Tuesday Open Thread

Finally, some good news for students with disabilities and ELL students who are taking the SAT.  Via the Washington Post:

The College Board, which owns the SAT, just announced that starting Jan. 1, “the vast majority” of students who have special-education plans that already include accommodations for testing — such as extra time, sitting in a separate room, and/or having the test read to the student — will receive automatic approval for the same accommodations when taking the SAT, PSAT 10, PSAT/NMSQT, SAT subject tests and AP exams.

In a new statement, David Coleman, president and chief executive of the College Board, said: “Educators, students, and families have asked us to simplify our process, and we’ve listened. The school staff knows their students best, and we want to cut down on the time and paperwork needed to submit a testing accommodations request.”

Changes are also being made to providing testing supports to English as a Second Language students. The statement said that starting Jan. 1, “ELL students taking a state-funded SAT during the school day will have access to testing instructions in several native languages and approved word-to-word bilingual glossaries.” Next fall, they can also receive extended testing time (up to time and a half) and the opportunity to test in an environment with reduced distractions, it said. 
For a good laugh, I always like to read what the Washington Policy Center has to say on education.  The latest is a review of Superintendent Nyland's letter to parents on the budget.
The letter carries a dark tone of fear – indicating parents, teachers and students will suffer unless higher taxes raise Nyland’s budget beyond the record level of $789 million the District receives each year.

The superintendent’s intimidating letter raises questions about current high funding levels and whether Superintendent Nyland is properly managing public resources to educate students.
Well, there is a huge deficit, some of it based on the levy cliff which is conveniently left out of this post so yes, there is some fear.  Not sure I hear much intimidation as much as straight talk.
The larger budget is not due to big increases in enrollment, which has increased only slightly. 
Clearly, someone didn't do their homework because, yes, SPS has grown mightily.
While Superintendent Nyland says he has a “Budget Gap,” he has found money to increase his pay. The superintendent’s salary is now $295,000, plus $55,000 more in benefits. He has increased spending in the central office by nearly $100 million in five years.
Well, it's true he is getting a raise and a COLA but he couldn't have increased the spending in the central office for five years because he hasn't been here five years.

But there was this tidbit:
In addition, last fall Superintendent Nyland conducted a series of secret, off-the-record meetings with the highly-paid executives of the powerful WEA union, resulting in a closed-door agreement that skewed public spending in the union’s favor.
Is she talking about the teachers' contract negotiations?

But point taken on whether the money this district is granted by the state and Seattle voters is well-spent.

I will be unable to attend the district's community meeting on the budget tonight at Ballard High.  I'll have an open thread for that tomorrow; please let us know what is said and if there are handouts.

Here's a fun punctuation quiz to take with your high schooler.  (I did get 100% but it's 10 questions.)

On a more thoughtful note, a good article about Harry Potter characters, Ron and Hermoine, and their relationship.  I did not notice this as much reading the books as watching the movies where I found the situation more pronounced. 
Just in case it escaped your notice, Ron Weasley spends the majority of his time with Hermione being unkind to her.
Throughout their years at school, he intermittently cold-shouldered her and projected anger on her that she did not deserve.
I'm personally a huge sucker for the "hate to love" trope, but mutual respect in that is key — they may fight, but they fight fairly, and they never actually aim to hurt. 
What's on your mind?


madpark said…
Two weeks off for Christmas? Followed by Monday off for New Years, seems a little excessive, or am I just being a Grinch? From 12/16 through 1/16 there's only 9 school days.
Anonymous said…
After 4 years of ZERO leadership on complying with McCleary, Inslee has just released his proposal to get 'er done this legislative session.

Amusingly, The Seattle Times has erroneously posted a version of the story that talks about a media embargo and how to delicately handle the timing of the news. Apparently the latest round of cuts at the Times have happened because that's some sad copy editing.

Inslee's plans do not include a levy swap, which is good for Seattle, because any levy swap plans I've seen to date - and there is no delicate way to put this - would screw our district, leaving us with a bigger funding hole than ever. Apparently our legislators have made this apparent to our not-so-bright-on-anything education governor. So good on them.

But Inslee is proposing both a capital gains tax (which Repubs are going to hate, as well as many of Seattle's own limousine liberals) and a tax on carbon outputs (since he got basically nowhere on his environmental agenda in his first term in office, he apparently is trying to do it via education?) Which is to say, our state Legislature isn't going to like most of what Inslee has offered. Seeing what they come up with as a counterpoint will be fascinating and quite probably horrifying.

So in summation, hooray for Inslee for finally doing "something" though it is far, far, far too late in the game and has little chance of being advanced as offered. Also, note to Inslee: Could you pick a different high school for your education unveilings? At this point Lincoln High School is a cliche for politicos to tour. There are hundreds of other options. Picking even one would help you create at least a veneer of caring about a topic which you clearly don't care much about about. I say this as a raging Democrat...Inslee: You are an education disappointment.

Anonymous said…
Update: Someone at the Times has figured out that they blew it on posting the McCleary story. They've pulled it down for the moment, but it will probably reappear at the same URL within the hour, as Inslee's press conference was supposed to happen over lunch.

Anonymous said…
Inslee is a huge education disappointment. He went to public school, but most of his advisers are private school wealthy democrats with kids at Northwest School ($$$$$!!!!!$$$$).

Too little, bad ideas and too late. Between Boeing and education, he has been a

Total Failure
Anonymous said…
Can someone explain for a "new person" who recently moved to to this state, why the legislature is not complying with McCleary? Is this a partisan issue ex republicans versus democrats? Is a disagreement of ideology and cutting spending versus raising new revenue?
I am confused as have heard republicans and democrats both advocate for fully funding education.
Eric B said…
New, it's pretty much an ideology thing. The Republicans don't want to raise revenues and the Democrats don't want to cut spending. There's also a special added flavor that WA doesn't have an income tax, and recent attempts to pass one by referendum failed miserably, while statewide initiatives cutting taxes generally pass. That makes legislators in more conservative districts nervous about raising taxes.

At this point, the legislature has done all of the easy stuff for McCleary, and what remains is really hard--either make major cuts to state spending or raise taxes significantly. With power in Olympia fairly closely balanced between R and D, it's far easier to kick the can than actually do something unpopular.
Anonymous said…
By the way, The New York Times just published the results of a study that is really, really, really important for education advocates to digest, especially with McCleary coming to a head.
The short of it is: researchers have shown that contributing more money to the education of "at risk" students truly does make a difference. Again, a notable, scientific study. Not conservative politicians blowing hot air that money spent on public ed is money wasted.

