Education News Round-Up

State Rep. Gerry Pollet (D-Seattle) announced that the Legislature passed his bill HB1240 on the use of restraint and isolation techniques in public schools.  The bill will now go to Governor Inslee for his signature.
“This bill makes sure that treating people with respect and dignity doesn’t end when a child walks through the doors of their school,” said Pollet. “Schools should create an environment where students can learn without fear of having their behavior corrected with the use of restraints and isolation. This bill prohibits the use of these tactics and promotes the use of positive interventions which are proven to be effective.”
He said that parents and advocates for people with disabilities helped mightily to win the day.  

Paramount Pictures announced today that it is sending a copy of the film, Selma, to every single high school in the U.S. (public and private). 

“Our ‘SELMA’ filmmaking journey has had man‎y highlights, but to me, the response from students and educators has been the most magnificent part of the experience. To think that this triumphant story of dignity and justice will be available to every high school in this country is a realization of many dreams and many hopes,” said director Ava DuVernay. “I applaud Paramount on this extraordinary effort, and salute the teachers who will provide classes and context on the work of Dr. King and his comrades to the young minds of our nation.”
Teachers who would like to receive a copy of the “SELMA” companion study guide can visit
Ever wondered what/how Seattle Schools spends its dollars vis a vis other districts?  Here's a 2013-2104 table on that subject.  SPS acquits itself fairly well but I always have confusion over whether they are counting central administration and central office as one thing or two.  I cannot believe their hiring at central adm hasn't gone up.

Here's another interesting SPS document - Expenditures by Category, 2010-2015. 

Speaking of spending, the Washington State Budget & Policy Center has a good article - Progress in Focus: More Funding for Education Means Better Opportunities for Students.
Our Progress Index shows that progress is stalled or going backward on 11 out of 13 indicators related to education in our state.
 They get right to the point.
Progress on education is stalled due to our broken revenue system. Our state has unbalanced tax policies that favor wealthy families and big businesses, and it disproportionately relies on revenue from low- and middle-income families and small businesses. As a result, funding for education has fallen behind by 14 percent since 2008. On top of that, the Legislature needs to increase funding for K-12 education by $4.5 billion to fulfill requirements under the Supreme Court’s McCleary ruling and to give teachers – who haven’t had a cost-of-living increase in six years – a long-overdue raise.


Anonymous said…
Is this old news?

From the Mayor's office:
"Monica Liang-Aguirre named Seattle's Early Learning Director

Monica Liang-Aguirre has been named the Early Learning Director for the City of Seattle's Department of Education and Early Learning. Liang-Aguirre will oversee the City’s investments in early childhood education, including the launch of the Seattle Preschool Program.

“As an experienced educator and leader, Monica is ready to spur our effort to close the opportunity gap that impacts too many of Seattle’s youngest students,” said Mayor Murray. “She joins the City at a pivotal time, as she will be instrumental in opening the doors to preschool for hundreds of children.”

From an online discussion about ed reform back East:

"Rhee fired several administrators and school principals, including Marta Guzman, the principal of the high-performing Oyster-Adams Bilingual Elementary School, which Rhee's own children attended.[5][26] Some parents alleged that the firing process was neither transparent nor fair. According to the Washington Post, "the departure has stunned many Oyster-Adams parents who wondered why, in a city filled with under-performing public schools, Rhee would sack a principal who has presided for the past five years over one of its few success stories. The move also heightened ethnic and class tensions within the school's diverse community. Eduardo Barada, co-chairman of the Oyster-Adams Community Council, the school's PTA, said Guzman was toppled by a cadre of dissatisfied and largely affluent Anglo parents with the ear of a woman who was both a fellow parent and the chancellor."[26]. She replaced Marta Guzman with her friend Monica Liang Aguirre. Ms. Aguirre was later found to discriminate against minority students at Oyster in a 2010 federal investigation. Despite these findings Rhee kept Ms. Aguirre on board."

Same Monica Liang-Aguirre?

Anonymous said…
Ah, Monica Liang-Aguirre and Jesus Aguirre, new Parks Superintendent, are a couple. Both TFA grads and past founders of a charter school.

Anonymous said…
Lovely. The TFA/ed deform crew get themselves into places of power. All the better to bring in their minions...
The infestation continues.

Anonymous said…
Power and hegemony. That's what it's always been about. Follow the money and it all becomes crystal clear.

n said…
What will it take for these politicians to do their homework. It is disgusting.
Anonymous said…

" The four schools cited for “critical” violations during testing in spring 2013 were flagged in part because of a high number of wrong-to-right erasures. Two were part of the traditional D.C. Public Schools system.

To avoid conflicts of interest, the school system prohibits teachers from administering exams to their own students, but at both schools — Plummer Elementary and Oyster-Adams Bilingual — investigators found that test administrators assisted students by explaining questions and urging students to go back and check certain answers."

