Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Tuesday Open Thread

Update: as we speak, the US Senate will be considering the new version of NCLB (ESSA) with a vote possible today.  It has already passed the House.

I going to be interested to hear what the Charter Commission will be saying today in their special one-hour phone meeting.  The agenda seems to have gone missing; my recollection is an immediate executive session followed by updates on the situation.  I note that the King County Superior Court ruling on the end date for state funding for charters has not yet been announced.

 Dial-In Telephone Number U.S. and Canada:
(800) 245-9874 Access Code: 7784207

Very moving video, "Tomorrow" of a UK teen with Asperger's who documented the bullying directed at him.

From SPS via Twitter:
Our hearts go out to the family, students and staff of the Chief Sealth student killed over the weekend in the Columbia City neighborhood.

Sadly, it appears that the student was related to her killer.  It is unclear what the situation was but the killer - who is still armed and at large - had been charged with domestic violence previously.

Friends of Christy Nguyen Phu: There will be a candle lighting on Wednesday, December 9th at 5:00pm in front of Chief Sealth International High School. Anyone is welcome to come and provide candle and respectful support. Please wear white or black for show respect. There will be student and staff speaker that were close to Christy. There will also be an open mic for anyone who would also like to speak about Christy or their memories with her. (Kim Peltola, kcpeltola@seattleschools.org)
A link to pass onto teachers and staff - the Edutopia "Big List of Educational Grants and Resources."  There are two deadlines coming up on Dec. 14th - one for computer science and engineering and one for school library grants.  Plus one on Jan 15, 2016 for student-led projects against climate change."

One last one that's quick but due December 11th - GreatSchools Gratitude Review Contest.

The rules of this competition are simple: Write a quick review of your school on GreatSchools and enter to win a prize for yourself and the school. Each review should show gratitude, thanking the school or a specific teacher at the school for the work that they do.
Prize:  One winner receives a $250 prize, as well as $1,000 for the school they review.

Who says crime doesn't pay?  Remember the teen known as the barefoot bandit who terrorized the Camano Island community (and, at one point, stole a plane?)  From KING-5:

A Hollywood studio has paid more than $1 million to settle the "Barefoot Bandit's" court-ordered restitution in exchange for the rights to his story.  He's currently serving a concurrent sentences of about 6-7 years.

No holds barred op-ed from comedian Paula Poundstone on electronics and all of us.  A lot of what she says resonates with me.

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said...

Good article about problems with Common Core from Valerie Strauss of the Washington Post: Common Core math requires students to justify every answer. Does that make sense?


Anonymous said...

There is a link to the charter commission meeting on the front page of the commission website. It looks as though the meeting may be about how to rearrange or dissolve itself.


Anonymous said...

Common Core math explanations sound just like Everyday Math. Confuse students with story problems disguised as math, frustrate students with ADD and English language challenges and delay math progress. Wonder if this comes from Vicki Phillips at the Gates Foundation, an early supporter of confusing math.

S parent

Anonymous said...

Not at all sure why Cascadia doesn't have info out yet.


Anonymous said...

MW I have posted the HC Pathway tour schedule info twice now only to have it disappear. Is that not appropriate for an open thread post?


Anonymous said...

Here is the link for the HC Pathway tour dates.



Melissa Westbrook said...

APP Dad, is that today? Because I haven't deleted anything. Tell you what - send it to my e-mail and I'll make it a separate thread.


Anonymous said...

APP Dad, Cascadia does have their info up. It looks like evening information sessions only this year -- no school-day tours.

Cascadia mom

Po3 said...

If the Charter Commission dissolves, then will the WA charter schools be operating with no oversight?

Watching said...

"If the Charter Commission dissolves, then will the WA charter schools be operating with no oversight?"

Good question. OSPI should be shutting down charter school funding between December 10th and December 14th, as well. If Mary Walker School District intends on absorbing charter schools as ALE...they don't have much time.

In the spirit of transparency, I expect to hear the Charter Commission address these issues today. Will they?

FUR said...

A follow up on B&O taxes.

If the voters of Seattle wanted to raise the B&O tax and direct the funds to schools, it looks like they could. It would require a referendum.

The B&O for those who don't know is like a state income tax. It is gross receipts tax, currently capped at .2% by the legislature. It currently accounts for 20% of Seattle's revenue. Most people I survey don't know what it is, unless they own a business. Like any tax it has advantages and disadvantages.

the good news is, raising the B&O would tend to make our tax structure less regressive (I think. But that statement requires careful analysis).

Anyway, it is a thought. I would vote for a 50% increase in B&O tax over 5 years (10% raise per year) if the revenue was being directed to SPS.

