Tuesday Open Thread

Looks like three people have filed to start campaigns for School Board, each in a different region.

Ruben Van Kempen, a 35-year teacher and head of the drama program at Roosevelt High School, is retiring.  I can't say enough about this man, his energy, his hard work to build a stellar drama program and, most of all, his belief in students.  A fund has been set up to raise money to name RHS' theater the "Ruben Van Kempen Theatre."  

Who got the Federal Reserve building?  Long-time developer Martin Selig.  No word on what he'll do with it.

I had been waiting to see what tomorrow's Work Session on Charters/Strategic Plan was about and now I know.

The Board is actually considering being an charter school authorizer.  

The Presentation reads like a campaign ad for 1240 and includes "best interests" of the District and discussion of continuum of partnership and collaboration.   And guess what?  Not a single Director or staff member name attached.  There's the courage of your convictions for you.

I will write a separate thread but honestly, this is utter nonsense if ONLY from the viewpoint of how does this district (and Board) have the bandwidth and money and capacity for this?  It's bullshit and it's evidence of some larger puppetmasters out there.

My advice? Write to the Board, RIGHT NOW, and tell them that they and the district have a LOT better things to be addressing.  It's schoolboard@seattleschools.org.

On a lighter note, literary tattoos (but don't show these to your teen).

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said…
More fallout from the SPED data breach?

Barbello, Julie A

This employee no longer works at Seattle Public Schools. For assistance on any public records requests please email: publicrecords@seattleschools.org.

Thank you
Account Operations

As you may know or not, it was Julie who unfortunately released the information to the law firm who in turn released the same information un-redacted.

Another victim of Ron English's mismanagement. We should soon see English's official resignation.

Eric B said…
In much lighter news, the Ingraham Rocketry Club qualified for national finals in the annual TARC competition (www.rocketcontest.org). The goal this year was to launch an egg as close as possible to 600 feet and return it safely to the ground 46 to 48 seconds after liftoff. The top 100 teams of ~700 registered nationwide qualify for nationals.

Ingraham had two of the three teams from Washington state that qualified.
Anonymous said…
Eric, rockets are so 1980s. Today it's all about drones. :)

Wake up
Anonymous said…
Roosevelt's robotics club finished seventh out of thirty teams at a recent district tournament.

This is the best placement, ever, by the Iron Riders, and we're all very proud of what they achieved.

Roosevelt Dad
Linh-Co said…
That's too bad about Julie Barbello. She was very efficient at fulfilling public records requests.
Anonymous said…
Apparently SPD's investigation of a home invasion robbery in West Seattle has led to several schools being "shelter in place" according to the SPS twitter feed

Seattle Schools @seapubschools ·4 minutes ago

2 more schools sheltered in place for @SeattlePD investigation: Roxhill and Gatewood.

Seattle Schools @seapubschools · 9 minutes ago

Shelter-in-place: Sealth, Denny, Sanislo, WS Elem., Highland Park as @SeattlePD investigate report of nearby robbery. No students involved.

Anonymous said…
Rupert Murdoch owns Amplify
-NewsUcan't Trust
Anonymous said…
Congrats to Ingraham's Rocketry Club! My middle schooler is on a rocketry team, so we know what they accomplished was no small feat.

Lynn said…
Has anyone else heard that the district will be administering CCSS Summative assessments to second graders this year?

From tomorrow's
Strategic Plan Implementation Update

Strategic Initiative 1.3.B Early Math:
Planned work through year end
• Will have completed administration & grading for summative
CCSS math assessments for all Grade 2 students
• Will have completed delivery of comprehensive instructional
guides for K-5.
• All kindergarten teachers trained in the intial 12 hours of PD
will have honed and demonstrated to other kindergarten
teachers their classroom implementation of instructional
strategies for going deeper in math so that all students are
challenged in class.
Eric B said…
Wake up, does it count if we put a video camera on the rocket? :)
Anonymous said…
Dez, Julie did not have anything to do with the SpEd data breach, other than the unfortunate duty of cleaning up after it.

