Tuesday, February 13, 2018

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.
There will be a protest Thursday, Feb. 15th from 4-6 pm outside of the site of a new high school that Green Dot Charter Schools is building at 6002 Rainier Ave. S.  It is hosted by the Social Equity Educators and endorsed by SEA.   As I mentioned previously, Green Dot has backed off its attempt at a zoning departure after it was revealed that there was not a legal basis to do so and that the City had not included the district on the zoning departure committee as the code requires.  The school will have a small capacity than Green Dot had wanted. 

Numerous communities have levies on their local ballots today.  It will be interesting to see how well these elections go given the changes coming to property taxes to pay for McCleary funding.

An interesting story from the University of Washington about the use of touchscreens and accessibility for those with disabilities. 

New Zealand has decided to pull the plug on charter schools in that country.
"Both National Standards and charter schools were driven by ideology rather than evidence. Both were rejected by the vast majority of the education sector. The Government's strong view is that there is no place for them in the New Zealand education system."
An amusing story about teens in Kansas running for office (and the adults who want them to stop).
In a state where the youth voting rate is even worse than the dismal national average, more than half a dozen Kansas teens are running for statewide office in 2018 – a sort of viral movement against apathy that could, in theory, make a high school student governor.

From there, running for governor became something of a high school trend. Four candidates, all 16 or 17, held a forum inside the Lawrence Free State high school gym in October – long before any of their adult counterparts held a debate, the Wichita Eagle wrote.

The forum looked not much different from any other, the newspaper reported. Teens in the audience murmured when a 17-year-old libertarian candidate got a jab in at Ruzich during a debate about toll roads. “You don’t drive yet,” he quipped.
What's on your mind?


Anonymous said...

Slavery and the American University


This is how higher ed started in the US, on the backs of slaves. People wonder why we have a race problem in our country.


Enough said...

Sunshine, how do you feel about Africans enslaving other Africans before the white man took over their continent? How do you feel about Roman's enslaving white people? Much of the Roman empire was built on the 'backs of slaves'. I could go on an on. You want to race bait.

Anonymous said...


This lame "whataboutism" falls flat on its face. We're talking about OUR country, not ancient Africa or ancient Rome. We're talking about things that were done in OUR name. WE own it. I own it. And YOU own it. Some of us, at least, aren't afraid to face it.

-- Ivan Weiss

Anonymous said...

The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America by Andres Resendez


"Native Americans had enslaved each other for millennia, but with the arrival of Europeans, practices of captivity...expanded in unexpected ways..."

more reading

Anonymous said...

It's a painful historical fact that some free black Americans bought and sold black slaves, including family members:

"Most of us will find the news that some black people bought and sold other black people for profit quite distressing, as well we should. But given the long history of class divisions in the black community, which Martin R. Delany as early as the 1850s described as "a nation within a nation," and given the role of African elites in the long history of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, perhaps we should not be surprised that we can find examples throughout black history of just about every sort of human behavior, from the most noble to the most heinous, that we find in any other people's history."



KUOW Sez said...

"She hoped the program would be more focused on children’s individual interests, rather than the rote academic skills she observes.
"Every single day she comes home with a sample of her having traced her name at school," Sharrett said. "And I think it’s great that she is getting exposure to writing and letters. But it just seems like quite a focus on that particular skill."


Seattle's prek program is a research project. The campaign did not provide this information to voters. I can appreciate the fact that SPP seeks to develop hand strength, but are they going too far? Seattle Public Schools supports the program, but the city makes curriculum choices.

Anonymous said...

@X- Yes, sometimes free blacks were participating in the dominant system and just as guilty as whites who owned slaves. Other times, they may have "owned" slaves as a way to protect family members etc. Henry Louis Gates has made comments along these lines in his finding your roots series. History can be complex. There were also whites who actively spoke out and fought against slavery in the 1600's.
complex history

Pre K said...

According to KUOW, the city's prek program will serve 1600 students and cost a staggering $81M. A comprehensive high school that serves 1600 students costs approximately $10M per year.
The $81M figure is disturbing because the district provides free space for 471 of the city's prek students.

According to KUOW, the program lacks quality. Yet, the city seeks rapid expansion.

The board would be smart to keep an arm's length between the city and district.

Anonymous said...

We need a truth and reconciliation process like South Africa had after apartheid.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Pre-K, I wrote the Board about what they are and are not getting from their relationship with the City.

Doug, I agree; this country needs to do that as we can’t seem to have an honest conversation about race. Of course, how to do that is a good question given the circumstances in the US are different from in South Africa.

