Tuesday Open Thread

Update: just saw this event and wanted to put it out there to get on your calendar if you are interested.
Thanks to a generous grant from Safeco Insurance, we are proud to present Exploration for All: Autism Early Open at Pacific Science Center.

On the second Saturday of each month, through December 2017, all families affected by autism spectrum disorder are invited to explore Pacific Science Center during a special free morning visit from 8-10 a.m. – before we open to the public. Experience our exhibits without heavy crowds when we have softened general lighting and decreased the noise level and visual stimulation on interactive exhibits wherever possible.
Shout out to Garfield grad Ari Melber who hosts The Beat on MSNBC.

Man, those ed reformers don't quit.  The latest nonsense from the Center on Reinventing Public Education and the 74 trying to lure Special Ed parents into the charter school fold. 
What disability groups must acknowledge is that the fight for rights is meaningless when parents have no real choices or power.

School choice can change this power dynamic. In the charter context, rather than constantly fighting to make the school fit their child, parents can choose a school already designed to be a good fit. Parents can choose a school that they believe is the right academic match and culture rather than fighting the district to layer services and supports to make the neighborhood school work. In the case of an ESA, parents can craft a curriculum and a set of services individualized to their child’s unique needs rather than trying to find one school that offers that package.             
Yeah, that's going to happen in charter schools.

Are smartphones making kids unhappy? One researcher thinks so.
For the first time, a generation of children is going through adolescence with smartphones ever-present.
To encourage utilization of Sexual Harassment: Not in Our School! (video and action plan), Stop Sexual Assault in Schools, has made separate videos of each expert's contribution. Each clip begins with a slide referring to the full video.

You can also find all the clips on the SSAIS YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChs3h_qZ3LxD57hhSG4j0EQ/videos

What's on your mind?


mirmac1 said…
This is exciting. Can a group of diverse schools join together and support each other?

West Seattle PTA Collaborative: New community-wide project, with meet-and-greet next week
Anonymous said…
Thanks for sharing this, Mirmac.

Younger parents, especially many moving into Seattle Public Schools and seeing the stark inequalities, are in the process of making real differences. PTA funding is a typical eye opener.

Coming here as an outsider can be shocking.

All Good
Queen Anne used to have a coalition of area schools and I believe it is starting back up. I think it a great idea to have schools band together to support each other and perhaps get more traction at the district level.
Anonymous said…
There's nothing stopping people from donating to any schools PTA. PTAs seem to do what they want in the PTA vacuum when it comes to using PTA funds sometimes resulting in sour feelings, sure they have meeting but many more parents donate to the PTA then attend meetings or even join and if you start taking their money and give it to another school I suspect you will see a large drop in fund raising.

PTA parent
Anonymous said…
"What disability groups must acknowledge is that the fight for rights is meaningless when parents have no real choices or power."

This is so true and magnified in SPS. I see no other way.

SPED Parent
Anonymous said…
Alliances in Queen Anne are not what we are celebrating here as news.

Working across demographic divides as a coaliton to reduce inequality are part and parcel of the mindset of these younger parents. Like Soup for Teachers, they know how to get the job done (because they actually want to) and don't just talk about it.

Bring them on! They are about being inclusive in deed.

All Good
Anonymous said…
@ All Good, so it's only good if schools in economically diverse regions of the city collaborate?

Anonymous said…
No, it's "All Good" but the point is what made NEWs.

Working together, aka "networking", has always been a powerful tool for the powerful.
Y'all can keep it up amongst yourselves. All Good.

Getting low SES schools into the equation is NEWs and what the article is about.

Good NEWs. Thanks, parents.

All Good
Anonymous said…
@ All Good, that's cool. But it's also news if something is in the works in Queen Anne, too, and parents who live in that area might be interested to hear about it so they can keep their eyes/ears open. It doesn't diminish the potential significance and benefit of what's happening in West Seattle, and it doesn't steal their thunder. Your comment just struck me as strange, like it's only ok to talk about good things happening in certain schools or areas.

I agree with Unclear. How would you know the concerns of Queen Anne parents and why the old coalition group is restarting? Making assumptions is never a good idea.
mirmac1 said…
What's All Good for children, especially those that are hungry or homeless, is when there's collaboration and a cross-pollination across the divides of resource rich and resource-starved.
Anonymous said…
@mirmac1-- Are there any public schools in Seattle that are "resource rich"? They all seem pretty darn resource poor in SPS, especially compared to suburban districts on the eastside as well as other parts of the country. They are also desperately overcrowded and have huge class sizes. From where I stand I see schools without money for the basics. I also see a district where upward of 30% send their kids to private school. Maybe you ought to argue we need more resources for all kids in SPS?
Anonymous said…
Haven't 30% of Seattle parents sent their kids to private schools since the heyday of bussing (circa late 1970s)?