Anonymous said…
Lynn, I haven't heard about it this year, but my then second-grader took it last year and we never got any results!

Anonymous said…
Received a phone message from this year's SPA teacher of the year promoting Common Core and SBAC. The district must be getting pretty nervous. Keep opting out folks!

-Opted my kid out
Anonymous said…
Opted my kid out: I got the same robo-call. I wonder why he is in favor of the testing? And yes, it points to nervousness at the district and/or state level.

Po3 said…
The first robo call about SBAC testing is after SBAC testing has started by a teacher.


Does the teacher making the robo call mention the school he/she teaches at?

Betting not from an overly ELL; high % FRL school or a high school.
Anonymous said…
I got the call too and I don't even have any kids in the District. Mine aged out a looong time ago.

Old Mom
Anonymous said…
@Reader, Is that fact. That's interesting because I'm looking at the redacted email showing she as involved in the electronic transmission. I'm not blaming her, but she was part of the team that gathered the emails that contained the attachments which is the "breach". I understand she was a contractor? If so they don't need a reason to let her go. Perhaps she knows more about it than we know.

She seemed to be very efficient and generally concerned about the state of affairs at SPS. Imagine the stress of seeing what she saw everyday. It's must have been like working for Enron knowing all the issues, but knowing you can be disbarred for speaking about it.

Anonymous said…
That was a very strange robo call, the guy starts over twice, don't they know how to edit?

Anonymous said…
At IHS, this morning I counted 135 of 225 students who had officially opted out. That would be precisely 60%. However, this number is likely to grow because there are running start students who have not been added to the list of total students. These students are likely to opt out, so the percentage will likely creep up.

The number of no-shows among the “opted-in” was large—about forty.

One thing to note is that of the 225, some number are scheduled to take the SBA in May. However, most of those students have opted out anyway.

So on the first day of testing, a grand total of 21 students (9.3%) took the SBA.

David Edelman
Anonymous said…
My high school student said that the teacher read down the list of opted -out students. Those not on the list were asked to leave the classroom even if they said they were opting out or refusing. The teacher said he wasn't telling them to take the test, but they could not remain in his classroom for the day's lesson unless they were on the opt out list he got from the office. So several students who were not going to test, had to leave. Not sure what they did.

Puzzled, this was the issue at Garfield. So many kids opted out that they could not - by test rules - have that many kids sitting there while other kids took the test. So they postponed it.

I did attend the press conference and the numbers are high for 11th graders at Hale, Garfield and Franklin. At Hale about 50% of the 11th graders opted out.

The technical issue were legion as one Franklin teacher expalined that they wasted TWO days because the State had not uploaded the test Another school, kids took the practice test instead of the real test. That'll be a redo. Another school said that they had to lower the bandwidth because the wireless wasn't working properly.

And I note that Randy Dorn asked the DOE to NOT use these scores for AYP this year.

Good call on his part.

Watching said…
Regardig charter school authorization:

1.Administration consistently complains that they are overworked. Why would they want to create another bureaucratic nightmare?

2. We don't know if the Supreme Court will rule charter schools Constitutional. Why is the district spending a lot of time on something that may not be constitional?

3. The district can't afford to fund IB and language immersion schools. Why would the district even think about charter schools.

4. We already have a wide variety of choice in Seattle.

Another bureaucratic nightmare that will create work for a high level employee.
Anonymous said…
I wasn't clear.

My student is a 10th grader. The 11th graders taking the SBAC left the classroom to go to testing. The 11th graders who were listed on the opt-out list, were allowed to stay in class. The 11th graders who were not listed were required to leave class, even if they thought they were opted out or decided to refuse the test. They didn't test & they couldn't stay in class. Why couldn't they choose to stay in class if they refused to test?

Puzzled, I don't believe the test rules would allow students not taking the test to stay in the class.

But clearly, the rules are not clear to those giving the test.

Or maybe those kids are being made an example.
Lynn said…
The district website says Students who do not participate will receive supervision but not instruction during assessment time.

Maybe the teacher was following instructions from the school administration?
Anonymous said…
Don't all of you realize how absurd this looks. It should be made into a movie. Maybe investigative reports will do it.

