Friday Open Thread

Bus strike - still on.

Did you know nearly 9,000 of the DACA people are teachers?  Story from the NY Times. 

One community meeting this weekend - Sunday from Director Geary from 2:30-4 pm at the NE Branch Library.  I'm guessing she's not a Super Bowl fan (go Eagles!)

Another school shooting, this time at a Los Angeles middle school.  No students died (thank goodness) and updates indicate the shooting was not intentional but rather a 12-year with an semi-automatic handgun fooling around with a gun.  Wonder who left that gun out?

I'm going to be attending the Crosscut Festival on Saturday, covering this event:

Rethinking Schools to Create Education Equity
Closing performance gaps between student groups consumes nearly every conversation about American education. Usually, discussion collects around the possibility of biased testing or teachers. But the work of Dr. Nadine Burke Harris suggests another angle. 
In her pioneering research with low-income children in the San Francisco area, Dr. Burke Harris found that adverse — but common — childhood experiences like parental divorce, substance abuse or neglect can change students’ neurology and directly affect learning. Should public education expand its mission, moving from a tight focus on academic-concept delivery to something more holistic? Dr. Burke Harris will tackle this question in a moderated discussion with Washington’s Superintendent for Public Instruction and a national expert on multicultural education.
What's on your mind?


Anonymous said…
Of interest regarding education reform and DC schools:

"Once a national model, now D.C. public schools target of FBI investigation."

"The scandal is reverberating far beyond the District, as a busy cottage industry of education policy analysts tries to take stock of whether the inflated graduation rates point to more fundamental flaws in D.C. reforms that have been exported to other struggling school districts across the country."

Anonymous said…
Roosevelt open house: underwhelmed.

It only has one single science AP course. How is that even possible? Its chemistry and physics aren’t even honors.

Roosevelt may have pulled ahead of Garfield with national merit scholars, but honestly, you simply can’t beat the course catalog at Garfield. It’s not even close: honors chemistry, honors physics, AP chemistry, AP physics, AP biology, AP environmental science, and, marine biology.

Here’s a riddle: if this district is all up in arms about equity, equity of access, why is it that 1700 children from Wedgwood, Viewridge, Ravenna, and Laurelhurst can’t have access to anything other than one single high school AP science course? This is a school teeming with kids who are extremely motivated and would be extremely successful with multiple advanced science classes. Yet none are offered for them.

Please do NOT turn this comment into an “us vs. them”, or a “what about”: education is NOT a limited sum game!!!!! Roosevelt Roughriders need to have/deserve to have access to AP science courses, but their school seems unwilling/unable to deliver, and our district seems uninterested in these children.

With nothing to meet our children’s needs to reach their serious aspiration of careers in science, we’re heading to Garfield.

Future Bulldog
Anonymous said…
Any updates from the District science meeting held at Ingraham last night?

(Future Bulldog, just slapping an "honors" designation on a course does not necessarily mean it is taught at an honors level. Who knows, maybe those non-honors chemistry and physics courses are taught at a more advanced level than some honors level courses at other high schools.)

Good news Future Bulldog - with the passage of the HC resolution, in just a couple of years RHS WILL have many more AP courses.
Anonymous said…
@Melissa: That is not true. It is a good hope. There is no state or local baseline must of AP courses for HCC - never has been. Nor will the district be able to afford a menu of them for every school. SPS will probably come up with a baseline of offerings students at any pathway school can access. Imagine it will be less than not equal to or more than what Garfield offers. Also doubt that number of sections of any one course will be mandated. Scheduling and budget will continue to impact our kids.

Anonymous said…
Roosevelt has about the same # of overall AP classes as Garfield. Its actually the second highest in the system. It just happens to only offer: AP Physics C (That's the same and only one my H.S. offered way back when.) So I also doubt anything will change because of the HC Resolution.

Having just listened to the principal of Nathan Hale tell us the teachers had decided the physics classes there were too "advanced" and they didn't want to be held back by the AP curriculum and that AP US History was just rote memorization and therefore would not be offered: you should count your blessing that you live south of 85th.

Furthermore, the current science alignment seems likely to make AP offerings in the sciences even scarcer. So on systemic level that's where I would focus my energies right now.

FWIW: I thought the principal at Roosevelt had indicated the desire to add AP Chemistry at some point.