When did this become the recent default rationalization to avoid equity in SPS? It keeps coming up as excuse for everything from PTA funding to HCC reform.

Don't some PTAs raise money in 100Ks? That might be "resource poor" by Puget Sound standards but sounds like "resource rich" to a school like Sanislo that couldn't get any PTA traction (see posted link above).

Poor Me
Anonymous said…
@ Poor Me-- Title I schools get much more funding. But as we know, they also receive less of those PTA funds, which are flexible dollars. Yes, it would be great to have a system to spread PTA dollars.

Then the Title I schools would have more funding overall, giving (even) more $ to poorer schools. They need more (not equal) funding for "equity".

However, I stand by my assertion that many schools in Seattle, even those who raise $ are resource poor. Many need more $, including those schools not Title I. They are all resource poor compared to elsewhere. Sorry you do not care about all kids in our schools. Hope you are not a teacher.
Lynn said…
A $100K PTA contribution pays for a full time K-5 counselor and maybe some classroom supplies. A K-5 school with a counselor but no classroom aides, no recess monitors, no math or reading specialist, 4th & 5th grade class sizes of 27 and just one field trip per class each year is not a well-resourced school.

It's the state's responsibility to provide full funding for every school. It makes no sense to argue about which students are receiving too many resources when no students are getting enough.
Anonymous said…
The article was about PTAs working together across demographics.

They don't seem to choose "arguing" but are there to help each other. They may include showing up at each other's PTA auctions, for example, to help with the inequity.

Sounds like the younger parents aren't living in siloes or about counting pennies.

All Good

So we're going to pit schools against each other and now "younger" parents against who? "older" parents?

Not seeing the sense in this.
Anonymous said…
I guess I'm just showing my age here! No offense.

They just seem young to me. I have been spending too much time on
Soup for Teachers site and feel like an old fogey.

All Good
All Good, it's all good, thanks
Anonymous said…
>>>It makes no sense to argue about which students are receiving too many resources when no students are getting enough.

Spoken like a true HCCer

Crooked Chakras said…

Huh? Public education doesn't cover recess monitors. You get that, right? If you're going require several hundred little kids to spend their days at school, you darned well ought to be covering recess monitors. And pencils. Those are really the barest of minimums. Why isn't the state of Washington buying millions of pencils and composition books. Can you imagine the bulk discount they would get? Why? The district’s contribution to school libraries averages only about $2.55 per student. WTF, Seattle? P.E. and art and nurses and counselors and library books aren't being paid for. You get that, right? All the students are insufficiently funded. Hence McCleary. This has absolutely nothing to do with HCC.

HCC schools do not receive anywhere near the highest per-pupil PTA donations of all Seattle schools. Nice try. You could use a little more research on that one. If you want to wage a war on the rich, attack the rich. And I'll give you a hint: even there it's the parents who are rich, not the kids. But HCC is not a program for the rich. It's a program for kids who score high on 2 sections of the CogAT and achievement tests. You can't buy your kid's way into HCC. You know what you can buy your way into? A wealthy neighborhood school. Buy a 2 million dollar house in View Ridge and you can send your kid to a school with a lot of PTA money. If you want to attack rich people, why not. Maybe go to some of the school auctions, buy yourself a glass of wine, sit back and gasp at the rich people getting drunk and "donating" to their kids' PTAs by—oops, hiccup—buying some crazy ridiculously expensive donated book on how to align their chakras. But that's different from HCC.

And if you're going to attack HCC, maybe learn what it is first. There are homeless HCC kids.

The state is illegally underfunding education. It impacts all students.
Anonymous said…
"For a long time, test users have ignored the effects of practice and minimized the
larger effects of coaching by keeping secret the contents of the tests. Aside from
rare instances of cheating, children approached the test with no special preparation. This is no longer the case. The internet has lifted the veil of secrecy that once shrouded ability tests. The recent proliferation of practice materials sold over the internet and of coaching schools that operate in many urban areas has seriously undermined the fairness of both group and individually administered ability tests when test scores are used as the primary criterion for high-stakes admissions decisions. FOR A PRICE, savvy parents with resources can virtually assure their child a high score and thus of placement in the gifted program."

