Friday Open Thread

Noting that the initiative to prevent use of bathrooms by transgendered people did not get the needed signature, this very good story from KUOW about a child in SPS who is transgendered and her mom.
From the Huffington Post, an article about mistakes parents may be making in raising teenagers.  I agree with all of these.

- Just because 50 is the new 40 does not mean high school has to be the new college. 
- Still down to provide a keg and a basement for your teenage son and his bros?
- Would you rather be uncool with a healthy child or cool without one?
- Your child has friends; you do not need to be one, at least not right now.

Lastly, the events across our country over the last week due to gun violence proves the old song, via my public ed friend in Tacoma, Sandi Strong, a great cover of For What It's Worth from the Staples Singers.

"There's something happening here
What it is ain't exactly clear
There's a man with a gun over there
Telling me, I got to beware" 

But what would be also good to remember is the song from The Youngbloods, Get Together:

C'mon people now,
Smile on your brother
Ev'rybody get together
Try and love one another right now

You hold the key to love and fear
All in your trembling hand
Just one key unlocks them both
It's there at your command

Deepest sympathies to the families of all the victims and their communities.
What's on your mind?


Anonymous said…
The Just Want Privacy campaign posted this:
A statement we received from a high school girl tonight:
"There's a boy at our school this year who just came into the girls' bathroom. We all yelled at him and told him to get out. He started laughing and said, 'You can't do anything about it.'"
Under the current rule in Washington, girls and women have little to no recourse if men are in their school or swimming pool bathrooms, locker rooms and showers. Any male can wander through at any time. Any male sex predator can abuse this rule and hang out in a women's bathroom waiting for a vulnerable target. This rule provides no protection for women's rights to bodily privacy. This rule also intimidates women into not reporting what seems like an unsafe situation or invasion of their privacy, for fear of being labelled a bigot or charged with sexual harassment.
Please be careful with your girls this summer. No shower or bathroom is safe and every sex predator in the state knows it.
Anonymous said…
So we were fine with them being around our boys before?

Anonymous said…
Most moms I know kept their boys out of the men's rooms as long as possible - and worry about them when they do go in men's rooms. I was always happy to see dads going into the bathroom when my little boy was there.
Anonymous said…
Can anybody report on the board meeting of July 6th.

Eric B said…
Mom, your post raises more questions than it answers. What high schools are in session now? Is that just a made up story? Why is Just Want Privacy opposed to this when they themselves recommended doing it?

Just so you know, the scenario you just gave is against the law. Not on the basis of gender, but on the basis of harassment. So if this happens again, the school should absolutely bring the hammer down on the student.

"What’s more, the state’s Human Rights Commission, which wrote the rule guaranteeing trans people have appropriate bathroom access, specifically clarified that the law works the way the sheriff understands it, not the way Backholm understands it. In February, a man entered a women’s locker room at a Seattle pool specifically claiming that the law entitled him to do so, even though he was not transgender.

“His behavior was inexcusable and reprehensible. And it is absolutely not protected under the law,” the Commission said in a news release after the incident. “Persons who enter the wrong gender-segregated facility for nefarious purposes can be asked to leave in no uncertain terms. And they would have no recourse.”"


It sorta reminds me of a meme that went around a month or two ago:
Republicans: We have to do EVERYTHING we can to prevent sexual assault against women and girls, so we are banning trans people from their preferred restroom.
Women and girls: We haven't really had a problem with that. Maybe you can do something about campus rape?
Republicans: You should drink less and dress modestly.
Carol Simmons said…
Hi Reader,

Regarding the last Board meeting......It was lengthy.

The most important testimony in my opinion was from Chris Jackins. He requested that the SPS School District Data Profile that was discontinued in 2012, be resumed. We have requested this since 2012. I have been in touch with Board members and Staff members who seemed to support the resumption and publication of this document, yet nothing happens. In order to illustrate progress on achieving the Goals in the Strategic Plan, this data is necessary. Additionally, The Equity Tool is not of any use without data........what is the problem? Without relevant data, it is extremely difficult to view any progress through an "equity lens."
Anonymous said…
Boy oh boy Carol Simmons your not going to give up on the equity tool.

