Tuesday Open Thread

It would seem the district is having some back-to-school issues.  To whit:

- this tweet yesterday - We are working on communications for families re: transportation. If there are any changes you should get notified.

- from a reader:
In my friend's SPS Student Data Verification Report, they apparently copied the 2nd page onto the back of another student's front page. The second page is where they list the confidential information, such as court-issued no-contact orders.

I heard one PTA at another school printing an apology in their newsletter because it happened there too
You might want to check that Student Data Verification Report for your own student.

- the mystery that is Friday, October 9th.  Different schools are saying different things about this day - some say it IS a school day and others say it is not.  I have asked - three times via three methods - to Communications on this issue and received no answer.  I'm thinking that maybe this is more of a major issue than simply a mix-up.

The president of China is now on his way to Seattle from Everett.  Please remember this event if you are going downtown OR if your student rides a bus.

The September 24th meeting of the Governor's Work Group on McCleary is not open to the public because the Governor is not a "governing body" and the work group is not part of the legislature's doing.  But they will be doing updates and I will try to get those to you.

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said…
Some good news: Orca K-8 was selected by Washington Green Schools for their annual Day of Service. The event will happen this Saturday 9/26, and we'll be building a naturalistic "Council Ring" outdoor classroom, planting a rain garden, and painting playground features. All of this supports the school's ongoing playground renovation (www.projectorcaplayground.com). It's great to see so much community support for a local school project.

- southpaw
Anonymous said…
The members of the McCleary legislative workgroup that will meet starting this Thursday are Sen. Doug Ericksen (R), Sen. Ann Rivers (R), Sen. Andy Billig (D), Sen. Christine Rolfes (D), Rep. Pat Sullivan (D), Rep. Norma Smith (R), Rep. Chad Magendanz (R), and Rep. Kristine Lytton (D).

The senators on the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee, who will be conducting the listening tour, beginning September 30 are: Steve Litzow (R) Chair, Bruce Dammeier (R) Vice Chair, Rosemary McAuliffe (D) Ranking Member, Andy Billig (D), Joe Fain (R), Andy Hill (R), Mark Mullet (D), Anne Rivers (R), and Christine Rolfes (D).

Here are the listening tour meetings of the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee. The only item on the agendas for all meetings is "State funding of basic education." All meetings start at 5:00 pm:

September 30: Educational Service District 112 Office, 2500 N.E. 65th Ave, Vancouver, WA 98661-6812;
October 6: Everett School District Community Resource Center, 3900 Broadway Ave, Everett, WA 98201;
October 8: Bremerton School District Performing Arts Center, 134 Marion Ave. N, Bremerton, WA 98312;
October 19: Puget Sound Educational Service District Main Office, 800 Oakesdale Ave SW, Renton, WA 98057;
October 21: North East Washington ESD 101, 4202 S. Regal Street, Spokane, WA 99223-7738;
October 26: North Central Educational Service District Main Office, 430 Old Station Road, Wenatchee, WA 98801; and
October 27: ESD 105 Allen Business Building, 33 S. 2nd Ave., Yakima, WA 98902.

-NW Voter
Anonymous said…
The Seattle Special Education PTSA will hold its first general meeting of the year on Monday, September 28th from 7pm to 9pm at the John Stanford Center, 2445 3rd Ave S, Rm 2700. Seattle, WA 98134 (map)

Our guests this evening include Superintendent Larry Nyland (confirmed) and Associate Superintendent of Teaching and Learning Michael Tolley. Executive Director of Special Education Wyeth Jessee will also attend with a few of his lead staff.

The agenda includes:
Superintendent’s brief introductory remarks with Q&A (ending at 7:30)

Associate Superintendent of Teaching and Learning Michael Tolley remarks

Exec Dir of SpEd intro and brief introductory remarks

Q&A (attendees are asked to keep questions and remarks to two minutes to afford more opportunities for all attendees to participate)

First Month Family Survey (link will be coming soon!)

PTSA business items


Please join us!

