Friday Open Thread

Congrats to Coe's Peter Fleisher who was picked for the AAA School Safety Patrol Hall of Fame this year.

From SPS Communications:
Advanced Learning Referral Window Open May 15 - Sept. 22, 2017
Advanced Learning referrals for the 2018-19 school year of students currently in kindergarten through 7 grade will be accepted online beginning Monday, May 15. 
Paper forms in nine languages will be available online and at schools.
Eligibility testing for the 2018-19 school year begins in September 2017.
Applications for students in grades 9 through 12 will be available in January 2018.
Complete information and referral forms can be found on our Advanced Learning webpage.

Seattle Public Schools is excited to announce South Seattle College (SSC) is expanding their 13th Year Promise Scholarship program to students at West Seattle High School.
SSC’s 13th Year Promise Scholarship is a program dedicated to increasing access to higher education for our community’s students, particularly those from underrepresented groups such as students of color, low-income students, and first-generation college students.
Since 2008, the program has grown to serve more than 500 graduates from Cleveland, Chief Sealth, Rainier Beach, and now West Seattle High School. With support from the City of Seattle, SSC is now planning to expand their 13th Year Promise Scholarship, through their sister colleges, Seattle Central and North Seattle, to one high school in Central Seattle and one high school in North Seattle in the 2017-18 school year.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos gave a commencement speech at a traditionally black college this week with semi-disasterous results.  A few students booed, many got up and turned their backs on her speech and the president of the university had to come to the microphone to threaten students.
Critics of Ms. DeVos pointed to missteps from the outset of her tenure: from her office’s misspelling the name of W.E.B. DuBois in an attempted tribute, to a statement she issued calling segregation-era historically black colleges and universities “pioneers of school choice.”
Next up, a really safe choice for Trump to give a commencement speech tomorrow morning - Liberty University, the ultra-conservative Christian university in Virginia.  Wonder if like most things he talks about, he makes the speech about himself.

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said…
So there are literally two weeks of school for incoming kindergartners (2.5 for the rest of the kids) before the referral window for advanced learning closes for the following year.

That's...insane. What if you don't know or your kid wasn't overly exposed in preschool and they catch on super quickly? What if you move here from out of town? How could this type of window possibly improve any equity issues since the teachers will barely know the kids names, and will have nearly zero insight into how kindergartners in particular will perform during the year?

NE Parent
Jet City mom said…
They should screen everyone, but perhaps during the early dismissal week in November.
Anonymous said…
You have to wonder if they want kids moving to HCC in 1st grade (or at all) based on this policy. It clearly aligns with their timeline, not the timeline in the classroom.

Fix AL
Anonymous said…
It is beyond shameful that university students show so much disrespect for someone they disagree with. Many kids are being taught to have no tolerance for opposing opinions, rather to shout them down and use ad hominem attacks. They also have no respect for people in office or authority and no respect for the freedom of speech.

Kudos to that university dean who threatened the graduating class that they would stop the ceremony and mail their diplomas to them if they could not be respectful to the speaker.

We should be teaching our kids to respect those in authority and to respect the right of people they disagree with to speak freely, because otherwise democracy is not possible. If we assume the right to shout down anyone we disagree with, we take away the rights of everyone else to peaceful assembly and free speech.

Is mob rule really what we want to teach our young people?

I'm not sure it's just disagreement; it's that someone has been put in high office that is not qualified.

And fyi, colleges and universities DO mail the diplomas. No one gets the real one on stage.

Respect authority sure but when you are a young adult and going out into the world, I think you get to challenge that authority.

AS well, we just elected a guy as President who is the head of mob rule in this country. What's he teaching young people?
Anonymous said…
What respect should any of us have for "people in office or authority"? Maybe for specific individuals in office or authority, because they've earned our trust, but certainly not because they are in office or authority. The people who get there seem to be the worst among us. The true "beyond shameful" belongs to the supposed adults who should be our shining examples--our leaders--who are proving daily to be lying, cheating, name-calling people who are only interested in advancing their own wealth. They diminish education by taunting anyone who has a complex thought as an "elitist". They rule by jingoism.

The top justice official in the nation lied to Congress under oath. There is no true justice if everyone in the system can lie with impunity. Why should any witness tell the truth, or any police officer, if the AG and president can lie their way to the top?

On top of it all, and I think insult to injury for young people of color in our nation, is that the people of this country elected (not by popular vote, but elected nonetheless) a crass, name calling, pvssy-grabbing braggart, who foments racism. He put into place an attorney general who not only lied under oath, but who has a record of suppressing the black vote. The students' disagreement with DeVos and Trump is not a simple disagreement over policy. It's a disagreement over the value of people of color.