Foil Hats
Anonymous said…
Lynn, your comment about the grade 2 math made me remember this thread:


Did anyone ever get the results of these tests from last year? We didn't.

Anonymous said…
Just last week I met a mom from the Rainier Valley who homeschools her daughter. The mom did not feel comfortable sending her to the neighborhood school. I don't know the exact situation but I would argue that this mom doesn't agree with the statement that there's plenty of choice when it comes to schools here. I understand why charters are attractive to families where the reference school is sub par and private school is not an option. What's hypothetically bad to you might be gold for another family.

- seafarer
RHS Drama Student alum said…
Too bad about VK. I was hoping my kids would get to have him--just 2 years shy and my son could have had him....Big shoes to fill...He was my teacher 30 years ago...Such an amazing teacher!
"What's hypothetically bad to you might be gold for another family."

I'm not disputing that. In fact, the Charter Commission has approved several charters to open in Seattle in the fall and next year. So that mother probably will get a choice if she wants it.

The point is whether SPS has the resources and bandwidth and need to take on being a charter authorizer.

The amount of work and issues they have seems to point to No for an answer.

I'd like someone to convince me how that is possible and still fully serving the existing SPS students, families and staff.
Anonymous said…
I agree with you too. SPS is in no position to perform that task, based on its limited resources and record of wrong priorities and bad decisions. They would blow it.

- seafarer
Anonymous said…
No, I never saw results. Where do I go to find them?
Greg said…
Good article by Danah Boyd, "Are We Training Our Students to be Robots?"

A teaser: "But rather than seeing learning as a process and valuing educators as an important part of a healthy society, we keep looking for easy ways out of our current predicament, solutions that don’t involve respecting the hard work that goes into educating our young."
Anonymous said…
Is it poverty that creates "The Gap"?

New study out of Berkeley seems to show it's cultural differences regarding early reading and language use that gives whites a lead going into school.


As I heard on NPR, in the context of the US system, Mexican-American parents are not doing the right thing, it's really not about poverty but about conforming to the dominant culture.

uxolo said…
What happens with TT Minor building next year?
Insider said…
There was a Curriculum and Instruction meeting to discuss a resolution put forth by Directors Betty Patu and Sue Peters. The resolution would ask Randy Dorn to suspend the use of SBAC towards the use of AYP.

Director Peaslee felt it necessary to send a statement in OPPOSITION to this request and Director Martha McLaren did not support the fore-mentioned resolutions.

These two directors are up for re-election and all attempts should be made to disallow them back into office.

SPS used tens of thousands of children to develop baseline information for SBAC and neither McLaren or Peaslee spoke in opposition--when it mattered.
Anonymous said…
The Majority of "whites" internationally do NOT speak English as their native tongue. So time to rethink your PC motives.

PC errors
Leaderless said…

I didn't read your article, but something is seriously wrong when SBAC training involves making children sit in chairs for 80 minutes.

NOTE: With the exception of Peters/Patu not one director spoke-up about this issue. McLaren thought we should encourage the children and make them feel "proud".

It is also important to note that Nyland didn't take leadership in this effort, either. He was, Peaslee's hire and she attempted to ram through his hire over a holiday weekend.
Anonymous said…
I am wondering why there isn't more opt-out news coming from elementary or middle school communities?

- bc
Anonymous said…
Greg, that robots article confuses me. The title and some of the "pullouts" sound like its a critical view of tech approaches, but in reality it comes off as very pro-"personalized education" (i.e., technology).

Anonymous said…


The UC Berkeley study found that four-fifths of the nation's Mexican American toddlers lagged three to five months behind whites in preliteracy skills, oral language and familiarity with print materials.

"Being warm and fuzzy may lead to well-behaved youngsters but it doesn't necessarily advance a young child's cognitive agility."

Mothers of toddlers who fell behind were more likely to be foreign-born, low-income and less educated.