Outsider said…
I noticed this amusing article about equity in public schools:

It's in the Weekly Standard, Bill Kristol's hard-right magazine, so NSFW in Seattle and considering the source, won't change anyone's mind. But it provides a glimpse of where Seattle is headed (or perhaps already is).
Eric B said…
I went to the Ingraham science night. What I came away with is that students have to take some amount of chemistry, physics, and biology by the end of their junior year to pass the new state WCAS test. I think that the way they are approaching it is actually a pretty reasonable approach. The big caveat is IF they make the system flexible enough for some students to take some different paths to the same goal. EG students in IB 11th and 12th grade who want to take HL Bio would need to take Chem B and Phys B sophomore year instead of junior year. That shouldn't be a deal-breaker, as long as counselors and principals are reasonably on board.

Hands up everyone who trusts that today's good intentions are going to be honored in three years. Yeah, that's pretty much what I thought.

I did not like the presentation, most particularly that the presenter kept referring to HS students as "kiddos." That may be appropriate in elementary school, but not in high school.
Old Timer said…
I watched the school board meeting. DeWolf proclaimed his trust in district officials.

DeWolf would be smart to remember misguided attempts to close schools, growing enrollment and selling of MLK elementary for a song, Creative Approach schools that would of left millions and millions of dollars without oversight, Silas Potter and more. His job is to oversee the district- not trust district officials that manage a billion dollar budget.
LookUpSeattle said…
Too bad today's equity conversation does not include any metrics on how an SPS education stacks up with what's available in other regions of the country/world. Instead the community fights endlessly on how to divide scraps and equalize local outcomes.

I attended a large, diverse public high school in the Midwest back in the 80's. It was about as far as you could get from being an elite institution. And yet we had AP Physics, AP Chemistry, BC Calculus and a host of other offerings that apparently would be rare to have access to in SPS today. This completely blows me away given how much wealthier and tech-savvy Seattle is vs. where I grew up.

A fundamental question is whether the goal of the system should be to produce the greatest number of high achievers OR get the most students to a basic level of proficiency. Those are very different objectives and imply very different policies.

Perhaps the goal of a large diverse public system like SPS should be to get the most students to basic proficiency. If so, then it would be nice if that were just made explicit and then parents of advanced learners would know they should plan to live elsewhere. Or, maybe it's possible to truly do both IF there was a lot more funding. But then I don't see any vision around what it would take to offer a truly world class public education and the current board/administration actually seems like they would be hostile to the idea of creating one.

Meanwhile, other school systems in the country (never mind the world) are cranking out huge numbers of super high achievers. I hope SPS produces any kids that are ready to compete with them. (Yes I see this is a charter.)

Anonymous said…
@lookupseattle, you don’t even have to leave the region to be dissatisfied with how SPS compares in delivering education for every need. Geary/DeWolf sit in such irony casting their foe from their prestigious Garfield and Roosevelt high schools as they claim their foe should be satisfied with an adequate education. Good enough for you—it’s free and public, get over your complaints of our jacked up district only offering a pipeline to those who test in before 8th and make it to one of four middle schools willing to stretch students to tickle the beginning of their potential. The rest, you get empathy! It’ll be good for you! You see these tears?! This is proof that I care. No matter that my peeps are in private schools, swimming and country clubs, but we care, boy do we care. Let them have and appropriate education! It’ll be good for them!

Irony ironies
Anonymous said…
Danny Westneat in the Seattle Times just stuck it to downtown over this year's Garfield field trip debacle, which is the result of a previous year's field trip debacle. Long time readers know the history. What happened on the Title IX issue field trip was inexcusable. I'm not saying stringent rules and chaperoning aren't paramount, but somehow I get the feeling that most of the Garfield and other school field trip drama is about principals trying to keep jobs and downtown managers and/or lawyers covering their butts with mountains of forms.

It ain't about providing inspiring ways for students to learn.

FWIW MacGowan (read article) is a regional treasure, so at least in this case the paperpushers have been stymied in their Dickensian pursuits.

Anonymous said…

From ST article:

Reid’s thinking on the matter was supercharged by a visit last fall from Vanderbilt University Professor Donna Ford, an expert on equity in advanced learning. Ford reviewed Northshore’s highly capable program, and her verdict was bleak.

“She basically said our hi-cap program was a country club. I practically slid under the table,” Reid recalled. “But it was true, and we had to own it."

From Fordham Institute:

"Is There a Gifted Gap - Gifted Education in High-Poverty Schools?"