Dora Taylor said...

Come protest the opening of a new charter school in our community!

Facebook event page: https://m.facebook.com/events/1437840863011253/?ti=icl

When: Thursday February 15 at 4:00-5:30pm

Where: The construction site of the future Rainier Valley Leadership Academy Middle/High School (6020 Rainier Ave South, Seattle, WA 98118)

The Green Dot corporation, a Los Angeles-based charter school conglomerate, is coming to the Rainier Valley. They are currently operating their first class of sixth grade students near the Othello Light Rail Station. While Rainier Beach High School has waited more than ten years since all other high schools had major reconstruction or renovation, Green Dot is building a new, multi-story high school just one mile north of Rainier Beach on Rainier Avenue S.

They are promoting their school as “AP for All”, echoes of Rainier Beach’s effort to offer the International Baccalaureate program to all students (all of whom currently receive IB in Language Arts and History). This school will seriously cut into student populations of Rainier Beach, Cleveland, and Franklin. It is just two blocks from Aki Kurose Middle School. South End schools have historically had to slash classes like electives and World Language due to population declines. For Rainier Beach, the last three years have seen an increase in student population to over 700. Green Dot’s locating of this charter school will surely have a negative impact on staffing efforts at these schools.

The City of Seattle has not yet granted Green Dot a variance for the size of their construction. The Seattle School Board last week voted unanimously to urge the city to reject this variance. Charter schools, initially seen as an opportunity to have community control, have proven to be the opposite. They are private, for-profit entities with the ability to use public funds. Many of these schools end up hiring teachers with no certificates and limited training. Also, their staff aren’t represented by an educators’ union. Advocates tout the use of technology (as opposed to classroom instruction.) “Especially encouraging are the software programs the charter networks are developing to reach students in ways they prefer to be reached.” (Richard Whitmire 2017)

In addition, charters can pick and choose their students and are not required to offer the same services as common schools. Please, join SEE members as we protest the construction of this school which will cause serious impacts on our South End Public Schools.

If you cannot attend please call the Mayor (206-684-4000) and let her know Seattle needs to enhance the schools we already have, not siphon our resources to private entities.

For links to info on Greendot, go to https://seattleducation.com/2018/02/13/lets-stop-the-privatization-of-our-public-schools-in-seattle-protest-at-the-greendot-charter-school-construction-site-this-thursday/

Anonymous said...

Dora Taylor is incorrect on a number of points above. Allow me to correct them:

"[Charter schools] are private, for-profit entities.." This is incorrect. Charter schools in WA state may only be managed by non-profit entities. For-profit charter school management organizations are unlawful based on our state's charter school law.

"Many of these schools end up hiring teachers with no certificates..." False. Charter schools in our state are required to hire certificated teachers --- the same as traditional public schools.

"...charters can pick and choose their students..." Wrong again. Charter schools in our state are public schools and are open to all students.

"...[charter schools] are not required to offer the same services as common schools." False. Charter schools in our state are required to comply with local, state, and federal health, safety, parents' rights, civil rights, and nondiscrimination laws applicable to school districts and to the same extent as school districts. They are also required to provide the same program of basic education --- including teaching the state learning standards and administering the state assessments --- as school districts.

To read the state charter schools law, go to http://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/biennium/2015-16/Pdf/Bills/Session%20Laws/Senate/6194-S2.SL.pdf.

To read an FAQ addressing these issues, go to http://www.sbe.wa.gov/faq/charters.php.


Anonymous said...

Sexual harassment and assault in the Seattle school district in KNKX report:

Nonprofit Aims To Raise Awareness About Sexual Assault And Harassment In Schools

interview with Stop Sexual Assault in Schools nonprofit co-founder and creator of the #MeTooK12 movement.

SSAIS grew out of parents' advocacy after their student reported being rated on SPS field trip. Discusses how community activism contributed to Title IX compliance.


--NE Parent for gender equity

Melissa Westbrook said...

Francis, a non-profit can make money for the people who run it. It's hard to believe anyone who is an adult doesn't know that.

Charter schools, once they enroll students via lottery or otherwise, can definitely pick and choose. They set behavior standards, they tell the state what Sped kids they can take, etc. It's a lot easier to look good when you can do that. As well, they can control the size of their school and do not have to continue to fill it when kids leave (and they do.)

Charters can and do offer less for Sped, ELL and homeless kids. If they didn't, you'd see more kids with those challenges in charter schools.

NE Parent, next time, only two word monikers.