The results need to be sent, over and over, to our city, state and federal politicians, especially with "privatize it" Betsy DeVos headed to the Dept. of Ed.

Take the time to read this and pass it along!

Anonymous said…

I was really impressed that you got 10 out of 10 on the quiz because it was stated that only 1 out of 50 got that score. (You are in the top 2%).

Then I a math major took the quiz. I remained really impressed with your score as I fumbled my way through answering the 10 questions.

However I now think the quiz is rigged for I scored 100% as well. No way is this quiz on the up and up.

-- Dan Dempsey
Anonymous said…
Ed Voter,

Lincoln High School is a cliche? Seriously? Should he have trekked out to Quincy to be introduced by the 2017 TOY?

Anonymous said…

Two weeks off for Christmas break, not returning til after New Years, was the norm in all schools I've ever attended, as well as all family members, over the last 30 years, across the country. Perhaps your heart is a few sizes too small. ;) What were you expecting?

-New Mom
I attended the Governor's visit to Lincoln and I'll have a full write-up but here's some highlights:

- he adds to teacher compensation and support with dollars for higher starting salaries and 10 days of PD (no budget in the last 2 years has funded any PD)
- he would add dollars for nurses, counselors and family support workers (fyi, Lincoln has a whole room for family to get food and some basic clothing items.)
- He said he wanted fair and equitable education for all students. He specificially included Sped and...advanced learners.
- He plans to fund thru capital gains, B&O taxes (but protecting small businesses) and rolling back some tax cuts. This will NOT impact mental health or housing funding.
- All districts would see an increase in dollars with Seattle seeing about $1400 more student
- Some districts would also see property taxes go down with Seattle about $262
- He said that districts would see their ability for levy amounts go down to 15% and insisted that if the State is fully-funding education, districts should not need to ask for more. Interesting.
- I asked him if these dollars would come soon enough to avoid the levy cliff and he said it should. (So either he doesn't know about the nature of district budgeting or someone is blowing smoke on the budget deficit.)
- I asked his communications staff if he might refuse to sign bills until McCleary is done and they said it was too early to say. He's probably saving that stick for later.
MadPark, yes, the number of actual full school days in Jan/Feb is quite small and has been for a long time. Baffling, I know.
Anonymous said…
Gotta agree with EdVoter in this case on 2 counts.

1) Where was Inslee on education for the past 4 years? Failure in my book.
2) His plan is hearts and roses but it isn't going anywhere in legislature and he knows it. So what's the real story?

As for the new information from Melissa: If Inslee doesn't acknowledge that the levy cliff is a real threat to funding in many districts and if he doesn't acknowledge that there will be a strong push to use it to pass measures that conservative politicians in Olympia want to jam through, to the detriment of public education, then he is either clueless or duplicitous. Both of those traits are going to put Seattle in a world of pain.

Anonymous said…
I also got 10/10 (of course, I do have a degree in teaching English). Yes, 2 weeks at Christmas is pretty standard. Since both Christmas and New Year's are on a weekend, schools (and banks, etc) get Monday off as well. -TeacherMom
Anonymous said…
Thank you Erik B for your information.
madpark said…
ooops! I guess I have let slip that I am older, and who knows, maybe I am mis-remembering a shorter Christmas Break. On the plus side, we did get the day after Halloween off.
Patrick said…
Dan, the quiz reported that I got 10/10 also. I'm tempted to re-take it and deliberately answer wrong just to see what happens.
Anonymous said…
Found this on the OSPI website - no FRL subsidy for AP exams this year...

AP Test Fee Program
Changes to the AP Exam Fee Reduction Program for 2016–17

In the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the AP Test Fee Program was removed from Title I, and placed into a block grant in Title IV. However, ESSA is not fully implemented until the 2017–18 school year, leaving a gap in federal funding for 2017 exams.

At the present time there is no state funding for the program.

Updated 10/28/2016

I understand that the Washington Student Achievement Council has submitted a funding request to the legislature.

-HS Parent
Anonymous said…
So what happened at Emerson? Or is that over for crisis du jour and onto the next?

What is the next one?

- Popcorn Popping
Anonymous said…
About that Punctuation Quiz: if that quiz is on the up and up, then perhaps frequent readers of this blog became excellent at punctuating sentences by often reading Melissa's work.

-- Dan Dempsey
HCC Parent said…
I'm getting tired of the Soup for Teachers site. Seems a particular administrator is on a campaign to get rid of advanced learning. I'd like to see just one article posted about the needs of advanced learners.
Popcorn, on Emerson I only know the principal is back (with some kind of supervision) and some parents/staff are unhappy with the district's efforts on unity. I suspect this is not the last we will hear.
Anonymous said…
But she's just being sensitive to the experiences and feeling of people who believe the program is racist. Sure she is.

So Obvious
Anonymous said…
One of the best things about detracking would be the required inclusion of quirky weird difficult children like mine. I was repeatedly told to test them and move them to where they would supposedly be served. There are still no personal accommodation of their differences in HCC, and they had to be separated from neighborhood friends and community. Some classes are great, and they have the benefit of the quirky peers they need, but that was only required since those kids were segregated in the first place. They also come home and say fun things like "I'm not smart I'm just privileged" when in fact they are both, but enjoy the imposter syndrome! I feel like we can do better for all the kids, and I'm tired of fighting over scraps.

eighth grade
Anonymous said…
Latest Friday Memo up - includes the HCC survey results of Cascadia et all among many other thigs


Lynn said…
"Detracking" doesn't change anything that happens in the neighborhood school. Let's hear from parents of Garfield students how that's going.

The general education curriculum doesn't change, the classes don't get smaller, the teachers don't develop the desire to provide challenges to advanced students. Kids learn less in homogenous classrooms.
Elsa said…
David Elliott was fired for a lot less than the Emerson principal. So it goes....
Unknown said…
I didn't mean the kind of detracking they are trying at Garfield, I meant the kind where kids stay assigned to neighborhood schools. If you think that removing all the kids in the top 2% (much higher percent at our home schools) has no effect then I don't quite know where to start. In some countries private schools aren't legal... how much focus would our schools get if everyone had to attend? I'm not suggesting it, it's just easy to overlook how many resources and how much talent is directed away.

eighth grade
Lynn said…
A large number of the HCC students at Garfield live in the attendance area. Those kids are at their neighborhood school and what's happening at Garfield is exactly what you're advocating for looks like.

