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Monday, January 29, 2018

Black Lives Matter in Schools Announcement from Social Equity Educators

SEE's press release on upcoming events (partial):
Thousands of educators across Seattle, and many more across the country, will be wearing “Black Lives Matter” shirts to school and teaching lessons about structural racism, Black identity, and Black history for a nationally organized week of action from February 5-9th.  Cities such as LA, Portland, Chicago, Detroit, New York City, Newark, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Boston, and more, will be joining this unprecedented national uprising to affirm the lives of Black students, teachers, and families.  The national Black Lives Matter at School coalition that organized the week of action has issued three demands:
1)    End Zero Tolerance, and implement Restorative Justice.
2)    Hire More Black Teachers in our Schools.
3)    Black History/Ethnic Studies Mandated K-12.

In addition, educators in Seattle added two more demands:
 4) Fully fund our schools
 5) De-track our schools to combat racial segregation
The Black Lives Matter at School week was unanimously endorsed by the Repetitive Assembly of the Seattle Education Association (SEA, the teachers union of Seattle).  The Seattle People’s Party and the Seattle NAACP have also endorsed, along with Seattle Seahawk Michael Bennett. Nationally, Black Lives Matter co-funder Opal Tometi has endorsed the action. 
“The opportunity gap between Black students and white students in Seattle Public Schools is growing and we are done waiting for change—We demand equity and we will be in the struggle for Black lives to matter at school until that basic fact is recognized by every single school,” said Seattle/King County NAACP education chair Rita Green. 
Recent reports have shown that Seattle’s Black students continue to graduate at lower rates than white students and Black students in grades 6-12 are suspended at an outrageous seven times the rate of white students.
“The school-to-prison-pipeline is real,” said educator and attorney Nikkita Oliver. “It extends across this country and is certainly a destructive force right here in the Seattle education system.  The Black Lives Matter at School movement is about dismantling the school-to-prison-pipeline and creating a school-to-justice-pipeline for our youth.”
“At a time when the president makes openly racist statements about Africa, Haiti and El Salvador, it is more important than ever to support anti-racist pedagogy and affirm the lives of our Black students,” said Garfield High School Ethnic Studies teacher, Jesse Hagopian. 
"In Washington, the teachers are 90% white. Our whiteness invariably bleaches and distorts the curricula we teach,” said Center School teacher and Social Equity Educators member Jon Greenberg. "We have had our turn as the curricular protagonist. This week of action ensures that other stories, especially Black stories, get told."

119 comments:

Anonymous said...

@ SEE teachers,

De-tracking our schools does NOT combat racial segregation. If we were to return every HCC student to their neighborhood school, would schools be more integrated? No! In fact, they might be MORE so.

If you really want to end racial segregation in our schools, focus your energy on the NSAP.

As educators, you should not be trying to deny HC students access to the advanced coursework they need. If your concern is that there is insufficient access to advanced courses, fight for more advanced classes at all schools. Or if your concern is the disparity in HC identification, support the proposed legislation and the new board resolution that both address this. Actively fighting to deny students access to appropriate rigor and intellectual peers is pretty unseemly behavior.

DisAPP

Anonymous said...

Is there a list of what events will be taking place at which schools? Is there a defined message that will be communicated at each school?

I am also confused to read in the post from the SEE that there is not progress in closing the achievement gap. Yet today, there is an email from the district with this quote from Superintendent Nyland, "And, we have seen progress. At the State of the District, I shared increased graduation rates for students of color and a significant reduction in discipline. Just recently, the New York Times highlighted new research out of Stanford University, identifying Seattle Public Schools as one of the top districts nationally for student academic growth (3rd in the nation). For example, in five years, African American 3rd- 8th grade students make 5.4 years of growth."

Are the SEE and Superintendent Nyland referring to the same thing? Or, is there disagreement about progress in closing the achievement gap?

-StepJ

VWU said...

I'm totally on board with hiring more black teachers and mandating Black History/Ethnic Studies for K-12. And Seattle hasn't had tracking in its schools in ages. Weird that getting rid of tracking seems to have increased the achievement gap. I have no idea what Restorative Justice is, so I bet there are a lot of parents and students who don't know. It would be great if someone offered continuing education to parents on these issues, because I feel a lot has changed since I graduated from school many years ago. And fully funding our schools. That's a great idea.

Anonymous said...

vwu tracking is hcc in grades k-8. then of course into hs as they were accelerated 2 years many classes.

tracking isn't the issue when you have stats like these, imho

Bilingual:
Hispanic 2016 31%
Native Amer. 2016 22%
Black 2016 24%

FRL:
Black 2016 84%
Native Amer. 2016 69%
Hispanic 2016 64%

many of which are coming from war torn areas of the world. Other statistics show that you are 50% less likely to be proficient if you are in transitional housing and more than 75% of those homeless in seattle are people of color makes a pretty staggering uphill battle. is it worth it? absolutely. does it warrant getting rid of tracking? no. especially since it is the best practices and it saves a ton of money.

no caps

no caps

Anonymous said...

Once again “achievement gap” and “opportunity gap” and “opportunity gap within schools” are being conflated.

I would strongly agree that there is an achievement gap whereby African American, Hispanic, and Low Income students under-perform on the SBAC standardized ERA and math tests given in Seattle.

I would also agree that there is an opportunity gap whereby many minority and low income students have less support at home, are less likely to participate academic enrichment activities outside of school, and so on.

But the main example of “opportunity gap within schools” people seem to keep raising is HCC. Are we really to expect that by getting rid of HCC the number of African American, Hispanic, and low income students will suddenly perform as well academically as White Middle Class students in Seattle? The fact is sending white middle class child back to a white middle class school in North East Seattle will do nothing for the academic performance of a Black ESL immigrant student that lives in the Central District. A putting a black student that is at grade level in an class that is two grade levels advanced is not going to help them either.

And by the way, m white middle class tax dollars help pay for free preschool that my white children in Seattle never received. And they help pay for full day kindergarten that my white student never received. And my white middle class tax dollars have been helping pay for the extra Title 1 funds for low income schools for the last 30 years. The same goes for my white middle class property taxes, which by the way are already expected to go up next year by some 18% to help fully fund schools. And I’m happy to pay those taxes and I support fully funding our schools as apparently do most white people in Seattle. But spending alone is not going to solve the disparity in achievement gap when so much of the issue is what happens outside of school. The Seattle elementary school my kids went to was a dump compared to many others, and my kids still did fine.

I also support hiring more black teachers. But mandating black history/ethnic studies in kindergarten? How about if we mandate Asian history studies in kindergarten as well. And how about mandating Native American History studies in kindergarten. And for that matter, how about we mandate European History studies in kindergarten, because I don’t exactly recall my kids being taught European history in kindergarten either. Because this is apparently demand “3”.

And the line about “end zero tolerance”? Go take a walk around a Seattle area middle school and do a quick survey of the ethnicity of the students wandering the halls and disrupting other classes with impunity. Zero tolerance has long since ended.

There are lots of black and other minority students in Seattle who work very hard and I am happy to do everything I can to support them. But why is it that one black student in a given class scores a 1 on the SBAC and another in the same class, and who has gone to exactly them same schools, scores a 4? Same books, same teachers, same funding, same lack of Black history in Kindergarten. Its hard to argue that's caused by an opportunity gap in the public schools.

VWU said...

HCC is not tracking because by definition, tracking:
- happens at a school level
- students are assigned to different classrooms
- students receive instruction from different teachers
- students study a different curriculum

HCC happens at a district level, only involves different classrooms & teachers sometimes (like, not in high school, right?) and does not cover different curriculum. Ergo, HCC is not tracking.

Tracking for Equity said...

Here is a really compelling article on how tracking could be used to promote equity.
https://edex.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/Loveless%20Paper-KLM%20%281%29.pdf

It turns out that
1. poor, Hispanic and black middles school students are less likely to be enrolled in tracked classes than students who are socioeconomically better off, white, and Asian.
2. Middle schools serving predominantly disadvantaged students are less likely to offer tracked classes than schools serving advantaged populations.
3. Tracking generally has a positive effect for high-achieving students particularly when academically talented students are grouped together and offered an enriched or accelerated curriculum.