Anonymous said…
"Roosevelt may have pulled ahead of Garfield with national merit scholars, but honestly, you simply can’t beat the course catalog at Garfield. It’s not even close: honors chemistry, honors physics, AP chemistry, AP physics, AP biology, AP environmental science, and, marine biology...

With nothing to meet our children’s needs to reach their serious aspiration of careers in science, we’re heading to Garfield."

Wow! It must be nice to be able to "school shop" in order to meet your children's needs.

Thanks, School Board, for "making promises" to level the playing field. Too bad it had to be done simply as a reaction to the likely passing of the Geary/DeWolf amendment.

Who thinks this would have ever been done if the S.B. hadn't received record emails from their most loyal and powerful constituents who were absolutely freaking out?

Task: Get Patu and Pinkham to switch votes by promising them goodies.

In the meantime, the tale of two cities continues.

Lip Service
Anonymous said…
@lip service—this HCC parent agrees with you. That was a grossly self absorbed comment by whomever, and what a joke to say RHS isn’t good enough for their special student. These are the parents that make me cringe. There are needs, then there are extras. One should feel lucky and humble to get classes to continue on the learning journey beyond what most students are offered, not demanding and deserving. GHS has been serving HCC for years, so of course they have a more established AL offering. HC students have only recently been selecting to stay local, which might indicate a bubble in younger grades. As that bubble ages up, maybe RHS will add science to respond, or maybe students prefer RS.

Humble pie
Anonymous said…
For the public high schools that are turning out advanced learners, I know that two on the list, Hinsdale and New Trier in Winnetka are both located in super affluent suburbs of Chicago. Students are children of well-educated parents who make serious money.

I'm interested to know if any diverse district, anywhere, has had any success "closing the gap".

I believe that gap is a result of the long-tailed effect of racism and poverty, and believing that we can close it with one tool, schools, is foolish. I don't know the answer, of course, but I do know that kids come to school at very different levels and on very different trajectories.

Maybe it's time to stop focussing on the big goal (as a school system, not as a society) of "closing the gap" and make more relevant and achievable goals. What do kids who have less opportunities need? How can we address that? What are some good measurable short-term goals? Having a massive goal that is missed year after year is demoralizing and makes us think that nothing is working. Maybe some things are working, but our measurement is so gross that we can't identify and build on good practices. Instead we whipsaw from one thing to another. And if the gap is the only thing you measure, there is an incentive to take kids that come in at a higher level and on a steeper trajectory, and bend that trajectory downward.

If we really want to close the gap, it's going to take a society-wide effort, changes in mindsets, and time. And it's too much to put on schools alone.

Anonymous said…
@Humble Pie said: One should feel lucky and humble to get classes to continue on the learning journey beyond what most students are offered.

Really? So, as an HCC parent, you are fine participating in HCC--something beyond what most students get--in younger grades, but if your student doesn't have access to classes that challenge them in high school you'll be fine with that? I find that odd. What if the the classes they can get at their local high school don't actually let them "continue on the learning journey" because they are forced to repeat classes and/or take GE level classes that cover material they already know or could pick up in a fraction of the time that will be spent on them? Is that also good enough and they should feel "lucky and humble" to be allowed to sit there? While the legislature has deemed that for HC students access to accelerated learning and enhanced instruction are basic education, you apparently think kids and parents should instead be happy for any little educational morsel that comes their way?

@ Lip Service said: In the meantime, the tale of two cities continues. What are the two cities? Based on the post to which you were responding, they are (1) Garfield, and (2) every other HS? Because the original poster clearly illustrated that RHS have the same "top-city" science offerings. And in true FWIW form, you always conveniently avoid answering the tough questions posed of you, like how exactly you think the Geary/DeWold resolution was going to make things better for everyone and reduce disparities in HCC.

Anonymous said…
Ah the Republicans.

Paul Ryan celebrating $1.50 a week raise as a result of the GOP tax bill.

What a joke.

coffee bean
Anonymous said…
@ asdf, you close the gap by starting early, not in high school. Most of the same disparities that exist at the end of schooling (e.g., graduation rates, standardized test performance, etc.) mirror the disparities that are already present at school entry (e.g., through kindergarten readiness assessments). Most programs that have been able to have an impact on early educational outcomes are very intensive and expensive services, and unfortunately, the early gains are often lost over time. Programs like Rainier Scholars can help--but again, this is intensive and expensive, and they only work with the most promising and committed students, so their success is not likely generalizable to underachieving populations overall.

