you raise? All true.
Patrick said…
swk, my co-parent is a child care director with 15 years child care experience in Seattle. It would be a rare center indeed where the teachers all made $15/hour. $10-11 is more typical, with pretty minimal health insurance. A center director would be $15-$18, and in a large center there's probably a lead teacher separate from the director who might also be making $15. Yes, it's a disgracefully low-paid field, and the families paying for the care are price-sensitive so it's likely to stay that way, barring some considerable subsidy. 1A would demand a 25% increase in payroll costs for a center, and while I'd like to see it, I just don't see where that money would come from. Many families could not absorb that cost, Child care is the highest monthly bill aside from rent. I'd be afraid families at the edges of the city would enroll in centers outside the city limits, and there would be an increase in unlicensed in-home care.
Anonymous said…
Seen It, my wife is a preschool teacher and has been so for more than 15 years. So, I'm out in some kind of woods...

P.S. Families and the kids, especially, refer to all preschool staff as "teachers" but few of them are in fact the teachers.

--- swk
Anonymous said…
Patrick, you make my point regarding 1A much more persuasively and articulately than I.

Thanks for that.

--- swk
"1A would demand a 25% increase in payroll costs for a center,..."

Okay, I may be missing something but isn't $15 an hour a law that will come into play in a couple of years? 1A only brings it in sooner.

I will also say what I said at the Horizon House forum.

There will never been 100% of kids coming into kindergarten "ready" or having been in preschool.

There will ALWAYS be people who - for family reasons, culture or religious reasons - put their child into home-based care that may or may not be licensed. No law will change that (and 1B freely admits theirs is voluntary).

Anonymous said…
A 25% increase in payroll costs does not equal a 25% increase in total expenses (e.g., rent for their space, which is not cheap in Seattle), and so should not result in a 25% increase in tuition. Also, reduced turnover (which higher salaries should hopefully provide) reduces expenses (extra hours from other employees to train new employees).

But yes, there will be some increases in expenses, and thus some increases in tuition, I will not try to deny that. 1A would be a lot better if it came with a funding source for the "10% of income tuition cap" that it mentions. If the city council refuses to provide money to subsidize that, it may require another ballot measure to force their hand.

-Montlake Dad

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