PTSA Supporter
Anonymous said…
Interesting story out of Tampa Florida where Gates Foundation grant for teacher incentive pay is not working out as expected. The up-to $100 million was intended to "empower effective teachers" which, according to the story which involves evaluating teachers using specially trained peers and bumping their pay with the idea that it would boost student performance. - now BMGF has changed it's mind on the efficacy of bonus pay and the district has to make up the expenditure short fall - the whole thing is costing them a whopping $271 million!!!

Gates partnership leaves Hillsborough schools shouldering millions more than expected

Sometimes it really IS better to look the gift horse in the mouth ;o)
Anonymous said…
Re: FERPA - this was included in the Ingraham newsletter to parents today:

FERPA Update: This notice came from archives about the new FERPA form. If any parent has chosen option “B” and would like to make a change – please fill out a new form and send it to Mary Smith in the Main Office. We were not aware of the yearbook / team photo conflict with the new FERPA form.

This information below came from Patricia Stambor….(central office)

The FERPA “opt out” form is an all or nothing option for student images and other directory information. It is an annual form that needs to be filled out every year. If parents select “Option B – No release of information,” their student’s information will not be included in any of the following:

Yearbook (student's photograph and name cannot be included in the yearbook)
Media Release (news media and/or Seattle Public Schools cannot photograph or interview student)
Photograph (student's photograph cannot be posted on the school's or district's website)
Videos (no videos of student will be posted on the school's or district's website)
Social Media (no videos or photographs will be posted on the school's or district's social media channels).

This is utterly ridiculous. SPS has set this up as a false binary choice. It hasn't been this way in the past - why now? Is there anything we can do to allow our students directory information to be distributed internally at a school (yearbook, team pictures, team emails, etc.) but not distributed externally?

Mad Ram
Reader 47, what a story (and cautionary tale).

Mad Ram, it's to get access to data and you'll do it because your child wants to be in the yearbook. It IS ridiculous. I'll let the Board know.
Anonymous said…
What's the story on the results from the Smarter Balanced assessment?

My kid's school still hasn't released scores from tests taken last spring. The principal says they don't have official scores yet.

Seems like a long time to wait, and there's no info on when we will see the scores.

Have none of the schools released scores yet? Is there a timeline for this from the state?

I thought the state released preliminary results in July.
Anonymous said…
Mad Ram - I raised this issue on another thread -ie that the FERPA form is new this year and Opting out by not consenting to release of student information means student name and photo can't be included in their school yearbook.
SPS is making it so your kid can't have an innocent photo with their name and class in a yearbook that's distributed at your own school unless you also allow them to give your kids (and therefore your) name, address, contact details, photo, grade, employment status, awards, sports teams, etc to ANYONE, including, but NOT LIMITED TO the media, colleges, military recruiters, youth groups?!!! Cause that is like, totally the same thing, right?!
This was never the case before - i have always checked the 'no' box and my kids have always been in the yearbook. Last year, I recall there was a supplementary form that came from the school to allow to us opt in to have yearbook name/photo only but word has it that this is not longer going to happen, schools have been told not to give out supplementary forms.
What's behind the change? Someone on another thread said it was a legal/paperword burden but why is that just a problem now and it never has been in the past. What do other school districts do - because they all have yearbooks and they're all subject to FERPA.
The cynic in me wonders just who the 'ANYONE' is that wants our kids data so badly and what's in it for SPS to maximize what they can provide.

Whatever the reason behind it - it's ridiculous and I'll be writing to them about it. I urge others to do the same and in the meantime don't be bullied into signing over your kids educational/personal data just for the sake of a yearbook/sports team photo.

Anonymous said…
Hale is telling the kids that school is on for October 9th.

In regards to FERPA, if you check no does that mean your kid can't be in the team pictures either?

Anonymous said…
Reader 47 ... thanks for the link:

"But Gates officials responded by pointing to language in the original agreement saying the foundation had promised "up to" $100 million, not necessarily the whole amount, according to the report.

The district picked up the unpaid costs.

Much of the disagreement amounted to a change in Gates' philosophy, Brown said. "After a few years of research," she said, "they believed there was not enough of a connection between performance bonuses and greater student achievement."

Brown said because the district has always rewarded teachers for performance, it was not hard to find the extra money.


