Friday, August 31, 2018

Friday Open Thread

Negotiations continue on for the new teachers contract and will thru the weekend.  In another thread, someone suggested that maybe the district WANTS the teachers to strike to call attention to how badly this legislation was handled.  Hmmm.

In sad news, a 9-year old boy killed himself over bullying because he said he thought he was gay.  What is troubling is how adults take that in a sexual manner rather than what it undoubtedly meant - he feels different from other kids. Many LGBTQ folks have said they felt that way from an early age but didn't say it.

Friday Strike News from SPS

Seattle Public Schools and Seattle Education Association (SEA), the Seattle educators' union, continue to actively negotiate. On Wednesday and Thursday of this week the team spent hours going over proposals in great detail.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Seattle Schools Tentative Strike Update

I see nothing new from either the district nor Seattle Education Association.  I hope they are making progress. 

I think the truth - at least for Seattle Public Schools - lies between the teachers' rhetoric and the district's rhetoric.  They could both be right.  Again, this is self-made by the Legislature and boy, do we need to go after them come a new session.  McCleary fix becomes Job#1.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Strike Updates


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Yesterday at the Seattle Education Association membership meeting, a vote was taken to authorize a strike.  The answer was yes, if the district and SEA do not come to an agreement before school starts on Wednesday, September 5th, the teachers will be on strike.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Seattle Schools This Week

Tuesday, August 28th
African American Family Gathering welcomes Superintendent Juneau, South Shore K-8 from 
6-8 pm.

Tuesday Open Thread

The Seattle Education Association membership is meeting today and will vote on striking.  Tomorrow, Wednesday, August 29th is scheduled to see negotiations but I guess not if the teachers go on strike.

Here is an excellent summary from Summer Stinson, the head of Washington's Paramount Duty, about how we got here.  Pressure needs to be brought upon the Legislature and the Governor to fix what is really a big mess.  I'm not sure there is a confident or happy school district in the entire state about what the future of school funding really looks like.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Seattle Schools v. Seattle Education Association; Who's Bluffing?

Earlier today, I updated the thread on the teachers contracts around the state.  (FYI, in case you didn't realize it, ALL the districts in the state - because of the revisions due to McCleary - had to renegotiate their teachers contracts.  Hence the heavy activity.)

Public Ed News

On gifted education:

Friday, August 24, 2018

Friday Open Thread

 I saw this notice - that the Starbucks at Oak Tree center is closing.   That center continues to have several closed storefronts and one large supermarket that is not well-used.  Interestingly, the movie theater renovated and it's very nice now.  I bring this up because the district owns that land.  I asked legal counsel, Noel Treat, about this and if it might be possible to use that land (it's large) but he says most of the leases run to 2045.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Updates about Teacher Pay

Update 2:

The last I heard about SPS and the SEA is that they had not settled at Thursday's negotiations.  Luckily, SPS opens later than other districts so there is still time to avoid a teachers strike in Seattle.

SPS' website says nothing so it is frustrating to not see regular updates.

Favorite Teacher on Donors Choose? Donate TODAY!

The Gates Foundation tweeted that they are matching donations - by 50% - to donations made today, August 22nd, to teachers' requests on Donors Choose.

Still Waiting

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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

You've Come a Long Way, Baby (Not)

This sign - in a Houston middle school that has since taken it down - is akin to the advice that someone at Garfield paid comedian Steve Harvey to tell to Garfield's female population. I heard it didn't go over well at Garfield either.

Tuesday Open Thread

I'm a little pissy today as the district is a continually frustrating group.  My main issue is two-fold.

If I have trouble finding information at the district's website, I can only imagine the difficulty for people who don't know the district (or the less-than-clear manner in which to find links).

Second, the lack of timely information.

For example, I didn't know that Nate Van Duzer in the Board office got a replacement.  That would have been information that could have easily been put up on the Board's webpage but wasn't.  Here's info on his replacement:

Sunday, August 19, 2018

This and That

Families who do not want their student to use Naviance can opt-out by changing
their preferences in the Source. The opt-out window will be September 4th-September 19th.

From the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy, a toolkit for parents on this topic.

Crazy Rich Asians?  Not just a movie.  From the NY Times:

Seattle Schools This Week

On waitlists, here's the page and the pertinent wording:

Immigrant Students and their Rights

Also to note, the Washington State Constitution says "all children" living within its borders shall be educated.  It says nothing about citizenship.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Friday Open Thread

Lots to report.

First up, a report on a shortage of EpiPens.  This comes back-to-back with this report from NBC News about a generic finally being available given the cost that has sharply risen over the last couple of years.

Next, I attended the August meeting of the Washington Charter Commission.  As usual, it was interesting and I'll have a separate report.  They did state that one of the newest charter schools,Willow Charter School in Walla Walla, opened on Monday.  That's early.   This leads me to another story about more school districts, in Washington and nationally, going to a 4-day school week.

Women in STEM? Don't Count Them Out

A great essay by UW's Computer Science and Engineering's Professor Anna Carlin, in reply to another essay by Stuart Reges, Why Women Don't Code."  It's worthy reading.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

A Chance to Stand Up for What is Great in Our Country

I stand with the journalists at the Boston Globe, the New York Times, and hundreds of other media outlets in saying that the press is not the "enemy of the people" and a free and open press is what has kept this country going as a beacon of democracy.

That the person in the White House - who has always been something of a media whore so this stance seems puzzling - tries, over and over, to whip up anger at the media to the point of people at his rallies threatening reporters personally is shocking.

The basic message that Trump fails to hear - Don't shoot the messenger.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

What Would You Call It?

Districts generally require employees who make final decisions on the use of taxpayer dollars to businesses to have on file disclosures about any other sources of income or connections to businesses that work with that district. 

But there is evidence that the line between some school districts' senior employees is getting blurry and it's downright murky in other ways. 

To wit, the story of Dallas Dance, former superintendent of Baltimore County Schools who was sentenced to six months in jail for perjury for not being honest about all his income sources.
From the Baltimore Sun:

Monday, August 13, 2018

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Hey Kids, Want to Open a School?


Basketball superstar LeBron James is partnering with Akron Public Schools to open a public school in that district, the "I Promise School".  It opened on July 31st.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Friday Open Thread

From Ready Washington, a survey about the High School & Beyond Plan for high school students.   This is not a coalition I entirely trust - they lean a little ed reform for me - but sign up if you think it will help your understanding about this issue.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Arne Duncan's New Book

Duncan's book is called (and it's a mouthful as he seems to want to give himself a pat on the back) -
How Schools Work: An Inside Account of Failure and Success from One of the Nation's Longest-Serving Secretaries of Education.  It's a long title for a book from for a guy who's been in education work for decades and it clocks in at  just over 250 pages.  The book was released on Tuesday, August 7th but has already generated much discussion (I have not read it yet). 

He starts out this way:

 “Education runs on lies. That’s probably not what you’d expect from a former Secretary of Education, but it’s the truth.”

I think that's pretty harsh but perhaps not entirely untruthful.  The reviews have been decidedly mixed.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Wednesday Open Thread

Back from a great vacation break and lots to catch up on.

First, let's look at the district schedule for this week.  There's one big item that jumps right out happening today: