Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Tuesday Open Thread

Quite nice to have such a lovely winter scene but I'm glad it happened on a school break; makes it a lot easier all around.

I finally finished watching and notating the last School Board meeting and I'll have a multi-part thread about it and the overlapping subjects that sparked discussion there.

Here's the agenda for the next Board meeting on January 3, 2018.  I suspect it will be a packed house because:
  • the Board's resolution against departures for zoning regs for Green Dot charter schools is up for a vote.  I just want to note that the hyperventilating over at the Washington Policy Center states that the Board is trying to close Green Dot.  Nothing of the sort.  Green Dot can continue to open their school; there is nothing in this resolution that even attempts to stop that.  
  • more discussion about high school boundaries and HCC pathways
In the meantime, some stories of note that have come across my desk:

Turmoil in Oakland public schools.  

Oakland Unified School District has suddenly found they need to cut $9M from their budget in the middle of the school year.

Now, a Bay area tv station reports that OUSD is closed 30% of their school libraries, including 14 of 17 high school libraries, and let the district's head librarian go.  Interestingly, some of the issue with this part of the problem is principals not using funds given for libraries directly for libraries.  I see some of this in SPS with the growing power of principals especially high school principals.

As part of that funding problem, citing too many schools in their district, Oakland Unified School District is starting to turn away new charters.  Interestingly, some OUSD students in traditional schools came before their board, asking for the charters to be turned away.  This is also what happened at the last SPS Board meeting,where students from Rainier Beach High School asked for the Board to fight the opening of a Green Dot school that wants to cite nearby to RBHS and Aki Kurose Middle School.

From The Atlantic - Why Parents Make Flawed Choices About Their Kids' Schooling

I found this article fascinating because of the push - from DeVos and other ed reformers - about "letting parents choose" in a country where 1) not all parents even have choices like rural parents
2) as this article points out, some parents either don't have the wherewithal to figure out their choices or not enough information to make an informed choice.   The article looks at a study of NYC public schools.

For better or worse, the city’s high-school system doesn’t rely on an automatic process where students head to the school down the block; instead, eighth-graders submit a ranked list of up to 12 high schools they’d like to attend, some of which, like Stuyvesant, require a test. That system equipped the researchers with quite a bit of information about which schools parents and their children are choosing. Their task was to use other data about the students and schools to figure out what drives those choices.

A new working paper titled “Do Parents Value School Effectiveness?” suggests that parents similarly opt for schools with the most impressive graduates rather than figuring out which ones actually teach best. 

There's research showing that girls who attend school only with other girls tend to do better in math and science. The trick, she said, is that those studies didn’t analyze “differences in the students coming into the schools.” As it turns out, those who end up in same-sex schools tend to be wealthier, start out with more skills, and have parents who are more proactive than students who attend co-ed institutions.

Also from The Atlantic -The Urban-School Stigma

Middle- and upper-income parents have expressed misgivings, too. But they’ve done it much less volubly. With relatively little fuss, they’ve simply picked up and moved—departing from city school systems at ever-greater rates. Among expressions of no-confidence, this has arguably been the most significant, because it has reshaped district demography. Each year, it seems, urban schools serve larger concentrations of poor students, racial minorities, and English-language learners. As higher-income families depart, resources go with them, and schools are faced with the daunting prospect of doing more with less.

If such departures are driven by good information about school quality, one can hardly blame parents with resources for acting in the best interests of their children.

Yet what if the information people are acting on is inaccurate or misleading?

To be sure, urban students don’t post achievement scores equal to their suburban peers. But discrepancies in test scores indicate more about families and neighborhoods than they do about the work being done in schools. One notable study, for instance, found that the influence of family and neighborhood factors accounts for roughly 60 percent of the variance in student test scores; teachers, by contrast, account for only about 10 percent.

From Sightline -
One Tool for Dismantling Structural School Segregation in Seattle: Better Zoning
72 percent of land around Seattle’s top elementaries is zoned single-family. 

From Nate Bowling, Washington State Teacher of the Year, and one of the brightest voices in public education today:

Much of white America is ‘perfectly happy’ with segregated schools, says one Teacher of the Year

From Check State Plans (part of The Collaborative for Student Success) - an assessment of Washington State's ESSA plan.

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said...