"Identifying academically talented students in high-poverty middle schools and offering them a curriculum tailored to their needs could create a pipeline of academic excellence running from middle school to high school AP classes. It promises better preparation of disadvantaged students for high school AP courses than that provided by current policies and practices. Low-income middle school students do not have access to high tracks because, in contrast to schools serving predominantly advantaged students, schools in low-income communities are more likely to be untracked. They have adopted an ethos of equal access to all courses; thus, their toughest, most academically challenging classes may be populated with students so heterogeneous in ability that students two or more years above grade level sit alongside students two or more years below grade level— all students studying the same curriculum and receiving the same instruction. Teachers have difficulty teaching such classes. What middle schools in poor communities need is an ethos of identifying and developing academic talent."

In an interesting parallel to Garfield's Honors for All push, the article discusses Chicago's 1997 “Algebra for All” policy for ninth graders. Remedial math was abolished and mixed-ability algebra classes were created. What happened?
- the number of students receiving algebra credits went up
- no effect on the test scores of average and below-average students
- failure rates in math classes increased for average students
- test scores of high achievers went down

Melissa Westbrook said...

"What happened?
- the number of students receiving algebra credits went up
- no effect on the test scores of average and below-average students
- failure rates in math classes increased for average students
- test scores of high achievers went down"

Where did you get this data?

Anonymous said...

While I fully support more diversity with our teachers, zero tolerance for racism in our schools, closing the achievement gap, etc. etc. I do have some concern regarding some of the approaches. My son mentioned to me that at his school's MLK assembly, kids were asked to stand if they supported certain things. Some of the things were a bit controversial. When kids didn't stand other kids loudly boo'ed in their faces - extreme peer pressure. He said also in the speeches that there was no such thing as black people being racist, only white people. Kids took it as it was ok for a black person to call a white person a snowflake, etc. etc.

I feel this generation, for the most part, is very open to diversity, doesn't see colors the way prior generations did, so some of the extremism can have opposite effects. My son said he heard kids muttering very inappropriate things in reaction to being told of their white privilege, that they were racist and others weren't, etc. etc.

Anyway, my 2 cents through my son. We need to be careful in how we provide equitable education and integrate without being so extreme that our teachings through ethnic studies doesn't have the opposite effect.

Seattle HSmom

Anonymous said...

There is no reverse racism. Racism requires power and prejudice. Who hold the power in this country? White people. Black people can certainly be prejudiced but they are not racist.

I am white and I know that I have privilege by virtue of my skin color. I have taught my kids this too. It is about systemic racism.

HP

Anonymous said...

Oh yes the ultimate myth.

CBS

Anonymous said...

Melissa - Tracking for Equity included this link at the top of their post: https://edex.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/Loveless%20Paper-KLM%20%281%29.pdf

Fairmount Parent

Anonymous said...

@HP- These are kids though and their words do hold power with each other. It is not o.k for some kids to call other kids names because of the color of THEIR skin (snowflakes?) or the fact that they are advanced. Adults need to call them out on it. I don't agree with you at all and I was a social science major in college. You are applying the concept wrongly in this instance. In addition, we cannot make assumptions either about people due to the color of their skin.

I know of an HCC identified (very late) kid, both (17 year old teen) parents dropped out of high school, she is disabled, has been homeless, is F&R lunch. But the people around her continue to make assumptions because she "blends in" with the white people. In fact she has much in common socioeconomically with low income kids of color.

In addition I also know of many middle and affluent kids of color (black, bi-racial etc) who also have much in common with middle class and affluent whites.

Do we really want to teach our children its fine to state and make a negative "snap judgement" of people in their entirety based upon skin color?
diversity

Anonymous said...

The achievement gap is due to income more than due to race. "The socioeconomic status of a child’s parents has always been one of the strongest predictors of the child’s academic achievement and educational attainment."There is much research in recent years out of Stanford showing a shrinking black/white achievement gap as compared to the growth in achievement gap due to an increasing income gap. A half century ago, the situation was just the reverse. The black-white gap was one and a half times as large as the income achievement gap as defined in the report, Reardon found. Family income is now nearly as strong as parental education in predicting children’s achievement.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/21/income-achievement-gap-al_n_1105783.html
https://cepa.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/reardon%20whither%20opportunity%20-%20chapter%205.pdf
data

Anonymous said...

Snowflake is a term used for 'specialness' because every snowflake is unique. I have never heard it used for white people. It is usually used in a pejorative manner, so no, kids should not be calling other kids that.

It has nothing to do with white privilege or systemic racism. White privilege does not mean that a white person has not faced adversity due to economic situation or ableness. What it means is that society as a whole treats white skin differently than it treats black skin. Time after time, it has been shown that blacks are treated differently than whites when applying for a job, applying for a loan, applying for an apartment, shopping in a store, walking down the street, police response, teacher response, etc. It is not a child's fault that white privilege exists but it is something they should acknowledge like male privilege.

HP

Tracking for Equality said...

Melissa, that was what happened after Chicago's 1997 "Algebra for All" initiative. Tom Loveless summarized the findings in the article I cited:
https://edex.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/Loveless%20Paper-KLM%20%281%29.pdf

It just struck me that there were a LOT of parallels to Garfield's Honors For All experiment, although who knows how that's going? It turns out detracking can be very tricky to implement successfully, especially in urban school districts where merely eliminating tracking is clearly not preferable.

The research Loveless describes is by Elaine Allensworth and Takako Nomi, who have spent decades studying the experiments Chicago has conducted on students. This provides a very good overview:
https://consortium.uchicago.edu/sites/default/files/publications/AERJ%20Sorting%20and%20Supporting.pdf

Both high-skill and low-skill students can benefit when low-skill students are offered additional supports, but merely detracking often increases failure rates (particularly among high achieving Gen Ed and Spectrum students) (and each semester course that a student fails in 9th grade increases the probability of dropping out by about 15%, regardless of whether they have high or low test scores.)

Meanwhile, the heterogeneous model is not clearly preferable for students with below-average skills. Eliminating curricular tracks in and of itself does not create greater equality. It's actually a huge problem that so much of this is being done with so little understanding by parents.

In Seattle, detracking = getting rid of Spectrum. Although for it to truly have been tracking in the first place, Spectrum would have had to have a different curriculum, which it did not. Detracking can increase test scores, which has apparently been the case at Washington Middle School. However, it often does not make any difference on pass rates. Plus, its effects are not the same for high-skill and low-skill students. Furthermore, it is not just students’ absolute skill level that affects their likelihood of passing, but their skills relative to their classroom peers. Mixing students of varying skill levels together can have substantial negative effects on learning among high-skill students while only modestly improving the learning of low-skill students.

So, where's the data on dissolving Spectrum? Where's the data on Honors for All? If they work, let's see the numbers. Parents would be so much more supportive if they felt confident that their children were not being harmed by these in-vitro experiments. Meanwhile all our middle schools are on to the next trend: sorting and double-dose math. Where's the conversation about these? Why doesn't the BLM movement have anything to say about those???!!!

Melissa Westbrook said...

Tracking for Equity, I'll have to read that article, thanks.

However, the way you wrote your post, you make it sound like you do know the outcomes of the Honors for All at Garfield. And I guess you don't.

I do agree about the outcomes from Spectrum, Honors for All, etc. should be...tracked. It is an odd thing that staff can so easily cherry-pick data and yet have no real outcome data.

I think name-calling is wrong period. There are surely some words that should never be used but when parents use terms like "snowflake" it's prejorative. (And HP, I don't know what you read but "snowflake" is absolutely a word applied much more to white people than others.)

Anonymous said...

From a 10/16/16 post (FAQS on upcoming BLM event):

Hamilton Middle School published the same FAQs as are available on IAmanEducator, with the exception of one additional bullet point in the Hamilton weekly news:

Q. What are the goals of the Black Lives Matter to Seattle Educators rally at
Washington Hall on the evening of October 19?
1. Social Equality Educators organizers are calling for three changes with Seattle
schools: Restorative Justice in every school;
2. Ethnic Studies for every student; and
3. An end to academic tracking within Seattle Public Schools.


academic tracking = HCC

time machine

VWU said...

HCC is not tracking. By definition, tracking:
- happens at a school level (this is not the case for HCC)
- students are assigned to different classrooms (most schools don't even have HCC, definitely not true for high school)
- students receive instruction from different teachers (didn't they just change this for middle school so that all teachers teach both?)
- students study a different curriculum (this is not the case for HCC)

Getting rid of Spectrum was detracking. How did it work?

Anonymous said...

While I think schools have both the obligation and right to educate students about racism and discrimination, it is definitely not appropriate to teach material that indoctrinates students based on any one particular political ideology - whether left or right.

A few examples:

"Black Villages is the disruption of Western nuclear family
dynamics and a return to the “collective village” that takes care of each other." (part of Thursday's Black Families lesson)

Advocating for the "disruption" of nuclear families is an irresponsible use of taxpayer funded learning time.

"While acknowledging an opposing view, if a lesson
is on an equity theme, it does not mean that equal time must be given to views in opposition to equity."

So if a different point-of-view is interpreted as "opposition", then the SEA guidance is not to give that student's opinion equal time?


http://www.seattlewea.org/file_viewer.php?id=10521

no

Anonymous said...

Snowflake:
In the 1860s "snowflake" was used by abolitionists in Missouri to refer to those who opposed the abolition of slavery. The term referred to the color of snow, referring to valuing white people over black people. This usage was not believed to have extended beyond the state of Missouri in the 1800s.[2][1]

In the 1970s, according to Green's Dictionary of Slang, snowflake has been used to describe "a white person or a black person who was perceived as acting too much like a white person".[17][1]

Today it is used chiefly by conservatives against liberals. Either way, name calling of any sort is not okay.

HP

Anonymous said...

@time machine

I also recall that the 2017 version of the FAQs and communication for HIMS BLM action wasn't an ask for the end of tracking but the end of HCC. While I have felt that our current crop of kids seem to look past color of skin, both of my children came home from school with the message (from two separate schools and within several of their friends groups): that they were bad because they were white. They were racist because they were white. They were racist because they were part of HCC. Should I continue? Because it gets worse from there. As a parent and a human it upsets me to hear this talk against my children, much like I'm sure parents of POC have felt for generations too. But we should be past the tit for tat and instead focused on solutions that raise everyone up and provide the challenge and supports that every kid needs to be successful and moving forward. I think what really disturbed me about the message last year was that those words that were said seemed to be endorsed by SPS and the teachers, an institution that I and my family have supported directly as parents and will continue to support as taxpayers. I'm a regular parent, just like most folks who comment here. I am too tired of the constant change and upheaval from SPS to make my case about my own level of liberal progressivism. I'm just very very disappointed that in this city full of smart people, we can't get it together and we as different communities are constantly pitted against one another for rationed services.
-long road

Anonymous said...

From the 2015-18 CBA:

2. The principle of academic freedom for employees shall not supersede the basic responsibilities of the employee to the education profession. These responsibilities include:

a. A commitment to support the Constitution of the United States;

b. A concern for the welfare, growth, and development of children; and,

c. An insistence upon objective scholarship.


"Objective scholarship," as in free of bias. Good luck pushing back on that one. Students generally know not to speak up if they have differing viewpoints from the teacher, especially if the teacher is very vocal in their opinions or presents a particular ideology though assignments. It will be very interesting to see the details of the ethnic studies curriculum once that gets developed. It should come before the Board for approval, yes?

jm

Anonymous said...

@HP "It has nothing to do with white privilege or systemic racism. White privilege does not mean that a white person has not faced adversity due to economic situation or ableness. What it means is that society as a whole treats white skin differently than it treats black skin."

Yes we agree that just appearing white is definitely an advantage/privilege. However income also intersects and I would argue that lower income people of all races sometimes face discrimination in many of those categories as well. If you are affluent and college educated you are privileged/have an advantage.Class and educational privilege also results in much inequity.

I would also challenge people to also reflect upon other advantages and privileges that are not mentioned. They are so many! Did your parents complete high school or college? You are more privileged than others. Able bodied privilege is also one people take for granted. Let's not stop with race, but let that be a starting point for the discussion. Let's also teach that many people may have disadvantages that are not apparent, and it is not for us to judge who is or is not disadvantaged. It is also not o.k to call others names meant to hurt like "snowflake". That does not effectively open doors to conversations between people of diverse backgrounds. I am glad you agree.
diversity

Confused said...

SEE simultaneously fights for and against standardized education and one size fits all.

They fought the closure of Middle College, but seek to destroy advanced learning.

Anonymous said...

Tracking for Equality

What is sorting and double-dose math?

NE Parent

Anonymous said...

If ethnic studies and social justice lessons aren't closely vetted and taught well, things could get ugly.

One of my children--a child who grew up thinking it was completely natural for a woman to be a presidential candidate, for moms to work, for dads to stay home, for friends to be mixed races, for playdates to be at homes headed by two moms, for languages other than English to be normal, and so on--spent a year as a middle school student of one of these SEE activist teachers. It did not go as hoped, to say the least. The constant lecturing about social justice and gender bias and racial discrimination and white privilege was a complete turn-off, and my child became resentful. My kid just wanted to learn, not be preached to...over and over and over. Brow beating is not an effective method for getting kids and teens to think deeply about issues, nor is it effective with kids who have already done some deep thinking on those issues. Or with kids who disagree and would benefit from true conversation rather than lecturing. Or with kids who really want to learn the material the class is supposed to be covering but that gets missed because too much time is spent promoting the teacher's agenda.

We need a thoughtful and carefully vetted approach, with a clear curriculum and learning goals and extensive teacher training (by teachers without these extreme views). This should not be a matter of teachers grabbing random articles and blog posts and videos online and creating their own curricula that support their own points of views. Parents should have the opportunity to review the curriculum and materials, too--ahead of time. That will help with supporting or expanding upon or even countering the perspectives at home.

Thoughtful Approach

Anonymous said...

While most would concur that our country is increasingly divided, we have to take personal responsibility for our own role in this conflict. Using inflammatory rhetoric whether its "white fragility" or "white privilege" comes with a price - you're pandering to your base and needlessly alienating potential allies who may agree with the fundamental underlying principles, but not the polarizing language and opinion dressed as fact.

no

Anonymous said...

Your child was not alone @TA. Most frustrating is that the arc of history, what they claim to want to teach, and what would make obvious some of the points they were trying to make, was hardly taught (no, Zinn is not adequate). If the ethnic studies curriculum mirrors that class, then no thanks.

be concerned

Anonymous said...

I would like to see some tolerance for Christianity. Those who believe in the Grace of Jesus are treated worse than any other religion(or atheism).

Tom

Anonymous said...

I would like to see more tolerance from Christians.

Mot

Cap hill said...

Nice to see so many independent thinkers posting here - I feel better about Seattle already.

The problem with all of this is that it feels very much like teaching religion to me. It feels like a group of teachers seeking to impose a bunch of their doctrine on our kids. Nothing in this feels like actual scholarship or encouraging independent thinking. And many of the topics identified in the posted file are fringe at best. Is this lesson plan really approved by Seattle Public Schools? In a year where property taxes are going up by 17% so we can fully fund our schools, is this really the best we can do?

This really illustrates the problem we have in Seattle. Our school system has effectively been captured by an activist teachers union and a bloated bureaucracy. The reason many people support charter schools and education reform is not because it is the only model, it is because it provides competition to a rent-seeking monopoly and forces it to better serve families.

And Jon Greenberg - hey man, can you see China from that high horse you sit on?

Cap hill said...