As the parent of HCC students, you have the ability to detrack them whenever you choose. What you can't do is change the way your neighborhood school responds to highly capable children. And no, they don't adjust if enough HC kids choose to stay. Just ask the huge number of families who leave Bryant for Cascadia.

If you want highly capable students to be educated in their neighborhood schools, the first step is to change the district's requirements for those schools. Advocate for district level definition of MTSS interventions for advanced students, contractual requirements for implementation of the interventions for both teachers and principals and the creation of new administration positions to enforce the implementation.

I'd prefer to stick with self-contained classrooms for gifted students.
Anonymous said…
Just read the Seattle Times article on Inslee's education proposal. More than 450 reader comments are attached to the story and every single one, minus a few provocative comments from this blog's own Charlie Mas, was against the proposal. Every single one. Not a single commenter wants to pay more toward our system. It is really sad.

Can someone remind me of the date when the levy cliff would take its toll? After what I just read the fact that the levy cliff may not be resolved seems a possibility, although I pooh-poohed the idea to friends and family earlier. I guess after pooh-poohing the possibility of Trump being elected I should stop being surprised. So what is that date?

Charlie Mas said…
Let's remember that every single child in HCC was once enrolled in a neighborhood or option school. If that worked well for them their family would not have moved them. If HCC was worse, their family would have moved them back. Hence we can conclude that HCC works better for all of those children than their attendance area or option school did.

And that's not surprising. All of the research shows that, for the most part, self-contained classrooms work better for the bulk of highly capable students than mixed ability classrooms.

The District or the school can change the name for what's happening in the classroom. They can call it inclusion or differentiation or MTSS. They can call it Holiday on Ice for all I care. If they don't change what is actually happening, then they haven't changed anything but the name. And they don't change what is happening in the classroom. The focus is exclusively on bringing students up to Standards and there is no time, energy, or resources for supporting student work beyond Standards.

Read the material on MTSS. It's all about bringing students to the Standards. There is nothing - NOTHING - in any District materials about MTSS about supporting student work beyond Standards. They say they will do it, but they will not document it and, in the end, there is no reason to believe that they will actually do the work.
Anonymous said…
Melissa and others:

Any information to share about the recent SEA survey asking for teachers' input on "detracking" SPS? Who initiated this detracking question and what does the union plan to do with the survey results?

Concerned parent
Watching said…
Thanks for the report, Melissa.

The governor can ask to fund counselors, nurses etc., but districts need not comply. School boards have the power to reject budgets, though.

I do wonder: What would prevent the legislature from stealing education dollars in the future? They have a strong history of robbing ed. dollars.
Anonymous said…

I got a robo-call from a parent at TM inviting me to join the discussion on how to make TM a more welcoming and safe environment for african american students. I am sorry, that is well and good, but do we really need to share an evening devoted to race relations at a public ELEMENTARY school? Or is this is just an attack on the HCC program as it is more inline with the demographics of Seattle then the TM central district gen ed program. Of all the gatherings I have been to at TM there really is no palatable tension between families or kids. Ability grouping isn't oppression -- it is proven to be the best way to teach kids of varied capabilities.

-TM Parent
Anonymous said…
I'm pretty sure that the research indicates that FLEXIBLE ability grouping is the ideal, where kids flow to the level they need to be in each individual subject. Making one giant "slow" and one medium "faster" group is not that. I'm getting increasingly frustrated with the apparent inability to see the equity issues facing kids with less savvy or resourced parents in this district. I get that people don't want to lose what little advanced learning they do have, but I think the writing is on the wall and if people see it only in black and white then we lose the opportunity to help shape what comes next.

eighth grade
Anonymous said…

no eighth grade, you couldn't be more wrong. from the summary of duke/nw's 100 year/300 study review on ability grouping:

"This new analysis found that students benefited from both within-class and cross-grade subject grouping, and that gifted students benefited from being placed in special groups or programs specifically designed to serve them. However, evidence also suggested that between-class grouping (putting high-ability students in their own classes and low-ability students in their own classes) without changing the actual curriculum did not change academic achievement."

drop mic - leave stage.

but there is more:

“After looking carefully at 100 years of research, it became clear that acceleration and most forms of ability grouping can be powerfully effective interventions,” said study co-author Matt Makel, research director at Duke TIP. “They help increase academic achievement for both lower- and higher-achieving students."

so in name of racial equity, which makes no sense as it really is ses disparity with over 1/4 aa kids being homeless, (https://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/Migration/Departments/Enrollment%20Planning%20-%20Demographics/SPS%20Enrollment%20and%20Immigration_Report.pdf) everyone has a lower outcome.

how very sps of you eigth grade.

Charlie Mas said…
eighth grade, so you're okay with ability grouping so long as there is mobility among the groups? Have I got that right? Where does this grouping happen? In small groups within a classroom or across classrooms within a grade or across classrooms and grades within a school or across schools within a region? Does it matter? Are they all equally right or wrong? Are they all equally feasible, effective, and reliable?

And are you suggesting that there are children who are not in HCC because their families are less savvy or less resourced? If so, what efforts can be made to extend more savvy and resources to those families and/or what efforts can be made to remove the need for family savvy and resources to gain access to the program? Or is there no amount of equity in family savvy or resources that could ever bring equity to HCC access?

What writing is on the wall? No need to be cryptic here. Are you suggesting that HCC is doomed? Because it is inequitable? Do you also think it's inequitable that some children in a school are doing work that is two years or more behind or ahead of other children in the school? Should all of the children in a school be doing the same work - no matter their age, ability, or readiness?

How is the program at Thurgood Marshall different from the program at Cascadia? Or are they both equally inequitable? Is the problem the demographics of HCC - no matter where it is placed - or is the problem the contrast between the demographics of Thurgood Marshall HCC and the demographics of Thurgood Marshall general ed?

Please do answer. I'm very interested in your views and wish to engage you on the subject.
Anonymous said…
@ TM Parent: Yes, IMHO you do need to spend time on race relations in ELEMENTARY school. There are a number of elementary schools who are doing just that with their staff, students and parents. Further, as I have digested on my own learning path on the subject, it does not much matter whether you think there is an issue. It matters whether those who are not of your cultural or ethnic background think there is an issue. If a member of your school community feels there is an issue, then that is their truth and having not just one but many conversations and (potentially) follow up actions is the way forward. Very hard work, but necessary, right now, in our society. The fact that HCC exists side by side with a general education population at TM, in which there are some stark demographic differences in the overall cohort, makes the work particularly important, I would think.