The term "closing the gap" is troublesome in itself, as there are multiple ways to attack it. You can raise the performance of those the bottom, lower the performance of those at the top, or a combination of the two. The most ethical was is to focus on the first, but in practice, schools/districts (like SPS) often seem to approach it from a focus on #3, the least ethical (but easiest/cheapest!).

The discussion, to my mind, should really focus on a couple key sets of questions:

1. What can our schools do dramatically improve the performance of typical (i.e., GE) students? What do they need in order to perform at or above grade level on standardized tests within 2 years? How can we make these targeted services available now? What can we do to ensure they are sustainable, and strengthened? Note: if we aren't willing to put a lot of money into proven services, we aren't likely to see much improvement.

2. What can we do to ensure that all students enter school with similar knowledge and skills and readiness to learn, so that no groups are starting out at a significant disadvantage? Does that mean we need better pre-K programs for target groups? Better family supports? Better education re: prenatal health healthy pregnancies, infant development, etc? Income supplements for poor families with young children? Free hi-quality childcare programs for low-income families? Better housing and health care? All of the above?

3. How can we do a better job identifying, and then appropriately serving, students who have special learning needs? Some of the students who are underperforming likely suffer from undiagnosed/untreated medical/cognitive conditions, and they need assistance. Better services in the 0-5 period would likely help to identify those needs, as would more focused and intensive services during the K-12 years. The services, however, will depend on the needs. Special ed, ELL services, gifted ed, etc.,--those all address special needs that fall outside the typical GE service range and need to be preserved/strengthened to ensure that all kids, not just those who fit into the larger box, have a chance to grow and develop.

That 2-pronged approach (perinatal/early childhood, and K-12) to raising the performance of groups who have had worse outcomes will not only help close the gap (by raising the bottom, not lowering the ceiling), but it would contribute to a change in social norms and expectations moving forward. Students of all stripes might finally be interested in taking, for example, those AP classes that Garfield keeps trying to push them into with no real success. Reducing gaps in the years leading up to high school also means more access to advanced learning for all, since there will be greater demand. The third prong (special needs services) is a recognition that there is, and will always continue to be, great diversity in our student populations, and that is OK and merits special services. The work in prongs 1 and 2 would help to level the playing field so that the disproportionate numbers seen in special programs (e.g., too many minorities in sped, too few in HCC) are more equalized.

Saturday Musings
Anonymous said…
Good take on gifted programs and how the label of gifted, or in our case, Highly Capable, can hurt the gifted kids as well as those not labeled. Strategies that have been adopted to address under represented groups and dealing with the concept that gifted children "deserve" more than other kids.

From Education Week:

Anonymous said…
@wondering& Future Bulldog "(Future Bulldog, just slapping an "honors" designation on a course does not necessarily mean it is taught at an honors level. Who knows, maybe those non-honors chemistry and physics courses are taught at a more advanced level than some honors level courses at other high schools.)"

Yes. True. Example, Ballard does not offer honors chemistry or honors physics. Just regular gen ed versions. They also don't have AP physics, but do have AP chem, Bio and CIHS Astronomy and lots of other science electives like genetics, botany, oceanography (might also be CIHS) earth science etc. However, some of these "regular versions" like Chem & Physics are VERY challenging, including for the HC kids who take them and as also as verified by a science teacher we really respect. But courses are also teacher dependent. Yet I have heard at some other schools like Ingraham (this is rumor) some classes labeled "honors" are not really honors level. So it really varies probably also depending upon teacher.
NW parent
Anonymous said…
@asdf- One of the issues for a widening achievement gap is that the kids from truly affluent ( wealthy... not middle class) communities are doing so much better. Part of this is the huge investment parents are placing in resources for their kids. Years ago the wealthy did not invest as much in their kids early learning experiences. There is good data that high quality preschool & large investments early makes a big difference. There are cities and places providing this in the US to their residents. Universal free very high quality preschool should be a major goal in our country. "Moreover, evidence from other studies suggests that this may be in part a result of increasing parental investment in children's cognitive development." Also, " The income achievement gap (defined here as the average achievement difference between a child from a family at the 90th percentile of the family income distribution and a child from a family at the 10th percentile) is now nearly twice as large as the black-white achievement gap. Fifty years ago, in contrast, the black-white gap was one and a half to two times as large as the income gap."
Anonymous said…
Sorry signed HK
CBA said…
CORE 24 is intended to raise rigor for all students. Students will need to take 3 years of science. A high stake science test will determine if a student graduates from high school- or not.

