Tuesday Open Thread

Good news from the district about Sacajawea Elementary:
On Monday, March 5, the Sacajawea Elementary School community celebrated improved access to classroom technology for students.

With help from the Power Up technology grant, technology funding from the district and a private family foundation, Sacajawea will be one of the first Seattle public elementary schools to provide one-to-one computing for every 3rd, 4th and 5th grade student.
The district also had an update on Racial Equity teams and the program is now in 42 schools (out of 99).  No word on why other schools don't have them yet.
The good news includes:
  • Aki Kurose, Denny International and Asa Mercer middle schools are at the top in the state for gains made by students of color.
  • Olympic Hills Elementary, Rainier View Elementary and Cleveland High students of color scored significantly higher than the statewide average on the 2017 Smarter Balanced Assessment.
Five of these six schools have had Racial Equity Teams in place for at least two years.
Heads up for a great speaker at UW - Diane Ravitch, Saving Public Education in the Trump-DeVos Era.  I've heard Diane speak and she's great.  Free tickets.

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said…
As the NSAP resegregated schools, what does the test score gap *between* buildings look like? Is the real gap closing? Or, is it worsening? How does Aki compare with Eckstein over the last 5 years?

Also, is the gap really closing? Or, (1) are the test scores needed to get X percentile getting lowered, or, (2) the test questions getting easier, or, (3) are the top 90th percentile ability shrinking, so the gap is being narrowed by the top falling?

What is the real result? The 'market share' of free and reduced lunch is nudging downward a bit in SPS, so is the gap narrowing just reflecting less poverty?

And, how are the F&RL student scores from 5 years ago compare with today? Are the most vulnerable students really getting support they need?

Years ago, Seattle Times published a very controversial article about test scores that highlighted a gap, has that gap closed? Will the district come clean with real data? See article titled "‘Alarming’ new test-score gap discovered in Seattle schools" by Brian Rosenthal published December 18, 201

The staff seem to specialize in pushing pet theories that are largely data-free and uncritically examined by a board that means well but is buried by the blizzard or crisis-management needs that unfortunately never seem to stop.

Evidence-based Decision-making
Prek said…
Looks like Mayor Durkan may be fiscally responsible:

"Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan will ask the city’s departments to trim their budgets by 2 to 5 percent for next year.

The city has created new programs with unsustainable revenue sources, she said Tuesday."

Seattle's legislative districts mindlessly support new initiatives without considering costs. I plan on calling Mayor Durkan's office in the morning. I"ll call attention to the city's prek program which is funded at $51K per child.

The city wants to ask for a huge increase to support the Family and Education Levy. They can not put SPS's levy at risk.

Anonymous said…
Sacajawea will be one of the first Seattle public elementary schools to provide one-to-one computing for every 3rd, 4th and 5th grade student.

Is this really "good news"?

Why do all 3rd-5th graders in an entire school need to have their own computers? What will they be used for? Are we trending toward online education with the teacher merely giving guidance as to how to use the online tools?

One-to-one often also means tracking students, generating LOTS of data, typically to outside companies. How is this going to be managed or controlled? We're talking 8-10 year olds!

I read this as a potential danger signal that needs to be understood in great depth rather than Good News.

- Realist-Pessimist
Anonymous said…
Congratulations, Rainier Beach! King 5 reports they received a $10,000 grant from NBC to put toward their drama program.

Anonymous said…
Seattle Times has an article on Running Start:


Anonymous said…
From the ST comments on the RS piece:

This article misses the point - RS is actually ideal for middle-income students whose parents make too much for financial aid, but not enough to cover tuition costs, and thus, their children will be mired in student debt. I enrolled in 1999 - 2001 and was one of the very few to do so. I graduated with a full AA and participated as the editor of my newspaper, in Wind Ensemble and in two varsity sports at my high school. I easily kept a foot in both worlds and saved THOUSANDS. It allowed me to double major with a minor and still graduate a year ahead of my classmates. Money saved, time saved. No student loans whatsoever.

Several others made a very similar point.


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