Thursday, October 05, 2017

Friday Open Thread

The building design for Hazel Wolf K-8 has won a design award

LEARNING BY DESIGN has released its much-anticipated Fall 2017 edition, showcasing the nation’s best education design and construction projects, from pre-K to 12 to college and university facilities. Five top education facility design projects were awarded Grand Prize Awards, six Citation of Excellence Awards, and six Honorable Mention Awards.

A distinguished panel of six architects, and education administrators and facility professionals reviewed 68 outstanding submissions and selected five Grand Prize Award-winning facilities that “are simply amazing projects.”

The five Grand Prize awards where bestowed on:
  • CTA Architects Engineers, (Denver, CO) for Laramie County Community College (LCCC)--Flex-tech Building (Cheyenne, WY); 
  • Eppstein Uhen Architects, (Madison, WI) for Waunakee Intermediate School(Waunakee, WI); 
  • Grimm + Parker Architects, (Calverton, MD) for Discovery STEM Academy(Newport News, VA); 
  • NAC Architecture(Seattle, WA) for Hazel Wolf K-8 ESTEM School(Seattle, WA); 
  • Perkins Eastman DC(Washington DC) for Theodore Roosevelt Senior High School(Washington, DC).
Also in facilities news, Ballard High School. 
Ballard High School will receive solar installation as part of the Seattle City Light’s Green Up Grants. Seattle Public Schools is one of seven local organizations to receive a grant to support renewable energy projects and education; SPS will use the $150,000 to install solar energy systems in several other schools including Bailey Gatzert Elementary, Denny International Middle School, South Shore K-8 School, Hazel Wolf K-8 ESTEM School and Arbor Heights Elementary.
I previously reported on this vote for the district to accept the grant.  I note that Hazel Wolf K-8's PTA did contribute dollars to this effort for their school.  I did ask the grant if that school's inclusion had anything to do with that contribution but I never received a reply.  I also note that only newer schools could get these panels because of the weight the roof has to support.

I'm going to be attending the Operations Committee meeting today.  Here's the agenda but I see no supporting documentation and I don't think that's by mistake.  Not good.  Important items of note:

  1. Approval of property acquisition at MLK Jr. Way (B. Skowyra)
  2. Approval of the 2018-19 growth boundaries (A. Davies)
Special Attention Items
1. Discussion: Student Assignment Transition Plan for 2018-19 (A. Davies) 

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said...

When is SPS going to release 2017 enrollment numbers? I was looking at the 5 year projection numbers for the schools that I was familiar with in West Seattle, and the numbers are so off that I really question the methodology used. Also, how will SPS consider the addition of the new Summit Atlas charter school in coming up with its new enrollment projections? Is the addition of that school part of the reason Madison's numbers were off?

Frustrated in W.S.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Frustrated, I will ask that question at the Ops meeting this afternoon.

madpark said...

It's Thursday (at least I hope it is) and not Tuesday.

Anonymous said...

What does The Center School offer in the way of electives? Is there still an arts focus, and is there any film program? They do not have a course catalog on their website. What do they offer in the way of AP classes, if any? And do they plan to allow more students in next year, in case people who do not want to change schools partway through high school opt for TCS? Anything else to know about the school. We plan to attend open house, of course.


Anonymous said...

Just saw this in the most recent Friday memo.

A number of key supports for the district-wide implementation of MTSS during the 2017-18 school year. This includes the hiring of an MTSS Manager and Professional Learning Community Coaches, as well as receiving consultation by a University of Minnesota professor and former school district leader, who will support the District’s MTSS Leadership Team in the development of a multi-year implementation plan.

Incredible. Maybe this explains why this has been taking so long and why they don't have their act together on MTSS after years and years and years of trying... Forgot to create an implementation plan!


SusanH said...

asdf: I can't give a full course selection because I'm not getting off this couch. :) But as far as electives: film, yes! (a couple different levels), digital photography, various art classes, poetry, drama. Only language is Spanish, but some kids take online classes. A handful of AP classes: Statistics, a science (maybe Environmental Science?), Studio Art. It's a small school, so they can't offer the range of a large comprehensive school. No separate honors classes, and I don't think you can work more than one year ahead in math. My daughter is in 9th grade there. She. Loves. It.

SusanH said...

asdf: Actually now I think your question was out of frustration about pathway uncertainty? I don't think Center could expand much because of size constrains, or change its main focus to serve a wider variety of students...

Melissa Westbrook said...

Oy is right; what a bunch of bullshit (and what have we been paying Michael Tolley for?)

And, they get yet another high-paid person at JSCEE.

Anonymous said...

Our Running Start program is tops in the nation:



Anonymous said...

Just saw the playground plans for the new Loyal Heights Elementary. The surface is all blacktop and (required) rain gardens. When asked if the pta could raise money to convert some of the blacktop to rubberized surfaces, there was not a clear answer.

Is anyone here involved in any of these new schools experienced in improving proposed playground spaces? Are you willing to share your experiences??

NW mom

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Susan H!


Anonymous said...

I haven't seen much discussion about the two finalists for the new middle school math curriculum. Is one clearly better than the other?


Anonymous said...

Some news from Cascadia Parent night

-there will be a preschool program housed in one of the Cascadia buildings where Kidsco currently does afterschool programs. Afterschool will continue there. The building was clearly designed as a preschool - very low sinks and toilets and a pre-school play structure out back.

melissa, was this paid for with our K-12 money?

CascadiaMom said...

Sorry, previous posting should have been signed CascadiaMom

Richard said...