I don't expect the students to show more decorum than one would ever expect from the current president. I think it's a major insult to them and all they've worked for to expect them to fold their hands politely and listen to DeVos, who is not qualified for her position and who represents a president who is hostile to black Americans.

A fish rots from the head down.

Eric B said…
Loyalty to country always. Loyalty to government when it deserves it.

--Mark Twain

I don't necessarily condone protesting DeVos, but she has certainly made plenty of enemies in the HBCU community. I don't really understand why she was invited, but there you go.
Po3 said…
The current admin is beyond shameful and every one of us should be standing up and letting our voices be heard---every chance we get---until the day they are all led out in handcuffs.
Anonymous said…
Neither Trump nor any of his administration deserve our respect. After all, he set the tone of disrespect when he insisted that Barak Obama was not a US citizen. It is beyond tiring to hear the 'pubs clamor for respect when it suits them. asdf and Po3 hit the nail on the head. When citizens become afraid to speak out - the US becomes an autocracy. Those students should be congratulated for refusing to participate in what appears to be a cynical publicity stunt.
Why would the president of the University have DeVos give the commencement speech at a historically black college after Trump threatened to eliminate funding for historically black colleges? And after DeVos made it clear she did not understand the origins of the historically black colleges. Kudos to the students for booing and the president of the University should issue an apology for ruining their graduation. Why would anyone not condone the students protesting this mockery.
This is a president who will retaliate against anything that he does not like, does not agree with or feels threatened by. Presently, though perhaps not for long, we live in a country where the president can be criticized. It seems like some of our citizens would be more comfortable in Russia where a dose of radiation, or a bullet can silence dissenters who don't show the proper respect.

Andrew said…
Opening the Advanced Learning referral window in May is one of the kindest, most sensible, humane things SPS had done in a long time. Now, teachers have almost a full school year to get to know their students before this question comes up. Teachers can then recommend that parents/guardians nominate students they think might benefit from AL programs. The way it used to work parents/guardians were supposed to nominate students after about 2 weeks in school. Which was insane. The teachers just didn't know the students well enough after only a couple of weeks of school to give the parents/guardians rational advice.

This will help more students who need AL service be identified and receive the educational services they need to thrive. Great work, SPS!

Anonymous said…
Have to say -- I am on the side of asdf and AngryAmericanCitizen. It was made VERY clear to the administration that the students did not want Ms. DeVos to be their speaker. Petitions were signed, arguments were made (and ignored). The students did NOT want to turn their graduation into a political event, nor were they willing to be a smiling Trump administration backdrop for what was essentially a PR stunt. One of the students is quoted by NBC as saying:

"It's more so the university that we have an issue with at the fact that they brought her to our celebration," Bomani said. "It wasn't time for them to make a political decision on our behalf, it was a time to celebrate us." That is absolutely spot on.

At one point, Betsy DeVos, attempting to get control of the situation, says: "And while we will undoubtedly disagree at times, I hope we can do so respectfully," she said. "Let's choose to hear each other out." This was not a campus debate with a Q and A after a talk. Where, in a graduation speech is there any "ability to hear" more than the side of the speaker. To expect those young adults to sit there respectfully choking down the words of a woman whose entire intent is inimical to their well being is preposterous -- and to make their GRADUATION day, of all things, a paean to the Trump administration?

The administration did this to suck up to the Department of Ed dollars. Jackson basically admits it. "We're always about the business of making new friends," Jackson told reporters before the speech. "If you don't have friends, it's very difficult to raise money. Her department controls roughly 80 percent of Title IV money and grants, so why wouldn't we want to make friends? Is it illogical to talk about making new friends?" Gah! To turn the graduation of these kids into a political fundraiser was wrong and inexcusable. Frankly, I think that their board of trustees should consider whether Jackson has the requisite judgment to keep her position.

Anonymous said…
"HBCUs are real pioneers when it comes to school choice."

Coming from the sister of one Eric Prince, pioneer of mercenary soldier choice.

These people are too easy to waste time on here. They are so easy that anyone with an ounce of decency is appalled.

The selling out of the the graduates of Bethune-Cookman by the president is tragic but not surprising.

Education types are often political wannabes who curry favor with whomever they deem to be a ticket up the ladder.

BTW, Eric B--don't condone protesting this woman? What other choice were they given in order to maintain integrity? Sit there quietly and wait for their name to be called?

Anonymous said…
Appalled by Trump and Devos? Work to desegregate your childrens' schools and "programs".

Here's another "enlightened" and "liberal" populous who is anti-Trump but can't bring themselves to actually do the right thing.

It's easier to complain against Trump and Devos than to put your money where your mouth is. That glaring hypocrisy is a big reason he won.

