Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Seattle School Board to Discuss Resolution on Gun Safety

It's at today's Work Sessions.  The Resolution has been put forward by the entire Board.  They will apparently be taking action on it at the Work Session.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Monday, February 26, 2018

Fighting for Safety in our Schools

The National School Walkout, planned by Women’s March organizers, will be on March 14 at 10 am in each time zone. It calls for students, faculty, parents, and others to walk out of school for 17 minutes — one minute for each person who was killed in the Florida school shooting. For more, check out the official website and Facebook page.

Call Your Legislative Reps TODAY


The Senate Ways and Means Committee is reviving the Enhanced Background Checks for Assault Weapons (SB5444) as part of a package of school safety measures in SB6620. The bill was first read on Friday 2/23.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Yes, Public Education Will Solve Everything (Can't)


Image may contain: 1 person, sitting, eyeglasses and text

Seattle Schools, Week of Feb. 26-March 2, 2018

Monday, Feb. 26th
Mayor Durkan and the Department of Education and Early Learning will have an event at Garfield High School from 5:30-6:30 pm.

On School Shootings; What's Happened Since

I'll be upfront with what I believe.

This "what shall we do" idea of everything but restricting guns is America's way of saying, "I give up."  Well, I don't give up.

This is NOT the new normal; it's not normal at all and I refuse to accept that. 

NO other first-world country has this issue.  Nobody.  

I am sorry it has taken mass shooting after mass shooting, especially of children, to strike a match but now it's a fire and it's unstoppable. 

Onward.

The President is advocating that teachers be armed (and get a bonus in pay if they do).  His ignorance and hubris is laughable.  I have not seen a teachers group or law enforcement group yet endorse his idea and, in fact, they are against it. 

What about Boys?

The #Me, Too movement has done a great service in bringing issues - ugly, unpleasant issues - that many women and girls have faced since forever.  I think there is some gray to the topic - Harvey Weinstein is disgusting and likely a rapist but what about former Senator Franken and comic Aziz Ansari?  Their "crimes" are, to me, more in the "boy, he's a jerk that has the mentality of a 15-year old boy."

It's interesting because I was trying to explain that last one to my younger son (now a young adult) and I said in the case of Ansari, that the young woman should have gotten up and ended the date.  But my son thoughtfully pointed out that may have been what a woman in my generation would have done but in his generation, women don't want to put up with that behavior.  Point taken.  (But the woman only confronted him later in a text and then wrote a whole public essay on it.)

But the extreme side of this kind of aggression is in the mass shootings that we have seen.  The overwhelming majority of them have been by young males (certainly men under 40 and much younger) who seem to be very angry and most of the men are white.  (Before anyone jumps in, yes, there are probably -per capita - more shootings by black men but those tend to be one-on-one, not mass shootings.  I'll also note that many of the shootings at high schools are in rural and suburban areas, not urban schools.)

Why are these boys and men so angry?  I'm not even sure it's all about mental illness (although that's also possible - most people would say that anyone who would kill IS mentally ill).

What is it to be a man today? 

Friday, February 23, 2018

Friday Open Thread


Nice idea: parents painting motivational art on school lockers/bathroom stall doors.

 Tomorrow is Visual Arts Career Day at SAM.
Visual Arts Career Day is a free event that provides youth ages 14-21 with direct access to visual arts industry professionals through networking, experiential learning, engaging sessions, and hands-on art making in partnership with One Reel, and the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture.
Participants are exposed to a wide range of career opportunities in the visual arts including a chance to connect with artists, designers, educators, curators, photographers, art advocates, professionals in retail, fundraising, management, arts administration, and more.
Registration Required
Also in the same vein:

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling

Three director community meetings with directors tomorrow, Saturday the 24th

Patu - 9:30-11 am at Raconteur, 5041 Wilson Ave S
Pinkham - 1-2:30 pm at Northgate Public Library, 10548 5th Ave NE
Mack - 1-3 pm at Magnolia Public Library, 2801 34th Ave W. 

What's on your mind?