The two math curricula are underwhelming. EnVision is new (to middle school level) but not fully standards-aligned. It is commonly used by secular homeschoolers, actually, because it's relatively inexpensive. Glencoe I believe is currently in use in some schools already. It's very traditional. What I dislike about it is that it adds unnecessary complexity way too soon. For instance, a word problem I remember from last year involving factors and fractions, a 6th grader was expected not just to multiply something normal like 4 3/5 x 8 9/10, but also ludicrous examples like 18 192/632 x 27 19/202. Glencoe as a policy does that that on every page: it includes ludicrous examples that merely illustrate the complexity of mathematics and rarely its elegance, and not always with a pedagogical goal in mind that I can see. There are computer modules and hands-on options to both, but I don't believe anyone in is using the Glencoe manipulatives (and I think the program is much poorer if you don't use both the computer modules and manipulatives). I secretly hope the board flaunts them both and goes with Math in Focus for middle school. The Singapore books (I think) are far superior methodologically, and it makes sense to continue Singapore in middle school if you're using it in grade school. Glencoe and EnVision are both different enough that kids will be shell-shocked a bit in 6th grade.

Anonymous said...

The preschool in the new Cascadia building was paid for from the BEX funds.

-NW mom

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, it was paid with BEX funds.

Melissa Westbrook said...

The number of bennies that the City gets from having free pre-K space in SPS buildings continues to grow.

No More. said...

One reason I have stopped voting for school levies and believe the district has enough money, is because the keep hiring $100k+ people to sit at round tables and make power point presentations.

There are many things that need to happen now. A multi year plan isn't one of them.

Disgusted said...

Kudos to this board. The board has ordered an audit of central administration. MTSS administrative fees should be included.

Meanwhile, middle schools don't have science text books.

Get ready for numbers to start shifting.

Friday Memo said...

Here is some interesting information:

-Middle School Math – where three SPS middle schools lead the state in math proficiency for African American students".

-With student walking to and from school/bus stops, the district has had an increase in reports of needles – AKA “sharps” – in and around district properties.

The city will not go on school property to pick-up needles!

"SPU will not go on to school grounds or private property to pick up sharps. Provided sharps containers for schools with additional staff training so that we keep our school grounds safe. • Met with the city’s Homeless Director, SPD and other city officials to collaborate on solutions."

Anonymous said...

So the City will gladly go on school property to take advantage of free preschool space, but not to clean up needles? That's effed up.

Carol Simmons said...

The "State to schools:
Find gifted pupils where you haven't looked before" in the Times Oct 5th edition page B1 article is encouraging

"Along with the new state edict comes double the money. Officials at the state superintendent's office hope the extra dollars will be used for much broader student screening." How much did SPS obtain for this effort? It is long over due.

Anonymous said...

Yes, can we start a thread on the ST article and maybe another one on TAF and Rainier Scholars? The November deadline is right around the corner and I haven't heard about how SPS will follow through on their new mandate from the state.

Fix AL

Anonymous said...

This is interesting...many people would rather be electrically shocked than be bored. I wonder of these are HCC parents?

Mind Games

Anonymous said...

About time. SPS will be in the hot seat to increase identification. "Trying" will not be enough. Blaming lack of underrepresented students on lead paint exposure won't equal compliance. Having obscenely high clusters in very specific and privileged regions will no longer fly.

Sounds like the state recognized that they better step in or the feds would. Reykal titled his memo "Special Programs & Federal Accountability".

There are protected populations in civil rights laws for a reason. This change was just a matter of time.

About time

Anonymous said...

About time--no need to chip away at delivery of services to those HC students needing the program when the state is mandating increasing identification of under represented, not decreasing over represented populations. Not a zero sum game here, let's increase everyone's potential.

At least some money is provided, unlike most unfunded mandates. I'm surprised there has been no talk about what SPS will do to follow through on these obligations. Will they continue testing all second graders in title I schools and claim they are doing enough? And what if they identify more students, but those kids don't want to --or more likely can't -- leave their neighborhood school community? The funding is for identification, not services, so I'm not optimistic this will solve as much as it could. Little local Rainier Scholars and TAF-like programs, starting earlier, would be ideal. The preschool program is expensive, but I expect we will see greater results from any early learning support we can provide than we will see from honors for all and tossing HC high school students back to neighborhood schools with no curriculum or principal support (i.e. Hale).

Fix AL

Anonymous said...

SPS will never put a representative number of poor, EEL and brown kids in HCC. They would rather disband the self-contained part of the program than have to deal with an integrated program.

The cost savings accrued by having a homogeneous group with a relatively high percentage of active and financially generous parents will disappear if hard to teach students with ELL, low SES, or SpEd backgrounds show up in appreciable numbers.

SPS is a bottom line organization. They have to get the most for the buck and HCC is cost effective as it currently operates. SPS knows exactly how many dollars in donations each HCC student's family brings to the district and it's substantially more than average, not because the parents are wealthier, but because the parents perceive an added value in utilizing the HCC, whether that value is real or not.

Side note, apparently SPS is offering HCC level math at a number of K-8 and middle schools. They seem intent on blurring the distinction between the acceleration offered in the cohort and what is available at non-HCC sites.

Great article in the Times and interesting comments as well. Our own Lynn seemed to be commenting in "her" inimitable style, although "she" got spanked pretty hard by an SPS teacher. metaphorically speaking.



Anonymous said...

@ anti-matter, you're also a little anti-fact.

SPS knows how much money each HCC family donates? Nope. PTSA's don't track it by HCC status, and they don't turn that type of info over to SPS anyway.

Parents donate more because they see an added value in utilizing HCC? Wrong again. This is part of that effort to suggest these families are getting something "better". They are not "buying" special services. Most donations by HCC families support non-HC students, too.

