Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Tuesday Open Thread

 New rules for districts on student discipline from OSPI.

In the 2016–17 school year, 3.5 percent of all students in the state were suspended or expelled. However, the rates of discipline were much higher than the average for certain groups of students. Among students receiving special education services, the percentage was 7.1 percent. For Black/African American students, the percentage was 7.4 percent, and for Hispanic/Latino students, the rate was 4.1 percent.

The Washington State Legislature passed a law in 2016 that aimed to help close opportunity gaps in learning. The passage of the bill pushed OSPI to update the student discipline rules that had been on the books since the 1970s. In rewriting the outdated rules, the agency gathered feedback from families, students, educators, and community members through three public comment periods and eight public hearings.
The biggest takeaway I see from these new rules is to sharply curtail discipline that would exclude a child from class.

Interesting - all of Puerto Rico's schools are going charter (a la New Orleans) and allowing vouchers.  Meanwhile there are stories of missing teachers and large class sizes.  One-fourth of schools are to be closed because of issues around Hurricane Maria.

A sad story from NPR about a teacher grant program started in the George W. Bush administration to encourage teachers to work in high-needs teaching like math and science.  Somehow, during the latter part of Obama's administration, some of these grants got converted to loans.  Imagine getting an expensive gift and then being told later on that you need to pay for it.  DeVos' Ed Department has not done much to help. 
The U.S. Department of Education is in the midst of a top-to-bottom review of a troubled federal grant program for public school teachers. The effort follows reporting by NPR that found many teachers had their grants unfairly converted to loans, leaving some with more than $20,000 in debt. In June, 19 U.S. senators signed a letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, citing NPR's reporting and saying "it is urgent that these mistakes are fixed."
Now, documents obtained by NPR reveal that a previously unreported plan to fix the program was problematic from the start and did nothing for the vast majority of people involved.
Also from NPR, advice from a teacher on how to make civics lessons stick (and one tip is an oldie but a goodie):

1) start young (and high school is probably late)
"It is kind of hard to make students grasp the idea that, 'Oh, there's still greater community beyond what you had in school.' That's the baseline of a civic education. This is our community of our country."
2)  Be inclusive.
"What's happening is the affluent communities — political elites — are getting a good civics education," Charles Quigley says. "This is contributing to the empowerment gap."
I'll just add that in many well-off, better educated families, there tends to be more talk about politics and the state of the world.  If that discussion isn't happening at home, it needs to happen all the more in school.

3. Create a civic lab for learning.
"You'd never have a biology class without having a lab," says Louise Dubé, executive director of iCivics. "Kids must know, they must learn, they must evaluate, they must have the skills — but they must also do."
It's hard to get his students to connect with what's happening in Washington, so Heuston focuses on local issues like curfew laws and marijuana policy. Then, when national issues come up, his students know how to ground their opinions in facts. 
4. Question everything (the oldie but goodie)
Amy Raper encourages students to do just that. She's an eighth grade social studies teacher in Pheonix, and says, "These kids think, 'Oh, Kanye West says this so it must be true.' I'm like, 'Guys, you have to look at everything. Facebook and social media cannot be your only way of finding knowledge.' " 
 What's on your mind?


wsmom said...

Wondering about waitlists and how is that going this year. I have one friend on them buy have heard little. Im guessing they are going to move next week?

GL said...

The new discipline rules do not actually implement the law as written until next year. This year's rules are an interim set of rules put into place because school districts are not "ready" to implement the law as written that was passed TWO years ago. It is disappointing.

Michael Rice said...

The Seattle Times weighs in on state colleges and universities granting credit for IB and AP courses.


Former Souper. said...

Tensions swell over school salaries in Yakama Valley. Yakama Superintendent Irion is under pressure from WEA to divert funding intended for student programs to provide double digit pay increases to school employees.

"And, the money that districts can control, administrators say, must be divided between salaries and programs that will be underfunded because of the cap on local levies. Those programs range from classroom supplies to school safety officers"


Kent teachers vote to authorize strike.

Edmonds School District predicts $39M deficit by end of 2022. The district gave teachers a double digit raise. Deficit does not include next collective bargaining agreement.

Double digit raises expected to push Tumwater, Lacey and Olympia underwater.


This year, the legislature is expected to fund special education. In 3 years, will WEA and local unions want special education dollars, too? What would stop them? Nothing.

I supported the teacher strike in 2015. I will not support another.

Anonymous said...

Suspension rates simply align with student deviation from expected behavior.

The problem is that the behavior model is based on white culture and the culture of people with a higher level of formal education and also based on the culture of the non-SpEd.

Those three cultures try to fit other groups with less power and/or numbers into their behavior box and for the high percentage suspension groups, we need other boxes that we can guide them into.

For example ADHD students, should have different expectations, especially if their parents wish to forgo medication until the teen years as some doctors recommend. Maybe they need a classroom with recess every 20 minutes and specialists who can teach them some techniques to help them manage and understand their condition.

Same for poor students from tough backgrounds. They need a different environment to help them understand their reality and ways to cope.


NanoDad said...

Sometimes teachers look at difference and see deficiency.

Anonymous said...

Insider . . .

New principal at Whittier

Insider . . .

Anonymous said...


4 day school week in Colorado due to budget cuts.


Former Souper said...

WEA has gone too far. I am ready to support open contract negotiations and injunction.

SEA informs teachers that the state infused $1B into teacher salaries. Sounds like a lot of money, right? SEA will never inform teachers or the public that Seattle will only receive $45M for teacher salaries. I've not heard SEA mention potential loss of staff due to levy losses.

In 2015, with a promise of McCleary, SEA was asking for $170M! They settled for $70M. If SEA asked for $170M before McCleary, what are they asking for now?


Former Souper said...

Having worked on negotiating teacher contracts for a number of years, I would like to make the following suggestion:

1. Make public teachers’ present salaries and the number of contract days they work.
2. List of all benefits (insurance, district contributions to retirement, paid leave days, number of sick leave days with pay, personal leave days, etc. and their cost for each teacher

Transparency is very important for both parties, and for the public:
a. For the teachers to justify their request.
b. For the district to justify its offer.
c. For the public to have a clear overall picture of the issue, thus knowing how to direct their support.

Read more here: https://www.tri-cityherald.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/article216866340.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: https://www.tri-cityherald.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/article216866340.html#storylink=cpy

More said...

Union executives have targeted schools in six districts for closure. These are Seattle, Kent, Kennewick, Mukilteo, Evergreen (Clark County), and Washougal. Union executives want their own members to receive more money from public budgets, but that does not mean current pay levels are unfair or too low.

Teachers in Spokane are paid on average $68 an hour, including benefits.

This summer officials at 250 of the state’s 295 school districts are renegotiating work contracts with teachers and other school personnel.

More said...

A week ago Senator John Braun, former Chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, sent out some helpful guideposts for districts negotiating new teacher contracts. The best way to serve the public interest, says Senator Braun, is to do the following:
K-3 class size reduction money should not be negotiated away;
Do not grant salary raises that depend upon the Legislature increasing the local property tax limit; and
Do not go on strike.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I agree with Former Souper on his/her points. Transparency is key.

I don't agree with Braun because he's trying to manipulate the situation to make the teachers look bad. He's not a shining light for public education.

I would agree that a strike is a bad idea.