Friday, December 14, 2018

Friday Open Thread

The biggest news this week is the report from NPR on the first outcomes from the later start for high school students in SPS.  

 Researchers at the University of Washington studied the high school students both before and after the start-time change. Their findings appear in a study published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances. They found students got 34 minutes more sleep on average with the later school start time. This boosted their total nightly sleep from 6 hours and 50 minutes to 7 hours and 24 minutes. 

The study also found an improvement in grades and a reduction in tardiness and absences.

After the time switch, many more kids were able to engage in deeper thought and scientific discourse. Katzaroff says. The number of students who were tardy or absent also decreased significantly, putting Franklin High School — which is in a low-income neighborhood — on par with students from a higher-income neighborhood. The later school start time gave them a better opportunity to make it to school on time.
I'll bet if they looked at the rate of accidents by student drivers that probably went down as well.  That occurred in a district back East. 

From OSPI,
Recently, the New York Times obtained a copy of a memo from the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The memo outlined a proposal for government agencies to adopt a uniform definition of ‘gender’ as determined “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.”

Today, Superintendent Reykdal partnered with the top education officials in California and Oregon to send a letter opposing the federal government’s proposal to redefine the concept of ‘gender’ government-wide. The joint letter was sent to HHS Secretary Alex Azar in coordination with California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and Oregon Department of Education Director Colt Gill.

Washington state law explicitly prohibits discrimination based on a student’s gender expression or identity in our public schools.
“I want to be clear: No matter what changes are made at the federal level, our public schools will continue to abide by state law,” said Superintendent Reykdal.

From SAIS (Stop Sexual Assault in Schools) - From Seattle's Child: What K-12 parents in Seattle need to know about proposed changes to Title IX rules on sexual assault and harassment.
  • Under the proposed changes, the current definition of sexual harassment — "unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature" — would include only behavior that is "severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive." This means that if a teacher makes sexually suggestive comments and a 12-year-old student feels uncomfortable, that isn’t necessarily harassment that the school is legally bound to investigate.
  • Schools would be required to ignore harassment that occurs outside of a school activity, including most off-campus and online harassment even if the student is forced to see the perpetrator at school every day.
  • If the new regulations are given the force of the law, advocates point out that representatives of the accused — often lawyers — will be allowed to cross-examine complainants at live hearings, a prospect that could discourage students from reporting incidents of sexual harassment and violence. 
The public has until Jan. 28, 2019, to comment on the proposed regulations before they are finalized into law. 
There are no director community meetings this weekend.

What's on your mind?


Taxpayer said...


I wrote a well-reasoned blog post. I do appreciate that you didn’t delete it, but the fact is you made false accusation accusing me of writing multiple posts on the same subject under different names, called my post bullshit, and locked the post.

I’ve written exactly two posts on the issue of pensions, the first in response to another blogger, and the second in response to false information related to my first post. My post was accurate. My direct experience from McCleary has been threefold: (1) higher property taxes; (2) zero change in the classroom for my kids; (3) both of my kid’s teachers got large raises and very large retirement bonuses. I understand that in some parts of the state, the situation is different. But that’s the reality for many of us in Seattle, whether people realize it or not.


Anonymous said...

Excellent piece from NPR about students from rural backgrounds and their experiences. I encourage all city folk to read it.

An exerpt:
"Two students share a laptop in the atrium of the chemistry building at the University of Michigan. One, Cameron Russell, is white, a freshman from a rice-growing parish in Louisiana; the other, Elijah Taylor, is black, a senior and a native of Detroit.
They are different, yes, but there is much that unites them.
Both are the first in their families to go to a four-year college, a tough road Taylor has already traveled. Now he's serving as a mentor to Russell, whose rural background brings with it struggles that only a tiny handful of universities, including this one, are beginning to acknowledge and address."


Love the Taxpayer said...

I appreciated taxpayers comments regarding the pensions. I have commented in the past on teachers and teacher pay and that, with the recent extensive and unprecedented raises, our district and state will be under extreme pressure to cut costs or raise taxes.

I have stated that I will no longer support any levies, including operation and bond levies because of the unprecedented jump in pay.

I have read other posts here where some have questioned WEA's motivations and suggested that they may advocate for the children when it comes time for the money to be distributed teachers will be at the front of the line.

My point here is that there might be a paradigm shift happening. It's not one voice you are hearing Mellissa, it's probably not just two or three, ... 15% raises? 20% raises... increases in property taxes...and now the governor whats even more?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Taxpayer, I have - for quite awhile now - ended comments on Open Threads when I open a new post. It had nothing to do with you.

Everyone who owns property has higher property taxes now...to fulfill McCleary.

As well, what was supposed to change in your child's classroom? Because the raises didn't come with supports so if you really thought you'd see change, I think that's naive. The change will be attracting and keeping better teachers.

I find your anger somewhat misplaced because the district had a hand in giving those raises. Where's that ire?