Jet City mom said...

Unfortunately, I think many people do not understand what falls under a non profit umbrella.


Anonymous said...

-brian terry equitable access to advanced learning - from the speaker list

i thought the rule was speak when you are on the agenda. yeah not a big deal with only 15 speakers but give it a break will you. why will no one challenge this?!?!? how selfish. how about equity in speaker equity? devin brukner's group continues to try to control the narrative, dismiss real efforts that have been made and to conflate sps' high black homeless population with some bogus institualized racism claim. sick and not helpful. oh and asian's don't count either.

brian is a serial offender. do they have a sergeant of arms to patrol this! important matters under consideration could not be voiced as devin jammed the speaker list with as many as 6 speakers on some nights and saying the same thing! we all wish there would be more diversity and every year creative ideas are considered but to come in claiming the sky is falling and then say that same thing 6 more times might work for geary but most administrators can see through the hype. and the apples to apples comparison she offers sps vs us black and hispanic demographics are more grapes to watermelons. most of our black and hispanics are recent immigrants (many from war torn areas). that is not the case in the rest of the us.

no caps

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

no caps, the rules for testifying are that if there are speakers who are speaking to action or intro items, they go first. If there are then other speakers, they may speak on any topic. And if there is not a full list, speakers can speak on any topic.

That some people are repetitive, well, that's true. I'm sure the Board hears and sees that. I do think there is a coordinated effort by some to make sure every single Board meeting hears someone speaking on a topic but if they want to do that, it's their right. I deleted your last comment because testifying at a Board meeting is not an "offense."

Anonymous said...

"brian is a serial offender" is okay but calling it an "offense" isn't.

Never a...

Dull Moment

Melissa Westbrook said...

You can offend someone with your actions without it being an offense ( meaning being illegal/against the rules) as no caps is suggesting.

Anonymous said...

Melissa, for-profit and non-profit have legal definitions. It's hard to believe anyone who is an adult doesn't know that.

And charter schools in this state definitely CANNOT tell the state what kinds of special education students they can take. And for someone like you who declares she knows so much more than most people about charter schools to make such a false statement can only mean such a statement is willful and, therefore, a lie.

As for serving students in special education and English language learners, why don't you look at the the demographic data on the State Report Card for the charter schools currently operating? You'll see again that the statements you made regarding enrollment of these students is false. Charters schools are enrolling high percentages of students in special education and English language learners, comparable to if not higher than their surrounding districts.

But let's set the facts aside. It's amazing to me that you, Melissa, and your anti-charter friends in SEE and SEA can continuously attack charter schools and the families who choose them, then attempt to point at enrollment numbers as justification for your attack. You are actively working to destabilize charter schools and you wonder why families might be reluctant to enroll in them? But families are choosing them anyway. And isn't that the real reason why there's a protest at Green Dot planned for Thursday? You know families in the south end ARE excited about the prospect of the school and you need to disrupt them.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Francis, of course there are legal definitions; again, that doesn't mean that people working there don't make money. Some of them are very handsomely paid.

So charter schools have Sped supports for deaf kids? Medicially fragile? Kids with emotional behavior issues? I'm sure they do on paper but are they taking in and keeping those kids? Tell you what, you go look and then come back and tell me what types of Sped kids are in charter schools. I'll wait.

And do NOT link me to SEA and SEE; I have zero to do with those groups. What a tired old way to try to put people in one basket. I don't even agree with them on many things. What they say is not what I say (but, like-minded people sometimes do overlap in agreement on some issues).

I'm not attacking charters; I'm pointing out flaws in them. I have never said anything against charter parents (and certainly not the children in the schools).

I am working now to limit charter schools. If you think that is destabilization, that's your opinion. You'll note I haven't said a lot about the latest lawsuit against charter schools and, right now, they are legal.

There are a myriad of reasons why any parent chooses any school. I'm not surprised that for the limited number of charters, there are parents.

No, the reason for the Green Dot protest is, for me, two-fold (I cannot speak for the organizers). One, to alert residents to a school that is going to actively undermine the work of established schools like Aki Kurose and Rainier Beach High School. Two, to draw attention to how Green Dot used the system (with help from the inside) to try to get zoning departures they were not entitled to. They apparently have gotten away with one departure but until the City code is changed, they will not get any others.

One thing this Green Dot zoning departure incident is casting a bright spotlight on is that members of the City Council and the Mayor will finally have to talk about their feelings about charter schools and our city. I suspect they have long avoided this issue but there's no turning back now especially since I believe at least two of them will try to include charters in the Families and Education Levy. Which would be a mistake.