"Ability tests, the internet, and practice tests: A recipe for invalidity"
David Lohman (CogAT author) Professor Emeritus, The University of Iowa Sept. 2013

Poor Me

Anonymous said…
Wow Poor Me. Test prep corporations deserve to make a living too! And our kids deserve to get away from poverty any way we can, don't we? You KNOW that the HCC schools get WAY less than other schools (so nobody has any right to complain). Just look at per student funding. Just because we have practically no disabled students - and no ELL - and no FRL - doesn't mean we should get less does it? The best and brightest deserve more, not less. We need to list all the ways we can get out of the impoverished schools - you know, to help them out.

Best In Class
Advertises specifically for HCC. AND has 2 convenient locations in Seattle. Where the gifted kids are, Northgate and Capitol Hill. Also, for you gifted parents, they've got franchising!

Big Brains
Wow. They've put literally 100s of kids in gifted programs. Why not yours?

University Tutors
Best private Cog AT tutors - at an affordable price, relatively of course.

Varsity Tutors Specializing in Cog AT and, work in your home or online. Sweet!

You better hurry! HCC testing is just around the corner.

Test Pepper
Anonymous said…
FOR A PRICE, savvy parents with resources can virtually assure their child a high score and thus of placement in the gifted program."

Really? So if you take a struggling student and train 'em up for the CogAT or WISC or whatnot, they'll qualify as HCC? Awesome. Let's start doing practice tests in all our schools and we'll soon have all SPS students performing in the top 2% nationally. Not only will be the envy of districts everywhere, but HCC demographics will perfectly mirror the district.

Who knew if could be

So Easy?

Anonymous said…
@ Test Pepper, are there people who get their kids coached up for these eligibility tests? Yes, there probably are. Is it the majority of students who qualify? I doubt that very much. I do not know a single parent who has ever sent their kid to one of those test prep places for HCC-related practice.

I'm not sure why we're suddenly talking about test-prep again. I guess it's just today's attempt to deny the need for a program like HCC?

Didn't prep
Anonymous said…
And I don't know anyone who privately tested in. It's surely must be s rarity. Right?

We're really psyched when there are groups that test prep minorities into HCC. Eg Ranier Scholars. In fact we like it, don't we? Point to it as exemplary. So what's the big deal if others do it too? In fact, we would expect parents to do this prep right? We expect them to enrich their kids, prepare for excellence and demand the best.

Anonymous said…
Well, we got in on appeals and some people look down their noses at us. In fact, I know others from our local school who got in on appeals but they didn't tell anyone. So they are treated like they are worthy. Know what I mean?

I wonder if others bought the books on Amazon, too. Nobody talks about it, you know.
When we didn't get in after the second try, I admit we went to one of those prep centers. For some reason, the workers were real quiet about it, sort of like almost giving me HIPPA papers or whatnot, when I was signing up.

Anyways, no one else prepped but me because they told me so. And certainly no one who reads this blog. Heck, they are the ones who didn't even need to appeal.

Poor Me
Pity the Fool said…
Ha! Just because someone's selling something doesn't mean it makes any sense to buy it! Those companies (Best In Class, Big Brains, University Tutors, Varsity Tutors) are selling snake oil. Big Brains actually only sells books, which cost $30. So, those would be affordable to most families who can afford to live in Seattle. And if $30 is not affordable, guess what? The public library has CogAT prep books available right now for free! And University Tutors and Varsity Tutor are just like Craig's List for tutors. That Best in Class place looks pretty cagey from their web site. They'll sell you whatever you want to buy. Good business model.

Parents think they want genius kids. So people sell parents stuff that supposedly makes their kids into geniuses. Who's the fool there? At least Disney will give you a full refund for the Baby Einstein snake oil.

Anonymous said…
Get over it FWIW. We didn't test prep or appeal, and so thankful to have another option than our teach to the middle neighborhood school.

You don't know what is best for everyone's kids.

Look Around
Pity the Fool said…
There's a bunch of CogAT test prep books available on Ebay and at Half Price Books (only $13 there!). And if it's the achievement tests you're worried about, no worries. They teach all that stuff in school and the teachers will differentiate for whatever level your kid is at--just ask them! Plus, in the advanced learning report attached to the last Friday Memo an actual public school principal in Seattle says, "I would love to see that no students are tested [for advanced learning] until 3rd grade, which would level the playing field." That's a little silly since kids can be referred any year from kindergarten to 8th grade already and the whole thing is completely optional so everyone already has the option to wait until 3rd grade. But the great news (you heard it straight from the principal) is that principals believe the playing field is level by 3rd grade. So, get your kid a CogAT book from the library and wait until 3rd grade, and you're good to go.
And that principal is ignorant because the research shows that 3rd grade is very late to be finding gifted kids.
Anonymous said…
Yep. But when it comes to HCC, most principals seem to operate based on feelings and personal biases, not research.

sad mom
Identify Young said…
Actually Hollingworth did a longitudinal study of profoundly gifted children and found that the most successful interventions occurred when the children were identified earlier rather than later in their elementary schooling and were either accelerated or placed in a class with other gifted children. According to her, the social difficulties experienced by children with an IQ of 160+ were most acute between the ages of 4 and 9 (L.S. Hollingworth, Children Above IQ 180, New York, NY: World Books, 1942).