Another fine example BMGF funding a project before adequate research had been done. Now we have the poorly researched Common Core with associated testing being thrust upon us.

The linked article again demonstrates the way that private organizations are influencing public school decision-making and spending.....

Forget the BS and follow the money.
When "Research Shows" ask to see the research.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said…
Mad Ram,

I am also seething over this. Just spent a hunk of time trying to reach someone at the SPS Office of Communications but they are completely inaccessible by phone. (Just give their Kafkaesque voicemail menu a whirl for some real fun.) I don't understand why SPS is bullying parents into disclosing their kids' info in this way. My students very much want to be in their yearbooks, but I don't want this info disclosed to outside entities. Where's the common sense here? I ended up sending an email message to them as this was my only option. Will post their reply here if I get one.

Anonymous said…
BTW. I'm also annoyed about the SBAC score delay? What gives? Why are there no hard questions being asked about the delay releasing the scores given one of the selling points for the SBAC was the "faster turn around time so results could impact instruction"
What happened to the mandatory parent-teacher meeting for any 3rd grader who's reading scores where low? That was the reason for doing all the 3rd grade LA testing first - to give time for the meetings and remediation to take place before the end of the school year.
Now its a new school year and all this has been forgotten. The district has had the results for some time now (you can get the reports by school etc on OPSI) so when will they be posted for parents/students? When will the parent-teacher discussions take place for low-scoring elementary readers?
Is the district really this disorganized or they are hoping to keep the results secret like they did with the Beacon Amplify tests they took during the year ( this replaced MAP and whatever your opinion about MAP as a test, at least we actually got to see the MAP scores).
I'm uneasy about excessive standardized testing and this confirms to me that these tests provide no useful information about individual students to teachers or families, ie anyone who can actually use the information in a way that can meaningfully impact a student. I didn't opt out of testing last year but I intend to this year.
Why doesn't the district live up to its own promises and why doesn't anyone hold them to them (and that goes not just for this but for many things).

Anonymous said…
"Our guests this evening include Superintendent Larry Nyland (confirmed) and Associate Superintendent of Teaching and Learning Michael Tolley. Executive Director of Special Education Wyeth Jessee will also attend with a few of his lead staff. "

Really, the same old story! Invite the Foxes into the hen house. Please do not be offended, but the SPED PTSA is a joke that won't improve. It's time to seek an alternative, because SPS administration is not a friend of SPED.

SPED revolt
Anonymous said…
The FERPA move by SPS is not cool. Forcing us into consenting to release data in order to be in the yearbook or have emails given to ptsa for a listserve is no good. I'm sure it makes it easier for them to give the data to the levy folks (since $ is contingent now on academic improvements if you use levy funds for after school activities) and to "partners" and "consultants" (a la Education lab at the Times and God knows who else) but where my kids data goes is up to my family.

I'm actually less worried about being put on college lists or even the military recruitment part and more worried about the partners and consultants. If the military sends my kids something, I know it and can have a discussion about it with them. If their data is sitting at the Education Lab or at the City/Levy folks - I don't know whether they've gotten it, what they've gotten etc..

grrr SPS
BallardMama said…
One of my kids received the second page of another student's data. Highly personal stuff. Really alarming. I crossed it all off and averted my eyes as best I could, but jeez..
Anonymous said…
Class are still very overcrowded for Hale's seniors. 45 in my kid's Calculus class which is also in a portable.

Anonymous said…
@ Mad Ram and others - I too am furious and I called SPS to complain. I was told that they are looking into this problem and the person in charge is Nazik Youssef, Asst General Counsel. I left her a long voice mail - you might consider doing the same. -NP
Anonymous said…
One of my kids received the second page of another student's data. Highly personal stuff. Really alarming. I crossed it all off and averted my eyes as best I could, but jeez..

Inappropriate release of data, anyone? Geez. They need to figure out who was impacted and notify everyone immediately.