Here is the answer I got from the Department of Revenue:
Can you please tell me if the City of Seattle’s B&O tax rate is set by the state legislature, or by the city?
The Washington Legislature sets the maximum tax rate that can be imposed by a city’s legislative body at .2 percent but grandfathered in any higher rates that existed on January 1, 1982. RCW 35.21.710. All ordinances that impose this tax for the first time or raise rates must provide for a referendum procedure RCW 35.21.706.

Can the city independently change it's rate, or does it need the permission of the legislature?
Any city may levy a rate higher than 0.2 percent, if it is approved by a majority of the voters. RCW 35.21.711.

More information about cities’s Business and Occupation tax may be obtained from the Municipal Research and Services Center.

Anonymous said...

Freshman shot death by her uncle in West Seattle possibly over shoes.
Violent shooting in Wedgwood following dangerous high-speed chase with suspect shooting out of moving car. The video's on YouTube already.

We need a Supreme Court to properly interpret the 2nd Amendment. It was designed to protect against the British not for individual self-defense.
It's all about dollars to the gun companies and their shill group the NRA. Like cigarette companies, they don't care who dies, they just want profit.


Anonymous said...

FUR, you'll need to expand the B&O tax statewide. Funding inequity is the main reason the state Supreme Court pushed for ample, stable, and predictable statewide funding of basic ed in the McCleary case. The Court wants to see more equity across the state and the old levy equalization which the legislature was using wasn't cutting it. The state was not funding basic ed per student adequately and school district's attempt to fix this by seeking local remedy which caused huge disparity between property rich and property poor school districts (that's why years ago, state legislature came up with levy equalization to offset this problem so we don't end up like Alabama or Texas).


Melissa Westbrook said...

Po3, who knows? It's a very fuzzy line.

Because Jacka called them "former charter schools" and, for all intents and purposes after funding shuts down, they are .....until some funding resumes. (I believe most have enough state money to continue until the end of December.)

Charlie thinks that under the ALE plan, they are basically tutoring centers. As I said in my thread, I think the ALE is some paper plan but that they will operate as usual.

I have also heard a rumor that First Place wants to go back to being a private school.

Anonymous said...

Common core math also frustrates my gifted child who scored above 145 SS in math because he sometime just intuitively figures out the answer in his head. Or the chosen method of showing work confuses him. It's disappointing....

Eric B said...

I would challenge the assertion that B&O is less regressive than other taxes. Maybe slightly less than sales, but not much. The reason is that B&O is charged on gross receipts of a company, not on profits. So a company making lots of money will pay the same B&O as a struggling company with the same revenue.

Anonymous said...

S Parent,
That is why MIF is so awful. It's not real Singapore math. They tried to align it to the CC and made it VERY language dependent (in a haphazard and confusing way). I've been supplementing with the real Singapore math (throwing most of the MIF workbook pages away). The MIF teacher's manual is very frustrating as well.

Lori said...

I'm self-employed and categorized as a "service" provider. My state B&O burden is 1.5% of gross sales and my city (Seattle) B&O burden is 0.415% of gross sales, so almost 2% of my gross goes to B&O, and I cannot take a single expense as a deduction.

The B&O is not progressive, and it is a huge burden on small business owners. As Eric B said, doesn't matter if you turn a profit or not. You owe it on your gross. It's far worse than an income tax, which at least when calculated for your 1040 allows for deductions and credits and has some relationship to your ability to pay.

I absolutely support funding our schools and resolving McCleary, but rather than an expanded B&O that burdens only some of us, make it an income tax that all citizens pay and make it have some sort of relationship to ability to pay.

Watching said...

Fiscal responsibility can't be ignored. Right now, we're looking at funding additional administrative costs for charter schools. I see no reason to fund double administrative costs.

The Charter Commission was always complaining that they didn't have adequate staff. I don't care to fund another layer of administration.

Anonymous said...

From the Cascadia website:

" If your child has tested into the HCC program and your home address is:

North of the ship canal bridge
On Queen Anne
On Magnolia

then Cascadia Elementary School would be your assigned school if you request admission into HCC during the open enrollment period."

I thought Magnolia went to Thurgood Marshall. Was I mistaken? I looked all over the AL website and couldn't find any info about how they divide up the elementary schools.


Confused Mom

Anonymous said...

No magnolia goes to Cascadia


Anonymous said...


Saw your comment concerning the 2nd and wanted to correct your misconception.

You wrote " It was designed to protect against the British not for individual self-defense. "

The above written statement is incorrect, the 2nd amendment purpose was to prevent the recreation of a tyrannical national government.

A tyrannical national government might try and force you to go abroad and fight others against your free will.

A tyrannical national government might decided what subjects your children might study when forced to attend government learning institutions.