I love the way you make it about me, Francis. You want to say I'm out to hurt families but I'm not. I get to - like all citizens - speak up for what I am for and what I am against especially when it comes to taxpayer dollars.

NO 1240 said...

I have heard reports that charter schools counsel out students with behavior issues. I'm trying to get the numbers, but it is very difficult. Charter schools are notorious for counseling out certain groups of students. I'm also looking the numbers of students in charter schools that need 1:1 support. Francis?

As to destabilizing charter schools, the Supreme Court is the only entity that has the capacity to stop this train. Melissa merely calls out the manner in which Green Dot and the city of Seattle violated laws in an attempt to build a new middle and high school that will destabilize two schools with high graduation rates and wonderful programs. Washington Charters think they are above the law. I will also gently point out that this isn't the first time Washington Charters thought they were above the law. One does not have to look at a former charter commissioner, Mary Walker school district, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to understand this.

Mike said...

@Ivan Weiss

Whoa, Ivan, I had to think overnight about your comment as it doesn't represent your usually even-handed, open-minded self. It seems strident and angry as if you're closed to the possibility and, in this case, reality your premise is wrong.

It isn't what our country has done. It's what our culture has done, is doing and will do. That is, a country is geography, politics and laws. But none of those, including laws against racism, actually stop prejudice and racism. If they could, then 1960s civil rights laws would have had greater effect on racism.

Rather, the problem stems from an on-going clash between American culture and remnants of a slave culture purposely designed to be at odds with American culture. This makes address considerably more complex and difficult than if it were simply a problem with our country.

I took the earlier comments you referred to as shorthand references to culture being the culprit as it plays for good or ill on innate human awareness of 'others'.

Anonymous said...

And from the Gates Foundation comes this about education:
from CNBC news...

Billions Spent

Bill and Melinda Gates have spent billions on US education, but haven't seen as much progress as they'd like.

-- Dan Dempsey

Melissa Westbrook said...

Dan, I plan to have a separate thread on the Gates' letter. Interesting stuff.

Jet City mom said...

Francis, as I have observed public schools deciding what sorts of special education students they take, I have no problem believing that charter schools will also say that they cannot serve that student.
I know personally several special education students from Ballard who were sent to Ingraham because the Ballard program was full/ not sufficient.

widget said...

thanks for all you do mw.

on feeling offended is that how you felt on the 9/20 meeting or did you get a chance to speak on the strategic plan? folks even though al was not on the menu devon bruckner and brian terry and their group seeded six spots for their, imho, repetitive and misleading blather that fwiw likes to spue. sponsored by a grant from the district per their website. so pushing off speakers who have business with the board for that meeting based and working off a grant from staff to do so. seems very complicit to me. and after the hcc pathways offensive move by michael tolley, wyeth jesse, kari hanson and carri campbell i have no doubt they know full well that this could support their cause.

VI. Public Testimony - 5:30 p.m.

Nate Koidahl

Roosevelt High School

Gian Rosario

Rainier Beach High School

Naj Ali

Rainier Beach High School

Hani Ahmed

Rainier Beach High School

Chris Jackins

Policy 6810, Natural Resources Conservation; July 5 Board Action on Waitlists; Student Assignment Plan

Brian Terry

Equitable Access to Advanced Learning
5.Chris Jackins Policy 6810, Natural Resources Conservation; July 5 Board Action on Waitlists; Student Assignment Plan
6.Brian Terry Equitable Access to Advanced Learning
7.Devin Bruckner Equitable Access to Advanced Learning
8. Valerie Cooper Capacity and Proactive Capacity Planning
9. Julie Popper Equity in HCC
10. Misty Jackson-Nau School on Fort Lawton Property
11. Janice Blackmore Equitable Access to Advanced Learning
12. Kateryna Adams Capacity Planning
13. Jessica Vidican-Neisius Capacity Planning
14. Sara Coulter Capacity Issues
15. Vanessa Meraki Equitable Access to Advanced Learning
16. Briktawite Yimer Equitable Access to Advanced Learning
17. Natasha Boswell Fort Lawton School
18. Kellie LaRue Enrollment and Budget
19. Daniel Dickenson Capacity Planning
20. Terry Richardson Fort Lawton Land Use and School

Wait List

1. Melissa Westbrook Strategic Plan

no caps

Anonymous said...

and now for something completely different:



Melissa Westbrook said...

No Caps, you made your point. Now move on.

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