Anonymous said…
The release of personal information---is that because they were sending the stuff they already had and they got the pages off by one page?
Anonymous said…
Hmmm...below is an explanation from US Dept of Ed re: FERPA notices - this is for release of "Directory Information" which they define as:

The primary purpose of directory information is to allow the [School or School District] to include information from your child’s education records in certain school publications. Examples include:

A playbill, showing your student’s role in a drama production;
The annual yearbook;
Honor roll or other recognition lists;
Graduation programs; and
Sports activity sheets, such as for wrestling, showing weight and height of team members.

Directory information, which is information that is generally not considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if released, can also be disclosed to outside organizations without a parent’s prior written consent. Outside organizations include, but are not limited to, companies that manufacture class rings or publish yearbooks. In addition, two federal laws require local educational agencies (LEAs) receiving assistance under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA) to provide military recruiters, upon request, with the following information – names, addresses and telephone listings – unless parents have advised the LEA that they do not want their student’s information disclosed without their prior written consent

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) Model Notice for Directory Information

It would imply that one can give written permission for those kinds of uses and that its not an either/or situation. But hard to say - wouldn't be in the slightest surprissed if SPS has zero clue what they are doing here...because that would be new how? ;)

Anonymous said…
Hoping the PTA was just sending out the school's apology for the data sheet mix up. I work within SPS and the PTA doesn't have access to Power Schools which is where the forms are printed from. This also happened last year at my student's school.

So ... looks like there is a tech glitch ... maybe SPS could figure it out? Nah ... probably not.

North by NW
Anonymous said…
HP .. 45 in Calc class ???

Check for any advertised Math Teacher hiring here =>

SPS Jobs

-- Dan Dempsey
SPS Mom said…
As a UW employee, we are also held to FERPA. When working with student data, there are two levels of release of data - 1) directory info (name, phone, email, whether they are a student, a couple other basics). Can opt into or out of this and change their decision as often as they like. 2) for all other releases of info, requests are sent to the Registrar and the requestor has to submit a written request that specifically outlines what they want and why. The Registrar will often work to narrow that request so that it contains as little personally identifiable information as possible and can refuse a request of the request is overly broad. I believe she works with the Asst. AG to do so, as necessary. If PPI would be released on students, the students have to be notified each time and they are given a reasonable period of time (I think 10 days) to have their PPI excluded. No information can be released without the student's permission. There is no FERPA opt out form, just the decision about the directory release info. Otherwise, all info is considered private unless this process is pursued.
Anonymous said…
Why would we go to the special education meeting? We already had no faith in SPS to do the right thing. Now we find out our PTSA board is in disarray. State just wants its paperwork in order. That leaves us special needs parents out of advocates and out of luck.

Disillusioned Tuesday
mirmac1 said…
The district won't be able to blame this release on an outside law firm or consultant.... I don't even think they can make a paralegal the fall gal.

They should follow the same process they had to for the SpEd data breach, notify every parent/guardian of precisely WHAT was released.
Christina said…
Considering the SPS data security team sent the wrong address of one school to OSPI, (OSPI is NOT taking my word for it that yelp.com, Seattle Schools, Google Maps, and the school's own website have the same address for it that I do) the validity of trust given to the data security team remains an unquantifiable data point, much like my kiddo's SBAC results.

In late August, the school front office told me the district would send out SBAC scores directly to families.
In mid-September, A representative at SPS relayed to me the district has not yet received scores from the state. In the same letter, the SPS staffer told me the district will mail the results to schools.

I read the email I received, a response to my inquiry about SBAC, and at this point my thinking is that the scores collected are not used to directly help or assess our children. Students taking ELA and/or Math classes at a level other than their registered grades are not going to benefit from the 2014-15 school year's test results, especially if the SBAC assessment is an accountability measure for how well students have learned current grade level standards. I'm glad the newly revised teachers' contract rules that scores aren't used for teacher evaluation. If Student A in Grade 3 takes Grade 4 math with Teacher X, but writes a test for Grade 3 math taught by Teacher Z, why should Teacher Z be accountable for the score Student A receives? Is teacher Y who has Student A in this year's Grade 5 math class, going to benefit from Student A's SBAC score from the prior year?
Melissa said…
Re: FERPA, you can email your comments/suggestions to Nazik Youssef at legal@seattleschools.org