Re: HCC level math at some K-8s, to the extent that's happening I seriously doubt it's with any specific SPS intent at all. They have no control over, or even much awareness of, who's doing what at individual schools, so the idea that there's some conspiracy to blur some lines is laughable.


Anonymous said...

@ about time, I'm not so sure about this:

SPS will be in the hot seat to increase identification. "Trying" will not be enough.

Equitable identification and equal identification are not the same. Equitable means the district needs to eliminate the identification barriers that disproportionately impact low-income students. Screening everyone is one way, and we've already moved in that direction. Conducting testing during the school day and at a student's own school might be another, and we should do that. Providing more culturally appropriate follow up and parent outreach for minority students who meet the initial criteria to encourage participation in follow up testing might also help. Some better direction to teachers around what to look for in low-income gifted students might also help, although if we're screening everyone teachefcreferrals aren't as important. Allowing ESL students to test in another language might help with identification, although they might need additional support (for a bit) once in the program if their English interferes with ability to move quickly. Etc.

But what happens if you remove all the logistical barriers and certain groups are still not equally represented? The district could make the case that they've made the identification process fully equitable--that a student who tests at the top of the curve has just as much chance of getting in whether they are high or low income.

The issue of lowering the testing bar for some groups, while you could make the case for or against it, is not necessarily addressed by this new mandate. A district could easily say "look, we've done everything we can to find all the high-scoring low-income kids in our district, there just aren't as many. And given the impact of poverty on early child brain development, that'a not unexpected."

Sunday funday

Anonymous said...

The Seattle Times commenter claiming to be an SPS teacher ("I don't teach HC as it would be difficult to be part of a program I don't agree with") seems misinformed:

"The program was originally started to keep upper middle class white parents in the public schools...." -Teresa A

Nope. It was an outgrowth of a UW child development study of "precocious" preschool aged students. It was created to serve the academic needs of advanced students.

The Uncommonly Bright Child (Robinson, 1981)


A research and service project focused upon gifted children was initiated at the University of Washington in 1974. Our interest was in the identification and nurturance of very young, highly precocious infants and preschool children...The families come from many segments of the population, though there is a strong overrepresentation of middle-class parents. About one-fifth of the families are from racial minorities...Public-school personnel typically indicate that they cannot handle their children but few appropriate private schools are available and all are expensive. Finally, many parents have been accused of bragging about their children, of pushing them and thus robbing them of their childhood...

...It was soon obvious that we could not simply identify extraordinarily gifted young people and then abandon them....The activities of the Child Development Research Group now include: ...A kindergarten-through-high-school program for children and young people exhibiting extraordinary advancement in academic skills. This Individual Progress Program (IPP) is run by the Seattle Public Schools in collaboration with the Child Development Research Group. It is designed for students who are achieving at least four grade levels beyond the grade appropriate for their age.

fact checker

Anonymous said...

"...at least four grade levels beyond the grade appropriate for their age."

That's not HCC so you are very misinformed.

HCC is at best two years ahead and was clearly designed to keep white and asian parents in public school.

I say we should just eliminate this divisive, unfair and no clearly illegal use of public education funds.

tiddly wink

Anonymous said...

The discussion was about why the program was --originally-- started. No, it was not "clearly designed to keep white and asian parents in public school," as @tiddly suggests. It was created to serve the academic needs of outlier students who had few options (including private school, which is/was out of reach for many middle class families). It's now at best two years ahead. While the program was originally serving students who really had few educational options (4+ years ahead), those students are barely served in today's program.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So the City will gladly go on school property to take advantage of free preschool space, but not to clean up needles? That's effed up.

Reprinting for Anonymous (next time, give yourself a name)

I can see the City saying, "We don't go on non-public property to pick up needles." But when you can trace it to a problem that IS the City's responsibility AND concerns the safety of children, I think there should be a middle ground. School staff already have enough on their plate.

"This is interesting...many people would rather be electrically shocked than be bored. I wonder of these are HCC parents?

Mind Games"

Extraordinarily unkind, Mind Games. You contribute nothing with that kind of remark and it is not welcome here.

I think that Anti-Matter is somewhat right on the issue of SPS wanting to make things easy for itself and yet then going on about equity. I also think it somewhat possible to know how much PTAs spend at schools if the school budget reflects a PTA grant. It may not be all the money any given PTA raises and spends but it is certainly some of it.

Tiddly Wink

HCC is at best two years ahead and was clearly designed to keep white and asian parents in public school.

You are right on the first count but do tell us how you know about the second one? How do you design a program just for two groups? Again, I ask - why is it that people do not want to consider Asians a minority in this district?

YOu are also wrong about misusing the funds. The program may have design flaws but that doesn't make it illegal. I'd like to know when one of you who hate this program so much will be going to court as it keeps getting stated, over and over, that it's an illegal program.

Anonymous said...

If we had a real gifted program for true outliers like the original IPP program, and not this "private school paid for with public dollars" program, as I've heard it described many times by staff downtown and teachers throughout the district, you'd have a rhetorical foot to stand on, but the program is a complete farce that caters to connected parents, mainly white and asian.

BTW, if you really don't understand why wealthy and middle class asians are not considered a minority group, well, I'm just


Anonymous said...

@SMH, just because some ignorant downtown staff and teachers may refer to it as "private school paid for with public dollars" that does not make it so. It uses the same curriculum, has the same large class sizes, often shares the same run down and overcrowded facilities as everyone else, often lacks textbooks, has teachers who are often untrained in or philosophically opposed to meeting the needs of this population, and the program is subject to constant location shuffling, reductions in rigor, and bashing. How is that a private school experience? Oh, and you often still need to supplement, too.