Story in Washington Post dated September 10, 2013:

"Aguirre’s wife, Monica Liang-Aguirre, is well known in the D.C. education world; she has been principal of Oyster-Adams Bilingual School since 2008."

Anonymous said…
Ok, so this bill, HB 1240, prohibits including the use of restraint in IEPs. But, it allows use of restraint in "very limited circumstances where spontaneous behavior creates an imminent risk of harm."1

I don't see how this is an improvement over current policy. You can still use restraint in spontaneous situations, but you can't plan for it?

Restraint should not be used unless absolutely necessary, but if in a situation when it's likely to be necessary, it is better to have a plan.

Special Needs Teacher
Watching said…
Speaking of In The News, I need to give a shout-out to Melissa. There was a story regarding the district's issues with ELL in the Seattle Times. Here is what the Times had to say:

"On Tuesday, Gallardo alerted principals of the upcoming changes in an email, which was first published on the Seattle Schools Community Forum blog."

I'm thrilled to see the bloggers in this town getting the credit and respect that they deserve. Main stream media falls short- especially since we live in Bill Gate's town.

I note the information provided by Oldhill is deeply disturbing. Where is the mainstream media on this story?

Wink Wink said…

I believe the politicians DID do their homework. Let's not forget that TFA, Charter Schools and alike are part of the Gates agenda. Murray has high ambitions. He is fully aware of income streams that will propel him to higher levels of government.
Watching, I am aware of this issue and will let the other media sources know. It is weird.
mirmac1 said…
Murray deserves to be blasted for appointing these sneaks.
dan dempsey said…
So how much in salary will each of these two TFA alums be making?

Monica Laing-Aguirre as Early Learning Director = $$$ ?

Jesus Aguire as new Parks Superintendent = $$$ ?
dan dempsey said…
Jesus Aguirre was an education leader as well as a parks administrator.

Read the following=>

From the Washington Post

How is the above for an example of politically connected... pretty impressive. So how did the Mayor find this duo?
Anonymous said…
Interesting comments in that WaPo article, including the fact that the two of them ran a charter school in AZ that was shut down for low performance, financial issues, failure to report. I'm seeing a charter school in their future have to be pretty bad to get a charter school shut down in AZ other than running out of money and closing up shop abruptly. I think we may have gotten a big mess. Thanks Ed Murray - you just reinforced the reasons I did not vote for you. Again.

Watching said…
Seattle's mayor- Ed Murray- seeks to hire Jesus Aguirre for Parks Department. Under Aguirre's watch, the Washington Post reports that Millions of dollars went unaccounted.

Audit can be found here:

Voters approved a parks levy that would allow park funding to be raised to $0.75 per $1000/ assessed property value and I'm not having a lot of confidence in his pick.

Aguirre needs to be confirmed by the City Council. Considering Moniaca Liang Aguirre was just hired for the city's Early Learning Department, I'd say Aguirre's appointment is a done deal. The couple moved from out of state to Washington.

Thanks for your work, Melissa.
Anonymous said…
Wait a minute, so he has hired a husband and wife team?

Anonymous said…
Special needs teacher, you are incorrect here. You can always restrain people who are hurting themselves or others. You always could, and you still can. You don't need a plan. Training is a good idea. What's new? You can't restrain people if they aren't an endangerment WITHOUT a plan. Eg, an aversive intervention plan. Most restraint and seclusion in SPS is for compliance. Overwhelmingly used for compliance not safety. Eg. To transition students who don't want to leave a lunchroom, recess, wrong classrooms, to remove students who are disruptive, mouthy, disrespectful, or to protect property. That use of restraint is now illegal, without an aversive intervention plan.

Special ed advocates argued, that aversive intervention plans are NEVER necessary. The last minute amendment permits them. Evidently, some people think they are necessary even though they aren't part of IDEA, and other states don't have them. It's reasonable to assume that parents in the know will decline to accept aversive intervention plans... and poor students with disabilities will continue to be restrained and secluded.... It will be very interesting to see the demographics of aversive intervention plans.

Anonymous said…
To Speddie:
This is from the link that leads to Gary Pollet's announcement (the link is in the original post): "This bill ends the planned use of restraint and isolation as a part of the individualized education plans created for students with special needs."

My point was that this bill says we can no longer create a plan for students who may need physical interventions. I think this will mean more students are referred to out-of-district private, costly programs.
Special needs teacher
Watching said…

Yes, Mayor Ed Murray seeks to hire a husband and wife team for the parks department and Early Learning.

Jesus Aguirre requires confirmation. Aguirre's wife's position does not require confirmation.

Anonymous said…
Opertunity Gap
Opertunity Gap
Opertunity Gap
Opertunity Gap
Opertunity Gap

No matter how many times I say it, it still doesn't exist.

Keep creating more government positions to suck us dry.