One parent
Anonymous said…

I just have time to take on one question right now, although I'd like to get into more later, I think the writing is on the wall because the education professionals who teach our children have decided it is. From the administrators, teachers, counselors I'm hearing that it isn't working. It's happening right now slowly and decisions are being made behind closed doors, and I would like the process to be daylighted. I'm absolutely not advocating for one size fits all, or one size fits none. I'm just saying this isn't working for a lot of kids, and it's not working for a lot of teachers, so things will change. I am personally tired of getting my kids needs met in a way that makes them the disfavored stepchildren of the district, and I'm not optimistic that there's a way to provide individualization, but I do think through drastically improved curriculum and project based learning that a more heterogenous grouping would have benefits for both groups of kids.

Eighth grade
Lynn said…
Why do you think that despite the research that says ability grouping benefits all children?

Teachers and the principal at my child's school know that HCC is working for their students. I don't know why the opinions of administrators and teachers who don't deal with highly capable students should be of any interest to anyone. If they're concerned though, the best thing they could do would be to get busy making differentiation for advanced students work in their schools. If that were successful, HCC would shrink.
Anonymous said…
Why do you assume that I'm referring to non HCC staff? I'm definitely not. I said above that I DO believe in flexible ability grouping, rather than rigid tracking, I will try to find some research that clarifies my point. Anyhow what I personally believe to be ideal and what I believe could be achieved in SPS are two different things.

eighth grade
Anonymous said…
@ eighth grade, you're hearing from the administrators, teachers, counselors that what isn't working? HCC in general? If so, based on what kind of measures?

Anonymous said…
Lots and lots of posters here "know" their kid is way, way advanced in preschool - and they demand access to the perks of HCC - before they've even stepped in an elementary school. Charlie. So yeah. Parents - who believe in hardcore segregation and perks for their kids "tried" their neighborhood schools - but not with intent of staying there. They were already gifted in preschool. Charlie you've posted it yourself. The point of HCC - is the "cohort". That is, a selected group of kids, free of the burdensome expensive challenges normally associated with public school. The point of HCC is not the instruction or the "level". The point of HCC is NOT having to be educated with the kids who normally go to public schools. The point of HCC is about who you DON'T have to sit with.

Sure - it's easier to teach a homogenous group spanning 2% (or 10% with a doctor's note), having practically 0 special education, 0 ELL, 0 poverty. Let everyone else deal with the huge ability range - not your problem. That sure makes an awesome crowd (for you), and provides a "better" learning environment. Let general ed deal with a 98% range. Not your problem. That's what segregation has always been about - great education with all the perks: brand new buildings, science perks, multiple foreign languages years before everyone else, musical opportunities, field trips, (remember the Lowell gifted trips to Washington DC - they were really neato - and no kids with disabilities or minority kids ever came. It was so cool.) Because really - how could the ungifted ever appreciate Washington DC?. What that sort of segregation means is: expensive, hard to educate kids are clustered into "general ed" - which is 30-60% special ed, and full of ELL and poverty. The expensive kids all clumped together and away from your kids. And the HCC, without any of those challenges clumped together to provide a superior experience. And hey, if you can privately test in after 2 or 3 tries, why not?

If you think about it. What evidence do we have that Seattle is so much smarter than national norms? Consider that private schools have already skimmed off much of the white gifted students. Lakeside, Seattle Country Day, Evergreen - have already taken the white gifted population. They require IQ tests in the top 1% for admission. And they are full. The white people left in public school are actually most likely to be LESS gifted than national norms, not MORE gifted than national norms. So the disproportionality we see in HCC is actually much WORSE than it appears (NOT the result of the unsubstantiated claim that really smart people live in Seattle).

I'm all for segregated learning for people who are truly outliers - and that would be a fixed, very small percentage of the sample size. Nobody should get a great education - if it is at the cost of inequity. Inequitable - great education - would be and is the easy solution we already have. We can not continue to provide a rarified experience for some - free of challenges and the reality of public ed - at the expense of general education for everyone else.

Anonymous said…
Reader, as a parent who has sent all my kids through HCC at one point or another-- I can't help but validate many of your points, although your post is a little snarky. I have talked to sooo many parents who frame HCC more about peer group, which can be code for Kids Like Us. There are a lit of fabulous, wonderful HCC parents but when a program has such low FRL and less diversity than many local schools, there can be lots of implicit bias that just goes on. Especially bias about what giftedness manifests like. Not at all sure how to solve this. Yet I see where critics are coming from and think we in the HCC community have to stop and reflect about the real if not fully complete points reader and others on a similar vein make.

Middle Ground
Anonymous said…
Wow Reader, you are foolishly incorrect. HCC students don't get special anything. They have been in a high school that has no outside space. My kid doesn't have music anymore, whereas he did when he was in our neighborhood school. Also, much less field trips. HCC has no special curriculum, it's just two years ahead. Foreign language? If you are referring to IB, that program is available to all students.
What the HCC program did offer my son was the opportunity to be taught along with the rest of the class. He wasn't just put in the corner with a workbook. He wasn't asked to go around the classroom and be a leader and assist others with the material. He was bored out of his mind at school, and dreaded going everyday. Within the first week of HCC, it was engaging and at his level.
So we happily give up shiny buildings, music programs, field trips and all those other perks in exchange for a positive elementary school experience.

HCC parent
Anonymous said…
Also, our HCC school is a lot more diverse than our NE elementary school. Both social economical and racial.

HCC parent
Anonymous said…
@reader--come to Cascadia. It's not rare or fabulous, math is two years ahead. Our neighborhood school has more music and less diversity. My child is now exposed to kids with actual challenges, who just so happen to be at a point where they are ready to take on more challenge. If they weren't, they would be back in the hood enjoying all of the perks you just described, and getting that ~7,500-$10k per student instead of the current ~$6k per student from the state.

Please stop trying to make HCC sound like something it's not. And if some HCC school group took a trip to D.C. Six or seven years ago, it's hardly fair the kids packed in like sardines in an old high school should suffer the consequences. Maybe you should start sniffing around the option schools if privlege and inequalities are your thing.

