Friday Open Thread

Interesting way to get kids to consider those less fortunate during the holiday season - the Christmas Cat of Iceland.

So this blog has had lively discussions over tracking in music and athletics - China takes this a step too far.  From the NY Times:

“I’ve looked at their teeth, at their arms, their height, everything, very carefully,” Teacher Wang said. “We don’t want anyone with asthma, or heart problems, or eye problems. And we want the smart kids; the quick learners.”

“Your kids were chosen not because they want to play this or that instrument, but because they have long arms, or the right lips, or are the right height, say for the trumpet, or the drums,” he said.
State Superintendent-elect Chris Reykdal is not happy with the spending on the lawsuit that current superintendent, Randy Dorn, filed earlier this year.  It's being reported that more than $77,000 in legal fees have been paid.  Dorn filed the suit against several districts, including Seattle, and the State, saying they illegally rely too much on local levies for funding.  From the PI:
A King County Superior Court judge has put Dorn's lawsuit on hold until April 30 to see if the Legislature and Gov. Jay Inslee resolve the issue in the upcoming session.

Dorn did not seek re-election. His successor, Chris Reykdal, has said he wants to get OSPI dismissed from the case.
Speaking of Dorn, he and Governor just approved new computer science standards for Washington State.  Not to be a Debbie Downer but without follow-up and supports, you're not going to see these enacted.

A heads up from UW and their (State Academic Red Shirt) STARS program in engineering. It's for incoming low-income students in their first year at UW.
STARS is a 2-year program with a specialized curriculum designed to build learning skills and academic preparation. STARS students can expect to complete their engineering degrees within five years—only 1 to 2 quarters longer than the average time to earn an engineering degree at UW.  Applications for fall 2017 will open in January.
 What's on your mind?


Anonymous said…
Someone mentioned this on the other thread, but I thought I'd mention it again as it is kind of a big deal. The new snow route policy is apparently to simply cancel all special Ed bus routes. Gen Ed kids get alternate snow routes, but evidently special Ed students just stay home when the weather is bad. Even worse, they did nothing to inform parents other than posting it on the website. When I got snow route info in the mail for my other kids and none for my disabled child, I assumed that meant there was no change to her route, not that they would provide no transportation for her.
Mom of 4
Question: Is it worth it to write school board members on Friday, or over the weekend - or will they more likely pay more attention to mail sent on a weekday? I've meant to ask this forever, but never remember until I'm actually about to write over the weekend.

Anonymous said…
I was curious about the football player talk at Garfield where he told men to stand up and kids tried to walk out and confronted him.. sort of Steve Harvey-esque

Then what about the cameras being installed at Washington where the Principal claimed it was to see who was not cleaning properly in the cafeteria? WTF?

- Just Curious
Eric B said…
Richelle, I haven't seen any particular better or worse time to email Board directors. They all seem to be on different schedules (definitely not 9-5 M-F!), so email as early as you can. Community meetings are also a good time to meet and discuss. If you're sending email on a topic that is getting a few hundred messages to the Board, they'll probably just read the subject line and file it in for or against. So definitely put what you want them to do in the subject line.
Thanks Eric. I've learned to be very clear and up front in my subject line and message in general. I've attended community meetings, and yes, they can be good places to discuss - unless there are many other people there with their own important topics. I also often have difficulty attending the community meetings as I work more than full-time during the week, and I'm attending to my family and life in general on the weekend. It's frustrating to carve the time out for a community meeting only to show up and have several people on the list ahead of you who need a lot of time and attention.

But, thanks for the advice!!!
Just Curious, I'm curious as well. I'll do a thread on it but really, principals are now large and in charge and get to say/do whatever they want with their schools. I'm pretty sure I think I know why and that will be in my 10,000 foot viewpoint of the district post.

One thing for sure is that Ted Howard seems to have very distinct ideas about boys and girls.
Anonymous said…
@ Mom of 4 - What a horrifying and stupid policy! I hope folks contact the local papers, KUOW, and the school board. I do not understand how anyone at SPS can justify not providing transport to SPED students. -NP
Anonymous said…
I supposed they could send taxis. Why not?
taxi driver
Anonymous said…
The snow policy is NOT a new thing -its been that way for years. There are liability issues involved for several reasons - 95% of SPED routes are door to door - which means sending vans down side streets that are usually NOT plowed (as are the main arterials used by regular routes).

Also - there are SPED students who need assistance from devices such as walkers and wheelchairs that are more problematic in snow conditions, and again, are a liability issue.

Should liability be the reason? probably not but the cold reality is, one lawsuit could bankrupt the district.

Charlie Mas said…
A transportation policy that lumps all students with IEPs together - regardless of the nature of their disability - is a legal liability.
Anonymous said…
Well actually Charlie and Someone - it's worse than not providing transportation to students with disabilities - school is simply closed. Never mind that MOST students with door to door service - do not live on inaccessible, dangerous, "unplowed" routes. Never mind that MOST students with door to door service - do not use walkers, wheel chairs, or have any mobility issues at all. Never mind that MOST door-to-door buses aren't even equipped for special mobility service and have 0 students with mobility issues of any kind. Because of the FEW students who can not be served in a no-brained easy way - do indeed exist - they cancel ALL school. EEU, for example, and all preschools - poof closed. Oh darn. We'll just have special ed another day - or maybe you'll just go away. Thanks for calling.

Yes it's all a liability - and has been for years.


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