Wednesday, April 18, 2018

GoFundMe for Professional Development for Teacher for 2E Students

 Via Facebook:

Teachers in Seattle public schools receive very little to no training in Gifted and Twice Exceptional (2e)* students education. In the meantime, all research points to the fact that especially these children require a deeper kind of learning and engagement  - and in the absence of this they disengage, fall through the cracks or worse.

We are a group of parents of gifted and 2e  students that want to see our kids' amazing potential realized, both for their well being and that of Society at large - and we know that teachers are the ones best positioned to make a difference for these children!

We would like to send at least one Seattle Public School teacher to an outstanding professional development provided by Bridges Academy's premier research center for understanding and teaching the growing population of 2e students.

Mayor Durkan to Announce Her Education Plan Today

 Update: here's the link to the Mayor's plan.  Here's a link to the video of her announcement today I have not watched it yet.)

I want to note that Mayor Murray - in his Education Plan - said he was going to end homelessness for Seattle children by the end of 2017.  (He later denied saying that but it's on the videotape of the event and in the City's materials.)  Durkan's plan says:

Increase K-12 and community investments to close the opportunity gap, increase teacher diversity, provide support services including for students experiencing homelessness, and help students most at risk of dropping out of school;

More modest.  It would seem to me - of all that the Mayor and the City Council and city leaders could promise to do - ending homelessness for children is one big measure about this issue that they could get done.

It appears the number the Mayor wants to go for in combining the Families and Education levy and the Pre-K levy is about $635M which is more than double what the two combined is today.  I'm a bit shocked but Councilman Burgess went for broke in doubling the F&E levy last time so maybe there's a sense that it can be done.  I think it's a bad idea and I think the Mayor is trying to bite off more than she can chew.  

Look for the size of the Department of Education and Early Learning to grow exponentially if this passes.


end of update

I attended the Levy Oversight Committee meeting yesterday for the City's Families and Education Levy where there was a sneak peek at the Mayor's Education Plan.  The Mayor is planning an to discuss the "contours of the levy" today at 11:35(?) am at the Miller Community Center; it should be airing on Seattle Channel as well.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Tuesday Open Thread

SPS reports that Open Enrollment results are now available.

It's National Volunteer Week so thank you to the many parents and community members who give time to our students in Seattle Schools.

The City's Department of Education and Early Learning will be having two meetings to talk about their findings from recent community meetings on the Families and Education levy.
The Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL) would like to invite you to attend a community meeting to hear an update on the feedback received for the upcoming renewal of the Families and Education Levy and Seattle Preschool Program Levy. Over the last several months DEEL facilitated a total of 33 meetings with over 465 total attendees, representing over 105 different organizations to get feedback to inform and prioritize funding investments for the Levy.

Below are two opportunities to hear more about the community input we received. Childcare and interpretation available upon request by EOD Tuesday, 4/17.

Saturday, April 21st 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Location: Bitter Lake Community Center – 13035 Linden Ave N, Seattle, WA 98133
RSVP: HERE
Or
Monday, April 23rd 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Location: El Centro De La Raza room 3076– 2524 16th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98144
RSVP: HERE
The Levy Oversight Committee for the F&E levy is having a meeting today and I'll be attending. They finally got up some minutes (albeit from several months ago) from their meetings and it reveals a bit about why Mayor Durkan probably thought it was worthwhile to get money from the F&E levy for her Promise Program - they had a $3M underspend last year.  Also, the discussion around the amount this time sounds like close to $700M which they call "mid-range" and is a lot higher than every before.

A story here in the Seattle Times about the F&E levy and concern over its direction from some quarters (including this blog).

A very sad article in the NY Times about the state of public education in schools in America as told by teachers.

Great story from KQED on art and its effects on student learning.

Finally, I love, love, love this idea of how to calm kids down and get their upsets out.  This should be in every elementary school.

What's on your mind?

Monday, April 16, 2018

Black Lives Matter (We'll Just Keep Saying It)

Just to note, I don't have a "real" office.  So, when I meet people, I do so at coffee shops including Starbucks (I like their chai mix best).

Sometimes, I get there early and I use the restroom.

Sometimes, I wait until the other person gets there to order.

Sometimes, I stay there a couple of hours but only order one thing.

I have never been questioned about this practice by any Starbucks employee.

And, I have never been arrrested.

Those two guys who were humiliated by both Starbucks and the police now have a record.  Doesn't matter if the charges were dropped; I think you'd have to work to get it expunged.  (Don't tell me the police were just doing their jobs; they could have just asked them to leave and not cuffed and perp walked them out.)

As for Starbucks:

Privacy - I Told You So

I rarely say that but on this point, I will.

The Facebook issue of them not protecting data - with Zuckerberg before a congressional committee making the tortured argument that Facebook doesn't "sell" data - makes it glaringly clear that we have a problem in this country with privacy issues.