BP Mayor
Anonymous said…
No Special Needs teacher, it means you need to figure out how to do your job without restraints - like teachers in other states do. And no. Read the actual bill. There's an amendment to the bill (much opposed by advocates) to allow aversive intervention plans.

This means business as usual must end. And yes. Parents can deny aversive intervention plans. Can districts force people to accept aversive intervention plans (or out of district placements)? Well, that remains to be seen.

Special Needs Teacher - the basics of this bill, even without the amendment, is what most states have already. Eg. No restraint unless it's an emergency. No exceptions. And, they get by just fine. Why do you think Washington state special education students need so much restraining? ???

(And yes. If you still think you can restrain students at will, without an aversive intervention plan... expect parents to come after you legally.)

Anonymous said…
It takes a certain type of person with training to handle some of these students outburst. There are ways of designing schools to diminish the stress and angularity anxiety. Hopefully SPS risk management will get the teachers the training they need to avoid lawsuits.

Anonymous said…
My point was that this bill says we can no longer create a plan for students who may need physical interventions.

Why does a student need physical intervention if they aren't a danger? You always could physically intervene if students or staff are physically at risk, and you still can. And if you want to use physical restraint.... for some other reason, you'll need parental buy off. That part is actually new. It seems completely reasonable to me. It's what most people erroneously think is the law now. Amazingly, teachers legally can and do use physical interventions, with no plan, with no danger presented, with no training.... all the time. I doubt sps staff will bother with any actual law though. Why would enactment of this bill mean more out of district placements? Staff in other placements are subject to the same laws.

XXO, what certain type of person is that? It takes a certain type of person who likes to lie on students, or force them into corners, or drag them by their arms. Everyone should be able to handle outburts.

dan dempsey said…
A Nicholas Kristoff piece in the NY Times.

Are you smarter than an eighth grader?

What is the sum of the three consecutive whole numbers with 2n as the middle number?

A. 6n+3

B. 6n

C. 6n-1

D. 6n-3

More than three-quarters of South Korean kids answered correctly (it is B). Only 37 percent of American kids were correct, lagging their peers from Iran, Indonesia and Ghana.

How many degrees does a minute hand of a clock turn through from 6:20 a.m. to 8 a.m. on the same day?

A. 680 degrees

B. 600 degrees

C. 540 degrees

D. 420 degrees

Only 22 percent of American eighth-graders correctly answered B, below Palestinians, Turks and Armenians.


A piece of wood was 40 centimeters long. It was cut into 3 pieces. The lengths in centimeters are 2x -5, x +7 and x +6. What is the length of the longest piece?

Only 7 percent of American eighth graders got that one right (the answer is 15 centimeters). In contrast, 53 percent of Singaporean eighth graders answered correctly.
Anonymous said…
Those are all pretty simple math problems, and that so few American students can answer them would seem to be indicative of a problem. I know there's a fear that CCSS and its associated standardized testing will be used as evidence that our schools are failing, but don't results like this show that the current system really isn't working after all? CCSS and these new tests are probably not the answer, but we need to figure out how to really teach the basics!

kellie said…
The district funding pieces you posted were quite interesting.

Remember when we needed to re-work everything in the district because Transportation was 10% of the budget. Now it is 4%. So why are we still stuck with this crazy three-tier bus system.

And somehow, we have 1,000 more per pupil to spend than Bellevue.
Anonymous said…
It's interesting how straightforward the sample math problems are compared with the sample SBAC questions. They are multiple choice and involve few steps. Yet, so few students answered them correctly.

To be fair, questions 1 and 3 involve basic algebra. To solve 1 using algebra, you'd simply add (2n-1) + (2n) + (2n+1). But what if you hadn't had algebra yet? Students in 7th grade are just learning to work with variable expressions. Many US students don't take Algebra until 9th grade. Is the problem one of standards lagging behind other nations, or student skills lagging behind other nations, or both?

Anonymous said…
But if about half of US students ARE taking Algebra in 8th grade (as this article indicates), these results suggest this approach is not producing the strong math thinkers we'd hope.

To note, the article above also suggests that the algebra-for-all approach in 8th grade actually delivers a watered down class--kind of Algebra Lite. If that's so, it's a disservice to all--the advanced kids who need a more rigorous class, and the less prepared kids who will be sent forward without the strong algebra foundation they need for future math success.

Anonymous said…
This Brookings report referenced in the linked article gets at the "watering down" hypothesis:

This study analyzed variation in state enrollment patterns to test whether rising enrollments in advanced eighth-grade math courses are correlated with achievement gains on NAEP. No evidence was found that they are....The [watering down] notion is that filling advanced classes with academically weaker students than in the past could diminish the amount of learning that the courses are able to impart.

Lynn said…
This reminds me that 2013-14 was the first year that McClure placed all eighth graders in algebra. 78% passed the EOC. The previous year's pass rate was 92%.

The 31 students who did not pass the EOC would likely have been better served with a pre-algebra class.
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