A tyrannical national government might take your property without proper restitution.

A tyrannical national government might take your wealth without representation.

A tyrannical national government might try and convince you who you should hate and why if you don't hate then you must be a sympathizer.

Do you understand? if not, please read the Federalist papers.

Mr. Allen

Linh-Co said...

Too bad the district's scope and sequence is pushing for partial product and partial quotient methods for 4th and 5th graders instead of teaching the kids the standard multiplication and long division algorithms. After all these years of moving away from constructivist math and the dreaded TERC Investigations, it looks like central office math department is still pushing pedagogy over content.

Anonymous said...

What do you think of the newest version of Envision? And any tips for helping a mathy young kid with a very wordy curriculum? Mine is hating math.

West Seattle

Anonymous said...

Just teach them the standard algorithm. Reinforce that these partial products are just anothe way to do it. Make sure the know that you are ok with them using the standard way as it is efficient and useful and the can fail the wordy worksheets. If they are showing work and getting the answer, then good enough. They're set. Don't worry SPS almost never holds kids back, and next year your kid will actually be ahead, because they can do computations correctly and efficiently.

Anonymous said...

SPS has GOT to stop inserting word problems for math. The staff is overriding the Board’s MIF curriculum with its Scope and Sequence nonsense. More kids will be confused by this and eventually land into remedial math in college. Story solutions posing for math must be like religion to these people.

Hoping the new Board can turn this around.

S parent

NO 1240 said...

I 1240 HAS to be stopped.

LEV is providing "activist training" No surprise: " We’ll deep-dive on issues like charter schools, special education, parent empowerment"

The ESEA rewrite includes:

‘‘(A) The State entity is located in a State—

‘‘(i) that allows at least one entity that is not a local educational agency to be an authorized public chartering agency for 
developers seeking to open a charter school in the State; or

‘‘(ii) in which local educational agencies are the only authorized public chartering agencies and that has an appeals process for the denial of an application for a charter school;

‘‘(B) The State entity is located in a State that
 does not impose any limitation on the number or percentage of charter schools that may exist or the number or percentage of students that may attend charter schools in the State. "

Write Senator Patty Murray and urge a NO vote.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, NO 1240, but that ship has sailed. ESSA was overwhelmingly passed by the House and the Senate (mere hours ago) and is headed to the President's desk tomorrow morning. The White House is already planning a big signing ceremony.

Yeah for charter schools! Yeah for annual testing! Yeah for school accountability!

It's a good day.

--- aka

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...
Just teach them the standard algorithm. Reinforce that these partial products are just another way to do it"

The "standard" algorithm is just partial products with accumulate by place value instead of overall, so that it takes up less room on paper. Most people who do multi digit multiplication in their head do it with partial products.

Circuit designers for microprocessors have lots crazier algorithms for multiplying.


Anonymous said...

I'm curious why justify/explain your answer is assumed to mean "use words". Are kids being told that they cannot use diagrams, number lines, etc.?


Melissa Westbrook said...

AKA, and yet WA state has no charter law anymore. Back to the drawing board.

Anonymous said...

For WA charters, I guess "back to the drawing board" pretty much sums it up. ;-)

--- aka

Linh-Co said...

The beauty of teaching standard algorithms is that they are extendable to working with polynomials. Not only are they more concised and efficient, they don't limit students to just whole numbers. You can't express 1/7 as a decimal with partial quotient (Big 7). Partial quotients is successive subtraction. No whole numbers times 7 will give you 1. Also, it would be really difficult to divide polynomials that are unfactorable with partial quotient. Whereas the same process and notation for long division is applicable to everything. Same goes for the standard multiplication algorithm.

@ West Seattle
I prefer Saxon, JUMP, and the real Singapore Math - Primary Mathematics Standards Edition to Envision. I don't teach multiple algorithms as I find they confuse students. I do, however, show my students where those numbers come from. It's a myth that you can't teach standard algorithms without understanding.

Anonymous said...

It is frustrating that SPS hasn't updated their website with correct info on all secondary pages on the assignment plan changes approved a few weeks ago. Is it really that hard to read and update?

Wrong tiebreaker info -

FAQ still mentions Sept 30 - https://www.seattleschools.org/cms/one.aspx?portalId=627&pageId=14800

I found both links off of the main enrollment page - https://www.seattleschools.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=627&pageId=14926

Speaking of which, wouldn't make it easier on everyone to allow siblings to apply for option schools early with registration? Better for parents, better for SPS planning, and better for SPS enrollment to reduce getting overloaded. Frustrating that I have to have my son be temporarily assigned to attendance school when i know he will be in option school due to sibling rule after I fill out more forms in February.

- B