We left HCC for private, and I can assure you that there is no comparison. Our HCC experience was worse than our ALO school experience, worse than our GE experience (in which we had tiny class sizes!), and much worse than our private experience. If I were to rank our experiences by which was the best value and worth spending money on, I'd go: private, ALO, GE and last of all, HCC.

No joke

Anonymous said...

Oh, and a private school may cater to connected parents, as parents pay the salaries. But HCC catering to parents? That's hilarious.

No joke

Anonymous said...

"private school paid for with public dollars"

Repeating the same nonsense over and over does not make it true. Highly capable programming is part of basic education. And it's pretty basic in SPS. Plus, "real" gifted and "true" outliers? How does one define/determine that? Are you suggesting tightening the admission standards? Because that is how you restrict enrollment. SPS seems to have little interest in serving the outliers among outliers. Zero interest, really.


Anonymous said...

S.F. wrote, "A district could easily say "look, we've done everything we can to find all the high-scoring low-income kids in our district, there just aren't as many. And given the impact of poverty on early child brain development, that'a not unexpected."

Sorry, but that game is over. The state stepped in because they were pressured to address the civil rights issues that the mentality you just described violates.
Eugenics lite--blaming it on poverty, lead paint,etc.--isn't going to work in terms of civil rights laws.

They were mandated to find students, not try. SPS has been "trying" for years. They will also have to change the way they identify students (state law already mandates that students should be compared to students of similar backgrounds).

The mandate will give watch dogs plenty to report. SPS will be ripe for a lawsuit if they don't get on board ASAP.

The biggest district in the state, SPS, and their blatant violation of student rights in terms of HC identification was clearly the main driver of this legislation. The state got "woke" that the feds were coming if they didn't act.

About Time

Anonymous said...

On a side note, here we go with the predictable "sour grapes" chorus.

We're dying to get in and keep HCC exclusive, but it's no good
(especially now that it's not going to be so exclusive anymore).

About Time

Anonymous said...

How does a state mandate to identify more black, brown and low SES students turn into another series of bashing on white and Asian families in the program? That wasn't what the article was about. Yes! Let's identify more students and yes! Let's improve outcomes for all!

Gloves Off

Anonymous said...

@ About Time, so how would YOU define "equitable identification" vs. "equal identification"? What's the distinction, in your mind?

No joke

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I have trouble understanding about the arguments such as those by About Time/FWIW.

On one hand, they say most of the white or Asian students in HCC don't deserve to be there--they aren't truly gifted, they just got "trained up" by their parents and/or somehow "bought their way in." It's like academic giftedness doesn't really exist. Then they turn around and say that gifted minority, ELL and low-income students who don't score high enough on the screening and full assessments actually do belong in the program, because if they are high scoring within their specific subgroup, that's evidence that they actually are truly gifted--they just haven't had the training to be able to demonstrate that. In other words, for the first group, they aren't born gifted, they learn it, whereas for the second group they are born gifted, even if they haven't learned to demonstrate it. The logic doesn't seem to be consistent. Is it nature, nurture, or both?

Head Scratcher

Anonymous said...

Equitable identification:

An approach that was seeking to find actual giftedness and high capability would not be using achievement tests as a cut-off score (they could be included as part of a portfolio for the types of students you mentioned), would rely heavily on a knowledgeable committee for determination of identifcation (which is actually required by state law but is a check-the-box type of committee in SPS) using multiple evidences, would address and recognize the documented biases in cognitive test cut-off scores (and ameliorate them through validated norming or by putting less emphasis on the score in identification--that includes for those likely to score highly due to experience), and would use DeBonte and NAGC best practices.

So far, I have been advocating for underrepresented students within the chaos and parameters called HCC--as long as they have kept their strict cut-off scores as the basic and only measure of HC--while also presenting NAGC and OSPI links that outline best practices (which is hopefully the way SPS is finally headed).

About Time

Melissa Westbrook said...

"The state stepped in because they were pressured to address the civil rights issues that the mentality you just described violates."

Are you referring to SPS or just districts in general? And you know this how? What

About Time, you seem also gleeful in gunning for a lawsuit against the district on this topic. Unpleasant.

Anonymous said...


You misattribute my reaction. The district, as is well-known by parent of students with IEPs, doesn't do well on compliance unless they are FORCED TO. I am very happy with this latest development...even though it's not surprising. SPS has been blatantly discriminating against HC students from underrepresented groups.

I know they were pressured because there have been multiple visits to the legislature regarding the lack of equity in HC, specifically SPS HC. Many visitors are very savvy and know which words to use to wake up the sleeping giants.

Also, just call me or my response "nasty" next time. I'll also take that as a compliment.

About Time

Anonymous said...

"middle class Asians aren't considered a minority group"? Wow, that's mind-numbing racism based on complete ignorance of the Asian experience in country of origin as well as those born here. Just more evidence that some of the so-called "progressives" are just as racist as the far right. I'm guessing you have a BLM sign on your lawn even as you oppress Asians with your alternative facts on their minority status and lived experiences. What a hypocrite!

- calling it

Anonymous said...

@ About Time, the problem is that any approach that looks for giftedness and high capability as opposed to high achievement would require a complete makeover of the actual HCC services, which are currently not aligned with the needs of highly gifted students. SPS doesn't seem to have ANY interest in a true gifted program, and instead relies on this high achievers program. I don't expect they are going to change the identification process to devalue achievement scores. I also doubt that the portfolio approach would have the desired impact, as there would likely be disparities in who submitted portfolios. It seems like that approach would be subject to similar problems as reliance on teacher and parent referrals.

