Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Tuesday Open Thread


Parent Workshop: ‘Positive Behavior Supports at School and at Home’

Wednesday, December 6 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm at South Shore K-8
| Free

Presenter: Dr. Stephanie King, PhD, NCSP

Seattle Public Schools, Behavior Program Team Lead

Registration required

Send RSVP confirmation to Cilia Jurdy  ciliaj@multiculturalfamilies.org  using online form below
Call our office: 253.216.4479
For languages other than English, contact our staff directly

end of update

Congrats to Rainier Beach High School's varsity football team which is the runner-up for state champions in their division.  Sorry, that game is to be played on December 8th.
Talk to your student about what they "like"on Instagram or Facebook; it could come back to haunt them.
A Bay Area school district acted properly when it suspended five students who “liked” or commented on racist images on another student's Instagram account that included nooses drawn around the necks of a black student and coach and comparisons of African American women and students to gorillas, a judge has ruled.

The judge rejected arguments that the Albany Unified School District violated the students' free speech rights because the offensive posts were on a private account and made off campus.

The case raised thorny questions about how strictly schools can regulate student speech and whether “likes” on social media should be treated similarly to the original posts.

“These cases establish that students have the right to be free of online posts that denigrate their race, ethnicity or physical appearance, or threaten violence,” he said. “They have an equivalent right to enjoy an education in a civil, secure and safe school environment.” 
I'm hearing rumblings that the Board would prefer the City Council not change zoning rules to include charter schools for departures from said rules. 

As I stated previously, I can see how the Board might not find the City a great partner if that partner is doing things that will undermine the work of the Board.  It's bad enough that the district plays nice and gives the City multiple pre-K spaces for free (while the City charges the district for space at Seattle Center for the Center School) but if the Council changes the availability of departures for charter schools, that's an even bigger issue.

While charters may be "public" schools, they decidedly do not fall under the state funding name - via the constitution - of "common schools."  That's one basis the Council should use in deciding this issue.

Again, Seattle voters - by a good margin - said no to charter schools.  The Board has said no to charter schools and the district has never applied to be a charter authorizer.  And, if Green Dot's school opens in that location, it will very much undermine Rainier Beach High School.

Avoid Facebook’s New Messenger App For Kids To Protect Your Family’s Privacy & Future, an important article from blogger, Bradley Shear.
Facebook has announced that it has launched a new messenger app for kids under the age of 13 that is controlled by parents that will allow children to send texts, videos, photos, and partake in other digital activities. While the app is advertised as helping protect the privacy and security of kids, parents shouldn’t be fooled and should not trust this new platform.

Additionally, Facebook planned to allow Admiral Insurance (which has a U.S. subsidiary: Elephant Auto Insurance) utilize teens’ private Facebook activity to price insurance polices; however, after a swift public backlash the company backed down. Facebook was also caught helping advertisers target teens who had emotional issues. These actions followed Facebook manipulating users’ emotions for science in 2014.
I'd say no if it were my kid.

Betsy DeVos claims test scores are stagnant because parents don't have choice for schools.
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos used America's stagnant performance on an international exam to make her case for her favorite policy prescription—expanding school choice—in a speech to Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's Foundation for Excellence in Education in Nashville, Tenn.
Decades after the publication of 1983's landmark report "A Nation At Risk" DeVos said America remains "stuck in the middle" on the Programme for International Student Assessment, or PISA.
Given DeVos' background and job performance so far, it's unlikely that she truly knows much about the PISA or who takes it in each country.

Also from DeVos (who helps set the rules on these issues):
States are not doing enough to inform parents about the special education rights they give up when they enroll their children in private schools with publicly funded vouchers.

That's according to a new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office that also urges Congress to compel states to tell parents about the tradeoffs they are making when they opt to participate in a private school choice program.
Speaking of choice, the GOP is giving that in spades in their new tax scam - parents who have their kids in private schools would receive at $10,000 deduction.  

They also seem to have it in for higher ed.
The highest profile item is the plan in the House bill to tax graduate student tuition waivers as income, effectively making the young people who are helping the nation move forward with critical research pay taxes on “incomes” that are tens of thousands of dollars higher than they actually get paid.  However, higher education takes multiple hits in the House bill such as taxing endowment earnings that go towards school advancement, reducing incentives for charitable giving, and eliminating student loan interest deductions that benefited 12 million borrowers in 2014.

This bill threatens federal aid for needy students by exploding the budget deficit, puts pressure on municipalities via decreased home values and loss of property tax deductions, and puts pressure on states via loss of income tax deductions.  School budgets HAVE to rise just to keep up with growing student populations and other fixed costs even if there is no concerted effort at school improvement.  Flat or decreased funding for any significant length of time threatens numerous factors that impact school quality such as class sizes, the length of the school year, and capital improvements.  We saw this play out across the country during the Great Recession and, more recently, with Kansas which plunged deep into a supply side experiment under Governor Brownback – and which precipitated a long term public education crisis.
 What's on your mind?


Gads said...