Thanks for making the case against it.

Equity scam
mirmac1 said…
It was announced that "Chief" Wyeth Jessee will oversee HCC, SPED ELL etc. HOO BOY. HCC parents are gonna love him.
sps parent said…
Regarding the older thread on principal Howard:
"This story, originally published on June 25th, has been clarified. Garfield Principal Ted Howard intends to place all students in honors history and English classes in the ninth grade. The story originally said he intended to cut honors history and English for that grade level."

So there you have it the times is even working to distort this idea. Should be, he originally said not the story said. Like they misquoted him. sickening. of course that really doesn't chip away at HCC/AP pathways does it so...

Why does Howard see this as race as a black man with 28% FRL students 120 who are homeless not see it as SES. Because one is easier to discern in data. How many of the suspended kids faced major challenges at home. Could it be those challenges are insurmountable without major societal changes and will not be affected by his honors for none program. This is a wrong headed policy and should be stopped by the school board.

Anonymous said…
Something SPED and HCC parents can agree on! I am not looking forward to this.

David said…
I'm curious how people feel about people moving out of Seattle so they can get schools they want for their kids. Is this something Seattle Public Schools should view as a problem? Do they? If not, why not? Is it something the mayor should view as a problem? Is there anything we can do about it? Is it an argument for option schools and other programs that don't cost more money and that parents like?

The reason I ask is just about everyone I know with kids who is moving to Seattle picks the Eastside. Is are we fine with that? We don't care? Or, maybe, it's considered a good thing?
Anonymous said…
Missy said...

Lately I've been seeing TV ads for Seattle academy. This the first time I've seen any TV ads for a private school in Seattle. They must know something.
David, the district - as far as I know - has never lifted a finger to care about who does or doesn't go to SPS. That 25% of kids who go to private school never seemed to bother the district. And now, with room at schools scarce? They really don't care. It's all they can do with the kids they have.

Should the Mayor view it as a problem? I guess I'd have to ask you why you ask. The Mayor could ask why the district doesn't have a downtown school (but then the finger could be pointed back at him.) SPS is thriving (at least by enrollment) so why should the City care?

Programs DO cost money but the district doesn't really pay for them as they should. If the programs were stronger, that would attract back kids. If the website made what the district offered clearer, there might be more kids.

Is there anything that can be done? Funny you should ask. Years back, parents with marketing expertise offered to help the district - free - and the answer was "no thanks."

But again, the schools are packed and the strain of more kids would probably almost crack this district. So I'm fine with the numbers right now but I certainly don't speak for parents.
Anonymous said…
To David:
I have very similar experience.
It seems that SPS loves this, because it can help with the capacity crisis we are having (and SPS denies). Can you imagine the number of students in SPS if all those families moving in town stay in SPS?
Anonymous said…
Back in the good old days - there was a "manager" who did all of sped, ell, and hcc. Colleen Stump. And, there wasn't director upon direct of JR. executives sucking down the budget. It's definitely NOT better now - that we've got all fat in the middle, with a blundering ladder climber at the top. We all should at least hope he soon gets his superintendentship in a Podunk district nearby - or faraway, let's just hope for brevity with his remaining tenure in Seattle. Good. Hope the HCC parents take their pound of flesh and hasten his departure.

Sped Parent
Anonymous said…
He'll close down parent advocacy in HCC just as he did in sped. No doubt that was the point of moving Jessee to this new position (and, to pay him more, no doubt). Whatever existed as communication or expectations before he rolled into town - will simply be put in the bitbucket shredder, and basically will be denied as ever having been a decision or issue.

Sped Parent
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
David said…
Thanks, Melissa. I think you're right on all counts. If anything, people leaving Seattle Public Schools is viewed as unimportant by the superintendent and possibly even helpful to the capacity crisis.

I only was bringing it up because I'm genuinely confused about the question. Building and improving Seattle isn't just about roads and mass transit; the school system is part of attracting and keeping people in this city. But, right now, our schools are a big negative, possibly the biggest negative of living in Seattle with kids, and most people I know with a choice live elsewhere to avoid Seattle schools. This seems bad to me, so I was wondering whether others consider it bad too.