Also, cognitive dissonance regarding the following construct: "The opportunity gap between Black students and white students in Seattle Public Schools is growing and we are done waiting for change." So next week, we're going to focus on:

Monday: The Day of Demands, including Restorative Justice, Empathy, Loving Engagement
Tuesday: Diversity, Globalism
Wednesday: Trans-Affirming, Queer Affirming, & Collective Value
Thursday: Intergenerational, Black Families, & Black Villages
Friday: Black Women, Unapologetically Black

We measure said opportunity gap by the scores on standardized tests. I don't see the connection. This isn't about how we help these kids excel in school - this is about the worldview of a small set of teachers and making them feel better.

Curicullum Committee said...

Did the Curriculum and Instruction Committee review and adopt curriculum?

Melissa Westbrook said...

First, this is important learning especially since the district does not yet have an ethnic curriculum. So educators are stepping up.

Here are the lesson plans suggested by the Social Equity Educators. http://www.seattlewea.org/file_viewer.php?id=10521

I wrote to the Board and Communications to ask about what the plan is for BLM week. According to a KING 5 report, "every school will be participating" but that comes from SEE.

Families should have received an email from Nyland about Black History month and Black Lives Matter week. I found the language kind of tepid about BLM and it's unclear to me who decides what happens that week.

I believe that principals are likely to be the ones who decide and that teachers (per that contract language submitted by JM above) can speak out on issues as long as they provide for safe opposing views (meaning kids don't fear speaking out in opposition). That said, many students in general may not feel comfortable opposing what a teacher says.

I note that the lesson plans are careful to tell teachers to provide that opportunity.

As for those lesson plans, I think they are mostly okay except for K-2. They have photos of police dogs attacking black individuals and spray hosing of black people. It also talks about black children who were killed by police officers.

I have no desire to sugar-coat our country's history but I work with kindergarteners and I don't think it is developmentally appropriate to show them scary photos. You can talk about bad things that happened but I believe the kids would become more obsessed and scared of the themes of death and safety once they saw the photos rather than learning the reasons those things happened. Little people can only absorb so much.

I think the district is not really tracking what will or will not be happening in classrooms so I would say, ask your principal.

Anonymous said...

I think we should welcome any and all social justice activities as long as the HC cohort model is preserved. HCC parents complaining about this only feeds the narrative of entrenched privilege.

SG

Melissa Westbrook said...

SG, you don’t know anyone here so that idea doesn’t work. Sorry

Anonymous said...

So sad to read of this assault on a black man. I hope he wakes back up. Our society has a lot of work to do. Black Lives Matter.
https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/crime/african-american-man-fighting-for-his-life-after-unprovoked-racist-rage-attack-in-auburn/

Tragedy

Parentofthree said...

Perhaps more time spent on establishing common ground and building perspective-taking skills would be useful for everyone:

https://www.npr.org/2015/10/13/444446708/in-the-classroom-common-ground-can-transform-gpas

Anonymous said...

@NE Parent:

Sorting is how middle schools place students in math class. They can take a placement test and sort into whatever class they’re ready for.

And double dose math is where students who need some extra help with math can sign up for an extra math help class during one of their elective slots. So they take the regular math class, but also an extra math class that will allow pre-teaching and re-teaching (maybe even with the same teacher).

I find it odd that BLM has strong demands on really nitty gritty pedagogical philosophy issues like tracking but don’t say what they want it replaced with. Ability grouping? Sorting and double dosing? It’s weird to demand not to have one approach and then not really care what it gets replaced with. So, yeah, they killed Spectrum, but now what?

Tracking for Equality

Anonymous said...

Racist animosity is pretty easy to stir up. Our president is the perfect example of how it's done.

It's our reptile brain which lashes out and attacks and our tribalistic inclinations that facilitate groupthink. Adaptive behaviors in an earlier time, but in 2017 they can be very destructive.

The battle lines are already forming on this BLM week.


2neptune

Melissa Westbrook said...

2neptune, I hope not. This is an important issue that needs attention now. But I think it would have been good to involve PTAs/ parents as a united front. Why the district and teachers didn’t do this is a mystery.

Anonymous said...

"So, yeah, they killed Spectrum, but now what?" What does this have to do with the topic? Nothing at all. Spectrum no longer exists because it isn't legal. Period.

The parents/PTAs who are on board will already be a united front. There is no need to petition people like Soup for Teachers. They responded to the strike with soup and support and didn't require teachers to get their input before striking. They are allies and don't have the ego that needs to be stroked.

The bandwagon approach that defines "liberal" Seattle (let's be all forward thinking, but not forward acting) will override any anonymous comments on this thread. When push comes to shove, maintaining a front (Obama bumper stickers, et al.) while continuing to partake in a game to maintain power and privilege will rule the week:

"The white liberal differs from the white conservative only in one way: the liberal is more deceitful than the conservative. The liberal is more hypocritical than the conservative. Both want power, but the white liberal is the one who has perfected the art of posing as the Negro's friend and benefactor; and by winning the friendship, allegiance, and support of the Negro, the white liberal is able to use the Negro as a pawn or tool in this political "football game" that is constantly raging between the white liberals and white conservatives." Malcolm X

Lip Service

Anonymous said...

Wow, @ Lip Service. That's how you see it if a white parent doesn't want an "anything goes" approach to ethnic studies (and prefers a fully vetted curriculum, like preferred for non-sensitive subjects, too) or doesn't buy the argument that eliminating "tracking"--which doesn't really exist as such, and if they actually mean HCC, effects a small minoroty of students anyway? mant parents prefer an evidence-based, more objective approach to educational decisions--not a bunch of teachers jumping on a social justice bandwagon without a lot of thought as to the ramifications of their activism. The five "demands" of this planned "uprising" don't reflect real solutions to the presumed problems, so this appears to just be optics
And signaling on the part of some schools and teachers.

Thoughtful Approach

Anonymous said...

Well I have used the term white privilege with my children as a white person. We have also talked about male privilege and Christian privilege. It can be discussed with children without it being inflammatory. Children do not choose who their parents are and they should not be told that they are bad, but you can tell them what advantages society gives them over their peers. Once they learn about it, they usually pick up on the bias that is in our society. You can see it in advertising, movies, TV, even in the books available to them. My white male son recognizes that there are things he can safely do that his brown or black friends can't. Like run around the woods near his home with an air rifle, or walk home at night by himself, or be able to wear a cross and not be harassed.

I agree with Melissa though, that it needs to be age appropriate.

HP

Anonymous said...

I've looked at the teaching/curriculum resources they posted, but I'm having trouble finding anything about the "detracking." They plan to address that in the lessons when they show the slide of the 5 demands for SPS, but there's no info re: what they plan to say on that--what evidence they plan to share that tracking is so bad, whether they plan to share articles that suggest tracking actually PROMOTES equity, etc. Many of these classes in which the lessons will be conducted will include a mix of HCC and non-HCC students, so it is crucially important that the messaging on this issue is objective, evidence-based, and reflects the range of experiences of he students in the classrooms.

Ironically, while the point of the week is to highlight equity and acceptance and valuation of all people, many of the HCC students in the room will have spent years feeling devalued and disrespected and isolated and like their education was not seen as a priority by their teachers and schools. That's why many of them left their neighborhood schools in the first place. Now they'll be told that moving to a school that allows them to finally learn is bad, and that they should go back to the place that treated them with complete disregard?

Including all types of people who are "different" in the messaging, as they seem to want to do to some extent, would mean also including those who are intellectual outliers. This week is a great opportunity to highlight the fact that not everyone needs the same things, and that a key aspect of a socially just society is recognizing that and giving people what they need. They could actually do a whole lesson on racial disparities in HCC, looking at the use of tests that produce disparate eligibility, investigating the reasons behind the disparate performance (e.g., poverty, parent education, access to quality pre-K, etc.), looking at cultural differences in interest/participation in HCC, considering why and how Rainier Scholars works, thinking about what might need to be different in classrooms and schools and the community to eliminate gaps, discussing whether a one-size-fits-all approach seems to make sense, talking about why some groups under-participate in high school advanced learning options, logically analyzing the pros/cons of eliminating pathways and trying to predict what might happen to course offerings as a result, etc. It's an area rich for conversation about celebrating difference, sociocultural impacts on education, cultural attitudes, economics, mathematical analysis, critical thinking, what the education system should be, etc. Could be fascinating.