With CORE 24, high schools must offer more remediation classes. There will be less spots for advanced learning classes.

Look at the numbers. Look at the amount of students failing a 9th grade class. This is an important number. The amount of students that fail a 9th grade class are at risk of not graduating. The numbers are significant.

In Donald Trump's America, we don't need any more hate, shaming and division.
My apologies; I accidentally deleted a comment , forgetting this was open.
Anonymous said…
I look forward to the day when we bus kids among all the schools to create true integration
Anonymous said…
Busing was tried and failed. If you want even more kids in private schools DO IT again!

Never learn
Anonymous said…
It's enlightening to sift through the WaKids data. Students are entering K with massive gaps. There are schools in Seattle where almost all come ready, and schools where the majority come in 2 years behind. Does it make sense to provide the exact same curriculum to those two very differt kindergarten populations? Isn't equity defined as meeting student needs? The research on the 300 million word gap present at age 3 among low SES kids is staggering, and sadly, the SES gap is growing. The real effort/money needs to be directed at birth to 3. Pre-K is way too late.
Data Matters
Anonymous said…
Data, Musings, Anonymous,

I'd agree the case for directing money to birth to 4 is pretty overwhelming. Not just in high quality pre-school and financial supports for low SES families, but a massive public education campaign on the importance of talking to kids, reading to them, and how to integrate these things into your day-to-day interaction with your kids. Also public education campaigns about the importance of elementary school, and how to support your elementary kid. Some people didn't have good parenting, and just don't know how to do this, or why it is important.

But birth to 4, yes. And different goals and strategies for K-12 school systems, based on the reality of kids coming in at different levels. One-size-fits-all education to a population that comes into the school system with such a wide range of readiness is folly, and doomed to continue to fail.

Anonymous said…
The Geary/DeWolf amendment worked because it forced the hand of the status quo.

"Power concedes nothing without a demand." There was a demand, and a panicked response conceded power.

This is how power has always worked, and continues to work.

Textbook case.

Kudos to Geary and DeWolf for a round well-played.

Lip Service
Anonymous said…
I'm one of the kids that were bused, and I don't agree that busing failed. Seattle became the good,fairly tolerant place to live it is now, because of those years of busing, which allowed white kids from North of the Ship Canal and minority kids from South of the Ship Canal to meet as classmates and became friends. Busing was stopped because some parents whom didn't want to send their kids South sued all the way to the Supreme Court! And now we effectively, though not legally have "redlining" and segregated schools again because of that lawsuit! I fear that the Seattle of our future isn't going to be such a nice place - it's much easier to scapegoat and discriminate against groups of people one never gets a chance to meet and get to know! And that's happening to our kids in the North end!
Anonymous said…
CCA @9:19pm
Anonymous said…
What type of person would advocate busing children 45min each way to satisfy their liberal induced guilt?

Anonymous said…
@anonymous- Seattle has dramatically changed due to our longer commute from traffic, I have friends who were bussed from columbia city up to Ingraham. I cannot imagine bussing kids all over the city in 2018. In addition, years ago we were not trying to get people out of their cars due to emissions and environmental issues. Things have changed. We need to do a much better job of investing in both poor as well as minority communities everywhere to help people obtain better jobs, middle class and more affluent status. This would do the most for integration. Our country will otherwise always have poorer communities divided between more affluent. Free college is one great step toward providing people with better education that will lead toward better jobs.
Anonymous said…
@JL, free college sounds good, but only if people come out of high school learning what they were supposed to. It's wasteful to spend a bunch of taxpayer dollars on remediation in college. We need to improve K-12 success so that people are prepared for college-level work!

@Lip Service, what are you even saying? "Forced the hand of the status quo"--and the status quo did what, tried to ensure that HC students would retain access to accelerated learning and advanced instruction, as required by law? What "demand", and what "panicked response that conceded power"? A "textbook case" of what, and a round of what "well-played" by Geary/DeWolf?

Anonymous said…

Further evidence that, given the racial socioeconomic and parent educational level disparities in the US, part of the HCC eligibility gap disparities may reflect actual disparities in IQ and/or need for acceleration. This is NOT to say that we should simply accept these disparities and not address the early childhood issues--but it does suggest that there can be a physical/cognitive basis (as opposed to racism) for some of the observed eligibility disparity gaps we see in HCC, since our society is not successfully reducing some of the root causes of suboptimal brain development. A couple quotes from the article:

The nutrition children receive during their first 1,000 days ― from conception until their second birthday ― has a profound impact on how they develop. Without the proper nutrition during that window of time, young brains will not grow to their fullest potential, diminishing the kids’ opportunities for the rest of their lives, according to public health and medical organizations.