Anonymous said…
@FWIW-many good points in The NY Times article. Seattle supposedly has a lottery system for all option schools other than the gifted program, but it appears ala Stevens/Madrona (and other less publicized examples) that we are moving in the same direction as NY:
"Others apply vague entrance criteria that leave a room for arbitrariness."

The Districts surrounding Seattle manage their choice system in a much more transparent and equitable fashion.

How does Everett manage choice? Their Superintendent has made serious progress towards closing the opportunity gap. I'm curious how they manage their choice and gifted programs.

Fix AL
Watching said…

Great piece about a Franklin High student that found success in Seattle Public Schools.

Thanks to all those that work incredibly hard to provide students with a wonderful public school education!
Anonymous said…
FWIW-- This article points to segregation based upon race. Yes there was redlining in the past that led to housing patterns we see today. Also, many immigrant groups (including certain white ethnic) in the US could only live in certain neighborhoods. But it could also be written about continuing segregation based upon class. Socio-economics is what separates all of us in the US. Our neighborhoods in this country continue to be segregated based upon not redlining, but class and this affects people of diverse backgrounds, including whites and white ethnic groups as well.
Linda said…

That was a great piece about the the Franklin High graduate. So great to hear stories from students who have successfully navigated the local education scene and had time to reflect on its strengths and weaknesses. Thanks for posting!
Anonymous said…
To all the wonderful school nurses (and admins):


Anonymous said…
@ FWIW, are you suggesting we have something like the NY system here? The article makes it sound like one of the big problems there is due to the application process for high schools, whereby students have to apply and meet various criteria to qualify for desirable schools. Their "choice" system is not based on lottery (or tiebreakers like siblings, etc.) like we have here, so it seems pretty different in many key ways.

Our disparities seem to be more based on the impact of economic disparities across neighborhoods, which are reflected in the NSAP. Fighting against the NSAP might help address some of those concerns, although it would likely create others.

Anonymous said…
correction: Devos' brother's name Erik Prince, not Pence.

Freudian slip on villains.

Eric B said…
FWIW, I honestly don't know what to recommend. I'm not a fan of booing because it leads to knee-jerk reactions about disrespect. The students have very good reasons not to respect DeVos, but by booing, I think they become the villains of the news cycle. Standing and turning one's back is probably the best option to register disapproval without trying to drown out the speaker.
Anonymous said…
FWIW-- Regarding your comment about desegregation and link to the NY times artice ""

As one reader of the NY times article had commented " The same thing BTW is happening to poor white children in the middle of the country". This is a class issue that affects kids of all races.
Anonymous said…

Agreed. However, in large cities like NY and Seattle, the intersection between poverty and race is much more prevalent, which is one of the reasons the numbers in these types of urban schools are so segregated by race. The other is the lingering effects of redlining.

Given the history of segregated by race schools in the USA and Brown v. Board of Education, it's especially ugly to witness this avoidable re-segregation.
Anonymous said…
Hi Eric: I am ordinarily not a fan of booing either. I am the person who sits silently hunched in the stands at events when crowds boo glaringly bad referee results; I wanted the UW to provide a forum for the repellant Milo Yannoupolis, because free speech means suffering the political expressions of really awful viewpoints. But this wasn't just any event. Essentially, SHE crashed THEIR graduation (yes, I know -- invited by the clueless administration). When a substantial portion of a senior class expressly tells their administration that they are not "on board" with having their graduation speaker be one of the most polarizing, disliked education secretaries EVER -- a woman whose incompetence and stated political positions resulted in her confirmation to her position ONLY because the Vice President cast an historic tie breaking vote to get her in -- I am not terribly inclined to split hairs over whether they should have just stood and turned their backs (though I admit -- to my "non-booing heart, doing so en masse would have, to me, have been VERY damning, and VERY classy -- ). As it happened, they didn't ask the Miss Manners of protest speech (whoever that may be -- certainly isn't me) for advice. I am just grateful to them that they were willing to risk the disapproval of the school and the federal government to make their point -- and that they did so non violently. And I guess I have to concede -- given how clueless and dismissive both the Dept of Ed and the college administration were, if the students hadn't been fairly blatant, I think the protest would have been "papered over" as not having even happened. That "alternative facts" thing.

Anonymous said…
Also, another reason is that white parents often choose more segregated schools, using race as a proxy, when given a choice (especially affluent whites), as more and research into this issue is finding:

Anonymous said…

Could anybody parse the schedule listed in this URL?

It's completely unclear - what days are free, what days are early release.

Anonymous said…
@FWIW, that "race as a proxy" statement is a bit of a stretch. The article says (bold added):

Neighborhood racial diversity is also influenced by the factors that families, with and without children, consider when selecting where to live. Families with children appear more concerned about what school district their neighborhood is linked to, and they may even consider race as a factor, Owens said.

"White parents may be avoiding school districts where black and Latino children live because they use racial composition as a proxy for quality of a school and a neighborhood," she said.

Or...they may look at ACTUAL DATA on the quality of a school instead of using something silly like race as a proxy.

Whenever we're considering a move, we look for the school- and district-specific reports. Do we look for schools that have very high test scores? Yes. Does that mean they are in more white neighborhoods? Maybe, I don't know. Probably. But I'm not sure, because I'm looking, first and foremost, at academics. My children's schools need to provide plenty of advanced courses and opportunities for work beyond standard grade level expectations, and the reality is that schools in less diverse neighborhoods often don't meet those criteria. I don't ONLY look at academics, but it's #1 by far. #2 is probably school culture. One of those militaristic style schools, for example, would not work for us.

The Atlantic article had to do with parents choosing to avoid a high-poverty school or not. It's unclear that race had anything to do with it. Later in the article it says:

“Rich districts are being created, and leaving middle-to-poor districts behind,” said Ann Owens, a sociologist at the University of Southern California, citing research she conducted with Sean Reardon of Stanford University and Christopher Jencks of Harvard. Students in some of the richest districts score four grade levels above their peers in the poorest districts..."

Huh. So maybe parents are choosing based on academics?

As for the Slate article, preferences for similarity weren't limited to whites.

Across race and class, a middle-school parent was 12 percent more likely to choose a school where his child’s race made up 20 percent of the study body, compared with a school with similar test scores where his child’s race made up only 10 percent of the study body.

They were looking at a district that was only 9 percent white, too. It's interesting to take a quote from that Science Daily article and apply it to this Slate article, in a whole different context, too: "Minority parents also may evaluate schools differently than white parents and prefer schools where their children are not the minority," Owens wrote. Maybe whites do that to some extent when they are the minority, too?


Anonymous said…
race is a proxy is paraphrased from the Science Daily article summary:

Race appears to be a 'proxy' for school quality for many white families with children as they decide where and in which school districts they want to live, suggests a new report.

I was sharing some research into the topic to show that this is definitely a current area of study. You might want to write to the researchers and/or reporters to voice your concerns about conflicts. I did not write the articles.

Many of the people interviewed "self report" a certain motivation, but the researchers uncover other realities. Not surprising, considering.


Anonymous said…
@ FWIW, it may be paraphrased from the summary, but the article doesn't fully back it up. You're the one that chose to promote that language here though, so to just try pass it roff as "well, the article says so" is a little beneath you.

Anonymous said…
What I'm "promoting" is the fact that an increasing body of research is pointing to the fact that white parents, especially liberal white highly educated parents, are choosing segregated schools even when the variable for quality has been controlled.

I was rushing earlier when I paraphrased the article to give a quick synopsis. In fact, "proxy" might actually be too generous an attribution for what is happening.

Here are a few more articles that offer more research about the topic:

I'm sure if you google, you can find plenty more.

Anonymous said…
75 minutes!?!? I just got Nyland's letter and now the early release weekly is 75 minutes!!?!

And from his tone I'm thinking the vocal HS (athletics jobs) might get their way and it's staying 2 tiers. Wow.

Mag mom
Anonymous said…
Ugh it's early. meant to say...

Vocal HS parents

3 tiers


Mag mom
Anonymous said…
FWIW-- Anecdotally I have an extremely impoverished mostly "white" niece, who comes from multi generational poverty (teen parents), who took her kids out of a middle class public school. She put her kids in a different school where there were "other parents who could relate to the fact her husband is in jail". She felt uncomfortable around the middle class parents.

I also know whites who send their kids to predominately Asian affluent public schools. I think people strongly identify just as strongly with each other based upon class. Do you disagree?
Anonymous said…
@ FWIW, "...even when the variable for quality has been controlled"? I don't see that in the articles you cited (although working with only abstracts in some cases is problematic). One of the new abstracts did include this, though:

"Moreover, many forms of choice also segregate students by ability and achievement levels."

That suggests to me that parents may be choosing based on differences in things like test scores, curricula, access to more advanced work, etc. it does NOT sound like controlling for quality.

Anonymous said…
"As for the Slate article, preferences for similarity weren't limited to whites.
Across race and class, a middle-school parent was 12 percent more likely to choose a school where his child’s race made up 20 percent of the study body, compared with a school with similar test scores where his child’s race made up only 10 percent of the study body. "
Does anyone think that "culture" also plays a part in how people of all races (not just white) choose schools? Anecdotally again, I have a black friend who chose to send her kids to Franklin over Garfield because "Garfield is gentrified".
Anonymous said…
Our kid is in a private middle school that is over 40% children of color. (K-5 at SPS, and not a single AA student in any of her classes.) Her school has a social justice curriculum and goes deep on issues of race and privilege. They purposely build a diverse class, pulling from elementary schools all over the city; many of the kids get financial aid. People FWIW might assume don't want their kids going to school with non-white kids are beating a path to this school trying to get in. The racial diversity is a big draw, but the big thing is it is a QUALITY school. My experience is that when all other things are equal (quality), racial and economic diversity come in as positive factors when evaluating a school.

