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.

Naturally, this begs the question of how those leases got created for such ultra-long term use but you need not look further than Mr. Treat's predecessor, Ron English.  However, it would seem to me that the district could ask those businesses because if the district needs a new high school, that's an ideal place.  It would take the pressure off Ballard and Roosevelt (and yes, I know, many Greenwood/Crown Hill/Loyal Heights/etc parents would not like this) and the space is there. (And how cool would it be to have a movie theater next to the high school?)  I'm never quite clear when I hear these answers to "Could this be done?" so quickly cut off.  Is it difficulty or a lack of out-of-the-box thinking?

Interesting new study from the Schott Foundation and the Network for Public Education on the state of each state's schools with a bend towards who is leaning to privatization.  Washington - for all its underfunding - comes out pretty well.  The report is called Grading the States - A Report Card on our Nation's Commitment to Schools.  Overall, they rank Washington number seven with their letter grade a B+ (with Nebraska #1), by voucher policy, Washington is #15 (with California #1), charter school policy, Washington is #12 (with Nebraska #1).

Good info about states with vouchers and states with charter schools.  Their great recommendations start on page 18.

Speaking of better schools, how to get them?  According to this article in the NY Times, you sue.
Now Mr. Cruz-Guzman is the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit saying that Minnesota knowingly allowed towns and cities to set policies and zoning boundaries that led to segregated schools, lowering test scores and graduation rates for low-income and nonwhite children. Last month, the state’s Supreme Court ruled the suit could move forward, in a decision advocates across the country hailed as important.
The lawyers who brought the federal literacy case in Michigan plan to file an appeal, and are pursuing a similar, state-level claim in California. They argue that poor students are not getting the basic reading and writing skills necessary to function as citizens in a democratic society.

“It is self-evident that a segregated system of public schools is not ‘general,’ ‘uniform,’ ‘thorough’ or ‘efficient,’” Justice Hudson wrote, quoting the state Constitution. “We will not shy away from our proper role to provide remedies for violations of fundamental rights merely because education is a complex area.”
More attention is being paid to transgender students stemming from the case of a middle-school student in Oklahoma who was threatened - by parents.
Recent events in Achille, Oklahoma, have been a study in contrasts.  We saw adults promoting violence against a transgender child named Maddie. Some encouraged other youth to harm her. Some threatened to harm her themselves. Even the threats themselves are a form of violence toward Maddie and her family that will take time and healing to live down.

Unfortunately, the district’s support comes too late to keep Maddie and her family in Achille. After two years in the community, they’re moving. Perhaps Superintendent Beene now also recognizes ways the district could have been proactive earlier and will share those proactive strategies with his colleagues across Oklahoma.

Two years ago, Achille Public Schools could have updated school policies to specify equal access to facilities for trans students. The district could have invested in training, not just for teachers but for all school staff. They could even have held community educational events to let adults know the real truth about bathrooms: that early evidence shows trans kids are the ones most at risk of harm in school bathrooms.
Lastly, pop quiz!  Here's a question - actually the first question - from a test given in NYC to find kids for their advanced level high schools.  I got it right but only because I zoned in on a single word.  But, like others who answered in the article, it's highly confusing and you have to wonder why someone would write something so convoluted.

Next for a quiz, something easier - if you could add a book to high school curriculum, what would it be?

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said...

The funding for the orchestra position at WMS was reduced, so Ms. Fortune is moving on to a full time position elsewhere. Today the district advertised a .6 Orchestra teacher position at WMS. Does not bode well for Garfield's feeder program.

open ears

Anonymous said...

divide and conquer well played Michael tolley. oh and madison has struggled to get off the ground as a hcc pathway. (they used to track to wms.)

any word on the kill the cohort altf3?

no caps

Anonymous said...

well no caps, you can hate on parents and the administration, but here's what actual students who are in advanced classes at Garfield have to say. dare I say they have a more accurate perception of the reality than you?


broken shift

Anonymous said...

Speaking of interesting stories on KUOW, this one is about the dangerous buildings that SPS has continued to use for schools.


There's a very good map of the schools and the earthquake faults running through the city.


Anonymous said...

here's the one that I was looking for, no caps. it's about how well-meaning white teachers negatively impact the education of black students.

it's part of a documentary by the famous director of Hoop Dreams, Steve James.

it can be listened to or the transcript is there.

race is a problem in SPS, denying it is foolish


broken shift

Anonymous said...

If I could add a book to high school curricula it would be "Griftopia" by Matt Taibbi. At the very least maybe if everyone could see who their true enemies are they would stop sniping against "well meaning white teachers". Probably wouldn't help though - this is an entertaining but dense read and it is much easier for the likes of 'broken shift' to drag out the same tired memes and lash out against those who would be advocates.


Anonymous said...


Maybe you should listen to or read what the actual students who go to school feel about well meaning teachers instead of attacking the messenger.

And what the heck does the financial crisis of 2008 have to with the fact that schools are designed around white people's norms and expectations?


Sandy said...

SPS says the demographics of teachers is reflective of the demographics of the work force in Seattle. Our students are less reflective of city population demographics.