Last week, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a groundbreaking policy statement highlighting the importance, and irreversibility, of the 1,000-day window.

“Failure to provide key nutrients during this critical period of brain development may result in lifelong deficits in brain function despite subsequent nutrient repletion,” the AAP Committee on Nutrition said.

In other words, no amount of catch-up can completely fix the lost time for brain formation. Malnourishing the brain can produce a lower IQ; lead to a lifetime of chronic medical problems; increase the risk of obesity, hypertension and diabetes; and cost that individual future academic achievement and job success. The impact can even be generational, perpetuating a cycle of poverty for lifetimes to come.

FWIW will, I'm sure, call me a racist eugenicist for saying this, and that any attempt to use science to help explain what we see if obviously just making excuses. Unfortunately, denial of reality isn't going to get us to solutions.

Anonymous said…
I am actually an advocate of bussing. As a product of it in Washington DC, I loved the diversity it produced. And there is hard science to show that it has a significant impact on reducing the opportunity gap.

I also agree that bussing across the Ship Canal is no longer feasible. But I think it is possible to pair schools that are much closer together geographically and still produce similar results. Northgate, John Rogers and Viewlands are all very diverse northend schools. I am sure there are examples of south end schools that could become more diverse. Being bussed across town isn't necessary to achieve diversity.

Anonymous said…
Never liked the idea of children being used as racial diversifiers for a vague social goal. Being close to schools meant more volunteering, being in touch with other families and staff. It meant more after school activities and involvement.
A priority should be better curricula, especially in math. I always felt the District spent too much time worrying about racial balancing and not enough effort towards effective practices. How students are being taught is more important than hours on a bus.

S parent
Jet City mom said…
I arranged my life so my kids could attend schools that were the best fit for them. It was a challenge, but I did not graduate from high school and I was determined that my children would.
It just so happened that they were out of the neighborhood and opposite directions, which obviously is not ideal.

I think socioeconomic diversity needs to be considered more. Some schools have a wealth of resources because of the parents. Other schools do not have a PTA.
We can assign grants to challenged schools, but it will not make up the gap in having parents available to help in and out of the classroom.

Anonymous said…
There are many parents who could contribute to PTAs and schools in different neighborhoods across Seattle. Unfortunately, their children attend private schools.

Our District has such overcapacity that it can barely manage the students it has. Socioeconomic diversity would be great but so many families just pay higher tuition to private schools. The District does not try to capture them. It could if it offered more advanced courses, arts education, smaller class sizes and better curricula. Instead, it is all about equity and closing the gaps.

If you want the parents who volunteer you have to attract them. I know parents who have had better experiences in public schools than private ones. But SPS does not try to get them. It should.

S parent

NW, I have a good article about redrawing boundaries in regions to increase diversity without costs/time of busing. I just have to find it.
“Busing was stopped because some parents whom didn't want to send their kids South sued all the way to the Supreme Court! “

Categorically NOT true. I thought this weird when I saw it so I double-checked. Nope the busing ended quietly by the district. The Supreme Court case was about enrollment practices.

You get to have an opinion; you do not get to misrepresent history.
Anonymous said…
Poor little girl can't go to school anymore after seeing her friend get blown away by another kid. She has PTSD at age 8.

She wrote to Trump and he sent her a letter back but she wants to hear more than platitudes so she wrote hi again.

Where will this week's school shootings take place?

Anonymous said…
Busing was stopped due to the NSAP and I wouldn't characterize it as being done "quietly".

Speaking of busing. The SEA is hitting the picket lines to support the drivers on Wednesday after early release. I think they should get a raise, the drivers I've met are great and keep our kids safe.