Thoughtful Approach

Anonymous said...

@no "While most would concur that our country is increasingly divided, we have to take personal responsibility for our own role in this conflict. Using inflammatory rhetoric whether its "white fragility" or "white privilege" comes with a price - you're pandering to your base and needlessly alienating potential allies who may agree with the fundamental underlying principles, but not the polarizing language and opinion dressed as fact."

Amen to those statements. There have been academics speaking out about this terminology stating that in some instances (ex "check your privilege!") it is intended to "shut down conversation". I don't think that's helpful at all to the goal that you would assume people want to happen. We don't need more division and in my opinion low income whites have alot in common (historically as well read "white trash") with low income people of color and this country continues to divide them.

There are also some choosing different language instead replacing term privilege with advantage etc. Privilege already holds a meaning of wealth, so causes confusion, dismissal & misinterpretation especially among low income whites.https://www.insidehighered.com/views/2016/11/15/why-its-better-talk-about-advantage-rather-privilege-essay
diversity


Anonymous said...

While there may be broad support for ethnic studies, the WHAT and HOW of it need to be carefully vetted. What @Lip Service suggests - that the "bandwagon approach...will override any anonymous comments on this thread" - could be a reasonable prediction because the vocal contingent will speak for those parents who are oblivious to what's actually being taught (or not taught) in class, or will silence those who may object to what's being taught (heretics get shunned).

progress?

Anonymous said...

Why is one of the main sections of Black Lives Matter curriculum on "Trans-Affirming, Queer Affirming, & Collective Value?" I did not think that was central to Black or African American identity or issues. Am I wrong?

The overall curriculum is here: http://www.seattlewea.org/file_viewer.php?id=10521

The middle school Guiding Questions for "Black Trans and Queer Affirmation: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1O-t2NdLfrzawSpIPANAGiTVuoLbSJCih

In the middle school lesson plan is a video with sexually explicit lyrics:
"Hook: Show music video “I am Her” by Shea Diamond (linked in Power Point)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_zOOnvB7K8 (some explicit lyrics) Explain that today’s lesson ison identity, specifically Black trans and queer identities which are often overlooked. (for more mature students, a critique of Dave Chappelle’s most recent transphobic Netflix stand up may be appropriate). (5 minutes)

Seattle Mom

Tracking for Equality said...

@ Lip Service,

You say: "So, yeah, they killed Spectrum, but now what?" What does this have to do with the topic? Nothing at all.

Actually since one of the five demands Seattle educators are asking for is de-tracking, killing Spectrum is absolutely topical.

If the problem with tracking is that it causes racial segregation in schools, why is the call not to work toward the goal of reducing racial segregation in schools? This would be a more productive conversation that has the potential to impact far more students. It could lead to conversations about how to
- increase diversity in option school enrollment demographics
- improve student assignment plan assignment zones to increase diversity in schools
- deal with the issue of charter schools

Why the focus detracking to the exclusion of other issues like access to AP courses or dual credit courses for high school students, distance learning for students at high schools that don't offer the advanced coursework a student wants, resource equity, ensuring college and career readiness, growing great teachers in underserved communities, etc.

Anonymous said...

that's a troll obviously. we are all just waiting for MW or someone else with delete powers to delete it. no need for anyone reading the above to assume that the troll speaks for any of us. the comment is horribly offensive to all of us...

Anonymous said...

Wow. The linked video is not age appropriate for middle school. Just not. As part of a school lesson, I would not even want my high school student watching it. It also contains multiple anti-police messages - signs with "abolish the police" and "stop police terror," images of smoking, sexual activity. What's the intent, exactly?

This is unvetted YouTube "curriculum." Brought to you by teachers who are supposed to have "A concern for the welfare, growth, and development of children."

be concerned

Anonymous said...

It's offensive, but does bring up an interesting idea. Can parents keep their children home? I don't feel we need more of BLMs divisive rhetoric. White shaming is so 2017!

--K12P

AA said...

Why the focus detracking to the exclusion of other issues like access to AP courses or dual credit courses for high school students, distance learning for students at high schools that don't offer the advanced coursework a student wants, resource equity, ensuring college and career readiness, growing great teachers in underserved communities, etc.

Because FWIW/LipService is a bitter, hate-filled individual with a single overarching agenda. She doesn't actually care about lifting up students (as evidenced by all the tirades here), merely making sure that kids with advantages aren't allowed to benefit from them.

Y'all know the picture with the three kids looking over the fence at a ball game, right? One short kid, a medium kid and one tall kid. Equity is giving the shortest kid two boxes to stand on, the medium kid one box to stand on. Clearly it's not that easy because real-world societal challenges are not as easy as grabbing a couple spare boxes. But FWIW's notion of equity is cutting off the tall kid's legs at the knees. Voila, no more disparity.

I hope most of the world understands that's not helpful to anyone, including the short kid.

New teacher said...

"I hope most of the world understands that's not helpful to anyone, including the short kid."

The whole notion of equity was dreamed up by liberals to advance their for profit corrective action agenda. Their hyperbole is a huge disruption to the education to all children.

Anonymous said...

"A key practice that protects both teacher and student is, while discussing societal issues, to avoid any appearance of the imposition of views and opinions on students. This can be done by acknowledging an opposing view, clearly identifying a teacher’s opinion as just that, and presenting factual information. While acknowledging an opposing view, if a lesson is on an equity theme, it does not mean that equal time must be given to views in opposition to equity. The contrasting views instead should be used to provide for full information for students."

SEA, the key practice that protects both teacher and student is to not impose personal views and opinions on students, not just the "appearance of the imposition." Truly objective scholarship is the goal. By all means, discuss societal issues, but don't pretend to be providing objective scholarship under the guise of "academic freedom."

A parent should not have to dig into the nitty gritty of each and every lesson to check for questionable material, as Seattle Mom has done. Really, holy cow. Academic freedom does have bounds.

And "While acknowledging an opposing view, if a lesson is on an equity theme, it does not mean that equal time must be given to views in opposition to equity." Huh?? Opposing views may still be in support of equity, just different means of achieving that equity. It sounds more like, "either you're for us or you're against us." Us vs them. Right or wrong.

just ranting

Anonymous said...

Ditto what @just ranting said.

unclear

Anonymous said...

@ New teacher, what? You comment puzzles, and somewhat worries, me. Care to elaborate?

unclear

New teacher said...

It's astonishing that commenters here can't simply use google, why is that? People get on the net and make their way here, but seem incapable of thinking for themselves. Why is that?

Here try this, Google "race equity consultants" I hope this serves to clarify my position. Also look at race equity conferences and the big business behind them.

Anonymous said...

The level of racism I see in Seattle whenever discussion like this come up always surprises me. Part of the reason I moved to Seattle was so I could raise my kids in a place that values diversity. Then I see comments like many of these and I wonder if it really is all that different from where I was raised. Sad. We are not a post racial society.

HP

Melissa Westbrook said...

"The whole notion of equity was dreamed up by liberals to advance their for profit corrective action agenda."

What? No, it's the GOP that's on the "let's make money off public education" train far more than liberals.

Also, short people do have feelings, you know.

VWU said...

And yet, HP, even if we just did the stuff on the list without the couple of things that commenters here don't like (don't show the youtube video, provide equitable advanced learning district wide), that still leaves every single commenter basically completely on board with the demands. So if you slightly changed the wording, I think the platform of demands would be extremely well supported by pretty much all parents:

1) End Zero Tolerance, and implement Restorative Justice
2) Hire More Black Teachers in our Schools
3) Black History/Ethnic Studies Mandated K-12
4) Fully fund our schools
5) Combat racial segregation in our schools

Can't we all get along?

Anonymous said...

Ideas promoted by Glenn Singleton's Pacific Educational Group were used by Supreme Court justices to overturn Seattle's race based assignment plan. Is it racist to challenge his ideas, or those similar to his?

not clear

Anonymous said...