...Latino mothers tend to believe that children should wait for kindergarten to learn to read, compared with white mothers who see age 2 as the appropriate age for such learning, according to a UCLA study. Fuller said that difference may stem from the traditional Mexican respect for teachers.Less than half of all Latino 4-year-olds attend preschool, compared with 70% of whites.

Among Mexican-Americans, greater growth was recorded among toddlers whose mothers worked outside the home than those who didn't, even controlling for parent education levels. Fuller said the reason is still "a bit mysterious" but may be connected to greater acculturation and exposure to different parenting practices among working mothers.

C&I Meeting said…
Peaslee, along with Martin-Morris and Blanford violated policy and scolded Peters for bringing her resolution to the board, and Peters followed all appropriate protocols.

Peaslee, after scolding Peters, gave a very long winded speech and told Peters that issues should be brought to committee. Committee meetings, per Peaslee, are a place for resolutions to get refined.

Peters brought her resolution to committee and legal informed the public that all aspects of this resolution were legal.

In the end, Peaslee did not support the resolution and she did NOT work to better Peters resolution.

Peaslee, in the end, sent a letter opposing the Peters/Patu resolution.

Shame on both Peaslee and McLaren. I never expected much from Steven Blandford.
Anonymous said…
I am curious about enrollment projections for next year, but can't find them anywhere on the district site. I was even looking through presentations, and right now only see dead links to "enrollment" on a few. Does anyone know where they are? Are they not actually public yet? I know some schools know their numbers, but is there no list, anywhere, of all of them?

Anonymous said…
Finland doesn't believe in kids learning to read before age 7 or so. Same with Waldorf. Those kids for the most part end up reading fine. Teaching 2 year olds to read doesn't mean they will read well as 8th graders.

3inSPS said…
Thanks Lynn, I wasn't aware of the link for BEX . I thought Washington MS was getting some upgrade; if not it should be. What a mess.

Lynn said…

Enrollment projections are expected to be released in May. You could make a public records request for that information.
Anonymous said…
I thought they weren't "allowed" to scold each other...wasn't that a big "thing" a while back? I live in Peaslee's area - wish I knew someone to convince to run - she has been nothing like I expected back when she first ran.

Anonymous said…
Wanda, some context and important points not mentioned.
This latest finding is built upon previous 2012 study by Bruce Fuller. From UC Berkley newsletter:


Researchers looked at the difference between whites, native born Mexican-American vs. immigrant mothers in level of education, work outside the home, SES alongside cultural practices. These differences do have an effect. What the study also showed that while reading at home to children may not be as emphasized, Mexican American culture nurtured very agile and socially successful children. These are strengths which learning intervention can build upon. A reason while you see less issues with prenatal care and low birth weight in this group. (The research was first printed in a maternal child journal.)

“Researchers have long assumed that poor parents display poor parenting,” said UC Berkeley sociologist and study co-author Bruce Fuller. “But we find robust cultural strengths in Mexican American homes when it comes to raising eager and socially mature preschoolers.”

**As to your juicy comment that culture and not poverty is the dominant effect here. The study didn't come to that conclusion. From the actual study itself:


"Overall, we find considerably lower rates of cognitive growth among most Mexican American toddlers, compared with toddlers of native-born White mothers. The mother’s social-class position, consistent with developmental- risk theory, largely explains flatter growth trajectories. Indicators of class posi- tion include maternal education, employment status, and certain home practices

We observed few factors that differentially affected the cognitive growth of Mexican American children, relative to Whites. The interaction of poverty status and Mexican American membership was significantly negative, indi- cating that economic exigencies threaten cognitive growth even more in these families. At the same time, the factors linked to biological processes (birth status), along with maternal education and interactive practices with the child, largely explained the overall negative association of Mexican American status and cognitive growth. So, after the positive benefits of strong prenatal practices are realized by the infant—favoring offspring of Mexican American mothers—developmental-risk factors appear to operate with greater force than any positive mechanisms situated within a Mexican ecocultural heritage and manifest home practices. "

Anonymous said…
Cognitive and developmental risk factors defined here:




Anonymous said…
Thanks for the link to the original source.
I usually have trouble getting past the abstract, here's what it says:

Recent studies reveal early and wide gaps in cognitive and oral language skills—whether gauged in English or Spanish—among Latino children relative to White peers. Yet, other work reports robust child health and social development, even among children of Mexican American immigrants raised in poor households, the so-called immigrant advantage. To weigh the extent to which Mexican heritage or foreign-born status contributes to early growth, we first compare levels of cognitive and communicative skills among children of Mexican American and native-born White mothers at 9 and 24 months of age, drawing from a national sample of births in 2001. Just one fifth of Mexican American toddlers kept pace with the cognitive growth of White toddlers at or above their mean rate of growth through 24 months of age, matched on their 9-month cognitive status. We then assess how factors from developmental-risk or ecocultural theory help to explain which Mexican American toddlers kept pace with White peers. Growth was stronger among toddlers whose family did not live beneath the poverty line, and whose mothers reported higher school attainment, more frequent learning activities, and exhibited steadier praise during a videotaped interaction task, factors more weakly observed among foreign-born Mexican American mothers. We found little evidence that foreign-born mothers exercised stronger home practices that advanced toddlers’ early cognitive growth as posited by immigrant-advantage theory. The positive factors emphasized by developmental-risk theory helped to explain variation in the cognitive growth of children of native-born, but not foreign-born, Mexican mothers.

My take-away is that the developmental-risk theory does not explain lower cognitive ability in children of foreign-born mothers. That leaves the eco-cultural differences, as mentioned in the LA Times article.

Fuller also said this in the Times article,

"The findings underscore the need for widespread parent education and renewal of federal funding for such programs as home visits to train families on effective parenting practices, Fuller said. Most funding is focused on preschool but "we've got to start earlier because "the disparities open up far sooner," he said.


Anonymous said…
That's your takeaway Wanda. It's not the authors' conclusion. Their study reinforces other findings that much is needed to improve widespread education (and IMO, not just for poor and at risk families), especially the advantage of early literacy/word exposure. The study underlines the economic and by relation education disadvantage among the groups. For example, it suggests working mothers tend to be better educated and exposed (more opportunities) to more "middle class" ideas such as emphasis on reading and playing music to infants, positive tactile stimulation, active verbal praise, etc. You know all the mommy blogs and NYT latest parenting articles.

While risk factors are present (poverty, violence, poor housing, poor schools in poor neighborhoods, lack of quality childcare for working parents, lack of good health care- as in access, timely and continuous health/dental care, having non English speaking or less educated parents, etc.), there are things we can do to mitigate these risks. There are cultural strengths (strong family and community ties, hard work ethics, respect of teachers, 2 parent household, extended family) which this community can build on.

This study helps clarify where to begin and how to parlay what there is now to something even better.
Anonymous said…
I reread the last sentence of the abstract

"The positive factors emphasized by developmental-risk theory helped to explain variation in the cognitive growth of children of native-born, but not foreign-born, Mexican mothers."

"...not foreign-born, Mexican mothers."

The author concludes that it is not poverty and its appendages causing the variation for this group. The paper suggests it is lack of awareness of, as you suggested, basic NYT quality advice on parenting.

n said…
God knows I'm no expert but I have a neighbor with two children in gifted programs. One learned to read in her native language and then learned English after arriving in Seattle. Her reading comprehension is excellent. The other was born here and speaks her native language at home but English at school. Her literal reading skill is excellent but her comprehension is very poor.

Years ago I read an article which emphasized the need to read in one's native language first for all the nuance and complexities inherent in that original language. Children who learn to read in a language other than the one they heard as early as prenatally and continue to hear at home seem to have difficulties in comprehension.At least this seems to be true with these two children.

George Gonzalez, a Spanish-speaker who moved with his family to the US at a very early age, presented a workshop for reading teachers on behalf of one of the reading publishers, and he encouraged us to encourage families to get kids in front of TVs, reading comic books, just hearing English-language use everywhere to promote comprehension.