Anonymous said…
20 extra minutes 4x per week, less 75 minute early release = 5 extra minutes for students + a complete disruption of schedules + super late release times for MS/HS + unusually early starts for ES

plain lousy
Anonymous said…
The thing about research is that it helps put the power of anecdotes to rest.

"The proportion of black students in a hypothetical school has a consistent and significant inverse association with the likelihood of white parents enrolling their children in that school net of the effects of the included racial proxy measures. In addition, higher levels of pro-white stereotype bias further inhibit enrollment, particularly in schools with higher proportions of black students."
Anonymous said…
"Analysis of the 1996 National Household Education Survey shows that the racial composition of schools plays an important role in the schooling choices of highly educated whites. As the per cent black in a residential area increases, whites are more likely to select alternative, higher-percentage-white schooling for their children. Importantly, this effect is amplified for highly educated whites (but not highly educated blacks)."

Anonymous said…
@ plain lousy, it's an extra 25 min. The 75-minute early release comes off that same 20-min-longer schedule, so you have to "add" that 20 minutes to all 5 days before then subtracting the 75 from the one. Overall, we're looking at 20 min longer days 4x/wk, and the early release day is 55 min shorter than now, 75 min shorter than the new "extended" day.

But yes, it's still lousy.

Anonymous said…
@ FWIW, nobody is disputing the correlation. But you are suggesting causation/intent, when the articles are not necessarily making that case. Are those whites picking those schools because they are more white, or because they offer the academics they are looking for? Like I keep saying, that information is not evident in the work you are citing.

For example, from a full-text version of your recent link:

"As the percentage black in the surrounding area increases, the percentage black in public schools also increases. Those who are uncomfortable with the percentage black in schools, for whatever reason, will likely select alternative schooling, at least insofar as they are able."

Uncomfortable with the percentage black? Seriously? Did they actually ask that, or are they just assuming that's why they must be selecting another school? The "for whatever reason" portion of that statement is not necessarily at all related to discomfort with the racial makeup.

Statistically, as the percentage black in public schools increases, school quality is lower--not because of the racial composition, of course, but because of all sorts of other factors, such as income disparities, racial discrimination, housing patterns, teacher experience levels, PTA resources, etc.

Anonymous said…
Highly educated whites, like others, make decisions about schooling and residence within a particular structure of status hierarchies. These hierarchies link educational and neighborhood and school status, and negatively relate minority presence with status. Education does not free people from this structure. In fact, education increases people’s investment in status hierarchies, and their ability to successfully negotiate them.

Anonymous said…
FWIW-- Academix makes great points which cannot be ignored. "Across Race and Class".... The research does not indicate "white ethnic groups" are any more inclined to make those decisions more than any other race or ethnic group.

Academic outcomes is the most important draw for highly educated people of any race. Many highly educated whites send their kids to racially and ethnically diverse schools across the nation. To ignore that fact is .....ignoring facts and research.
Anonymous said…
In my childhood school district, one school (that I attended) was only a small percentage white (single digit). That school hadn't been updated in 30 years. Books were falling apart and talked about Soviet countries that no longer existed. Field trips were nonexistent and "zero tolerance" was the buzz word. I could go on.

Across town was a virtually all-white, brand-new school. My parents actively looked for house in that zone, so I could attend the school with the leading band program and new instruments, but weren't able. I survived and made friends, but there's no question the school itself was worse. My parents would have made a different choice if possible, and it had nothing to do with being uncomfortable.

Anonymous said…

They "argue that because education is a form of status, it does not increase the likelihood that Americans choose to live in integrated neighborhoods, or send their children to more integrated primary and secondary schools. Rather, identities formed through higher education lead to greater concern for status-enhancing strategies in residential and schooling decisions."

Ok, yeah. Basically they are saying that being highly educated tends to mean you value education highly, and that you seek out good schools for your kids. That doesn't make you racist.

Being highly educated also tends to mean you are of higher income, so you might seek out more expensive houses, too, since you can afford them. That also doesn't make you racist.

Their argument is pretty subjective, not necessarily supported by the data they present. For example, the abstract contains this: "Both the structure of status hierarchies in the United States, in which race becomes a measure of school and neighborhood status..." But where are the data that show that people use race as a measure of school status??? They ASSUME that must be what's going on, because they don't control for school quality.

So let me get this straight. It's racist for a white person to pick a high scoring school that happens to be predominantly white, but it would not be racist for them to choose a lower performing school in order to get a desirable racial mix? And the reverse is perhaps true for minorities--for whom picking a high scoring school is a more enlightened attitude, since it might make their kid a minority?

Academix, I see all your points. I would add that I seem to be reading more that because white parents choose (and have the ability to choose) schools that perform better that they are instrumental in the low-performance of other schools and, of course, continue segregated schools.

Meaning, white parents could help to end segregation AND make better schools for all kids if they did not choose where to live based on schools with better academic outcomes (if that is their primary motivator).

It comes back to that idea that PTA funds should have a distribution point after a certain level of fundraising. It's not enough to support your own child's school - you should be thinking of that fundraising as raising money for other schools.

Is that fair? Is that a kind of shaming (you don't care about poorer children in your own child's district)? Or, can we ask more of parents because of real or perceived privilege? Is it not enough to take care of your own child?

I can put up a separate thread soon on this topic if readers want that.
Anonymous said…
"We use data from a survey-based experiment we designed to test ‘‘pure race’’ and ‘‘racial proxy’’ hypotheses regarding parents’ enrollment preferences. We also use a measure of pro-white stereotype bias, both alone and in combination with school racial composition (percentage black). Using logistic regression analysis, we find support for the ‘‘pure race’’ hypothesis.

Even so, as previous research (e.g., Emerson et al.
2001) has found with regard to neighborhood pref-
erences, these proxy factors exist alongside the
clear effect of racial composition on the likelihood
of white parents sending their children to a school.

Patterns of racial segregation reflect, among other
factors, self-selection (particularly among white
families) into more homogeneous schools."


Owl said…
Ok, FWIW. I read the article. It was interesting, but also kind of not helpful of them to just ignore hispanic, asian, mixed race and native american students and focus only on black and white students. Hard to have a conversation about race when you ignore most of the races.

They write in their conclusion: Given the constraints school districts face (largely as a result of the Supreme Court’s decisions in Milliken v. Bradley and Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1) in using race as a factor in devising student assignment policies, school districts are limited in their ability to counteract these types of social closure practices on the part of white parents. (my emphasis)

So, the school district's hands are tied. But luckily Seattle families' hands are not tied. The geozone schools accept everyone in their geozone regardless of race or religion, etc. And the option school are just as easy or hard for students to get into no matter what race the student.

But I think it's naive to assume that the "pure race"/"racial proxy" article applies all that well to the Seattle situation. First of all because we have hispanic, asian, mixed race and native american students, which they failed to take into consideration!

And second of all because families of all races in Seattle face tough decisions in where to send there kids to school. In practical terms, there isn't actually much choice out there. 30% choose private school. Another handful choose to homeschool Beyond that you're guaranteed a spot at your geozone school. And if you want a different geozone school, you are free to move to a different neighborhood. You can apply to a different geozone school, but there's no guarantee you would get in. You can apply to an option school, but there's no guarantee you would get in. You can try to qualify for HCC, but there's no guarantee you would get in. These facts are true for students of any race.

The last thing I read about a family choosing not to attend a Seattle school based on a "pure race" argument was this one about a bi-racial middle-schooler whose family picked Mercer Middle School for her over Washington Middle School, because the gifted program at Washington had too many white and asian students.

We have a lot to fix for the school environments for a lot of black kids in this city. From some of the school buildings themselves to the racial diversity of the teaching staff to the robbed history to the generations of forced labor to institutional racism and skewed testing and on and on. What I would like to see is for us as a city to improve the situations for students who are black. And I don't believe that blaming white families for their educational choices is going to improve much for most black students.

The article you cited did suggest several hopeful strategies:
• improvements to schools can counteract white parents' racial prejudices
• providing substantial renovations to school facilities
• improving test scores
• finding ways to reduce overt, intimidating security measures (is that a thing in Seattle?)
• programs promoting cross-cultural understanding and dialogue and to reduce anti-black sentiment could contribute to a weakening of the resistance to attending more diverse schools

Also "parents who believe whites tend to be superior to blacks" have more "anxiety about heavily black schools." So you know how we can fix that one? We've already got bumper crops of super smart, super successful non-white kids coming out of Seattle high schools. Let's see more of them. Let's help SPS to see that doing the bullet points above will help them meet their goal of equity in a way that assignment and choice can't legally do.
Anonymous said…
Owl-- Not to mention that lumping so many diverse ethnicities together under a "white" heading group is also problematic.
Anonymous said…
The incredible amount of cognitive dissonance here is stunning.

I brought up multiple research articles that clearly demonstrate
that white parents avoid schools and neighborhoods that have "too many" black students.