Did you see the story in NYT? How Effective Is Your School District? A New
Measure Shows Where Students Learn the Most

Seattle shows up very well. I particularly like the comparison tool at the end.

I wonder if the story will be picket up by Seattle Times.

NO 1240 said...

Thanks for your post, Melissa.

Plans to build a charter school have been going on for a year. I'm not surprised that the original HALA report wanted charter schools.

Green Dot is actually trying to build TWO new schools. They want to move and re-place existing middle school portables with a new building in a different site AND build a new high school. The high school would accommodate 700 (!) students. You can only imagine the impact Green Dot's high school would have on S. Seattle high schools in terms of funding-- especially since Seattle has some great programs in south Seattle high schools and some seek to build a new building for Rainier Beach high students.

I am in complete agreement that the city should not amend Seattle's Municipal codes to accommodate charter schools. Now is the time for the city to partner with Seattle Public schools in a meaningful way. Seattle Public Schools must be the entity involved with building and capacity. Charter schools siphon students and there will be excess capacity in south Seattle.

I was disappointed to learn that: "District 2 city council member Bruce Harrell and former state senator, now Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal were instrumental in securing early funding to study the feasibility of the project."

I urge individuals to write the city council and reject any proposal that would change Seattle's Municipal Codes regarding education construction and urge city council members to disallow two new charter schools from being build in s. Seattle. The issue revolves around land use laws.

Here are a couple of articles:


Steve said...

Here's a link to the NY Times piece mentioned above. Interesting reading.


Anonymous said...

Bruce Harrell’s wife is an exec for Microsoft corporate “giving”.... follow the money.

No Charters

Anonymous said...

From the recent NY times article " The data, based on some 300 million elementary-school test scores across more than 11,000 school districts, tweaks conventional wisdom in many ways. Some urban and Southern districts are doing better than data typically suggests. Some wealthy ones don’t look that effective. Many poor school systems do.

"One question we’ve been asking ourselves is: Do urban public school systems simply reflect the poverty of the kids in the schools, or do they overcome those effects to any degree?” said Michael Casserly, the executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools, which represents large urban districts.This new data shows that many do overcome them. "

"This picture, and Chicago’s place in it, defy how we typically think about wealth and education in America. It’s true that children in prosperous districts tend to test well, while children in poorer districts on average score lower. But in this analysis, which measures how scores grow as student cohorts move through school, the Stanford researcher Sean Reardon argues that it’s possible to separate some of the advantages of socioeconomics from what’s actually happening in schools."

Standford researcher Reardon who conducted the research has been leading cutting edge research for years on poverty, racial & income achievement gaps etc.

This may come as a surprise. Reardons research in 2011 suggested income achievement gap now is almost double the black white achievement gap. This was completely the reverse from years ago when the black white achievement gap was double the income gap. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/21/income-achievement-gap-al_n_1105783.html

Anonymous said...

Not sure if this was covered yet"


"Closing The 'PTA Gap' In Seattle: Parents And School District Wrestle With Inequities"


Melissa Westbrook said...

NorthEndParent, I am behind. I had intended to put that story and the one KUOW did on the same topic in one thread.

Anonymous said...

I donate money to my child's school, but will stop if those funds are used at other schools without my expressed permission.

I think that's the liberals plan, starve out PTA funds at schools where parents donate. Next they will demand parents donate their time to other schools.


Anonymous said...

I am not sure about Green Dot's curriculum, but I was looking into Summit High School and noted that 12th graders are required to take 4 AP classes. I only know a couple of kids that could manage that kind of schedule. Wondering how an entire class manages or if they run as AP lite classes, not really caring about the exam pass rates since they will be graduated by the time the test results are sent.

AP overload?

Anonymous said...

It's almost like some in SPS wanted Green Dot to open. Why else would they have waited so long to rebuild Rainier Beach? Why else would they not find dollars for the IB program that is working there?


Anonymous said...

Kiro 7 reports cheerleading at RBHS suspended due to incidents on campus - bullying, fighting, escalating to threats of violence from a parent.

local news

Anonymous said...

Speaking of AP tests, here's an interesting article that seems appropriate given Seattle's current directions...

(I apologize if this was discussed earlier, but if it was, I missed it. The article is from Sept.)


Melissa Westbrook said...

Geeze, it's a discussion. As far as I know, the SCPTSA has not weighed in. If individual schools decide to give some portion of their fundraising to another school that has no PTA or low fundraising ability, that's up to the voting membership of the PTA. Of course, that could change year to year, based on voters' desires. This is not a political thing.

HP, well, that is a thing to consider. I believe that past administrations wanted to let RBHS die a slow death and having a crummy building and not fully supporting the IB program was one way to do that. (But, to note, the district doesn't not fully support ANY of the IB programs nor the dual language programs. That's their MO.) The number I saw for renovating RBHS is laughable compared to what they have spent for other high schools. Maybe someone at SPS did want to cede SE to charters. I know there are people internally who like charters.

Local News, thanks because I was wondering why so many speakers on the Board meeting agenda were to talk about RBHS cheerleading.

Anonymous said...

Interesting, but probably not surprising PISA results