So glad to see Kimball is piloting a new gender identity curriculum. Can't wait for trump to be gone and pence too and we can escape the encroaching theocracy. Bigotry, white supremacy, anti gay and anti transgender, and other hateful ideologies have been allowed to come out of their caves and it's been ugly.

I' confident that 2018will see the rule of law put trump and his ilk where they belong:



Anonymous said...

Tons of multi family housing in Ballard surrounding Adams elementary. All housing south of 65th street and up and down N-S arterials of 15th, 24th is zoned multi family.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Just to note, I believe all schools with K-5 are using the new gender identity curriculum; I wasn't aware it was a pilot program.

NW, I'm missing your point.

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

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—Book Doctor

Anonymous said...

I think the human race came out of Africa, so keep waiting.


Robert Cruickshank said...

"This is also what happened at the last SPS Board meeting, where students from Rainier Beach High School asked for the Board to fight the opening of a Green Dot school that wants to cite nearby to RBHS and Aki Kurose Middle School."

Is this on video? That should be a big story!

The situation in Oakland is a dire mess. The state took over the district several years ago but didn't provide the extra funding needed to correct decades of injustice and underfunding. Then they allowed charters in, and the board and superintendent were very pro-charter despite community opposition. Now OUSD is facing huge cuts.

This is a cautionary tale because it's exactly what will happen if we allow charters to expand in Seattle. Charter schools, after all, are simply private schools like Lakeside or O'Dea that are unconstitutionally getting public money. If someone wants to open a charter school using their own money, or if big corporations like Boeing and wealthy people like Bill Gates want to start a charter school, they have plenty of their own money to use. They must not use public funds for their private schools.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, it is on video and I suspect it will be quite the showdown at the next Board meeting between charter supporters and RBHS students.

Anonymous said...

@ Sorry Melissa it was in response to to this statement "One Tool for Dismantling Structural School Segregation in Seattle: Better Zoning 72 percent of land around Seattle’s top elementaries is zoned single-family." Adams is one example of a really great school and the land surrounding is also zoned multi family. It is also one of the more diverse elementary schools in the area.

Anonymous said...

There are strips of apts and multi plex near Adams, but there are zero affordable houses west of Adams and I seriously doubt those pats and town house are affordable.

In Ballard 80 year old tear downs are selling for $850,000. Please do some research before posting mis information. Oh and you know someone has to die before one of those Seattle housing (for life) units become available.


Anonymous said...

"They must not use public funds for their private schools."

Ha! what is your definition of public! The havenots? I think the vote showed there is more support for charter schools than not.

You are conflating terms, charters schools are not private schools, the only thing keeping them sudo unconstitutional is not having an elected schoolboard, I think that is a low bar that will be jumped soon.


Anonymous said...

King County results for Initiative 1240
No: 51.6%
Yes: 48.4%

Like it or not, there is some support for public charter schools. SPS and the school board should seek to understand why some families consider charters a better option.

reality check

Melissa Westbrook said...

Reality and Reality Check, the measure didn't pass in Seattle by a fair margin and since we are talking about Seattle Schools, that's what matters.

Melissa Westbrook said...

And the day that charters have an elected school board, then you'll see me close this blog down.

But that won't ever happen and I'm not sure there's one in the entire country.

Watching said...

The state needs to find additional funding for McCleary. Here is an interesting article about the state's increasing debt.

"With $21 billion in debt, Washington is sixth in the U.S. on a per capita basis, according to Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s, two of the top credit rating agencies. "


"No one questions the value of the projects that bonds support, including schools, libraries, jails, public buildings, roads, parks, bridges, hospitals and more.
But as anyone with a credit card or mortgage knows, debt means payments. In 2018, Washington will pay more than $1.2 billion or 5.77 percent of the state’s general fund revenue to cover its general obligation debt payments. Serving its $21 billion total debt will cost even more."

Read more here: http://www.tri-cityherald.com/news/local/article191710764.html#storylink=cpy

Anonymous said...

@ Reality "There are strips of apts and multi plex near Adams, but there are zero affordable houses west of Adams and I seriously doubt those pats and town house are affordable."

That's true and also unfortunately is true all over our city even all over the south end where land is also premium. Tearing down lots of houses all over. There are also families who live in the apts, multiplexes and small condos. But the point is there is multi family housing around Adams and Adams is indeed more diverse than some other parts of town with only single family housing. Was referring to the article. All of Seattle is mostly unaffordable and true affordable housing is very very far away from all of Seattle. We know many people who left.

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