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Please Contact Your State Legislator Tomorrow

Update: well, the majority of our legislature voted for this bill to cover their asses.  Bravo for them.

Education News Stories That Depress

The most shocking story of the day is the firing of one of the founders of KIPP, one of the largest charter school groups in the country, for sexual misconduct with a student in the '90s.  From the NY Times:

Garfield Students May Have Saved Lives

What is up with this? Last week a Garfield student had been telling other students about how to have a school shooting.  The students told a teacher who did nothing.

It was not until those students saw a photo of a revolver the arrested teen had put up at Snapchat that those students AGAIN raised an alarm to "school staff."

This raises all kinds of questions like:

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Field Trips: Again, a Source of Confusion

Or are they?

I will be writing a larger story about the annual Garfield field trip for their Marine Biology class.  (The school has been taking this trip for about 40 years and many students have said it was a catalyst to their interest in going into the field.) 

For right now, though, I thought it valid to state how this issue might be an issue for other schools AND the continuing need for the district to be clear on field trip policy.

I am waiting for feedback to my questions from district communications but here's the confusion that I have concern about for these parents (and other parents).

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Tuesday Open Thread

Mayor Durkan is to give her State of the City speech this morning at Rainier Beach High School.  Wish it was when school was in session.

Word is that the state has brought in more revenue - $1.3B - than expected.  Of course, the question then is, how to spend it?

Sunday, February 18, 2018

This and That

Here's the weekly legislative update on public education measures in the Washington State Legislature via WSSDA (Washington State School Directors Association).

Report from KUOW on the City's Pre-K program; so-so academically.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

“We’re children,” he said. “You guys are the adults.”

Second update: a link to the 14 students and three staffers who were killed.  Open the link and look at their faces; next time, it could be your child.  There is NO safe place left in this country.

From an excellent article in the New Yorker:
The gun lobby, and the Republican Party it controls, have accepted as a matter of necessity the ongoing deaths of hundreds of children as the price that they are prepared to pay for the fetishization of weapons. The claim of this lobby’s complicity in murder is not exaggerated or hysterical but, by now, quite simple and precise: when you refuse to act to stop a social catastrophe from happening, you are responsible for the consequences of the social catastrophe.
Do something today.  Tell your family and friends on Facebook. Stand up and be counted.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Another School Shooting

Update: I will strive to differentiate between shootings at school properties and people shot while at school.  I see there is pushback on the number of "school shootings" since January 1.  Of course, how silly that we would argue this since there should be NO school shootings of any kind.

end of update

Yet ANOTHER school shooting, this time at a Florida high school.  There were at least 20 people shot but they have not yet said how many died. 

On this point, we live in an insane country.  It IS not worth the fear, pain and death that having easy access to guns allows.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

This and That

It appears that the district will be granting a leave of absence to Lowell principal, Colleen Stump, as soon as this Friday.  No word on her replacement.

No sure if the district's Science Department is really hearing what parents and teachers are saying but here's what I'm hearing about the new changes for high school science.

Tuesday Open Thread

Despite overflowing speaker lists at the last several Board meetings, this list for tomorrow night's meeting isn't even full.

I see that former Mayor/City Council member Tim Burgess is already stumping for the City's pre-K levy.   He does leave out several things like how the City is much less a good partner to the district than the district is to the City.  I'll have a separate thread on this but I hope this Board tell the City some things need to be clarified and/or changed for this "partnership."

And, everyone on the City Council as well as Mayor Durkan need to publicly state their views on charter schools.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Salmon Bay K-8 Film Series

PIE (Parent Information Exchange) Presents: Film Series 2018

Our Public Schools: Promises and Threats In The 21st Century

The series will be at Salmon Bay School, 1810 NW 65th Street at 7 pm.
   
Films will be shown at 7:00 PM on: 

Feb. 13   /  Feb. 28
Mar. 7  /  Mar. 13

 Film #1
Backpack Full Of Cash
TUESDAY, FEB. 13, 2018,  7:00 PM

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Seattle Schools This Week - Feb. 12-17, 2018

 I'm sure you received notification but the bus drivers' strike has ended and bus service will resume tomorrow morning.