The union website:

I used the word “quietly” because that how a couple of articles characterized it. But the main point is that it was not because of a lawsuit.
Ed said…
“Charter champion’s firing came after sexual harassment allegations,” by Eliza Shapiro and Caitlin Emma, POLITICO: “For years, Jeremiah Kittredge has been a darling of the national charter school movement’s wealthiest and most powerful benefactors … that all ended on Wednesday, [when a board member for Families for Excellent Schools’] said [Kittredge] had been ‘terminated’ following an outside law firm’s investigation into allegations of ‘inappropriate behavior toward a non-employee.’ In November 2016, Kittredge led Families for Excellent Schools’ Massachusetts arm … to a 25-point loss in a ballot referendum that would have expanded the number of charters that can open in the Bay State.”
Anonymous said…
@NW- I agree that bringing kids together of different backgrounds in school is a great idea. It is actually in line with the goals of a democracy. Although kids will always form cliques (they even do this in socioeconomically & racially homogenized schools) There is also more mixing between students than meets the outsider's eye. But Garfield would be this model. They have classes all take together and the rest of the classes are self select open to all. But some people have a problem with this as highlights the educational & income disparity in our city by having children choose different classes & attend school in the same building. It's in your face.

Rather, they would prefer kids were sent back to Roosevelt where they blend in their AP classes and it is not so obvious. I think there is alot of good that happens when kids can attend school with other kids who come from different backgrounds.

With Garfield, you are bringing a population of advantaged kids who love school into a school with disadvantaged kids who may not. Of course there is division, but there is also the gray. My friends tell me over and over how their kids have a "wonderful group of diverse friends at Garfield". Not the prevalent story! Why...because we make assumptions? There are disadvantaged kids at Garfield who DO benefit from having kids from different backgrounds around them, challenge themselves and achieve. Give them opportunity to attend a highly academic school. At the university they are trying to get kids pipelined in...where we can bring the school to the kid instead.
another view
mirmac1 said…
From West Seattle Blog (sorry if it's a repost):

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.

You are receiving this letter because the allegation is against an employee who worked or substituted at your child’s school between 2014-15 and 2017-18 school years. We have no information that anything happened in our school, but we want you to be aware.

This week, we were notified that a student at John Muir Elementary had allegedly been sexually assaulted last year by an instructional assistant. While the alleged assaults took place at John Muir Elementary, where the instructional assistant worked full time last year, the student did not tell their parents about it until last Friday. Thankfully, the family immediately contacted law enforcement.

The Seattle Police Department (SPD) began its investigation over the weekend. When the District received the information on Monday, it took swift action against the alleged perpetrator, Mr. Albert Virachismith, to prevent him from being in contact with students and restricted his access to any district property until the SPD criminal investigation is complete. He is not currently working in any Seattle schools. The District also started its own administrative investigation and is coordinating its efforts with the SPD. Last night, the SPD notified us that Mr. Albert Virachismith was placed under arrest and is in custody.

The SPD advised the District that detectives may need to talk to students as they continue to investigate. SPD Detective Anthony Belgarde has been assigned to this case, and I understand he will contact families directly before interviewing any students.

This is difficult news, and we understand you will want to talk to your child about this case. We want to do everything possible to help the police conduct a thorough investigation. The SPD asks parents to avoid asking leading questions that could interfere with the police investigation. If your student indicates on their own that he or she may have been touched inappropriately, contact Detective Belgarde at

The district is preparing additional information for our school for how to talk with your children about personal safety. Other resources you can access are the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center at 888-998-6423 and Harborview Center for Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress for information and help at 206-744-1600. If you have questions or concerns, please share your contact information with our school’s front office.

According to the King County Jail Register, Albert Virachismith, who is 40 years old, was booked earlier today and is being held in lieu of $100,000 bail, set at a probable-cause hearing earlier today, for investigation of child rape. We don’t have court documents from the hearing so we don’t yet know anything more about the case, aside from this district statement provided by spokesperson Kim Schmanke when we asked her about this tonight:

“Right now, our families are our priority. We are working to notify the families and staff where this individual has worked. These are disturbing allegations, and we are working closely with the Seattle Police Department. As soon as we were notified about the allegations, we barred Mr. Virachismith from taking any district jobs or being on school grounds. We are doing all we can to support a thorough SPD investigation.”

The suspect is due back in court next Tuesday, by which time a decision on charges will likely have been made.
Anonymous said…
@unclear "@JL, free college sounds good, but only if people come out of high school learning what they were supposed to. It's wasteful to spend a bunch of taxpayer dollars on remediation in college. We need to improve K-12 success so that people are prepared for college-level work!"

There is enough data and evidence that both investment in early learning pays off heavily in society regarding achievement gains, as well as access to free college that lead to a a higher standard of living and living wage job. I am advocating for free universal community college that lead to the latter.

