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?

KUOW is reporting that Dems would like to give property owners a one-year reduction on the coming property tax increase for McCleary and pay teachers more.  GOP members countered that they still need to fund Special Education.  It will be interesting to see how this turns out.

Here's a thought on how teachers and the rest of us can start now to help fend off some school shooters - There’s a Way to Stop Mass Shootings, and You Won’t Like It - from blogger, Rob Meyer.

rosalind-wiseman-quote-social-isolation-is-one-of-the-most-devastating“Notice those around you who seem isolated, and engage them.”

If every one of us did this we’d have a culture that was deeply committed to ensuring no one was left lonely. And make no mistake, as I’ve written before loneliness is what causes these shooters to lash out. People with solid connections to other people don’t indiscriminately fire guns at strangers.

Community is easy to take for granted. Most of us have strong family connections and healthy friendships. Most feel as though they’re part of a group, be it community, religious, or work related. But it’s increasingly easy for people on the edges to withdraw and it’s easy for us to forget them.

The people you engage may not become life-long friends, and they don’t need to be, but it could be enough to keep someone away from the darkness and isolation needed to eventually think lashing out is an effective strategy for dealing with their pain. 

There was also a good teacher essay on this topic about making sure that kids get paired up randomly for in-class work and noticing isolated kids on the playground.  One thing I have done at the school I volunteer at is to have games like Red Light, Green Light at recess where anyone can play (and win) and even the kids who tend to be loners are part of the group.

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said...

Isolation causes all kinds of problems but is not the answer to shootings.

Removing guns from society is the answer.

If these kids are serious they should shut down the schools until we get rid of guns.

I also think each student should get the photo they want printed after(if) they are killed in a shooting and send it to their principal, the president and all their legislators.

guns kill

Dora Taylor said...

I don't know if this has been covered here but I would like to share my insights into a tweet that was sent out by OSPI last week.

The title of the post is "Hmm, I didn’t know our State Superintendent was in the business of selling charter schools and Teach for America, Inc." and can be found at https://seattleducation.com/2018/02/16/hmm-i-didnt-know-ospi-was-in-the-business-of-selling-charter-schools-and-teach-for-america-inc-to-teachers-in-our-state/.

To follow is the text but without the links and the tweet which was captured.

We sent the following question to then Candidate for State Superintendent Chris Reykdal on October 6, 2016:

“Given the legal uncertainty of charter schools in our state, as head of the (Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction) OSPI, would you distribute the Federal money to the existing charter schools and provide funding to set up new charter schools?”

This was Mr. Reykdal’s response:

“I am very troubled that our state pursued federal funding for charter expansion before the substantial legal questions surrounding charter schools in our state have been resolved.”

He continued:

“I do not think it is appropriate to allocate these funds to existing charter schools or expansion of charters until our courts have ruled on the pending lawsuit. That said, this allocation question will most certainly be settled before the next Superintendent is in place. By then, the courts may have also settled the constitutional questions. So the question, as posed, gets at our philosophy as OSPI candidates, but not likely our ability to influence this grant, short of a court determination that charters in our state are unconstitutional.”

(The underline is by Chris Reykdal.)

Now, even though the Supreme Court in Washington State is to hear arguments this month or next on the constitutionality of charter schools in our state, the following flyer was tweeted out by the now State Superintendent Chris Reykdal’s office recently:

OSPI -TFA and Charter Career Fair.jpg

(Please note: The tweet shown above was deleted on the OSPI twitter account after this post was published. Fortunately we captured it before it was taken down.)

This flyer targets teachers and the hiring event is sponsored by a group calling themselves the Washington State Charter School Association, which is heavily funded by Bill Gates, along with Teach for America, Inc., a company that hires recent college graduates, no experience of certification necessary, to populate charter schools as teaching staff.

What OSPI fails to mention in their tweet is the present court challenge on the constitutionality of charter schools in Washington State led by the League of Women Voters, El Centro de la Raza and the Washington Education Association.

We know Bill Gates, a proponent of charter schools, has been giving money to OSPI for years, even though we question a private foundation donating to a public, and state, institution. Could it be this reflects Gates’ influence on Chris Reykdal and OSPI?

Charter schools are a privatization of a public good where money trumps students and TFA, Inc. churns unqualified teachers through charter schools and all at a price to school districts and communities.

To contact State Superintendent Chris Reykdal, you can send an email to Superintendent@k12.wa.us.

NO 1240 said...

Seattle Education,

Thank you for holding Reykdal's feet to the fire.

Anonymous said...

I hope the legislature will reduce property tax accordingly if the numbers work out. Interesting that reducing taxes on the middle class is never part of the GOP agenda. My property taxes are up 29% this year. That is a big chunk. Normally, I would be happy if the extra went to schools but I do not believe that it will be well spent if the Seattle district gets their mitts on extra money. It will instead go to administration, hiring failed principals as directors, paying for 'studies' because their training does not enable them to make a decision on anything, or maybe even (apparently) charter school expansion.