Fix AL
Anonymous said…
Fix AL - you haven't got a clue. The $10,000 kid in your neighborhood school doesn't exist... but a classroom of $20,000 kids are sitting in a self-contained special ed classroom - and probably have a sub for a teacher. That does exist. Your kid is getting way better than that. Your kid is also getting way better than the "general ed" kids in your neighborhood school - who are have the exact same dollars spent on them as your kid - but whose classes are way more challenged by all the reasons you've stated before, mostly poverty. And ALL the kids are packed like sardines - not just yours.

As it stands now - a rarified HCC - without any expensive kids - comes at a cost to everyone else. Just like charters. Burdening the shrinking "average" kid with cost and burdens of poverty, disability, and racism. Those are measurable costs. If "differentiating" is sooooo impossible, as all of HCC decries (it's the reason we need HCC they say) - then why is it a-ok for general ed to teach to a huge range of learners, while HCC gets off scot free with the easy little sliver? If the HCC community would like to shoulder the expense that everyone else bears - teaching the masses. Then OK. The per student price tag needs to be shifted in the direction of equity. Add up the poverty, disability, ELL, homelessness in regular ed - and adjust the per student spending accordingly for those who refuse to share in that burden (and yes, as you've all said a million times, it's a burden, and those expensive things are the REASON your kid is "gifted" and other kids NOT). And forget about the fancy auction and class donations - and any other donation. Those need to be figured into the equity equation. Those need to be spread out fairly.

But you are right about one thing FixAL - the boutique options - need to step up to the equity table too.

YesFix AL
Anonymous said…
Several points about HCC that are incorrect in YesFix AL's post:

1) HCC kids may be only the top 2%, but those classrooms often has as wide an ability gap as the other 98%. Many of the students are about 2 grades ahead of their age, while others range from 3-7 grades ahead. These kids are truly "asynchronous", where their academic and cognitive abilities far outstrip their emotional and physical maturity, so their education is challenging and they do not fit in with "normal" kids.

2) A large number of the HCC kids come from neighborhood schools that are less racially diverse and more wealthy than the HCC school. Their neighborhood schools actually have more extra-curricular resources due to the high amounts raised by the PTSAs.

I was surprised at my son's elementary HCC class when I realized that many of his classmate's parents were immigrants from many different countries. Most of them immigrated because of their high-tech or academic abilities.

ML said…
@Reader--you clearly have no idea what you're talking about. Every kid in HCC was once not in HCC. So, uh, hello? Every HCC family knows exactly what their neighborhood school or option school, wherever they went first, is like. And Cascadia is MORE diverse than many of these schools in Seattle, more racially diverse, more socioeconomically diverse, more diverse as to what neighborhood the kids come from, more diverse all around. What Cascadia is NOT is some kind of country club. This is where you clearly have no idea what you're talking about.

The only difference between the difficult to teach kids at Cascadia vs. the neighborhood schools is that the ones at Cascadia aren't getting any help for their issues because their abilities mask their disabilities and they can't get correctly diagnosed for all the actual real shit they totally have. HCC programs have all the burdens neighborhood schools have. The HCC kids were all at neighborhood schools literally being some of those burdens there before they switched to HCC. Cascadia's got the foster kids who have not had good lives. The kids who haven't got the whole bathroom thing down yet. The kids who cannot make eye contact and keep twisting their hair in a kind of freaky way. The kids doing gross things with food because... well, who knows why they're doing that? ADHD, autism spectrum, alcoholic parents, divorce, housing insecurity, Cascadia has all those same kids as any neighborhood school. The kids are regular kids just like at all the neighborhood schools with all the regular issues kids in Seattle have, only they are also freakishly smart. Many of them freakishly smart in kind of the bad way--the way that makes no one want to play with them at recess at the neighborhood school, the way that makes them major risks for dropping out of school as teenagers and self medicating their existential angst away, the way that gets them bullied.

The fact that you think HCC kids don't have real life problems like any other kids at any other schools means you have no idea what you're talking about. You try teaching these kids! So many of these HCC kids were in the principal's office every day at their neighborhood schools. They are massively exhausting to teach and to parent. They are more exhausting than so very many of the gen ed kids. Not all of them. There's some pretty exhausting gen ed kids out there, too. But if you think for a second that the HCC kids aren't a burden, ha! You just wait until they disband HCC and they're all back at the neighborhood schools. Ha ha ha. They are SO not easier to educate. They can be a massive pain in the backside. Which you would know if you had any idea what you were talking about.

NE Parent said…
“Reader” above states, HCC is “a selected group of kids, free of the burdensome expensive challenges normally associated with public school.”

So I asked my HCC child how things were in his class, and he said this year there are three very disruptive kids (but no fights). Prior two years, he said none. The two years he was in his NE neighborhood school, he also said none.

Therefore I’m guessing if you compare an average Cascadia class to an average Bryant or Wedgwood or Queen Anne class, the difference in the level of disruption and required additional support is probably small if any. On the other hand, if you were to compare a Cascadia class to an “inner city” Title 1 school, I know for a fact that there is a significant difference. And from that perspective, the HCC program is unfair. But no more so than the comparison of a high-income high-performing school to a low performing low-income low-performing school.

Does getting rid of HCC fix the problem? My kids would end up going back to their high performing NE neighborhood school and although not ideal, would be ok. But those HCC kids who had to go back to a low-performing school would really suffer. The rich would likely opt for private school, and the low-income HCC kids would have no out.

Sending my HCC kid back to their neighborhood school is not going to alleviate the burdens of "poverty, disability and racism" from the district It would be great if it did, but instead its just going to mean more overcrowding, and potential redrawing of the boundaries, and more complexity for their teachers.

Instead of tearing HCC down, we should be focused on finding ways for more minority and poor students to participate.

NE Parent
Alice said…
Wow, since my child attends Cascadia I should expect they’ll be headed to Washington DC and to have extra language and music classes? Not.

In fact, there are so many kids at Cascadia there is not enough space for the standard school-wide Christmas concert. And just like elsewhere, at the end of last year they cut my child’s math homework because they ran out of paper.

There are absolutely advantages to Cascadia. For example there is a large selection of before and after school programs if you want to pay for them. And the science fair and talent night are great if you put in the effort to help your chid.