I tried this at my school which was heavily SE Asian with success. When reading time came, I put kids on recorded books and they would listen over and over. Whenever I taught something that was of less significance than learning to read, I put them on those audio books and they would read, and read, and read. Honestly, these kids caught up fairly quickly. It helped not only decoding and comprehension reading skills but also their ability to converse conversationally. I only did this one year because I had to move on to another school but it remains a really fond memory for me.

Learning and teaching are the most complex skills. Too bad so few administrators and politicians really understand that.
Anonymous said…
Wanda, your salvo shot was culture not poverty as the reason behind the cognitive gap. Sure if you use what's in your bank account (or the fact that you even have an account- hello payday loan) and a college degree as a cultural litmus test, then yeah, you're spot on.

I guess I don't see this research as being earth shattering. Being poor sucks! It tells us being poor, lacking language skills to navigate a foreign country successfully, living in isolation, being less educated, living in transitory housing, and having many children to care for do have an affect on the development of a child's cognitive development. Wow!

There have been similar research in other populations. I'll let you figure who they are. The attention grabbing headline comparing cognitive gap between whites and Mexican Americans is unfortunate because people are looking for things which aren't there

I'm not sure I will define success or mighty cognition as being able to read NYT (given its quality and content sad slow decline) or mommy blogs. But I have no doubt, my awareness of such things have raised my social status mightily in some circle ;)

Unfortunately, while the back and forth is great for distraction, it does diddly squat in making real world difference. Thanks for engaging Wanda.


Anonymous said…
Ugh! Effect not affect.
Anonymous said…
"How to even the educational playing field for Latino kids"

April 7 editorial LA Times


"In other words, preschool alone will not prepare toddlers for success in school. That's a problem. But solutions are clear, inexpensive and relatively easy to achieve."

"Yet it doesn't take a college degree or a diploma, or even literacy. Telling stories, asking questions, playing with children interactively — these simple actions can make a profound difference."

"Programs funded by schools and governments that provide home visits by a nurse or social worker or other mentor have shown repeatedly that they improve educational outcomes."

"Just as language differences don't explain the discrepancies, neither do a family's finances."

So support for teaching parenting skills that will lead to better academic outcomes or preschool or both?

Both might be expensive. Which is the better bang for the buck?
WallyMom said…
Wanda, Reader et al.

Mexico has a middle and upper class, who value education, read to their kids, send them to private school so they become bilingual, ideally learn perfect English while living in a Spanish speaking society. It's cultural (i.e. not reading to kids) in the sense that it comes from poverty, not from being Mexican, and certainly not from speaking another language at home; the largest proportion of Mexican immigrant do come from poor backgrounds. That is the direct result of the failure of the Mexican Government.
Anonymous said…
My children first language was not English as we wanted them to be bilingual. They didn't learn to read English until K. They're all in 99%tile according to SPS. Exact same w my expat friends' children. This is ONE study that Wanda is using to shore up some disturbing racial differentiation theory about the inferiority of Latino culture. The reading to your children in the womb thing is one parenting style. The letting your children play until they enter school and trusting professional teachers who have many years training to teach the kids is another style. One study, ten studies, or even more, can't conclusively prove one is more superior than another. Are the participants representative of the population? Are the researchers unbiased? Institutional racism accounted for? Are the interpretation of data and conclusions objective or slanted to prove a predetermined thesis? What are the training and background and experience of researchers? How large is sample? Causation or correlation or coincidence? Etc. etc. etc. There are a gazillion variables to control, each can affect results and data interpretations, this is why social science isn't consider a hard science like physics or geology- the experiments are too difficult to duplicate exactly since you're dealing with humans and must make assumptions that all members of a group are similar when this is obviously not true.
BTW, many Asian cultures also believe that teaching should be left to teachers and absolutely trust and respect teachers. You've heard of the Confucian belief that teachers should be held with the highest respect, even above parents, yes? How does Wanda explain ASIANS' lovely grades and test scores?
Anonymous said…
Ugh, forgot to sign again. Anonymous at 10:37 is CCA
Anonymous said…
that's the most absurd post i've seen in a while, cca.


Popular posts from this blog

Tuesday Open Thread

Seattle Public Schools and Their Principals

COVID Issues Heating up for Seattle Public Schools