From a related discussion on Soup for Teachers (https://www.facebook.com/groups/SoupForTeachers/permalink/514433072046136/)
I just spoke with Nazik Youssef in SPS' General Counsel's office (252-0113). Nazik seemed truly concerned that some parents felt like they had to opt-in just so their kid could be in the yearbook. We talked about how the yearbook and the class photo are two mementos for the kids and should not be tied in with a parent's choice to opt out. She is collecting parent concerns. Here's what I got:
1) Can we opt out and opt back in for the yearbook? "From a legal perspective it is perfectly fine to do so. However, decisions at SPS are made operationally, not legally." She said that schools have had separate forms in the past to address these opt-ins, like what Melissa Lerch mentioned.
2) With 53,000 families in the district, is SPS making a blanket opt-out form to streamline the process? Yes. smile emoticon
Anonymous said…
Thanks, NP. I just left Nazik Youssef a voicemail as well, 252-0113 or email nsyoussef@seattleschools.org

mirmac1 said…
Operationally, not legally? That would kind of fit my perception of how they operate.
Anonymous said…
No testing results, no new tests. Simple as that. According to the SPS site (http://www.seattleschools.org/students/assessments__testing), some schools will begin offering Amplify testing in November, and MAP may be offered to K-2 kids as early as September. (And actually, I thought both were being phased out? I know our kids will never participate in Amplify testing again). Tick tock, tick tock. I wonder if they will beat the clock, and get us test scores from last year.

More importantly, the district also needs to show parents that the SBAC tests are providing data that impact how our kids are being educated. That's the bigger deadline I fear they will never meet.

- No More Testing
Anonymous said…
The district hasn't recieved the SBAC scores from the state - really? The state has had them, and published them via OSPI since August at least. You can search by school and grade etc for percentage of students at each level etc. So why would the district not have them. Have other school districts in the state got their results (+/- given the results to families) I wonder?
But the scores won't tell me anything anyway. I mean, I just want to see the scores so I don't have quite so much of a feeling that it was all for what? Cos right now it just seems like a big waste of instructional time and ill-spent district funds and there isn't even anything to show for it. And the opportunity to address or remediate any grade level deficiencies that might have been indicated by a low score is long gone by the time the results are out. Too bad that as a parent we would never know their specific weaknesses were if they got a low level. Does anyone know if the students current teachers will ever look at last years SBAC results and see what their weakness were to address? I very much doubt it. And if you have kids working above grade level but being tested on grade level SBAC what useful information is that going to give - of course most of them are going to meet or exceed the grade level expectations so that makes the district look great, but it doesn't confirm that the kids have mastered the above grade level material they are being taught.
These tests are just evaluating the district - nothing more, nothing less - the only results that really matter to the state and district are the aggregated ones, percentages at each level etc. That is why there is no impetus to get results to schools/families. it is simply misrepresentation to say otherwise.

Not gonna do it this year
Anonymous said…
Basically I think if my kids do these district-mandated tests, I should see or be advised of the results.
I want to know what they are doing with the results of these tests.
So with Beacon Amplify - if I never see the results and it doesn't provide usable information kids teacher, who exactly is benefiting from the test? Who is getting the results, the data? The company, right? These tests cost the district money, cost our kids valuable instructional time, and we get nothing from it while providing a private company with both monetary profit and data. Its win-win for them, not so much for our students.
Who signed off on Amplify anyway? What exactly was the process by which it replaced the MAP tests?

Not gonna do them either this year
mirmac1 said…
The thing is - it's not a priority to give the parent/guardian the result, at the same time they don't want you to say they can't collect it and give it to every Tom, Dick and Bill wherever they may be.
Anonymous said…
"The district hasn't received the SBAC scores from the state - really?"

SPS received the scores approx. three weeks ago.

SBAC ???
seattle citizen said…
The point of these state tests is not to help students learn, so of course it is irrelevant that parents, students and teachers don't see the scores. The point of state tests is to come up with a school-associated data point regarding a community problem, poverty, so the public can be distracted from the community problem and the blame for the educational issues related to the problem can be placed on the schools.
After that is accomplished, it is a short step to abolishing "the status quo!" of public schools and replacing it with charters. Not incidentally, placing the blame on schools for issues of poverty through the mechanism of testing opens the door to curriculum and testing sales, the busting of unions, the use of VAM to fire older, relatively well-paid teachers and replace them with a revolving door of cheap Teach For America young'uns who will rotate out in two years, cutting labor costs by 1/3.
All this rationalized by using the numbers generated by state tests to blame public schools for poverty instead of, you know, actually addressing poverty.

The tests aren't to benefit the students, teachers, or parents; the tests are to dismantle and sell publuc education to "data driven" profiteers. You'll get your meaningless test scores whenever the privatizers feel like glancing in your direction and throwing you a bone.
Anonymous said…
I'd also really like to see the results of last year's EOC exams... If my kid doesn't pass the Biology exam I guess he "gets" to take it again - how many months after he has taken the actual course? Seems unreasonable to me to design a graduation requirement this way.

Anonymous said…
The Social Studies materials adoption is an introduction item at this week's Board meeting. Any idea when students will see texts in their classrooms? My child was less than excited when Zinn's book was listed as their primary text this year.

-MS parent
MS parent, the middle school adoption is being introduced at this Board meeting with Action at the next Board meeting. (They are somewhat behind schedule because of the teachers strike.)

If approved at the next Board meeting in October, then staff would place the order and the Action Report reflects that the materials would be in SPS in late December and in the classrooms by early January (again, likely to be more like late January/early Feb.).
Anonymous said…
And the teachers won't really be familiar with the new texts yet, so it's possible many won't use them initially. Or ever, really, since that's just the way SPS rolls.

Odd said…
Ballard High PTSA is informing parents of LEV's school board candidate forum.
Anonymous said…
Disillusioned Tuesday, it is late but if you are reading this blog try attending the Special Education PTSA meeting and talking directly to SPS staff. It could be helpful. They are there to hear from parents. SPED PTSA did organize the meeting, so the group does have merit. The fact that its current president once again mishandled the SPED PTSA email and slighted the rest of the SPED PTSA board does not reflect on the group membership as a whole. It is a reflection only on Mirmac. Ironically, Mirmac is same blogger who has no time or understanding when SPS communications are mishandled or unfortunate comments are made.People make mistakes. They learn. They try to do better. Keep advocating respectfully for your student and SPS may yet do the right thing. Maybe Mirmac too.

Team Teacher

Why would Ballard know about it? What a weird thing.
seattle citizen said…
There are many who have "liked" LEV on fb, maybe not knowing its nefarious craptitude. They are gulled, maybe, conned by LEV's rhetoric (and occasional good work, such as on reducing class sizes.)
So it is likely that a Ballard PTSA member got a message, or saw some announcement, and thought, "hey, a candidate forum" and innocently loaded it onto the BHS PTSA bulletin. That's my guess.
Anonymous said…
The thing that especially frustrates me about the SBAC is that I have a kid who is struggling academically, and I would like some sort of feedback about how he is doing. The report cards they give in elementary school are pretty useless.

As much as everyone hated the MAP test, I found it useful because it was nationally normed and I could see when my kid slid off the table and how he slowly climbed back up relative to his peers over the following year. Switching the test every other year is very damaging because I can't compare his results and tell if the supplementation we are doing outside of school is working well enough or not.

The fact that the test results are not available does point to the fact that they aren't really being offered for the benefit of the students, and that the state testing is just a distraction from what could be useful assessments that could inform instruction in the classroom and outside of the classroom.

-- Frustrated

It's already frustrating to have to fill in the gaps where the district is falling down -- the tutoring center in my neighborhood does steady business. I guess I have to arrange for my own evaluations as well as instruction, if I want to get my kid through his early education.
Anonymous said…
MS Parent,

My child was less than excited when Zinn's book was listed as their primary text this year.

What middle school grade?

What Zinn book?

Social Studies "prmary text" overview or propaganda?

-- Dan Dempsey
Anonymous said…
Prairie Home Companion

praise of STEM ... HERE
from 1:16:45 to 1:19:25

-- Dan Dempsey
Anonymous said…
The problems we see with SBAC testing are evident elsewhere also.
How long must we endure this BMGF funded nonsense?