Combat racial segregation? What are you talking about?

I've been to many schools in SPS and I see no segregation. What I see is the student population of a school representational of the community it serves and in many schools there is a larger percentage of black students than the local attendance area's demo. So how is that segregation. Are you angry that white students are not bused to RBHS?

Hire more black teachers...really, like affirmative action? Hey all you whites working your butts off to become teacher don't look at SPS for work they have racial quotas.

I think we want excellent teachers first regardless of skin color.

And last my favorite...restorative justice or race based rules for behavior.

Wunerbar

Anonymous said...

Watching a baseball game has zero relevance to education or to learning. The boxes are suppose to represent overcoming what exactly? Tutoring? Not speaking English? Having low IQ?

The way I see it all three kids are stealing for not purchasing a ticket and sitting in the bleachers where boxes are not needed.

Wunerbar

Cap hill said...

Yeah, I don't think we're all on board with your demands. I continued to be troubled by a huge disparity between what the district and teachers say (focused on the testing/graduation gaps between kids) and what they do (initiatives which seem almost unrelated to the problem).

What the district measures, and what is used to quantify the problem by the media and external academics, typically are standardized test scores, graduation rates and participation rates in AL programs. That is always the starting point - as it even is in the SEA press release. That is the "say" part - look, here's how bad the problem is, as quantified by those measures.

The "do" follow up to the problem statement, however, then veers off course. Here: The opportunity gap between Black students and white students in Seattle Public Schools is growing and we are done waiting for change." then "So we are going to have a lesson plan on being queer-affirmative on Wednesday". It's like saying "I found out I have cancer. So I am going to go fishing." Same thing applies to most of your demands, and to many of the things that SPS has put in place. Race and equity teams? Is there any evidence on efficacy?

I have very strong doubts about the efficacy of all of the things you propose WRT solving for gaps. I seriously doubt that these are evidence based solutions to the problem. And that - the lack of demonstrating that you know how to solve the problem, not racism - is the reason not everybody is going to be on board with your demands. We have cancer, and you want to go fishing.

What we want is the gaps closed. We want to measure you and hold you accountable to closing them. We want to know what approaches, which schools, which classes and teachers have high efficacy. And we want to do more of that, and less of things that just make the teachers feel good about how woke they are. Because that is how this looks to parents - a big celebration on how woke SPS teachers are.

And fully fund schools? We pay more here in Seattle for SPS than all but a few districts in this country. We pay significantly more than almost every OECD country. Like our healthcare system, we just don't get great results.

Melissa Westbrook said...

The issue about more teachers of color has some irony to it.

We want more teachers of colors to reflect the students in the class.

But really folks, who would want to be a teacher? Who wants their professional to be continually denigrated? New and ever-changing work each year with new initiatives from district/state/feds? And that great paycheck, too.

I think there just are not enough teachers of color because it's hard to get young people to want to be teachers.

I think the issue of restorative justice has balance to it. On the one hand, many students of color experience trauma in their young lives and it impacts their behavior in the classroom. Teachers who are culturally competent might go a long way to understanding that issue.

On the other hand, teachers have to be able to manage ever-large class sizes and there have to be basic rules of behavior that a teacher can expect from all students.

Anonymous said...

Seattle Mom

Just read lyrics and watched video for the song I am Her. What am I missing? I didn't see or read anything sexually explicit. The lyrics seemed pretty on point for the suggested topic.

AmI MissingSomething

Anonymous said...


@ New Teacher, I hope you do a better job with your students than just telling them to Google random terms. Railing against the incompetence of people for not using to the internet to try to understand your bizarre statement shows a profound lack of understanding for how online research works. You generally need to know what it is that you're trying to look up.

Your odd pronouncement that "the whole notion of equity was dreamed up by liberals to advance their for profit corrective action agenda" doesn't provide that sort of clarity. What does one Google to not come off as a dunce in your eyes? Equity--which is the topic, but is a pretty dang general term? The definition of the word "equity"(e.g., the quality of being fair and impartial)? The word origin (Latin=liberal?)? "Equity+liberals" doesn't seem to get us where you want us to go either. "Corrective action" seems to point toward discipline. Hmm.

Thankfully, in your scolding follow-up, you clued us in to the search terms we should use: "race equity consultants." (Hint: if you have to spell out your search terms because they don't appear in your original statement, and can't easily be deduced from your original statement, your statement was probably too vague or hyperbolic.) Now I'm not sure how many people would have come up with that as their search phrase based your statement, but we'll go with it. Yes, I suppose it does help clarify your position. Your belief is incorrect when it comes to the origin of the notion of equity, but your position is clearer. A liberal profit-seeking conspiracy. Got it.

FYI, you might try the google yourself. There are conferences and big money behind a whole lot of things. Technology. Real estate. Healthcare. Video games. Automobiles. Standardized testing. College football (ok, different type of conference, I know--but comes up on Google!). Apparently conspiracy theorists made big money of a Flat Earth conference, too, so that's a good one, no?

Please tell me you do a better job with your initial communications, your follow-up, your expectations-setting, and your research guidance when it comes to your students? Our students deserve better.

unclear

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know at the high school level how this BLM curriculum week will actually Work? Are all teachers from all 6 classes supposed to work this into their curriculum? Are they not teaching regular coursework this week? Or is the BLM curriculum taught during assemblies or study period?
Confused

Anonymous said...

@Confused,
The link to the curriculum is: http://www.seattlewea.org/file_viewer.php?id=10521.

At 11:22 am I posted other links and info about the curriculum I found online.

Seattle Mom

Anonymous said...

This "curriculum" is ridiculous. It sounds like a parody of leftist sociology from Brietbart.

Like I stated earlier on the thread, the liberal Seattle bandwagon will follow with their game faces on.

If you want to support BLM, invite people who have actually achieved and overcome into the schools to lift kids and families up. Educate students about real people and situations, and have an actual plan to give on-going support and opportunities.

This is pathetic. The Onion couldn't have made this up.

Lip Service


Anonymous said...

Btw,

Where in the plan do they address early childhood education (including K-3)? Where is the thrust to inundate the schools in SPS with the many parent volunteers who swarm to their own childrens' schools to commit some time to a school who needs them, too? (Thank you, Melissa, for your volunteer work with vulnerable children at a vulnerable age.)

Where is the plan to provide outside-of-school opportunities for underserved children so that they can gain in the experiences that lead to increased reading comprehension and the ability to make connections across subjects/disciplines (as well as enthusiasm, which is a precursor to much learning)?

Where is the co-ordination with Rainier Scholars? Why aren't they insisting that SPS partner with Rainier Scholars and Austina De Bonte to identify and support talented students within the school system, rather than simply calling for the vague but accusatory "de-tracking" that doesn't even mean anything?

How much to you want to guess that this is a mostly white person's BLM, with a little bit of coordination with Rita Green and some other high profile names? I know the SEE group well. Sometimes getting your name out and having an appearance on Democracy Now in and of itself makes a difference.

It usually means Jack Squat.

Lip Service

Anonymous said...

Another Btw,

Cap Hill, you were right on an intellectual level, but not on an affective level.

Your heart isn't in the right place, IMHO.

Lip Service

Anonymous said...

"I've been to many schools in SPS and I see no segregation. What I see is the student population of a school representational of the community it serves.."

Is this the old Colbert Report take on SPS? I don't see colors, just neighborhoods?

As far as the role of just one year of having a Black teacher on a Black students' future:

http://releases.jhu.edu/2017/04/05/with-just-one-black-teacher-black-students-more-likely-to-graduate/

Melissa, what does not wanting to go into teaching have to do with hiring Black teachers? Plenty of college students go into teaching, but few stay. Across the board. Having a Black teacher...MATTERS.

How about if SPS is serious, they have go to the southern USA and have a job fair?
But, we know that this "week" in February is another Seattle charade and is only...

Lip Service






Anonymous said...

@ Lip Service, thanks for that article re: black teachers and graduation rates. Very interesting. If this doesn't motivate more young (or old!) black persons to take up the mantle of teaching, I don't know what will.