What's hilarious is that I'm sure somewhere Twitter and Google are glad for the white-hot spotlight on Facebook.  I'd venture that if you use Google gmail (as I do), their scanning of emails for useful words that advertisers like may be worse than Facebook.  (That Facebook was compiling data on people NOT on Facebook but who only got mentioned there by others is also troubling.)

I heard a very unscientific survey where they asked people if they would pay for Facebook if it meant better privacy controls.  I think it was 85% who said "no way."  Well, I'd pay.

Facebook really is a good poster child for technology with which we have a love-hate affair.  I do truly love the many ways that Facebook allows me to connect with others especially on breaking news.  But I'm not sure I believe their gathering of my data is worth it and it's something I am pondering.

One big issue?  Your data is worth money.  Why don't you get a cut of the value of your data?  Why can't we determine we will sell our data rather than give it away?  Somehow Facebook and banks and other business have decided - in their "terms and conditions" which got rough treatment during the Facebook hearings - that we have to give away nearly all our rights to our data in order to get a service.

I note that Zuckerberg had this to say to the committee on Messenger for Kids (basically Facebook for the 6-12 year olds), this via The Mercury News:

Technology in Seattle Schools

I found this fascinating document at the Technology page at SPS, Department of Technology Services (DOTS) Program Report, Winter 2018. Note to DOTS: too many acronyms used that are not explained when first used.)

Fun SPS tech facts:

Friday, April 13, 2018

Friday Open Thread

I'm off to the BEX Oversight Committee meeting this morning - I haven't been in quite awhile but I saw this notation on the agenda:

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Tuesday Open Thread

The Times has an editorial about the new mandate from the state about a semester-long high school course in civics. 

NAEP Stats Out for Washington State Students

From KNKX:
Eighth graders in Washington state scored above the national average in both math and reading on the assessment known as the nation's report card.
Forty-one percent of Washington eighth graders scored at or above proficient on the math test, and 42 percent achieved that level on the reading test. Nationally, 33 percent scored at or above proficient on the math test, and 35 percent achieved that level on the reading test.

Massachusetts led the nation on the eighth grade math test with 50 percent of students showing proficiency. On the eighth grade reading test, students at schools run by the Department of Defense for children of military personnel scored the highest, with 51 percent proficient. Massachusetts was second, with 49 percent proficient.

James Harvey, executive director of the National Superintendents Roundtable, said his group would like to see the National Assessment of Educational Progress change the terminology because the word “proficient” can cause confusion. He said people think it means testing at grade level when really it’s a higher benchmark than that.

“We think labeling students as proficient or not proficient was a very big mistake and it has contributed to this message that American schools are failures because only 30 percent of kids are proficient on these various tests,” Harvey said.

He stressed that he’s not advocating that the test be made easier or that standards be lowered. Instead, he would like to categorize students’ results with the labels “low,” “intermediate,” “high,” and “advanced.” He said right now what’s labeled “proficient” really should be termed “high.”
The assessment currently has three levels: “basic,” “proficient,” and “advanced.”

Among fourth graders in Washington, 42 percent showed proficiency in math, compared with 40 percent nationally, and 39 percent were proficient on the reading test compared with 35 percent nationally.
 Link to NAEP results 

About NAEP via OSPI

Saturday, April 07, 2018

What Personalized Learning Feels Like..From a Teen

Update: looks like this video got pulled which is kind of odd, given how viral it had become.  Wonder if the school/"personalized learning" company got mad.

end of update


This is a video from a poetry slam at a high school where one girl puts forth - hilariously and poignantly - her issues with "personalized learning."  She talks about no talking, no human interaction. no teacher input, and students having to teach themselves, learning from videos. (Her mother put this video out on Facebook and said it was okay to share.)

I hope you consider this for your own child about what you want learning to look like for him or her.

It is all about relationships for the best and deepest learning.

Friday, April 06, 2018

Families and Education Levy Changes Endanger SPS School Supports

From Summer Stinson at Washington's Paramount Duty:
EMAIL SEATTLE CITY COUNCIL and MAYOR DURKAN and tell them NO CUTS to K-12 PROGRAMS in the FAMILIES AND EDUCATION LEVY. 

Mayor Durkan is defunding and discontinuing crucial K-12 public education equity programs by not including them in the upcoming Seattle Families and Education Levy. Examples of programs that have received notices that they've been cut from the Families and Education Levy are:

(1) SPS's Family Support Program-- Family Support Workers ensure that students and their families have access to basic needs; i.e. clothing, food and housing resources, provide emotional and behavioral support, serve as a link for parents to engage in the school community and assist them with referrals to community agencies, 
and (2) a middle school close-the-gap equity program. I've heard from parents at Hawthorne Elementary and Eckstein Middle School about the notices that the schools received about these programs being cut from the Families and Education Levy, which completely defunds these programs.
It appears that Mayor Durkan is redirecting the Families and Education Levy to preschool and 2-years free college at the expense of K-12 public school wrap-around services. Defunding K-12 equity programs is unacceptable!