Here's another question: you mentioned possibly giving less weight to cognitive scores, partly since some of them are due to "experience." At what point is experience ok to include? I can see that past experience (e.g., better preschool, higher vocabulary exposure, etc.) can be a big factor in the early years, potentially influencing who scores in the top 2% on the CogAT. However, what about in 4th grade? Or 6th grade? I don't see SPS going there, but if we were to retest students prior to 6th grade, would that help? Some of those previously id'd as HCC likely no longer would be, and some of those who had not been previously id'd would be. The presumed "advantage" that some received in early childhood shouldn't be as much of a factor at that point, since their "head start" would be at least partially offset by the subsequent years of having a more "average" intelligence.

Anonymous said...

Identifying and Serving Culturally and Linguistically (3).pdf


Here is some good information.

Outta Time

Melissa Westbrook said...

About Time, I don't call names nor do I allow it.

Many visitors are very savvy and know which words to use to wake up the sleeping giants.

I find that statement quite interesting and somewhat funny. So just all of a sudden, some people knew what to say to wake up legislators on sped and gifted but who have been asleep at the wheel on funding for schools? I wonder what code words those are (but I think I know because some people think those words make their arguments full-proof).

Anonymous said...

@caling it,
Progessives are in fact racists in this country ans always have been. Hypocrites all and as you said, so quick to forget the Chinese Exclusion Act,the original Travel Ban, or the Japanese interment of WW II. (OF course that was so the War Propaganda machine could whip up massive race hatred against the Japanese and get the soldiers and their families behind committing atrocities including mass incineration of innocent civilians in Tokyo firebombings and the two Nuclear Attacks)(democrats).

How on this currently green earth critics of the HCC program can say Asians are a dominant group these days is mind-boggling. True dat some or most all universities now limit asian enrollment and give some prference to poor whites for the purpose of "diversity", but not all asians are rich either. The spectrum runs from Hmong in Minnesota to Vietnamese to the Rohingya people of Myanmar who are currently being genocided by their hypocrite progressive icon Aung San Suu Kyi. Genocided by our Hero Aung San Suu Kyi. disbelievable.

fig leaf

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Melissa Westbrook said...

So fig leaf, I'm torn. There's name-calling in your comment and I have to wonder why you had to stoop to that to make a point. On the other hand, you are right in your last paragraph about the spectrum of Asians in this country. However, the "progressives" are not the ones saying all Asians are the same; many other people are and hence the idea that some people don't even consider the Asians in HCC as minorities.

So I'll leave this but you need to hear me when I say - NO name-calling.

Anonymous said...

"Again, I ask - why is it that people do not want to consider Asians a minority in this district?"

Because Asians are the highest achieving "race" in the US and, as noted, they are being denied entry into colleges as less qualified white students are getting their spots.

It's just silly to keep saying they are a minority.



Anonymous said...

About Time, lots of people agree with you, including most staff. But the idea that there's gonna be a lawsuit real soon is absurd. You discredit yourself by repeating it endlessly. There was also a memorable Sped poster who kept saying there "the Feds are coming" like he was Paul Revere. The Feds are not coming. And exactly who would file a lawsuit? The APPers who haven't yet squeezed out every ounce of privilege and still have to sit next to maybe 1 black person? They know they got the best education available in SPS paid for by the rest, so no way that's happening. They aren't sueing . (Those IB program directors and extra classes aren't free, and neither are all those poor and ELL kids that you've pawned off on everyone else are also an extra cost you aren't equally bearing.). There are also a few APP crybabies who think they deserve more and more because "gifted ed is basic ed". Uhhhh???? That means you are entitled to a chair in a class. There's no entitlement to your idea of "best practice". Nobody gets that. Notably there are 0 lawsuits for not providing rich people more riches. Are the underrepresented minorities gonna sue for APP? If they could do that, they'd be admitted and wouldn't need to sue. The APP program has loved itself to death, and that likely is the best outcome. No lawsuit necessary. If equity was a concern, people should advocate for admissions tickets that are, well, equitable. As it is now, we have CogAT and "achievement tests" written of the white people, by the white people, and for the white people. Is it surprising that the white kids and Asian emulators get the admission ticket to free private school? No, those tests were DESIGNED to weed out the usual undesirables. About Time, more Anglo Norming testing isn't going to be productive. Better to advocate for equity everywhere.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Tom, as others have said, there are many Asian groups. To somehow think they are all the same is astonishing.

I say they are a minority because I'm pretty sure that when they walk down the street, they know they are. They know because people constantly ask, "Where are you from?"

It's like Obama getting grief because he didn't grow up in a poor part of Chicago. Does he know he's black when he walked down any street when he was growing up? He did.

As for that lawsuit, that's interesting but I'll bet that Harvard takes into account a person's entire background, not just looking at "Asian" checked in a box.

But again, it begs the question - so why do so many students from some/all? Asian backgrounds tend to do well in school?

Anonymous said...

@Fig Leaf-- "but not all asians are rich either."

Fig leaf....and not all whites are the same or rich either! Although I admit Seattle does not seem to have as many ethnic white communities like the East Coast does... Armenians, Jews, Italians, Greeks etc.
Whites also have different ethnicities, classes, religions etc and don't all hail from one country called "white". Some have recent ancestors who were immigrants. Some are poor. Some came as refugees. My grandparents got in a a few years prior to 1924 anti-immigration law that would have blocked entrance. Faced discrimination in US and in country of origin. Worked in sweatshops in the US. Their parents had access to no education at all. Faced pretty horrific conditions of starvation, child labor, poverty & discrimination in their home country. Please broaden your argument.
- diversity

Anonymous said...