Today Sandra Stotsky sent this on Testing in Massachusetts.


Monday, the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) released the preliminary results from the spring 2015 MCAS scores and the results from the students who took the PARCC exams. Unfortunately both tests are currently aligned to Common Core. Contrary to what PARCC proponents are declaring, the test results tell us nothing.

The two tests are still very different. MCAS chiefly measures student achievement. PARCC claims to measure College and Career Readiness but there is no evidence to support its claims. Nor does it offer any definition of College and Career Readiness in either mathematics or English Language Arts.

The PARCC test began with 25 states participating. Today only 7 states and DC remain with PARCC; all other states have defected with good reason.

Massachusetts is on the brink of making a decision as to whether to utilize the dying PARCC tests or retain the Common Core-based MCAS tests.

The answer is not so simple. Donna Colorio, Chairwoman of End Common Core MA states, “The unproven Common Core-aligned PARCC test is not for Massachusetts. Maybe it’s for another state, but not the Commonwealth. We are the leaders in education and should continue this trend.”

As BESE debates whether to make MCAS or PARCC our official state test, even though both are Common Core-based, teachers and parents are declaring: "We want local control of our education. We want our classrooms back. Let’s return to the pre-2010 Massachusetts Standards. It’s time to End Common Core now.”

Colorio continues "It is time for the Bay State to continue leading the nation in education. The time is now to End Common Core and get rid of the tests based on them: Common Core-based PARCC and Common Core-based MCAS. The experiment has failed." BESE needs to find out how it ended up in a no-win situation for parents, teachers and children of this state.

So how long must WA State parents, children, and teachers be locked in a no-win situation?
Mariani said…
The dysfunction of the Sped PTSA is entirely a reflection of Mirmac, who is motivated by anger, obstructionism and hate. It's time for somebody else to take charge who isn't driven by long-held grudges. Is Sped perfect? When you find a perfect system anywhere let us know. Her long history of vengeful OSPI complaints and misinformation haven't been helpful to anybody. Time to let someone with some perspective have a chance. Sped is run by well-meaning human beings working as hard as they can in a system that's been made impossible.
Lynn said…
I suggest you take your comments to Michael Christophersen's blog. I'm sure he'd be willing to continue this conversation with you. Discussions of the accomplishments and personalities of individual officers of the various PTSA/PTOs in the district is not appropriate here.
Anonymous said…
Hi Mariani: Mirmac was elected to serve for this school year. She stepped in when others did not. Agree that our group would be better with a different leader, but that will take one of us committed to being at the helm next year. So if it matters to you, start thinking about the commitment now. I wish I could but my home obligations suck up all my time. I do try to help in other ways and I hope other parents consider that too. Anyhoo PTSA elections are in the spring. Mirmac also apparently served in other capacities such as VP or treasurer or secretary. So if true change is what we seek, we will need a full slate of officers. Sounds a lot like the full turnover we have sought from SPS in its special education personnel. So ironic.

One parent
Anonymous said…
Hi to poster Lynn. Accomplishments and personalities of SPS personnel and volunteers and politicians are discussed all the time here. How we as a parents come together as a group to advocate appropriately for our children is important. I wish we could have Mirmac's advocacy without her leadership traits in our PTA. Can we? Is there someone out there to step up? That's all I personally am asking.

One parent
Anonymous said…
Speaking of advocating for the children....

How?? given what is happening currently in so many places.

I received this from a Highline parent =>

I can't speak what is happening in Seattle, but I can say what is happening in Highline. The new teacher evaluation system is suffocating our teachers. Our district has pacing guides. The teacher is expected to be on a particular standard in a particular time frame. Evaluators come into the class room to observe and this is one of the items they look for. Is the teacher on the standard of the day?

A high school math teacher told me he/she/she/ does remediation work with his 9th grade algebra students. Many of these students have holes that need to be filled. If an evaluator is in the class room and he stops instruction to go back for review, he/she is corrected. In front of the students! It has been humiliating for all of them.

When I ask our administrators why they do this, they tell me that the reason so many students are failing is because teachers don't move forward. That teachers just remediate and don't push students ahead. So this issue is being forced. This is a state mandated process by the way..