The same also likely goes for other populations with historically low graduation grates. A more diverse teaching corps seems to be part of the solution. How about instead of enlisting low-income minorities in the military at high rates, we enlist them in teaching instead?

unclear

Melissa Westbrook said...

"Plenty of college students go into teaching, but few stay."

You answered your own question. You get teachers from students who go into teaching. Fewer of them - for whatever reason - and you get fewer teachers. And yes, SPS casts that net far and wide to find teachers of color. I don't get your unhappiness about that.

Your tone is consistently unpleasant. Being harsh is not useful to dialog.

Anonymous said...

God save public school

http://www.weeklystandard.com/inside-a-public-school-social-justice-factory/article/2011402

SAM

Anonymous said...

Reading this blog one would think slavery never happened in our country, Oregon never banned non-whites, Seattle never kicked out all the Chinese and the KKK never marched through the streets of the NW.

true history

Anonymous said...

And don't forget that africans did not sell slaves.

Real history

Melissa Westbrook said...

True History, that's just not true but if that's what you have as an opinion,well, everyone has one.

Anonymous said...

@ True History, one can believe all of those things happened and yet still not support the ill-informed proposals that are coming out. It's not an either-or situation. We need solutions that work, not pointless exercises designed to make some people feel good.

unclear

Anonymous said...

@MW said: What? No, it's the GOP that's on the "let's make money off public education" train far more than liberals.

That's no longer a true statement, MW. And it hasn't been for a while as big money democrats have appropriated and expanded every formerly Republican trick to fleece the taxpayers of education dollars. So-called "non-profit" charter chains are dominated by democratic party supporting oligarchs, and the Democrats for Education Reform are all about union-busting and profiteering.

Have we already forgotten the escapades of Arne Duncan's Dept of Ed? Have we forgotten the cost-cutting, school-closing-only-to-reopen-a-year-later at the cost of 40 million bucks given away to our local contractor lobby by our infamous Gang-of-Four School Board? The one bought and paid for by our local oligarchs, and Hanauer's League of Education Voters?

What party do you suppose all those useless coffee-sipping bureaucrats hiding out in JSCEE overwhelmingly vote for?

And I've always voted overwhelmingly democratic, but I'm not on the team, or Xmas card list, I'm sure.

WSDWG

Anonymous said...

I support many of the objectives but disagree with how they are being delivered. I wish I knew how the teachers would be interpreting and delivering this curriculum. I have a high school student who is a concrete thinker, has some learning challenges, relies on strict classroom routine, and would really appreciate some advanced coaching about this. I am also not sure that this delivery model will achieve the intended goals. I worry that kids will be turned off by the delivery. But how could we know, since the content and delivery are not standardized or board approved?
Sceptical

Anonymous said...

Some of what's included in the SEA BLM info:

For math, there are suggested lessons on stop and frisk data, credit card debt in the black community, and excessive force by police. They write: "The math we learn is Eurocentric, but everyone has math in their blood." (hello? Algebra? al-Khwarizmi? Babylonians and base 60?). We hope to slowly build a database and community of local math teachers who collaborate to design and adapt lessons, linking math with ethnic studies themes of identity, power & oppression, resistance & liberation, and action.

Other lessons explain why it's not okay to say "All Lives Matter," elementary lessons include the article "It’s Not About You, It’s About Us: A Black Woman Administrator’s Efforts to Disrupt White Fragility in an Urban School," and a high school lesson has an embedded video of Trump speaking on Charlottesville.

Is this an indication of what we can expect from an ethnic studies curriculum?

unvetted

Anonymous said...

Greenberg will be leading a workshop at the 2018 White Privilege Conference:

Concrete Strategies for Public Schools to Institutionalize Racial Justice and Combat White Privilege (All Levels) Facilitator: Jon Greenberg
The hard truth is that public schools, more often than not, perpetuate institutional racism. It doesn’t have to be this way. Extensive research confirms the existence of concrete strategies that can reduce the deep racial disparities in public education and stem the school-to-prison pipeline. Given that White Americans disproportionately elected elite white males into powerful political positions across the nation, how can public education also help White America better understand race and racism? In this session, participants explore the documented benefits of ethnic studies and studying race. Led by Greenberg, an educator who recently fended off an effort to squelch his race curriculum, participants also learn about recent attacks on such education, from Tucson to the Pacific Northwest, including their surprising commonality. This interactive session facilitates networking and mobilizing to institutionalize racial justice in public education. Last fall, Greenberg helped organize the #BlackLivesMatterInSchools, during which over 2,000 educators in Seattle donned Black Lives Matter shirts, spurring a district-wide effort to confront institutional racism.

an fyi

Melissa Westbrook said...

WSDWG, my apologies. YES, there are ed reform Dems who are every bit as greedy. However, I perceive that the push for vouchers is very much on the GOP side where there is also money to be made.

Anonymous said...

The "It’s Not About You" journal article is just about 100% blather. I challenge anyone here to read all 10-11 pages and make a case that it has any value whatsoever. My favorite part is the declaration of no conflicts of interest at the end of the article. And...why would that be necessary or believable? How this article made it into a journal I will never know.

New teacher said...

Vouchers are a responce to bad districts and dropping achievement. There are thousands of Democrat voting black parents sending their children to charter schools and are very happy to do so. Trying to tie this issue to the GOP is misguided.

Melissa Westbrook said...

New teacher, I was talking about vouchers, not charters. Not the same thing. Vouchers ARE a very GOP-tied initiative. Ever heard of Betsy DeVos? Go Google her.

New teacher said...

Charters lead the way but are not rolling out fast enough. Vouchers could help all, not just black communities. If vouchers were required for attending charters I would bet all the black parents who currently have children in charters would vote for vouchers.

Just like with charters the resistance to vouchers will fail. Vouchers will help students who use them outside of SPS and those who choose SPS. People are just tired of the problems and for those who by necessity must flee SPS it's vouchers that will help them recover financially, now that's justice.

Anonymous said...

The "It's Not About You" article reads like a what not to do when it comes to unifying staff. They divided staff into "White" and "Black" "caucuses" for discussions. It didn't go well. The leading staff member addresses the "resistant White teachers" about their "continued state of fragility" and their need to examine their "whiteness." Particular staff members are called out by name. Egads. It seems to have set the school back rather than moving it forward.

what the?

Anonymous said...

New teacher, I hope you are not really a teacher. You appear unable to construct a sentence.

-Cynic

Anonymous said...

White fragility is perfectly exemplified on this forum. It's an intellectual house of cards that requires constant attack on SPS administrators, teachers, other parents, community members and government to support.

I imagine a sociology course somewhere in the world analyzing this and other(HCC) threads.

thesis project

New teacher said...

Yes, English is my 3rd language. You must be a Trump supporter. Nice ad hominem attack.

Anonymous said...

ANY disagreement = "white fragility". I'm going to use that next time I'm in court. What a winning, catchall strategy!

Anonymous said...

https://www.splcenter.org/20180131/teaching-hard-history

curriculum ideas

Anonymous said...

Vouchers are predominantly used so that people can attend religious private schools. Vouchers also do not cover the entire cost of attending a private school so it still leaves our many poor people.

Charters are a mixed bag. Some are good, some are okay, but many are bad and do worse than public schools. Charters have no accountability and neither do private schools for that matter.

HP

Anonymous said...

whites are so "fragile" because they have systematically robbed non-whites for centuries and are terrified of playing on a level field. they know it is only white supremacist ideology that has gotten them what they own and they need the status quo to keep their lifestyle intact.

'nuff said

Melissa Westbrook said...

New Teacher, I'll have a thread on this issue but I believe you are wrong. The momentum is going down for charters as their real outcomes become clear. There are so many issues with vouchers that I can't see them expanding after the multitude of lawsuits that will come with wide-spread use.

"White fragility is perfectly exemplified on this forum. It's an intellectual house of cards that requires constant attack on SPS administrators, teachers, other parents, community members and government to support."

You may see that in some remarks, however, if you want to say that there is institutional racism everywhere, wouldn't attacking those institutions for doing that mean you attack government?