@ Tom, that's absurd. Minority status is based on numbers, not income. Asians make up less than 6% of the US population. Pretty friggin' minority to me. Just because many (but far from all) US Asians are well-educated and fairly well-to-do does not make them immune to all sorts of bias and discrimination. Sheesh.

@ MoveOn, why don't you? That was a lot of obnoxious (and flat out wrong) commentary. Totally unnecessary.

APPers who haven't yet squeezed out every ounce of privilege and still have to sit next to maybe 1 black person? They know they got the best education available in SPS paid for by the rest, so no way that's happening.
Wow. For the last time, neither the kids, nor the parents, care the color of the skin of who sits in their classes. If a kid is able to keep up and add to the discussion and whatnot, the more the merrier. Really. Truly. And the "best education in SPS"? That's hilarious. Would working two years above grade level be the "best" education for a child performing several years below grade level? Would it be best for a student struggling to stay at grade level? Would it be best for a student who feels that her GE classroom is currently the perfect fit? GE classes are intended to provide the "best education" for the typical student in that grade. If they aren't doing that, that's a whole different issue to fix. HCC classes are designed to provide a better educational fit for students for whom the GE curriculum is an exceptionally poor fit--because kids already know it or would find it too easy. It's not rocket science to see that what's best for one person is not best for everyone.

There are also a few APP crybabies who think they deserve more and more because "gifted ed is basic ed". Uhhhh???? That means you are entitled to a chair in a class.
Seriously? Try reading the law. It says that for highly capable students, basic education means "access to accelerated learning and enhanced instruction." So no, not just a seat in a regular class. An opportunity to learn.

As it is now, we have CogAT and "achievement tests" written of the white people, by the white people, and for the white people. Is it surprising that the white kids and Asian emulators get the admission ticket to free private school? No, those tests were DESIGNED to weed out the usual undesirables.
Ok, I don't know who wrote the tests, but I do know they don't ask about secret white handshakes or anything. I'm sure it's possible there's some cultural bias, but can you give examples? What sort of things on these tests are designed to be answered correctly by whites but not correctly by Blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans? What sort of questions might be included on a test that wasn't culturally biased?

But really, "Asian emulators"? You are really on a roll when it comes to racist rants.

please go

Anonymous said...

Nope, not about secret handshakes. About well known cultural values, and test preparation, not to mention private testing. Multiple choice is so much more scientific. Right? It's real simple PleaseGo, either you think the tests that validate white privilege mean that white people are more than one standard deviation smarter than black people (who on average according to CogAT are intellectually impaired) OR you think that the fundamental tenants of the tests are skewed. Which is it? I'm going with the tenants of the testing if flat out wrong. Clearly you vote for white and Asian intellectual superiority privilege. If ability and talent is evenly distributed across races, then the tests don't measure ability, they measure white (and Asian) privilege. Actually you think that black people are just way way less intelligent. (I get it, blame the paint, let yourself off the hook.). If you really believe in equity - then you will advocate for the development of tests that discover the fundamental talent independent of environmental factors. Such a test should be REQUIRED to produce results that are equally represented across racial groups. I don't think you are interested in equity though, nor anyone else. The people funding the tests, are the ones who want THEIR kids to do well so THEY maintain an advantage. It's the way of the world.

And wrong. I want my GE perfect fit kid in the accelerated class. The most accelerated possible. All kids should get as much acceleration as possible. Did you ever hear of a college that recommends taking the "perfect fit" approach? Of course not. Just like an APP parent to make such a recommendation for those other slower other kids. I don't know a single parent who feels differently. Which is why APP has loved itself to death.


Anonymous said...

@ MoveOn, sigh. One problem is that race and income are correlated. So when you make all these claims about racist attitudes you think I hold, you're discounting the role of income. Another problem is that defining intelligence or ability isn't so easy. When you say "If ability and talent is evenly distributed across races, then the tests don't measure ability, they measure white (and Asian) privilege" it's actually more complicated than that. If ability and talent are evenly distributed across race at the time of conception--which we can assume to be the case although it's hard to prove that--if there are factors during pregnancy that can impact that "at-conception" ability, you might end up with a slightly modified ability/talent potential at birth. Then if there are factors during those early 0-5 years that can further impact brain development--as there are--that can, even further, modify one's ability/talent potential. It's not like everyone has their god-given ability/talent score at conception and that's 100% set for life, right? So to the extent that some racial and/or income groups are more likely to experience things that can negatively impact brain development, and/or are less likely to experience things that can promote brain development, it would not be surprising to see some disparities in who scores in the very upper end of the tail. At what age is one's "fundamental talent" measurable? You say it needs to be done independent of environmental factors, but why can't environmental factors (e.g., nutrition, word-rich environments) contribute to "fundamental talent"? Your view of this fundamental talent seems to be that it is set as conception, but that just doesn't make sense to me.

As to the whole "all kids should get as much acceleration as possible" thing, do you really believe that? Should a first grader be assigned 12th grade work? Why not--that would be some awesome acceleration! Maybe we should allow students of any grade to enroll in Running Start, too, right? Clearly we don't want kids to get as much as "is possible", unless by that you actually mean as "is appropriate. " Then I'm with you, and that's what I was trying to say. If the GE program is not providing enough challenge for most students and needs to be accelerated, by all means, we should push for that. All students should be able to be challenged as much as possible at school--school should expand their minds, inspire them, and require them to try things that seem hard. It should be a "stretch" for everyone. The thing is, what's a stretch for one, isn't a stretch for another. I agree 100% that we should try to find every single student with these exceptional abilities and serve them with a program that fits. I also believe 100% that we should challenge every student. This does not, however, mean they all need the same thing.

please go

Anonymous said...