In elementary school instruction is stopped in March to do test prep. They practice 3 tests in March. These take a great deal of time. Then, testing is in April through May. To accommodate this teachers are pushed through the curriculum from September through March. They are evaluated on this. Because the teachers are so rushed they cannot plan as well . Both reading and writing is also all in common core so teachers are scrambling for resources that easily fit with common core.

The new evaluation system requires a great deal of reporting too. Many teachers tell me that it takes up to 2 hours/day to record their requirements. It is more time consuming in high poverty districts like mine because teachers are being asked to record every contact they make regarding student care. So any social service agencies for example, or referrals. There are more of these in areas of high poverty.

Does this explain the new paradigm teachers are being faced with? Many of our skilled and experienced teachers are leaving because they are fed up. Time is not being given to the new ones to train in MIF. So we are seeing the common core materials come in to the class room that are not approved curriculum, instead of MIF. The district allows this saying they are "resources".

Our outcomes are tragic. We have one of the lowest grad rates in the state - at 62.9%. We have only 56% of those that do graduate, go on to college. Our test score plummeted this last year, after seeing some steady improvement with MIF.

Clearly School Boards need to take a more active role in supervising superintendents unless of course the boards are complicit in promoting the current Ed Reform farce.

-- Dan Dempsey

Mariani, you are certainly entitled to your opinion but I will point out that Mirmac, like most parents, are volunteers. Give credit to that.

As well, SPS employees working in Sped may be working hard but SOMEONE is not doing their job because so many kids are underserved.

mirmac1 said…
Further info on the SpEd PTSA Meeting 9/28:



CART Transcription services will be available for our Deaf and Hard of Hearing attendees! The PTSA is also working on having a Transportation staff member there to help parents/guardians with their transportation issues!
Anonymous said…
An Ode to Top-Down Nonsense.....

After reading what Highline parent sent me, I am really encouraged at the SEA efforts to influence the SPS superintendent's and staff's management direction.

Looking at what is taking place in Highline, the teachers need to be active in ending a good amount of that superintendent's nonsense. What is up with Highline Education Association?

Contrast Highline's approach with Mercer Island's approach to doing business.

Some school districts (like Highline) prescribe curriculum to the minute. Others, (like Mercer Island), advocate personalized learning, and only provides "material to be covered". There is no requirement that each teacher have an identical curricular plan.

You can order the teachers to teach but you can't order the students to learn.

Teaching advanced material to students who don't know the basics, is in avenue for academic disaster. (born out by Algebra for All in 8th grade in Tacoma, Totem Middle School in Marysville and a whole lot of other places)

Clearly an adherence to a strict pacing plan without delivery of needed remediation seems to be educational malpractice. So what's up with Highline and the School Board?? Eyes Shut?

-- Dan Dempsey`

Anonymous said…
Can someone give me information on Schoology? My daughter is supposed to use it for school and it is rejecting her login. Thanks. -NP
Christina said…
(This is my third time attempting to give NP some help. My first two posts APPEARED to publish, but were not generated in a page refresh. Trying with a different device, diff platform, all cookies/scripting accepted!)

NP, I can help you. If your daughter is attempting to log in to her Schoology account from home the way she logs in from SPS, she will fail. This is how SPS students log into their Schoology accounts from outside SPS' intranet & domain:

1. Go to http://seattleschools.org
2. Click on "Student Portal" in top horizontal navigation bar, white text.
3. From the resulting Student Portal page, click on bottom blue subheading, Schoology.
4. The http://www.seattleschools.org/district/departments/dots/schoologylms page will load.
5. Your daughter chooses the "Log In as a Student" link. Note text below that bolded link though: Enter your student Username followed by @seattleschools.org (Example username@seattleschools.org) Please note that this does not give you access to email. As soon as the username is entered, the page will move to another screen where you will enter your Password and click Sign In.
6. She enters her student username, which is the first three letters of her school, followed by an underscore, followed by her SPS account username and @seattleschools.org.
7. The page directs her to another page where she enters her password.
8. If her userid and password check out, she will enter her Schoology area, the same one she has access to at SPS.

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