The housing research is decades old. The school research is newer but is becoming quite prolific as schools have become more segregated.

And it's not just because of the quality of the school. Race has been disaggregated both in terms of housing values and school quality to show that yes, it's also about race.

The focus on black and white is admittedly limited, but essential. Why? Read a history book. HBCUs did not form separate schools because they were into school choice.

Guess what? Seattle school district demographics prove it!

Instead, there have been multiple attempts to dissect the research itself. The themes and major findings are consistent: White parents avoid schools/programs where there are "too many" black kids even when school quality has been controlled.

It is so very easy to blame Trump, Devos, and company.

So much harder to admit that, in action, SPS parents and NY district "liberal"
parents look very hypocritical for a good reason.

Anonymous said…
"programs promoting cross-cultural understanding and dialogue and to reduce anti-black sentiment could contribute to a weakening of the resistance to attending more diverse schools"

BTW, aren't they trying this right now in some of our segregated "programs"? The backlash hasn't been pretty.

Owl said…
What backlash? There's backlash to programs promoting cross-cultural understanding? What backlash?

Seattle doesn't have racially segregated schools. I can't think of a single school in the city that has a racial requirement or is limited to one race. Or excludes anyone based on race. The schools in this city are populated geographically. We have aggregation, but not segregation.
Owl said…
OK, FWIW, if you could have all the white school choosers read one book to enlighten them, what would it be? I've been planning to read Carla Shedd's Unequal City: Race, Schools, and Perceptions of Injustice. Want to read it with me? What book would you pick?
Don't you just love sanctimonious people who love to tell you, over and over, just how hypocritical you are? And don't have the courage to sign their names?

Me, neither.

Anonymous said…
@ FWIW, very little of the research you cited controls for school quality. That's why you posted the most recent article, right? Because the prior articles didn't?

Interesting to note that in the most recent one, when school quality was higher (in the top half of rankings), white parents actually PREFERRED a more balanced mix of white and black rather than a more white-heavy school. The researchers never called attention to that, but it was clear in Figure 1.

It's also interesting that they used such broad (and often extreme) racial breakdowns. For higher quality schools, the likelihood of enrolling did decrease as the percentage of blacks rose above a certain point, but that was the point at which the school was at least 45-60% black (and thus only 20-35% white). As noted in one of the earlier articles, parents tend to prefer a critical mass of students the same race as their kids: Across race and class, a middle-school parent was 12 percent more likely to choose a school where his child’s race made up 20 percent of the study body, compared with a school with similar test scores where his child’s race made up only 10 percent of the study body. Is that racist, or human nature? Regardless, it seems to apply across races, not just whites, who were the target of this last study.

It's also worth noting that the "pure race" construct they report isn't really that at all, but also picks up any other racial proxy factors they haven't broken out specifically. Like income. They haven't been able to tease out race only.

It's pretty clear the authors have a viewpoint to promote, too. Statements like this, for example:

All white parents, on average, responded negatively to an increase in the proportion of black students in a hypothetical school’s student body... ALL white parents, on average? Figure 1 shows it was very clearly NOT all white parents. Not even all groups of white parents. Is it true for some? Of course. It's no surprise that those reporting more racist pro-white attitudes were much less likely to enroll in a school as the percent black increased. But whites are not the only group capable of racist attitudes and behaviors. Don't we always here that that there are people of color who avoid certain SPS schools because they are too white?

Here's another conclusion they reached: For a school with average test scores, average facilities, a heightened security apparatus, and in which 80 percent of students were African American, the probability that a white respondent, even one who did not express pro-white attitudes, would enroll in the school was below 50 percent... Wow, that sounds pretty racist, right? Until you do do the math, that is. If the school is 80 percent white, and 10 percent Asian and 10 percent Hispanic, as given, that makes it ZERO percent white. ACROSS RACE AND CLASS, people tend to try to avoid that.

All this is not to suggest that race isn't, in and of itself, a factor for some people. Surely it is, and this is probably true for all racial groups to some extent. But the articles are not nearly as, for lack of a better term, "black and white" as you present them, and the research is far from perfect.

Anonymous said…
@ FWIW, re: your comment last comment--So much harder to admit that, in action, SPS parents and NY district "liberal" parents look very hypocritical for a good reason--I'm curious what exactly you think a parent would do to not look hypocritical? Drive their kid across town to attend a school with specific demographics, even if it's less convenient, has poorer test scores, and doesn't offer much in the way of a PTA or extracurriculars? I'm genuinely curious.

Anonymous said…
It's actually not that dramatic at all, Academix. Plenty of people in the district are currently working hard on what needs to be done.