Business on Parade - Wonder How Amazon Would Run Public Education?

The Puget Sound Business Journal recently had an op-ed with this usual type of business headline, "Money Won't Fix Our Education System." I would link it but they have a paywall; a friend sent it to me. Its author, one Bob Wallace, a CEO of something, said the tired old standards:

Friday, February 09, 2018

Friday Open Thread

I see that there is a BEX Oversight Committee meeting this morning.  I haven't been in quite awhile as there is more talk about projects than any visioning about facilities.  But BEX V is coming up and many communities would like to see their name on that list.  So I note that the agenda says that the meeting next month will have "BEX V Capital Levy Presentation."  

A kinder, gentler Betsy DeVos?  Not really but she's working with a right-wing message guru who is urging less of "choice" and more about "innovation."  I'll just note that one of the main dings against most charters schools across the country is that they are NOT more innovative.

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Seattle Schools Superintendent Search Updates

I have attended the last two meetings with Board members discussing the search for a new superintendent to replace Larry Nyland.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Two Items of Note - HC Capacity at Ingraham and High School Sciences

Editor's note:  a sharp-eyed reader asked about a quote I attributed to Mr. Kinoshita that seemed to be from Director Rick Burke.  I have corrected that in red in the high science science discussion.  My apologies to Mr. Kinoshita and Director Burke.

end of update

Some of you have wondered this outloud at this blog about HC capacity at Ingraham and one parent did so to Director Mack:

A parent pointed out to me that this page still says "space available" for Ingraham IBX, and since the cap is lifted it might be confusing to people.

Now unfortunately, that link to the enrollment page that she was sent is now dead but here are the answers from Enrollment (to directors and bold mine):

We have done the following in regards to communication around the additional HC seats available at Ingraham:

  • Updated the school choice documents referenced below to indicate the increased seat capacity at Ingraham.
  • Updated the Advanced Learning Page with this information about increased seat capacity at Ingraham.
  • Briefed Admissions, Enrollment Planning, and Advanced Learning staff on the changes to ensure that families questions can be answered appropriately particularly in regards to those asking about the seats available at Ingraham.
  • Connected and informed Principal Floe about increased available of HC seats. Principal Floe is supportive of the change.

The second update is the discussion at yesterday's Curriculum&Instruction meeting about high school science.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Tuesday Open Thread

The bus strike continues.  What are you seeing/hearing at your school?  From the district:

Monday, February 05, 2018

Special Education in Seattle Schools: Why Not Better for These Students?

Several stories across my desk on this issue.

Seattle Schools' Teachers to Walk Out This Wednesday

My reading of this is that it should not affect students but just know your child's teachers will not be available if you had planned to try to talk to them on Wednesday afternoon.

From SEA

Solidarity Walkout FAQ

Seattle Schools Reports Allegation of Sex Abuse by IA/Sub

 Update: SPS Communications responded and stated that SPD is asking that the district not release any more info on the individual in question so as not to possibly hurt the investigation.  They did confirm that the individual was only hired as an IA and not a sub.

end of update

From West Seattle Blog (thanks to reader Miramac1):

Seattle Public Schools confirms this letter – shared with us by a Denny International Middle School parent – was sent to the school’s families tonight:

Dear Denny Middle School families:

This letter is being sent home to our families to share important information about a serious allegation and our commitment to student safety.

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Seattle Schools This Week - Feb. 5-10, 2018

A busy week before Mid-Winter Break.

Washington State Charter School Updates - Green Dot

When I last left this topic, I was going to attend  the Charter Commission meeting.  I did on January 18th in Tacoma and I testified before the Commission about the issues with Green Dot charter schools regarding zoning departures that they sought for a middle school and a high school in the Rainier Valley, near RBHS.

They did receive the middle school departure but under sketchy circumstances and the high school departure had been put on hold by the City pending a protest from the district.  Green Dot had let the Commission know that they might do one of several things but have, in the end, decided to scale back to keep that location.  Meaning, they have withdrawn their request for a zoning departure.

Friday, February 02, 2018