But the down side includes my child having been split from their friends at their neighborhood school, getting split from their friends every year because there are so many darn classes, having to bus across town every day instead of walking two blocks, having to be split again from their friends when they head to middle school, and having to listen to why as a result I'm an elite racist.

It makes me wonder sometimes if having them tested nine times until they were able to read Moby Dick in kindergarten was really worth it.
Anonymous said…
My experience is similar to middle ground. Spectrum demise was our move to HCC. We gave it a good go at the local school. A few teachers were good with accommodation, but others were not. I agree that ability varies within HCC. Most can handle the 2 year up. A smaller number is leagues up and don't get what they need. A smaller number is left behind in the local school because they couldn't pass one portion of the test and/ or parents didn't appeal. The diversity is in skin color and where the kids were born or where their parents were born. SES and education are the commonality.

I doubt there will be any serious movement in getting more underrepresented groups in simply because there's no way parents of these children could do what many HCC parents are able to do. If you don't have the money, time or savviness to supplement and enrich, there's little out there to make it up. I hear it said "we should" do this...., but it's just wishing. The"we" don't exist.

Parents want to the best for their kids. It comes at some cost. I'll acknowledge that. I think parents are frightened for their kids' future. It's about competition now. The numbers needed to get in, not just in that university, but in that program. You hear it among the parents and kids.

What a sorry, punitive educational system we've got and put up with. When these kids graduate and get some STEM job, they get to run through the gauntlet again with some messed up, mind f*^kery variation of performance assessment. Tracking doesn't end.

Almost there

Anonymous said…
@ reader, I don't know what planet you're living on, but for the record, HCC students don't disproportionately get "brand new buildings, science perks, multiple foreign languages years before everyone else, musical opportunities, field trips."

Also for the record, the point of HCC is not the cohort--the cohort is important, yes, because these kids often cannot relate at all to age peers, but it is certainly not the point.

It's also not true that there are practically no special ed kids in HCC. I think the special ed data only include kids with IEPs, not 504 plans--even though lots of HCC students have 504 plans. Plus, it's very common for gifted students with learning differences to be missed and go undiagnosed until middle or high school, because their giftedness allows them to compensate for their disabilities during those early years, until the challenges become too great.

As for private schools, they are more likely to skim off the gifted non-white children at greater rates than whites, to bolster their diversity. They also only get to admit from the pool of applicants they get, so they aren't skimming off our top 1%. And I don't know about the other schools, but Lakeside doesn't require IQ tests, so clearly you made that part up, too.

But hey, your lies and exaggerations got you some attention, that's for sure.

Anonymous said…
YesFix AL said: Your kid is also getting way better than the "general ed" kids in your neighborhood school - who are have the exact same dollars spent on them as your kid - but whose classes are way more challenged by all the reasons you've stated before, mostly poverty.

Not true at all. They may be getting an EDUCATION that is way better FOR THEM (i.e., they are being taught things they don't already know, are developing friendships with people who don't make fun of them for being different, etc.), but it's not a "better" experience overall, or even a "better education" overall. There's nothing about HCC that makes it better than GE. They don't get fancy digs, special curricula, better teachers, and so on. Over the years, they cover the same things others do in GE--they just cover it at a difference pace and on a different timeline. HCC tends to get screwed over by the district more than other programs, too. This idea that HCC is somehow "better" is nonsense. It's like arguing that it's not fair that you got a CT scan for your injury while someone else got an MRI--and MRI's are better! (No, they aren't. It depends on the nature of the injury.)

better how?
Anonymous said…
Lakeside's demographic profile resembles HCC more than you think. Many of the non white students are from E. Asian and S. Asian and they are children of the highly educated, often well paid professionals. The school offers scholarships to Rainier Scholars, but that's a very small number.

Rainier Scholars is a great program and provides the wrap around service you want to see. The problem in using Rainier Scholars as an excuse is it doesn't skim all of the top. It takes a small number because of cost. It has hoops which parents have to jump through including financial and educational thresholds. It's a self-select program. There are many more students left in the pond, but lack the intense wrap around services Rainier Scholars provides to make sure they succeed in settings like Lakeside or even HC.

Almost there

Anonymous said…
The one thing HCC gets is the cohort. That cohort and the accompanied parental involvement, as reflected here, is more valuable. There are scary smart parents in this group. They act. That value is what draws families. It's a value which is harder to replicate in other services/programs. Even SPED because no other program/service has such a large cohort under one roof with clearer pathways. You aren't alone in this battle. That's what I found and am appreciative of that.

Almost there
Charlie Mas said…
It's funny. Half of the people who hate HCC think that the HC students have it good because they don't have a classroom as diverse as the district and half of the people who hate HCC think the HC students have it bad because they don't have a classroom as diverse as the district.

I will tell you this: I don't see anything like the same animosity dumped on other schools that have demographics similar to HCC.
Anonymous said…
Nobody cares how "diverse" HCC is - or how "enriched" you were by that diversity, or not. Nobody cares that there was somebody from India in one of your kids classes. The only people whining about "diversity" are in HCC, and they seem to be misinformed that the problem is the "diversity". People care that removing the wealth and privilege from the district's schools, for the benefit of the wealth and privilege results in the concentrating of poverty, racial problems, disability, homelessness in other schools - creates unfair disadvantage to many - just to enrich HCC with an easy caseload of best fit. NE mom said it best - "My kid would be OK in my neighborhood school". Right. We'd all like our kids to have a maximizing experience not just those who have advocates. The district should not cater to some at the expense of others. It's the same argument against charters. And there's plenty of animosity dumped on charters - for the exact same reason.

Anonymous said…
Ha! Animosity? Didn't we recently have 100's of posts from HCC parents lamenting the frightful prospect of our gifted children sitting next to African American students for an hour a week for "social studies" in 4th grade at Thurgood Marshall? Oh the injustice of it! I mean - the outrage! Gifted people should NOT, NOT, NOT have to sit next to African Americans unless they are well prepped by the Rainier Scholars organization. The gifted have NOTHING whatsoever to learn about any social studies issues. Fair is fair. That's what we want for our kids. In order to learn with my kid - you have to pass the tests like our kids did. Run the gauntlet. And if your social situation precludes your ability to pass the tests - then you should sign up for Rainier Scholars if you're good enough for that. In a few years - maybe you'll get there. We wouldn't want any "animosity" dumped on our HCC children.

Anonymous said…
If we had true AL options at all schools, HCC would be much smaller. Reading through these comments makes me glad we went private for elementary and middle school.