Free community college is already being proposed as well as happening at the state and city level in locations around out country the past few years. NY as far as I know, is the only one actually offering free university state tuition for those making under $125,000. In many areas of NY they also have a very well funded (super high taxed) and some of the best public K-12.
Anonymous said…
@unclear-I am also advocating for investment for early learning as well. I believe there is ample evidence they both pay off for both the individual, families, as well as society.
Anonymous said…
Anonymous 7:02am correctly points out what is in plain sight - Garfield IS that model, and has been largely successful as such for four decades. Of course it isn't perfect but 1) you can't blame Garfield for merely reflecting wider social issues and 2) no school anywhere, private or public, is without issues.

The greater threat to the Garfield model is not shifting HCC pathways but rather the demographic shift that has already taken place in the Central District. Families/students moving into Garfield's attendance area now are more affluent than the HCC families/students bused in.

Garfield Parent
Anonymous said…
@Garfield parent and anonymous poster wondering what is wrong with privileged students sharing space in the CD...this piece provides some interesting perspectives:

Presenting White
Anonymous said…
@ Garfield parent "Anonymous 7:02am correctly points out what is in plain sight - Garfield IS that model, and has been largely successful as such for four decades. Of course it isn't perfect but 1) you can't blame Garfield for merely reflecting wider social issues and 2) no school anywhere, private or public, is without issues."

Hi-"I did sign it "another view", not anonymous sorry maybe that was not clear though.

@Presenting white- I will read the article you linked and also share with my husband who appears white and identifies as white, as his black ancestors are very distant. My husband's g grandmother "passed" when the family moved up north to Iowa, not in the south when they were in Virginia according to the census records. In Iowa in the late 1800's she was assumed spanish or part native. Paper trail and DNA confirm his ancestry. In his family we traced back to a free man of color marrying a white woman in late 1700's, ancestors who were part black marrying other part black ancestors, although at least one ancestor was born a slave early 1800's.
-another view.
Presenting White, thanks for the article. Fascinating reading. I actually get called out at times when I talk about being part Mexican. One person accused me of tokenism for even stating it.

I identify white because that's mostly what I am and I was raised by a white mother. However, inwardly, and more and more outwardly, I do state my Mexican heritage which I am very proud of. Adding to it is that I was raised right on the border with Mexico, in a majority Mexican town. This is what my town looked like, how we celebrated, dances we did at high school dances and who my friends are and who I dated.

I would have been glad for more learning about my Mexican heritage. There are family reasons for that and, of course as we all know, you can control nothing when you are a child. You reflect how you are raised. I did smile when Eva Longoria - at the last Democratic convention - explained how her family was actually here first. Her family, like my grandmother's, was in Texas when it was in Mexico, then as the Republic of Texas and then when it became part of the U.S. (So I would ask Trump, who was here first? Not you.)

What I would say is that it can range from silly to terribly wrong to look at someone and think you can decide who they are and how they were raised.
Anonymous said…
Claiming to be Mexican is a kin to claiming to be American. Both are nations, not races.

Distinctions matter
Anonymous said…
Distinctions…though technically correct, you have obviously never lived in Texas.
Thank you, SolvayGirl - took the words out of my mouth (that person also never lived in Arizona or Southern California). Of course, I meant Latina but from Mexico heritage.
Anonymous said…
Also, with DNA tests and access to family ancestry becoming more accessible, more people are finding out their ancestry is more complex. That is also my situation as well. Thanks Melissa for weighing in about your personal story as well. I find it all very interesting, and people have also been moving around in many places in the world for centuries, and that we are all more connected as a human family that we think.
another view.
Anonymous said…
A gentle reminder to teachers during flu season - please don't use Clorox wipes or other unapproved cleaner on student desks. Washington Department of Health suggests cleaning with a microfiber cloth and a spray bottle of soapy water (Mix one teaspoon of fragrance-free dish soap in a spray bottle filled with water).

go green
Anonymous said…
"No matter how arbitrary or absurd, racial designations have real consequences. In the United States, being white confers concrete benefts: economic, political, social, and psychological."

Benefitting from identifying as white most of one's life, in a country with a history of the "one drop rule," should not be overstated.

Elizabeth Warren
Anonymous said…
That's funny. Soap does not kill flu viruses.
Anonymous said…
Maybe a microfiber rag and a spit shine would be more effective... I am so tired of being sick this winter.

Bleach is very effective at killing pathogens including norovirus and c.diff., flu and many others. It is relatively safe and breaks down quickly in the environment. I wish we had enough cleaning staff to bleach the heck out of those filthy schools. Maybe it would have saved some lives this season.


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