As for the future, well, I can read some tea leaves and tell you that the last public education levy - one I campaigned against - passed with 72% of the vote. Hard to know what would make voters say no especially with no organized campaign.

The Governor appears to want to use a capital gains tax which doesn't affect that many people. I'll need to do a deep dive but I see that he wants about $150M for Sped.

Taxpayer said...

I’ve heard for years how public-school teachers are underpaid, and we need more pay to attract better teachers. I would agree that for teachers just starting out, it can be very rough.

But a senior teacher in this state can now make over $100,000 a year. And when they retire, such a teacher could receive $60,000 a year pension for the rest of their lives, guaranteed by the state. Are we really to believe that it was necessary to use McClearly money to give such a teacher a 10% or 20% annual pension increase, to stop them from quitting? Nonsense.

I am willing to pay more taxes to build new schools. I am willing to pay more taxes to decrease class size. I am willing to pay more taxes to pay new teachers higher starting salaries. But in my kids classroom, the only thing that has changed because of McClearly is the teachers got a raise and effectively a $450 monthly pension increase for life. I believe that $450 per classroom per month could have been much better spent.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Taxpayer, your facts may be true. I personally don't begrudge a senior teacher $100K a year for this region and how much teachers spend out of their own pockets for their own classrooms. The pension issue is not just one for teachers but for all government employees.

That you wanted to direct the money where you thought it should go is something all of us wish about our taxes.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting how much teachers are loved (pitied) as long as they are underpaid.

When they start getting the pay they deserve, Tilly Bar the Door!

Taxpayer, what gives? Melissa, thank you for your support but even if I don't spend a dime on my classroom, I deserve my salary. This job is demanding, thankless, and getting worse by the minute.

How'bout that?

Anonymous said...

I am greatful for the later start time for secondary.

Good change

Anonymous said...

My HS child prefers the earlier start and would gladly flip back - there was more daylight time afterschool and more time for afterschool sports (and less class missed for meets) while still having productive time for HW. Productive is the key word. Not every teen is a night owl. And lest we get back to the "sports don't really matter" discussion, sports have helped my child maintain focus on academics by providing a much needed physical outlet. Switching to a later start has been like going back to the much dreaded 3rd tier busing schedule.

I did not find the UW study terribly convincing. I'd admit a bias for the earlier start, but what seems questionable is that the comparison was done at different times in the school year - spring of the year before the flip and fall of the first year of the flip. How did they account for possible baseline differences in performance measures between spring and fall? They also admitted they did not study the impact of earlier start times on younger students. A full half of SPS enrollment. Will there be additional analysis comparing attendance and performance measures for elementary students? A study of start times changes in Kentucky found earlier times did have a negative impact on some groups of younger students.

not convinced

Anonymous said...

not convinced, you are incorrect. the study was the done at the same time of year. April-June for each year, thereby accounting for seasonal changes.
-maybe you should read?

Anonymous said...

The Seattle Times reports they collected data in spring 2016, for two weeks, then 7 months later recruited another group of students and repeated the experiment. It's not clear from the article when the second round of data collection occurred. Understandable if there is some confusion over the actual methods.

two words

Anonymous said...

The whole “sleep debate” is absurd. When spring rolls around and all the imaginary benefits of sleeping in for an extra hour are undone by “spring forwarded” clocks, where are all the do gooder self appointed parent researchers? Where are those advocates? If students can adjust to daylight savings, they can obviously do the same if the clock is not moved. Anybody who has raised teenagers knows, they will stay up as late as possible no matter what the start time is. Cell phones and ubiquitous social media reinforces that reality. Let’s focus on something that matters.

And btw, time wasted in traffic by high schoolers commuting during heavier rush hour is another reality we all are now enduring due to busy body parents with few real worries. Thanks.


Anonymous said...

Biology says differently Sleeper. Teenagers circadian rhythms move later hence they can't fall asleep until later and in order to get enough sleep, they sleep later. Once they reach adulthood, their circadian rhythms move back and they can once again fall asleep before 11. I observed this in my own kids and scientists have reported on this shift for years. It is scientists who said that for better academic outcomes, move the start time of high school to later in the morning.


Anonymous said...

FYI, I have used the moniker "sleeper" on this blog for years (ironically I originally chose it in a discussion of moving high school bell times later, which I favor and am very happy to see has had such positive effects). The above is not me.


Jet City mom said...

My high school started at 8am, and I always had pe 1st period which was awesome.
I wonder if schedules could be configured so that students had something active like PE, Theatre, music, art, auto body, home ec, first period, instead of say physics, which was my daughters first period class.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Sleeper, it's fine if you don't believe the actual research. Not so fine to blast parents who do the hard work. You think they are all "busybodies?" I've meet too many of them who do the work and actually know more than the Board does.

So your comment wasn't helpful, just more of a venting.

Sleeper, since there is a "sleeper" already, please choose another name.