Anonymous said…
@ 2%Not20, your comments don't make any sense.

The only people whining about "diversity" are in HCC. Huh? That's so far off base it's funny.

People care that removing the wealth and privilege from the district's schools, for the benefit of the wealth and privilege results in the concentrating of poverty, racial problems, disability, homelessness in other schools - creates unfair disadvantage to many. Huh? The concentration of poverty, "racial problems" (?), disability and homelessness in other schools is because of HCC? So you mean if all these HCC kids went back to their neighborhood schools, these disparities would be solved? Nope. Most of them would go back to their low FRL, low homeless, and not-so-diverse schools, and very few of them would return to those high-poverty, high homeless, high minority schools. The problems would still be there, it's just that now instructional delivery would just be that much harder because there'd be another group of students with different needs to address. Oops.

We'd all like our kids to have a maximizing experience not just those who have advocates. That's probably true, but I don't see your point. For one, it's not just HCC kids who have advocates. And two, it's not about having a "maximizing experience"--it's about having an opportunity to learn. All kids deserve that. Some kids require a different placement in order to have that opportunity. But here's a news flash--HCC doesn't provide maximizing experiences to everyone anyway, so you can rest easy.

The district should not cater to some at the expense of others. True, but who do you think the district is catering to? I don't see signs that it's catering to anyone (aside from highly paid administrators), and especially not HCC families. The most likely candidate for who the district is catering to? The GE population. Our curricula are designed for the "average" student, our teachers are trained to deal with the average student, our standards are based on the average student, our schools are designed with the average student in mind, etc. The bulk of our education system is designed to meet the needs of the typical student. Why should the district cater to them? Not fair!

better how?
Anonymous said…
Of course people dump animosity on children. People shouldn't do it, but they do.

It's kinda hard to get through schooling without being tested and measured. People are sorted through personal choice and impersonal metrics all the time. People make judgement. It's hard to escape that. Teachers hand out grades and test students to see what they know and don't know. Strangers look at you and may make a quick assessment without any personal interaction.

I understand and agree current set up unfairly burden general ed classes. SPS has large class sizes and little support in the classroom. Teachers find it hard to manage and teach when there are many competitive needs in the classroom. That was the argument against spectrum. We gave the non spectrum thing a go, and it was ok until the school got a new principal and some teachers didn't want to have ability groups. Face with repeats of subjects and no wiggle room to accommodate, we chose to move.

If HCC disappears, then what? Get rid of Rainier Scholars too? I'm not sure that will make everyone the same. Short of taking people's children away from their homes and put them in a boarding school from birth till 18, you are going to get the home/parental influence. There are innate qualities which make people individuals. Should we suppress that too? Obviously, all this is outlandish. That's not what I think people want.

If we get rid of HCC completely, what then? Should we just let students self select what they want to study from grade 3-12? I'm open to that idea. How does that work? Will that get better results with the way SPS operates? Or will student self selection leads to the same quagmire we face now?

You tell me.

Almost there

Anonymous said…

reader those are pretty strong words coming from some that supports sps' sponsored co-op with small class sizes and very limited diversity. and as always your words were cogent and false. nothing shiny about lowell, wms, lincoln and tm. how about the districts constant lies those are a lot fun too. we all suffer from them but we get the largest share. look at ne seattle kids getting decatur when they were promised wp. split classes and large numbers of kids in classroom is what you get at hcc.

you want to look at disparity look at the language immersion option schools. that is segregation, hcc is not just a good policy to support the needs which the state mandates the district do.


Anonymous said…

oh and reader of all the kids i know that are in private here in seattle DID NOT qualify for the app/hcc services even with private testing.

and 2% take that punctuation test, please. and you really should also stop the dribble. so transparent and so hate filled.

sps is trying its best to smother hcc but they know they have no choice as they can't afford to close it down. imagine all those kids who going back to those shiney new schools. look at meany opening next year in the middle of wms's zone. if half of the hcc kids switch to meany, and they could, you will have the upwards to 80% frl based on their gerrymandered zones. ouch. try running a music program then let alone any program. hcc is the ballast that keeps the uss sps sailing. so no eight grade, reader and well we know who you are hcc is here to stay in it's ever diminishing capacity.

GIlded said…
Yeah, I have to agree with nc. Private schools are filled with a lot of rich kids for sure. But not by any means the brightest kids in Seattle. Some bright kids in private school, but money doesn't always equal brains and vice versa. Look at Trump. Country Day actually requires you to redshirt your kid (presumably to make the extra year's worth of money?), so even if you have an HC kid, they would force them to repeat a year of school. So silly. And Evergreen has been slowly but surely removing the word "gifted" from their name and all their descriptions of what they do. They also pretty much require you to ge the kid in for preschool in order to gain admission to the school (again, a way of making an extra year's worth of money from rich parents). At one of the private schools we visited the kids were just sitting there like obedient sheep. That is sooo not the behavior of many gifted kids. See the chart below and you'll see that a lot of the wealthy private schools have populations of well-to-do bright children, not necessarily gifted ones:

Imagine, though, if only a tiny fraction of all the money all those wealthy familiars are pouring into private schools were going into the public schools in this district. Just imagine. Sigh.
Anonymous said…
I am for starting HCC at 3rd grade and eliminating kindergarten, first and 2nd grade HCC. Teachers can differentiate instruction easier in the early grades, and frankly - alot of the differences in school abilities have levelled out by 3rd grade. This could save money on the program and still keep it going and serving kids in the years that they will have the greatest benefit from it.
Anonymous said…
@ NW mom, I disagree strongly. In our experience teachers did a much worse job differentiating in the early years, primarily because older students can work with more independence whereas younger students require much more personal attention to work on something else. Teachers in the early grades tended to break kids into two groups: those working below grade level (who thus needed a lot of time and attention to catch up), and those working at level (who got the basics, enough to stay on track). Those working above grade level were rarely identified since the materials weren't designed to capture that, and even if they were id'd, there were only 2 groups anyway.

In older grades, teachers could at least send advanced kids off to work on their own. They didn't get much actual instruction, but at least they didn't have to do the boring work they already know. Sometimes learning nothing feels better than repeating what you already know, at least to a kid.