Miraca U.M. Gross found the same thing in her extremely detailed longitudinal case study of gifted children with IQs over 160. She found that the seeds of their future successes or difficulties were sown in their early years of school. At age 5 and 6 the children in her study differed dramatically from their age peers in what they expected of friendships. Particularly for gifted young people who masked their abilities to gain peer acceptance or who had a hard time finding friends, it set them up on a lifelong trajectory as outsiders. On the other hand, the gifted children Gross followed who were radically accelerated or placed in a group with other gifted peers found both friends and academic success.

Gross found that the earlier exceptionally and profoundly gifted children were placed in a setting deliberately structured to allow them access not to age-peers but to children at similar stages of cognitive and affective development, the greater their capacity to form sound friendships in their later childhood, adolescence and adult years. (Miraca U.M. Gross, Exceptionally Gifted Children, 2nd Edition, RoutledgeFalmer, 2004)

Based on the studies, age 4 through 9 is when the trajectory is set for gifted kids.
Anonymous said…
Augusta De Bonte (and many others) recommend early gifted identification, especially for students from underrepresented populations. The later they are identified, the further behind they get as a result of the achievement and opportunity gap.

SPS does not identify using gifted protocols. By relying heavily on achievement, and not using proper norming to compare students to those with similar backgrounds and experiences, HCC is essentially a program for those who were born on third base.

HCC is not a "gifted program" in any way shape or form, except for those who were collaterally picked up in the otherwise high achievement identification sweep.

The fact that some principals in SPS are clueless is nothing new under the sun.

What's New?

Anonymous said…
HCC is not a "gifted program" in any way shape or form, except for those who were collaterally picked up in the otherwise high achievement identification sweep.

Yes. But there are likely a lot more high-achieving kids in SPS than there are intellectually gifted ones, so trying to change that would face tremendous pushback from parents. Not to mention that SPS would then need to develop an actual curriculum, as opposed to just doing the same thing earlier.

You can complain about it all you like, but real change is

Not Gonnahappen
Peter G said…
"Born on third base" is a ridiculous expression for talking about the educational needs of children. A child has no control over what base its mother's birth canal is at. If HCC were a program for third base births you would expect all the families in all the mansion neighborhoods to send their kids to HCC. Aha, but wait! All the rich people's kids are going to private school. Why not HCC? HCC is a program for bright kids and gifted kids whose parents are super good a jumping bureaucratic hurdles. Have you looked at the school climate surveys broken down by education level of the parents? Highly educated parents are *really* dissatisfied with the public schools in Seattle. SPS long since gave up serving the children of rich parents. And they're all but not serving the children of highly educated parents.

In meeting the educational needs of children, it actually doesn't matter what base the children plopped out of the birth canal onto. There's a progression to the bases. Once a kid can add, they don't need to learn how to add. You move 'em along. That is the only thing that makes sense. HCC is the only way many families have to force the schools to stop reteaching their children rudimentaries their children have already mastered. We should have more mechanisms. Ideally, teachers themselves should notice that kids are ahead and should walk them to the next level without a whole bunch of side-stage-shenanigans between the adults. But THAT IS NOT HAPPENING. Kids who read P-level readers are being taught the letters of the alphabet. Go, educators!

Plenty of kids are being left out of the current advanced learning system. Who ever heard of meeting the academic needs of children only after their parents spent a year nominating and testing and retesting and signing up and busing them to someplace that would meet their academic needs?

The problem you're talking about needs to be solved, but it has to be a positive solution based on the kids who need a solution not a negative solution based on ripping on other people's kids and what base they were born on.
Anonymous said…
Agreed that it's a program for families who have children who are well prepared for school. That means it is not a "gifted program" which is why HCC is all about working 2 grade levels ahead.

And let's not go there about the 30% in private again. That has been the case since the late 70s in SPS. Again, nothing new under the sun, just the latest excuse to preserve inequity.