Anonymous said...

@ 'nuff said Please describe a level playing field in specific terms.

Please include in your description where children with alcoholic parents, children with degenerate gambler parents, children with no access to capital and children with speech impediments fit on the level playing field you describe.

Anonymous said...

"whites are so "fragile" because they have systematically robbed non-whites for centuries and are terrified of playing on a level field. they know it is only white supremacist ideology that has gotten them what they own and they need the status quo to keep their lifestyle intact.

'nuff said"

This perfectly permissible statement in today's discourse, is as racist a statement, on it's face, as I've ever read.

And in the post-modernist, cultural marxist world view, it will either be considered racist, or not, depending upon the skin color of the person who makes it or the alliance of the speaker's group identity, which is undoubtably a group claiming to be oppressed by white male privilege, white supremacy, or something even darker like the "illuminati."

It's the tragedy of our commons today that we have completely rejected in our schools MLK's message that we should judge and be judged not by the color of our skin, but by the content of our character. But I suppose I'm just "white-splaining" at this point, so go ahead and white-shame me for my white fragility.

RIP, MLK.

WSDWG

Anonymous said...

Re: Charters, MW, the momentum may be slowing, the charter foothold in Seattle and Tacoma has taken ever-deeper roots. West Seattle has a HUGE charter HS being built at 35th and Roxbury, I know families with kids at the Charter in the Int'l District who are extremely happy there, and we have new charters being built in the Rainier Valley right now. Big money is likely going to win this fight, eventually, because the resistance cannot afford to keep up the fight.

I think SPS should wise up and become a Charter Authorizer, while the anti-charter battle continues, so there will be at least some public accountability if they are eventually ruled legal and given permanent funding, so any new Charter will at least be subject to some level of public oversight by the taxpayers who fund them.

Unfortunately, it's always been the case that Seattle follows all other major cities on education policy, probably because the initial rollouts are in DC, NY, or Chicago, and about the time their failures become obvious, Seattle is just dipping our toes in the water.

WSDWG

Anonymous said...

The SEA BLM curriculum has provided a glimpse into what is meant by ethnic studies, by those who seem in charge of developing it. The Southern Poverty Law Center link underscores the need to cover history, with primary source info and historical documents. In our children's experience, such learning has happened more through independent reading, not in SPS schools. But will more history be taught with the commitment to an ethnic studies curriculum (what about the Since Time Immemorial curriculum?)? It seems what they mean by ethnic studies is the study of "themes of identity, power & oppression, resistance & liberation, and action." somehow in the absence of historical scholarship.

More history, please. Less politicking, preaching, and polarization.

outta control

Melissa Westbrook said...

"I think SPS should wise up and become a Charter Authorizer, while the anti-charter battle continues, so there will be at least some public accountability if they are eventually ruled legal and given permanent funding, so any new Charter will at least be subject to some level of public oversight by the taxpayers who fund them."

First, those charter schools in Rainier Valley may have facilities issues (and the high school does for sure). And that's Green Dot who, along with Summit, are definitely the big players. And GD likes to play dirty which is not going to reflect well on it in the end.

Second, as to your statement about SPS - nope. Because a school district authorizer has NO more oversight than the Charter Commission. The elected school board is NOT overseeing them at all - the district staff is. The Times was trying to sell this "control your own destiny on charters" stuff about SPS being an authorizer.

An school district authorizer can certainly try to control who and where a charter school is within their district but they cannot try to maximize for their benefit. That's the surest way to lose that authorization power.

Anonymous said...


"This perfectly permissible statement in today's discourse, is as racist a statement, on it's face, as I've ever read."

Bro, our president says more racist yet permissible things on a regular basis. Your comment exemplifies fragility.

Do you understand the pain people of color feel, today, in the US, in Seattle?

Do you understand how it feels to have white people who may or may not be related to people who enslaved your ancestors, your great-great grandparents, look down on you, cross the street from you, insinuate your group isn't as gifted?

Do you ever lie in bed and think about how your great-great grandparents were whipped, raped, sold, lynched, spit on, denied housing, etc. by the ancestors of wealthy white people or people who look like them?

If you understand how that feels I'd say you have overcome your fragility.

'nuff

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

"our president says more racist yet permissible things on a regular basis."

That does not make it right. He is the number one reason for the coarsening of our country. It has zero to do with "fragility" and everything to do with manners and civility.

'Nuff, I cannot speak for others but I have read and thought and listened. No, I don't know what any of that is like (although growing up in a majority Mexican town, I certainly heard and saw racism).

But you ask of people something they can't truly know which is your life experience. What you can ask is consideration of the past and what life feels like today. Does every white person in the country today bear some responsibility? Yes (except for those who are newer immigrants).

But we can stand up for better education and laws that affect the treatment of people of color especially African-Americans. We can stand up to people who would treat others different based on their race.

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

It is the policy and practice of this blog to delete unsigned anonymous comments.

-pretty straightforward

Anonymous said...

@ Anon at 12:51, it was probably deleted because you didn't use a moniker. Same thing will likely happen to your 12:51 post.

Blog rules

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

Probably an oversight, @2:12. But, seriously, read the blog rules. Sign a name. Two words or less.

-pretty straightforward

Anonymous said...

You're right. My mistake.

-5YOKAI

Anonymous said...

The "It’s Not About You" journal article is just about 100% blather. I challenge anyone here to read all 10-11 pages and make a case that it has any value whatsoever. My favorite part is the declaration of no conflicts of interest at the end of the article. And...why would that be necessary or believable? How this article made it into a journal I will never know.

2/1/18, 4:45 PM

-5YOKAI

Anonymous said...

@'nuff: No, I don't lie awake and think about the horrible treatment of my ancestors, which included lynchings, beatings, racism, killings, starvation, famine, religious persecution, having their land stolen and emigrating to this country where they were treated like dirt for well over a hundred years. And I'm far from alone. I have many Italian, Irish, Jewish, Russian, Ukranian, African Immigrant, African American and Southeast Asian friends with similar stories, including a good friend who spent 2 years in a Laotian prison camp for the crime of being educated and from a prestigious family. So, I'm sorry, but no. I don't focus on such things. History has taught me it's frequently a black hole or a dead end, and I will live in defiance of my ancestry before I'll be defined by it, because my life is my own and that's the life I'm responsible and accountable for.

WSDWG

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well said, WSDWG especially that last sentence.

Anonymous said...

@ 'nuff, our president says things that are AS racist, not more racist. He's a racist idiot, and does not speak for all white people. Your comment was still incredibly racist. Comparing to Trump doesn't make it any less so.

Pointing out that a racially stereotyping comment is racist does not "exemplify white fragility."

White fragility is about denial, about trying to change the subject to avoid the discomfort associated with talking about race and history. It's about trying to make light of these serious issues, brushing them off with jokes or suggesting people focus on the positives not negatives. It's about not being able to acknowledge that those of us who are white have some privilege based on that, even though we may have varying degrees of privilege based on other things such as income, education, sex, sexuality, disability, intelligence, whatever. It's about not being willing to recognize that we are "part of the problem" even if we don't mean to be, don't want to be, and try not to be.

It is not, however, about disagreement. You do not have to agree with everything a non-white person says in order to not display white fragility. You do not have to agree with every educational plan or curriculum proposed by teachers and administrators to get around this idea of white fragility. In fact, the people engaging on these issues here are those who are more comfortable discussing race--those less fragile, so to speak.

I'm sorry if my skin tone reminds you of people who may or may not have done terrible things to your ancestors. That's obviously not my fault, but I agree it was horrible,and I understand that may make you suspicious of me, of our system, and of the fact that our system likely benefits me more than you. I can't do a lot to change that, but one area in which I feel I can make a difference is in promoting evidence-based decision making and equitable services in SPS. I want students to get what they need, what works, regardless of skin color. I can think SPS's ideas are as stupid as Trump's, and neither means I'm fragile.

Unbreakable

Anonymous said...

This blog will serve as a historical record of the demise of SPS.

Just watch