Oh, and if the differences often level off by 3rd grade as you suggest, maybe it's that lack of differentiation in the early years that explains why. If we want to take an approach of intentionally not challenging advanced kids in K-2 so that others can catch up, let's be clear about it. And if that's the case, let's also let kids opt out. My kids would have been much happier skipping school for K-2, and they would have been plenty able to keep up starting in grade 3. If we're so concerned about disparities, why not start those who need more help earlier--give them more years of free education. Then again, think how much kids would learn over those K-2 years if they didn't have to spend time in school!

Charlie Mas said…
NwMom wrote: "alot of the differences in school abilities have levelled out by 3rd grade."

Do you have data to support this belief? I ask because everything I have ever read suggests that the academic achievement gap doesn't narrow, but widens over time.
Lynn said…

Yes, I'm interested to see the data that shows both achievement and cognitive ability level out by the end of second grade.

The only way to spend less money on educating highly capable children is to keep them out of school. "The program" doesn't cost the district any more than general education and costs less than option schools.

The district receives funds from the state to educate our children - not to warehouse them in neighborhood schools for three years before they're given an opportunity to learn.
Andy said…
I think NwMom might be conflating "advanced learning" and "HCC."

Teachers can and should be differentiating for the vast majority of kids in K-2 classrooms at all elementary schools in Seattle. Kids who are a little behind or a little ahead can totally be accommodated. Even the most anti-academic "ALO" school can usually be cajoled into walking a kid to math or providing a book to read at the right reading level for kids who are advanced learners. And for kids who are below benchmark, but closing in on benchmark.

I think a huge part of the confusion in this whole conversation is that many people don't have experience with what kids who are more than 2 standard deviations outside the norm for academic capacity look like. Either above mean or below. Kids that far from "average" are rare. In an elementary school with 400 kids, there might only be about 8 HC kids, spread between all the grade levels.

In a city this size it just doesn't make sense not to cohort those kids and meet their needs somehow, somewhere. It doesn't cost more and it prevents them from being disruptive in the gen ed classroom.

The needs of advanced learners, however, should be being met in gen ed classrooms at every school in the city. The fact that they're not is a travesty.
Try Harder said…
"School abilities have leveled out by 3rd grade" ???????? What you talking about?????

So, you're saying that there's no difference in the school ability between all the kids in the graduating class at any given high school? In UW's graduating class? All kids have identical abilities? In all subjects? So it would follow then that all adults have level abilities? At math? With foreign languages? At playing basketball? At singing? Everyone can write just as well as everyone else? WTH? Have you looked around at the world?

You think those pro sports players just try really hard? That if I just tried harder maybe I could play for the Seahawks? WTH?
Anonymous said…
bo nwmom is saying keep your kid in my kids classroom so there is one more body and less demand on the teacher... if they only knew how wrong that is.

Lori said…
The comment about starting HCC at 3rd grade helped me stumble across this excellent presentation from the Northwest Gifted Child Association earlier this year. The whole thing is good, but germane to that point, start with the section on "Social Life" and read through to the end.

The ages of 4-9 are critical for a child to learn and practice social skills, and when a child is developing asynchronously (as most gifted kids are), lack of access to appropriate peers can hinder social development. As this presentation says, by 4th or 5th grade, it's harder to "repair" the lack of socialization, and social isolation can even worsen for the gifted kid at that point.

I would be devastated on the behalf of parents with young gifted kids in preschool today if SPS ever got rid of 1st grade HCC. I saw the program literally change my child's social and emotional health in the primary grades. She went from having a flat affect and wondering what the point of childhood was as a first grader to making friends and loving school once we moved her for 2nd grade. It was beyond my hopes and dreams that the intervention would be that effective, but it was.

Access to gifted education at all grades is a clinical intervention for some children. We cannot lose it.


Anonymous said…
mc, I think you mean "drivel" not dribble, which has meaning in the basketball but doesn't describe communication. As usual, your malapropisms precede you. And so right. The music programs have to be key for HCC, it would simply be a huge waste if HCC didn't have an awesome music program, it's their birthright. I mean, have African Americans ever been good at jazz? Maybe one of the 2 black students in Cascadia will be in the jazz band.

Fix the Excellence Gap! said…
No SPS elementary school has a jazz band. You're delusional.

Look, if you enjoy Aryan wealth porn, visit the option schools. Visit the wealthy neighborhood schools. You know, the ones with the 2+ million dollar mansions. You'll get an eyeful. They are whiter and richer than the HCC programs.

You know what would actually help gifted kids of color in this city?
• If there were more teachers of color. They are scientifically more likely to correctly identify gifted kids of color.
• If all teachers in the state had any kind of training in what giftedness is and isn't.
• If SPS used culturally sensitive identification protocols (they don't)
• If kids of color had early and continuous access to high-end curriculum for talent development (they don't)
• If kids of color were given essential supports, including help in developing psycho-social strategies (SPS does not)
• If SPS established effective home, school and community connections (they don't)
• If SPS encouraged appeals from underrepresented groups in advanced learning (they don't)
• If SPS mined assessment data to look for patterns of of performance that indicate upward trajectories and rapid growth and improvement. (I'm pretty darn sure they don't)
• Create partnerships with local higher ed institutions or community organizations to provide more comprehensive services such
as internships and mentorships to students and augment students’ social networks with supportive adults and peers.
• Create a school culture that values and rewards intellectualism and academic achievement in all students.
• Provide multicultural training (e.g., racial, geo- graphical, socioeconomic) to all educational staff focused on eliminating deficit thinking.
• Increase the amount of recess time and time to eat lunch that kids have as both improve learning outcomes.

SPS is pretty much flaming out on all of these. Which is a huge disservice to our entire society. The next Niel deGrasse Tyson and Mae Jemison are out there right now and SPS is boring them out of their minds.
Reader, again, making comments about children is unworthy of anyone. Please do not do it.

As for jazz, there was an article in the Times, probably a decade ago, about how the Garfield Jazz Band didn't have a single African-American student in it. What it got chalked up to were two influences. One, that many well-off students' parents were able to provide private lessons in the lower grades AND if they came from Eckstein or Washington (which have superior music education), they would flow into Garfield or Roosevelt.

The other reason given by black students in the article was the rise of hip-hop and rap with fewer students interested in jazz.

Fix the Excellence Gap! first, only two-word names allowed, please.

Second, this "Aryan wealth porn" skirts very close to the edge. Please watch your words and tone.

Otherwise, good suggestions.

I will be writing a post soon about Advanced Learning but the number of things it gets blamed for - and the students and their parents who are in it - is astonishing.

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