Yes go

Anonymous said...


Yes go

Melissa Westbrook said...

MoveOn, some unpleasant wording from you, watch your tone. And this:

"If you really believe in equity - then you will advocate for the development of tests that discover the fundamental talent independent of environmental factors. "

If you think that you can take a child - any child - and somehow test them in a vaccum and nothing about their background or environment will influence how they do, then I'd like to see that child and that test. No person exists in a bubble like that. And it's not even about income or race but simple "where you live, what your life is like and how your parents are raising you." It's Everychild.

ALL parents want their child to receive teaching and learning that meets their needs (and goes beyond if that's where the child goes). But I don't believe it can always happen in a single class.

Anonymous said...

There are other things besides teaching that meets the needs of their children that people want. Surprise, surprise but some of want our children in classes that reflect the composition of the district at large, taught by teachers who welcome and embrace each and every student regardless of ethnicity or family worth.

Some people here seem to be making the argument that while we shouldn't discriminate on the basis of race it's quite acceptable to discriminate and profile on the basis of family income and that oh so be nebulous "culture." Simply unacceptable. A public school education is based on a level playing field for all, regardless of racial or economic status.

Calling out people who advocate for equity and the dismantling of current HCC on their tone, while remaining mute on the eugenicist style arguments that find a floor here is mind boggling in this day and age.

For progress

Anonymous said...

UC Berkeley is 42% Asian for undergrads. That is twice the white student population. Asians are not a minority at elite public schools.

I think we all know that there are many sub-groups of Asians as with any Racial or ethnic classification. Even white people have subgroups. There's ones from down south who talk in such a way that people are always asking where they came from.

Fact is, Asian kids are more discriminated against than anybody by elite private schools. Then whites after that. Blacks, Hispanics, Natives and poor students get the most affirmative action at the privates colleges.


Anonymous said...

For progress: so, are you asking the district to reinstate bussing and eliminate HCC and all option schools? If not, you can slide off that high horse and put away your sling shot. That is the only thing that will accomplish what you and FWIW hope for, and it affects everyone--not HCC.

Be Honest

Anonymous said...

Right on! So, so, so true. White people are a minority in SPS!!! All the way down to 45%. Truth be told, we need affirmative action for white people against all these haters. How dare they not recognize my child's giftedness? My kid must have challenge. She is always telling me school is boring and that should never, ever happen. Freedom from boring classes is a right. Future leaders of the country come from the best and brightest, like my child, not from these people trying to get a gifted handout. Do they not know how badly we've suffered? It's so unfair for blacks, natives, and hispanics to get all those perks. I'm going private! U swear!

4More Progress

Anonymous said...

Yes HCC effects everyone, extracting the socially advantaged from their reference schools and leaving imbalanced schools and individual classes behind and creating weighted advantage to those who pursue it through high school.

Serving HCC identified (if we must) at their reference schools will strengthen all schools and not weaken them, in addition to abolishing unfair advantage.

We are unlikely to return to bussing, although it worked. It is tragically ironic that the only population who enjoys the advantage of bussing today is the HCC one.

For progress

Anonymous said...

@For Progress: you're entitled to your opinion, the Feds, state and many parents who want their students to have access to advanced learning (even 3/4's of a grade ahead!) are entitled to theirs.

Different Strokes

Anonymous said...

The good news is that none of the opinions on this blog matter.

The state and OSPI have spoken and have MANDATED that districts identify
more underrepresented students.

All of you who think your own children's brains are exempt from environmental pollutants, think again.

"Living in an older home. Although the use of lead-based paints has been banned since the 1970s, older homes and buildings often retain remnants of this paint. People renovating an older home are at even higher risk."


Nobody is analyzing the brain damage your children have already suffered.

Get real. You don't live in an environmental bubble. Just because Newsweek and Huff Post aren't busy telling you the bad news doesn't mean it hasn't already (and continues to) happen.

If you're going to go there with eugenics, look at your own house and backyard (literally). Wake up.

About Time

Anonymous said...

Btw, you don't EVEN want to know the environmental diagnosis of the facility where your young children spend six hours a day at school. That's on top of that older house "that has lots of character" where they spend the rest of their waking hours.

Glass houses, stones, and all that...

About Time

Melissa Westbrook said...

"Calling out people who advocate for equity and the dismantling of current HCC on their tone, while remaining mute on the eugenicist style arguments that find a floor here is mind boggling in this day and age."

I call out what I consider name-calling and racist and that goes both ways. Saying that lead-based paint is bad for kids is not eugenicist. Saying that poverty influences learning is not eugenicist.

"We are unlikely to return to bussing, although it worked."

Bussing worked? It would depend on your definition of "worked." Were classes integrated? Yes. Were kids all over the city forced to endure long bus rides? Yes. Did it improve academic outcomes? Not really. Did it cost more money? Yes.

I will say again - you cannot expect schools to solve problems outside their control. They can - as was said by one reader - make every attempt to level the playing field. Is SPS doing that? They are not and why they aren't is a mystery that I continue to ponder. But asking schools to fix the wrongs that the city has is going to be difficult and I don't support busing to do that. But I am open to other suggestions.

Anonymous said...

This crowd is using a superficial and ill-informed reading of headlines to support their own privilege, and it's disgraceful.