Anonymous said...

I work in special education (as an ESA) in a neighboring district. Many, perhaps most, of the students I work with have autism and/or ADHD. I see firsthand how year after year of receiving negative reaction and responses from peers and adults can slowly take a toll on a child. Years of being excluded from play dates, birthday parties, games, etc. comments from ignorant adults. I see joyful kindergarteners slowly become angry middle schoolers. It is shocking the lack of understanding and compassion given these children. They eventually give up trying. The answer is both less easily available guns and more compassion of troubled children.

NW Parent

Anonymous said...

What ? An autistic boy amasses an arsenal then makes open threats to shoot students which gets ignored by everyone and because of that you want to take my .306 hunting rifle away from me? I don't think so.

2nd lives

Anonymous said...

It's crazy to contrast and compare guns to cars. You don't need a drivers license to legally buy a car. Not having a license will not prevent someone from driving a car. You don't need insurance to buy a car or drive a car.

If you wan't to avoid the possibility of fines or a law suits then you should have a drivers license and insurance.

To legally purchase a gun you need some form of accepted state ID and you must pass several background checks.

Children don't need access to firearms without parental supervision.

2nd lives

Getting Tired. said...


I'm not quick to blame the property tax increase on the GOP. Democrats played a role in this effort. Ross Hunter (D) helped craft the plan:

"The problem is, no property tax levy swap on its own—neither the McKenna/Zarelli plan, nor Rep. Hunter's proposal—satisfies that latter requirement. Both are revenue-neutral proposals that do not add a single penny"


For more information, google Ross Hunter and Levy Swap.

Eric B said...

2nd Lives, you're getting a little paranoid. Has anyone actually said that they want to take away your rifle? I mean, besides right wing media saying that the left wants to? Because most people on the left would be pretty happy with universal backgeround checks, registration, and banning of a very limited set of features such as bump stocks and high capacity magazines.

It's not like you need 30 rounds in your magazine to go deer hunting anyway--if you missed the first three shots, the deer is gone.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Eric B. I agree that deer hunters do not need high capacity guns. Troubled teenagers who want to shoot up classmates are the sad users of these weapons.
I remember a kids brought a knife to my high school graduation many decades ago. He was apprehended and no one was hurt. If these guns had been available then, how many kids might have been killed?
We will always have angry kids or weird adults like the shooter in Las Vegas. What has changed are the weapons.
Gun control is the answer.

S parent

Anonymous said...

No one wants your rifle, dude.

Sensible gun laws. Like no high capacity assault guns. Like using the technology you use to lock your iPhone to lock your gun, so it will only work when you are firing it, not for a despairing family member wants to commit suicide, or someone who grabs it in anger, or for someone steals it, or for a kid showing it off to another kid.


Anonymous said...

The Supreme Court interpreted the 2nd Amendment to allow personal ownership of guns for protection. We need a new case to change that interpretation.

Militias to defend us from external and internal enemies was what the framers intended, many scholars believe.

Kids should be playing with guitars not guns.

Pressure on our government will get rid of guns and the kids who are at risk of getting killed while they attend school are going to be the ones leading the charge.

Are you with them or against them?

Guns must go, all of them.


Anonymous said...

Autism Society Statement
on Parkland, Florida
School Shooting http://www.autism-society.org/news/autism-society-statement-parkland-florida-school-shooting/


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link Getting Tired. I miss Goldy.


spock said...

Tim Burgess has an article in South Seattle Emerald today. To summarize: Early childhood education is important and needs investment at scale. Therefore "strengthen the city government relationship with Seattle Public Schools and forge a new partnership that is keenly focused on preparing our children for kindergarten". By the way, "the city government should tighten its belt, reduce the overall tax rate of the city education levies and invest those dollars in cradle-to-kindergarten services".


To me it is really jarring how he wraps the whole thing in "do what's right for our kids" type language but also nonchalantly throws in tax cuts and also implies cuts in levy-supported programs that serve children in grades K and older.

Melissa Westbrook said...

"An autistic boy amasses an arsenal then makes open threats to shoot students which gets ignored by everyone and because of that you want to take my .306 hunting rifle away from me? I don't think so."

Get a grip. I know of very few people that want to take anyone's guns away for hunting (unless you are a big-game hunter and you are then another kind of problem).

Spock, I wrote about Burgess' op-ed when it appeared in the Times; he must be shopping it around.

I'll have a thread on what I think the City is doing with public education. What it looks like to me is a smile on the face and a knife in the back to the district. Smiling faces...sometimes, they don't tell the truth.

Anonymous said...

"Guns must go, all of them." - parent/teacher

Gee MW, that sure sounds to me like somebody indeed wants to take away everyone's guns.


Melissa Westbrook said...

I said, "very few people" - of course, there are those who want guns shut down but that is unrealistic.