Maybe it doesn't matter though. Seattle seems to be thriving. It might be the least of our issues.
Anonymous said…

I think the Mayor, like all politicians, cares about votes. By definition, people that have left Seattle for better schools aren't Seattle voters. That means he doesn't care.

Likewise, SPS gets pressured in various ways from student groups with different interest/needs. SPS is too busy trying to find a balance between these to care about Seattle residents whose kids go to private schools. Luring them back would just make the capacity crisis worse, and it would require a focus on providing a quality education to upper middle class kids performing above average academically. I think it's safe to say that this demographic is currently at the bottom of SPS' priority list.

That being said, it's difficult to not agree with your point that Seattle would be a much better city, particularly for families, if SPS didn't drive families away. Personally, I completely agree with you.

Agree with David
Anonymous said…
I think we have a bad reputation for schools, and it is a problem. When our kids were in Seattle public high schools our experience was good, except for the poor math curricula. Also, until neighborhood schools, the lack of certainty over school assignments was problematic. It chased many people into private schools.

Many of the young, smart tech people will be starting families of their own in the next few years. Do we want to lose them to private schools? Is the lack of a downtown school really the biggest issue? I don’t think so.

Good curricula is important. Programs like the Ballard biotech academy draw families who might choose private schools.

A district that wants to attract families would be helpful. Right now, SPS seems to care less. It starts with the top and Nyland is invisible.

S parent
TechyMom said…
A bit of anecdata... One of the private schools we applied to said that applications were up 40% last year, and they'd heard similar things from other admissions officers. This was a second tier school, one that is often students' second or third choice, but not their safety school.
David, SPS a negative. For me, that's a stretch. I think their reputation belies reality (on some fronts.) S, pointed out the issue of "reputation" as well.

But SPS would not be full if things were that bad. The majority of parents I hear from are mostly happy with their schools and there's a key point to that.

Most parents like their child's school but ALSO mightily dislike the way the district is run. You'd think you couldn't separate the two (and you can't completely) but many parents do.

The schools that aren't working fall into two categories; poor leadership/weak teaching corps and/or high F/RL. But that's the way with any district, not just SPS.

I will also point out that Bellevue is much, much smaller than SPS (not even 20K.) Their F/RL is 18%. While they do have increasing diversity, it's a bit different when it's more educated immigrants who go to work at Microsoft. (But looking into their stats, I think I'll have to do a thread on them - it's an interesting district.)
Anonymous said…
I loved Colleen Stump when she was our assistant principal. Assistant principals at my school get everything dumped on them. But she was positive, hard working and very, very knowledgeable. She made some mistakes but I always thought that was because she was expected to do everything. Also, we've had several assistant principals and truthfully our relatively new-at-it principal does not know how to use them. The asst. principal before Colleen was openly hostile to our principal at the end of the year. I'd take Colleen back in a heartbeat. She was supportive of teachers, knew her expertise - literacy, paid close attention to math, and very fair.

Also, I worked under her when she was head of Sp. Ed. As I recall, she headed gifted ed which included advanced learning as well as sped or did at that time.

checking in
Anonymous said…
I don't understand what Michael Tolley is doing these days. He used to be the person managing HCC, SPED, ELL, Ed Directors. There is already a layer between him and the ed directors, and now between him and the other silos in this new position for Jessee. How will this new position benefit anybody? How will the community participate in a process to replace Jessee?

Anonymous said…
Checking in

Unfortunately, families at Stevens have had a dreadful experience of Colleen Stump and special education. She has some very limited understandings of the subject, including that the general education teachers cannot and should not deliver specially designed instruction under the supervision of the special education teacher. Even more unfortunately, there is no effective intervention over and above Stump --typical SPS-- and as a result OSPI continues to hear from families there and find in favor our citizen complaints. And just think, as a reward for leaving a special education situation to flounder for the 2nd year running, Jessee got a promotion.

Head shaking
Anonymous said…
MW did you delete this post? If so why?

In continuation of the GHS mess.

"This story, originally published on June 25th, has been clarified. Garfield Principal Ted Howard intends to place all students in honors history and English classes in the ninth grade. The story originally said he intended to cut honors history and English for that grade level."

So there you have it the times is even working to distort this idea. Should be, he originally said not the story said. Like they misquoted him. sickening. of course that really doesn't chip away at HCC/AP pathways does it so...

Why does Howard see this as race as a black man with 28% FRL students with 120 who are homeless and not see it as SES. Because one is easier to discern in data. How many of the suspended kids faced major challenges at home. Could it be those challenges are insurmountable without major societal changes and will not be affected by his honors for none program. This is a wrong headed policy and should be stopped by the school board.

-sps parent
I deleted nothing except for anonymous posts.
sps parent said…
OK. Must have been operator error.

DPS parent
Anonymous said…
Head Shaking

A vice principal isn't the cause of problems at Stevens. Seriously. There's an actual principal there - that's supposed to do actual work. The buck stops with the principal. Colleen Stump is way better than most at special ed - and about as good as it's going to get in SPS. She's at least an advocate for students and families. Sure, maybe theoretically you can find better. OK. Where? I wonder if she could be lured back into special ed leadership with the "plum" executive directorship. The problem with new "executive director" job is the true lack of integrity everywhere you look from that position. Above her - is the newly minted Chief of Student Services, Jessee Wyeth. His butt will be in the way for accomplishing anything. And below her are the bottom feeders hoping upon hope to get a promotion - Michaela Clancy - who doesn't even know how to tell the truth to anybody and thinks she gets away with it, and Keri Hansen - whose experience in special education is "there were some of those kids in my building when I was a principal". Then below that, Sherry Studley is everywhere all the time - making a mess of absolutely everything she touches. Would you want to work with those as colleagues?

sped reader
Jet City mom said…
Seattle isnt really interested in affordable housing for families, so I doubt that the inefficiency of the district is the only thing pushing them out.

Renters in my neighborhood are frantically trying to find housing within the same school zone, after their landlords inform then that the house is either going to be torn down or converted to an Air B& B.
Its pretty difficult & very spendy to find anything larger than a two bedroom.
n said…
I, too, have worked with Colleen Stump and seen her in action re sped students. Her desire to accomplish change has been my experience. She has analyzed (to a fault really) and followed through always. I'm beginning to wonder if the district is the problem. Just as we gen ed teachers are finding fewer and fewer choices in how we teach, perhaps all programs have been redesigned into limited configurations and teaching. Perhaps her hands are tied as well.

So many complaints about so many programs indicates to me a real lack of communication as well as ambiguity at the top about just what district goals are.
Anonymous said…
Can anyone access their student's spring MAP scores on the Source?

Anonymous said…
Maybe she is better in schools person to person regarding students in special education, but Colleen Stump cannot handle leadership roles. When she was in charge of special ed, the only thing she did was rework forms, make promises she never kept, and offer abysmal professional development. There was total confusion, and no communication. As an assistant principal, she repeatedly did not show up for observations for teacher evaluations, and tried to "help" by pulling students out of class for interventions they didn't need, which were made up by her, not "evidence-based". She talked down to students and did not connect well with them, parents, or teachers.

She may be a well-meaning person, but Stump's tenure as director of special ed/advanced learning created or exacerbated many of the problems that the departments are still dealing with today. Clancy has an arrogant style that rubs a lot of people (parents and staff) the wrong way, but she is improving some practices downtown. I don't think that is necessarily trickling down to schools services-wise, so I understand why some (many?) parents may not think much of her. Wyeth and Kari, well, it is not really clear what their actual purpose is, but please don't pine for Colleen Stump as director. It would be roughly equivalent to putting Mr. Magoo in charge.

Please, No!
Anonymous said…
Clancy is conniving and has great trouble telling the truth. Nothing is better downtown these days - except maybe some teachers are clicking the send button on IEPonline to get IEPs done on time. Plus, she makes awful hires. The worst. When you can hardly see how we could possibly afford any more poor hires, then here comes a new one. Incidently, has she ever actually been a teacher? Methinks not. Do you really want an executive director whose entire actual working career was as a school psych, simply giving tests and writing reports to prove why students don't need services - to please the short-lived career-climber boss of the day. Meh. She's disliked so I doubt she will get far.

Another No Thank You.

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