Insisting that SPS follow state law and best practices on HC; moving the conversation to PTA funding parity by, at a minimum, doing what neighboring districts do: limit the money in terms of covering FTEs; ensuring that a school doesn't become what was about to happen in the northend. Much more should be done to support the creation of actual option schools, FRL student set aside seats, and some gerrymandering to keep highly impacted FRL schools from needing to exist.

Not rocket science. In fact, many districts in the country (not even in "liberal" cities) are way ahead of Seattle and are already well into implementing these methods.

It may cause some inconvenience and pain. But public schools are, you know, for the good of the republic.

Anonymous said…
@ FWIW, so not really parent things after all, but rather district things.

Re: HCC, let's not rehash this. Most HCC parents agree that increasing diversity in the program is good, provided all students in the program get the support and challenge they need. Efforts toward detracking, however, are contrary to that, so I hope that's not what you're referring to in terms of ongoing hard work in that area. HCC parents themselves don't have much power to effect changes re: HCC, so I'm not sure where the apparent hypocrisy re: HCC is.

Re: PTA funding, I support limits and pooling. Others do, too. Maybe one of our new board candidates will champion that as an equity issue. Or maybe the SCPTSA will take up the idea, or assign each school a sister school for resource sharing purposes--create a little competition, unofficially tying the performance of the high-resource school to that of it's local sister school. There are probably other positive changes that could come out of such a partnership, too. IN the meantime, are you suggesting parents are hypocrites if they donate to their own child's PTA? What if they also donate to orgs that support low income students/families, and/or to other SPS schools?

RE: ensuring that thing in the north end doesn't happen, I'm mystified.

RE: option schools, I don't know enough to see what's the supposed hypocrisy. But do we have enough school capacity to create more option schools, and do we have enough neighborhood schools where we need them now? Creating more option schools seems like a nice idea, but not all that realistic given our enrollment challenges--including the apparent inability of staff to manage things like waiting lists and choice. (Also, don't some option schools already have some FRL set-asides? I thought I saw that when the northend language immersion schools were changed to option schools.)

RE: gerrymandering (aka the neighborhood school assignment plan), the level of gerrymandering required to avoid high FRL schools would likely be considerable, essentially creating a whole new assignment plan. We'd probably need a lot more busing, and there are likely legal issues to figure out. I think if someone could figure out a plan that seems feasible, parents might start to get on board. The current NSAP has increased diversity in some schools, but exacerbated the already high levels of segregation in others. Drawing on success stories (?) from those schools that benefitted from the increased diversity might help sell the benefits of a district-wide school assignment shake-up to others. Then again, all the current vitriol directed, predominantly, at well-off white parents probably hasn't primed the pump for support, so it's hard to say.

I agree there's much the district can do. What's less clear is what exactly individual parents can do to not be labeled hypocrites. Many of us have given up on advocacy in SPS--not because we don't care, but because nothing much changes.


Owl said…

I and so many of the white parents you are constantly accusing of stuff am totally on board with most of your suggested ideas and have been advocating for them myself:

• Insisting that SPS follow state law and best practices on HC Amen!
• moving the conversation to PTA funding parity by, at a minimum, doing what neighboring districts do: limit the money in terms of covering FTEs; yes!
• ensuring that a school doesn't become what was about to happen in the northend. I'm not clear on what you mean about this one
• Much more should be done to support the creation of actual option schools yes!
• FRL student set aside seats, and some gerrymandering to keep highly impacted FRL schools from needing to exist. I support this in principle. But from experience, I have to say the gerrymandering has to be done to everybody or not at all. I totally support a district-wide mandate that would, say, look at the total FRL population of the district and based on that mandate a specific minimum number of FRL seats at every school. I would totally be on board with that. The rich schools need to be gerrymandered, too, if anyone is going to be. Not just the almost-slightly-barely-not-Title-One schools. But it would be pretty easy and maybe legal to assign a minimum FRL threshold for all schools. I'd totally be on board with that.

But notice we didn't need to say a single thing about race to have that discussion.
Khyana said…
Privilege is not feeling the need to pay attention to race when you make school choices.
Anonymous said…
@ Khyana, that doesn't make any sense. It also doesn't fit with any of the articles we've been discussing. It's a nice sound bite, though.

Anonymous said…
It makes excellent sense in terms of the current state of schools in Seattle.

With the SAP, a white student is much more likely to attend a good school just by going to the school assigned. Parents do not need to pay attention to race when knowing their child will be attending the school down the road.

A student of color is much more likely to attend a school with poorer outcomes.
Therefore, parents in these schools are much more cognizant of the link between race and school outcomes.

On an existential note, Academix and Owler, one of the core definitions of white privilege is not having to measure race (and its impact) multiple times on a daily basis. Trying to avoid its connotations even they clearly have an impact (like schools) takes that definition even further.


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