Friday Open Thread

Summer job info:

Student Assistant Program at Seattle Public Library
The Student Assistant Program is accepting applications through 5:00 p.m. Monday, April 30, 2018. You can access the online application here.

This program provides an opportunity for students to gain valuable work experience and mentorship at the Library. Applicants are asked to submit a Student Assistant Employment Application, a cover letter, proof of school enrollment and a reference from a educator/employer (form included in the application). So please have these materials available when you go to apply. The Eligibility Requirements for Students include (1.) students are at least 16 years old, (2.) students must be enrolled in high school, college, vocational/technical school, or a G.E.D. program. (Students who have completed a Bachelor's degree program are not eligible.), and (3.) students must be enrolled at least half-time (at least five credits for college students), three out of four quarters of the school year.

The Seattle Public Library proudly supports diversity and inclusion in its employment practices.

Seattle Parks and Recreation
Youth Career Training Program
Student Teen Career Employment Preparation
Summer of Service
Summer Jobs

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Teachers in Oklahoma and Kentucky are on strike. From Business Insider (they have a list of teachers' salaries in each state - Washington comes in right at 25th):

Teachers in Oklahoma — where 20% of school districts have four-day school weeks due to budget restrictions — went on strike April 2 after a new budget was passed. Teachers haven't gotten a raise there since 2008, while class sizes are larger than the legally allowed maximum of 20 students per room. 

In Kentucky, teachers are protesting too — fighting budget cuts and a plan to make teacher retirement pensions more like 401(k) accounts, according to The New York Times. In Arizona, teachers are asking for a 20% salary increase and are preparing for public protests.  

Education funding for schools and students varies widely from state to state. In Utah, $6,575 is spent on each student, while in New York spends $21,000 per pupil. The relationship between spending more money on education and higher academic achievement has been supported and opposed, with no clear answer available. 

I'll just note here that while mega-ed reformers like the Koch brothers and ALEC support charter schools, do they really care about public education? No, what they really care about is breaking the teachers unions which are the largest in the country.  That the Oklahoma Teamsters support all unions is wonderful because all unions have to stand together because if you get rid of the teachers union, who's next?  It's all part of privatizing public education. 

A great article from NY Magazine,  The Teachers’ Strikes Have Exposed the GOP’s Achilles Heel,
that examines the really big picture of all these strikes:
This is the lesson that the striking educators are teaching us. When a well-organized movement — with genuine roots in “conservative” communities (and no plausible ties to George Soros or Nancy Pelosi) forces the GOP’s fiscal agenda to the center of public debate, the political terrain shifts — and conservatives struggle to stand their ground. Suddenly, Oklahoma Republicans can vote to take money from oil companies and give it to teachers; and those teachers can meet their offer with protests instead of gratitude.
 Community meeting with Director Harris on Saturday at the High Point Library from 3-5 pm.

What's on your mind?

Friday Funny

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Thursday, April 05, 2018

Statement from Superintendent-Select Denise Juneau

Via district Communications:

Denise Juneau, prospective superintendent for Seattle Public Schools (SPS), offered this statement upon the news she had been voted by the Seattle School Board as their top candidate for the job:

“I am very honored to be offered the opportunity to join the team at SPS as their next superintendent.

“I am ready to work with the school board to help them achieve their goals of educational equity in outcomes, closing the opportunity gaps, robust engagement with community and parents, and providing a quality education for all students.

“During the interview process I learned that SPS is filled with committed and dedicated educators. The students I visited with are smart, creative and ready to lead.

“I look forward to building on the district’s successes, working with all partners to confront challenges and continue the positive progress already underway.”

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

How Did Swift and Juneau Do With Teachers?

I wanted to consider the relationships that Jeanice Swift and Denise Juneau have had with unions in their respective states.

Tuesday Open Thread

You'll want to put this one on your calendar; Director DeWolf, after four months in office, is finally having a community meeting that is a one-hour event during Spring Break.  It's Monday, from 5-6 pm, at The Riveter (a work space), 1517 12th Ave Suite 101. That's an unusual amount of time and an unusual date for a director community meeting but I'm thinking he's not going to be a usual director.

Of course, perhaps it helps to send him a request to meet if you are a group.  He did mention at the last Board meeting that he met with Parents for a Better Downtown.

Denise Juneau

I had printed many good things said about superintendent candidate, Jeanice Swift, and, since I support the candidacy of Denise Juneau, thought I would add some research I had done about her.

From Dr. Darlene Schottle who sits on the Montana Board of Education:

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Seattle Schools for the Week, April 2-7, 2018

Monday, April 2nd
The first of several meetings on the BEX V Capital levy.  This one is at Aki Kurose Middle School from 6:30-8:15 pm.