Readers on this blog have been saying (for years) that more underrepresented students are not in HCC because they specifically have smaller brains from poverty and lead paint. This is a FAR cry from the benign statement that poverty affects learning. You are, MW, in fact, abetting and minimizing this racism and classism (and have been for years) in order to protect the status quo of this indefensible version of HC and giftedness programming.

--The scientists behind these brain studies agree their work tends to be oversimplified in mass media articles and even research abstracts. “For example, they imply causality when we really only have correlational evidence at this point,” says Columbia University neuroscientist Kimberly Noble, who led the Nature Neuroscience study. “Portraying the findings this way often misrepresents the science. The brain is not destiny. I can't predict with any accuracy what a particular child's brain size will be based on their family income.”How much money a child’s parents make is just one piece of the puzzle: Shonkoff points out, “You have kids living in poverty whose brains are perfectly fine.” That’s because poverty is on the one hand just a measure of income.--

About Time

Anonymous said...

Just so much anger here, and I get it, we all want what is best for our kids. I'd also venture to say that we all want what's best for other people's kids, too. But we all see things from our own perspective. Internet anonymity allows us to vent our spleen and call each other names and feel better afterward, but it just entrenches everyone in their own opinion. Not gonna change any minds or even enhance anyone's understanding, but feels good, right?

The reason everyone is so angry is that many people feel the system is short-changing their kids. It is, and it's not fair. Maybe if people got together face-to-face and truly listened to each other, open mindedly, we could come together and advocate for improvement. But venting our frustrations at each other anonymously just widens the dangerous divide and seems to be the trend in the US, and the future.

Getting out of SPS has been such a relief. It's been a financial burden, but it lifts other burdens. And my younger kid is in a school with far more AA kids and other kids of color than any public school we've been at. nearly 50% POC, and 50% of that is AA. Also Hispanic, mixed race, and others. So I didn't go private to escape my child sitting next to a black classmate. I went for the smaller classes, better curriculum, and yes, the diversity.

Both my kids' private schools track math, and allow the students themselves to decide what math class is the best fit for them. In the middle school, kids make this decision thoughtfully. I have never heard or felt a "less than" vibe about it. Good teachers know how to guide kids in these decisions and not base their personal worth on it.

Neither kid is at a super academically focussed school--both are at schools that intend to support kids in being well-rounded--but they are both getting far better academic preparation for college than we experienced at SPS.

Civil Discourse

Anonymous said...

Anybody know where the p223s are? They were supposed to be out weeks ago. We are supposed to be making huge decisions about high school boundaries, and I am hearing some crazy things about elementary enrollment. Where's the data?


Melissa Westbrook said...

"Readers on this blog have been saying (for years) that more underrepresented students are not in HCC because they specifically have smaller brains from poverty and lead paint."

Show me ONE place that anyone said "smaller brains" because I have never seen that. What is being said is that poverty and environment influence development. That can be backed up with solid facts.

NO ONE is saying poor kids can't learn. But it may be harder to find HCC poor kids because of masking from other factors. That's all. There are just as many smart low-income kids as in any other group - but we have to find them.

I am not protecting any status quo; I got into being an activist precisely because Advanced Learning was such a poor program.

Thanks, Civil Discourse, for your story.

Sleeper, I meant to ask Ashley Davies and I forgot. Let me see.

Anonymous said...

@Please go and Move on-- Read this articles to learn from the past.


Anonymous said...

@ civil discourse-- Can you please share the school?

Anonymous said...

@For Progress " HCC effects everyone, extracting the socially advantaged from their reference schools and leaving imbalanced schools and individual classes behind and creating weighted advantage to those who pursue it through high school."

For progress- I have a problem with your use of the term "socially advantaged". If you look at the heat maps where most HCC kids live, they would be put back in neighborhood schools in which students have the same exact demographic as they do! Most of the HCC kids also went to elementary schools in those same neighborhoods. They also comprise a small amount of the total enrollment in the district. Their learning needs are different than the other kids who live in their neighborhood.

Middle income neighborhood schools also have general education kids performing higher than kids in lower income schools. Should we also take away the general ed curriculum for those middle income kids to even the playing field? After all those general ed kids are performing better on tests.


Anonymous said...

The successful performance of contemporary students in their reference school is a result of their being in that school and not in some remote selective environment. They aren't going off site to be successful and a specialized experience isn't being demanded for them.

The heat maps you reference indicate that HCC is an income and class based entity. It's not enough, however, that this already privileged class has a head start economic advantage, it also wants an educational one. Hence HCC.

Off base analogies are just further indications of the terror HCC proponents feel about the soon to be redirection of the service.

For progress

Anonymous said...

@ for progress, so HC students shouldn't expect an education specialized to their needs, but should instead get an education specialized to the needs of everyone else? Do we really just want to go with a "majority rules" approach to education?


Anonymous said...

No one gets an education specialized to their needs. We can, however, get to a place where an authentic culture of enquirer, discovery and social engagement is fostered.

HCC supporters are thinking too narrowly in terms of education. It isn't a tiered, limited entity but a process built around engagement, participation and connection.

Free your mind and the rest will follow etc

For progress

Anonymous said...

Oh, please, FP. Advanced coursework does not preclude "engagement, participation and connection." It's not an either/or.

"Authentic culture?" What does that even mean?


Melissa Westbrook said...

So I was about to end this thread but then I read this:
I am going to end this thread here but I will be starting another one based on one sentence in one comment.

As for "free your mind and the rest will follow,etc."

I'm sure For progress thought he/she was being very clever and that no one else ever listened to En Vogue:

"Free your mind and the rest will follow
Be color blind, don't be so shallow"

If you think everyone here is so shallow and you live in an "authentic" place high above us, then why are you here?

More to come.