Unfortunately, it's all about location in terms of who gets in. The children of highly educated parents are the vast majority of those in HCC. If you want to get graphic about birth canals, fine, that's about location, too.

And, let's not get pitiful about being picked on. I'm stating demographic facts, and third base means born into highly educated families. The real victims here are the gifted students in SPS who will never get services. They disproportionately wind up in prison.

Not Gonnahappen: Many people never thought those Confederate statues would come down, either. It's all about the "arc of justice" and all that.

What's New?
NotGonnaHappen, well, I would absolutely speak up for a program for ALL gifted kids and not just "high-achievers" but the testing gets to determine that, not any of us.

"The problem you're talking about needs to be solved, but it has to be a positive solution based on the kids who need a solution not a negative solution based on ripping on other people's kids and what base they were born on."

Yup. Except if you just didn't believe in separating kids at all. The "negative solution" is to blow up the program rather than make it better for more kids who should be in it.
Peter G said…
Aha! So, third base means born into highly educated families? This whole time I thought you meant born into rich families. I guess that's why I've never been able to understand what you were talking about. So you're opposed to highly educated parents? That's a new one to me!

First of all, I totally agree with you that gifted students in SPS who never receive services disproportionately wind up in prison. They also disproportionately wind up dropping out. Gifted black male students are at an even higher risk of ending up in jail since our policing and jailing and justice systems are exercised inequitably against them.

However, they're not the only victims. Unidentified gifted kids in SPS come in all colors and income levels. Gifted ELL, 2E, and other groups are also drastically underidentified for HCC and unserved.

But even they're not the only victims. Some of the gifted kids eventually caught up in the drift nets who eventually find their way into HCC have suffered a lot at the hands of SPS by the time they make it to HCC.

In a system with 54,000 kids, there's not just one kind of victim. I don't know who this educational system is serving well, but I can assure you there's plenty of groups of kids it's not serving well. Satisfaction ratings are pretty darn low. And a huge number of families didn't even take the satisfaction survey. Not many African American families, for example. If they had taken the survey, what do you think: would the satisfaction ratings have gone up or down?
Anonymous said…
False equivalency has been getting a real spotlight lately. Thanks for contributing to the cause.

If your kid is currently in HCC and you have the resources and time to read this blog, then please get away from victimhood...

SPS is a well-established train wreck. From the top down and bottom up. Nothing new under the sun...

Getting your kid into HCC, and then feeling like a victim because the neighbor's kid is in Lakeside, isn't going to going to get you many crocodile tears outside of a particular bubble (like this blog). And, wow, you were thinking all along that third base was reserved for the Forbes listers and its ilk. Repeat after me, "I am not an underachiever. I am not an underachiever..."

Not "feeling the victimhood" for you. Mike drop.

What's New
Anonymous said…
"Except if you just didn't believe in separating kids at all."

Oh, Melissa, that is soooo "binary" (to quote our kids).

It's not either/or, Girlfriend.

All Good
All Good, it may not be either/or for you but, given comments I have seen here, I think it is for some people.
Peter G said…
I'm glad you're not "feeling the victimhood" for me since it would be a complete waste of your time. I'm not a victim. Students are not their parents.

So, were Obama's kids and Norm Rice's kids and Ted Howard's kids born on third base? The 60 black HCC students, were they born on third base? Are kids born to well educated Pacific Islander mothers born on third base? If your parents are Hispanic and have graduate degrees, are you born on third base?

And why should SPS care about the details of the kids' birth? Don't the kids legally need educating no matter who their parents are? Kids are not their parents.

Peter G said…
White parents have black kids. Privileged parents have kids who need Sped services. HCC kids are homeless. Well educated parents neglect their kids. Parents steeped in wealth and education have transgender kids. Families of all kinds suffer downturns and illnesses and deaths. Kids survive parents who sexually abuse, physically abuse, abuse substances, assault, etc. And you can't tell by looking at them. Every child, every day, Seattle. Here's to the courts shutting this underfunded show down! The kids are our future. We can do so much better by them, all of them.
Anonymous said…
@ What's New, you know full well that students who do get into HCC can be victims. After all, you acknowledge it's not really a "gifted" program, so how do you think gifted children fare? Mine sank into a deep depression and was on the road to dropping out. But good to hear we weren't victims, and that we must have just been imagining the pain!

Reality bites
Anonymous said…
AL services are almost an afterthought for SPS. Add in teachers and administrators not trained to work in gifted ed, or actively hostile towards it, and it's difficult to see any improvements on the horizon. The experience of @Reality bites is not an anomaly.

seen it

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