Friday, December 28, 2018

Friday Open Thread

Opting out of testing in one Oregon district just got a lot harder; I'm hoping SPS doesn't try this stuff.  From Opt-Out Oregon:

Here’s a gem from Oregon’s largest school district which advises school administrators to simply hide printed opt-out forms from people and “nuance the messaging”.

The district memo asks administrators to reduce parent access to opt out info, sending it out only via email and making printed forms hidden in school offices. In the past, forms had also been sent home with students and placed on school office countertops. Relying solely on email discriminates against low income families who may not have easy internet access.
The Portland Public Schools said in its letter to principals:
You need to know that PPS is taking a far more aggressive posture on ensuring all students are taking the SBAC.  All the executive leadership and school board have the expectation that all eligible students, minus a few exceptions, will be taking this assessment.  We know this will be a challenge since past messaging contradicts this stance.   

We know we are trying to “put the genie back in the bottle.

My confidence in you to nuance the messaging is very high.
 A Washington State STEM scholarship to put on your radar.  From the Seattle Times: 

The application period opens Jan. 3 for the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship, the state’s most generous scholarship for students studying in those fields.

The scholarship program is funded with public and private money, and it has helped nearly 3,400 Washington students earn a bachelor’s degree since it began giving out award money in 2012, a new state report says. The scholarship is aimed at low- and middle-income students, and grants them up to $22,500 over a maximum of five years to earn their bachelor’s or community college degrees in science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) and health-care fields. The deadline for applications is Feb. 28, and WSOS officials expect to award 1,850 scholarships this year.

WSOS helps students whose families make up to 125 percent of the state median family income, or $114,500 for a family of four — a number chosen to help middle-income students who often don’t qualify for aid because their family’s income is too high.

The scholarship application opens for the 2019-20 academic year on Jan. 3. For more information, or to apply, go to www.waopportunityscholarship.org

Later this spring, the program will expand to cover skills programs at state community and technical colleges. A separate scholarship application will be rolled out this spring for students who want to apply, Santa Lucia said.
Lastly, remember that $2M that Amazon gave at the beginning of the school year to help SPS students?  I followed up on that and here's what I am told by the district:
“It’s given to the Alliance, we either ask them to fund something or they come and say they want to fund something.  We only budget when they actually award us some of the money.”
 I'll have to ask what HAS been funded and how many dollars are left.  Maybe schools with no PTAs can ask for a share.

But this is just the kind of action I don't like.  Because Amazon gets to look good, the Alliance for Education controls the money (and gets their foot back in the door at SPS) and the district has a nice pile of money to play with (and which they never announce its uses.)

Not good.

What's on your mind?


McCleary 2 said...

The Seattle Times rightfully calls-out Seattle Public Schools, Governor Inslee and the state's superintendent of public education- Chris Reykdal for their efforts to recreate McCleary; an unequal system of funding.


Melissa Westbrook said...

More bullshit from the Times.

"Once again, rich districts would have nearly unlimited dollars to spend and poor districts would struggle along."

That's just not true.

"But the governor is missing the point. Voters in richer districts have the financial freedom to tax themselves more. In less wealthy areas, they don’t."

All voters have to decide about funding education and whether it matters to their community.

"This is the worst kind of regressive taxation, and the children will suffer."

Huh-larious. The Times has the nerve to talk about regressive taxation when our state is the most regressive in the country and yet we can't have an income tax and they pooh-pooh a capital gains tax?

"Give the so-called McCleary solution a chance to work."

And guess what they left out? That this "so-called McCleary solution" does NOT include fully funding Special Education. How long should those kids wait? And waiting is not in the cards as district after district does the math and sees in just a year, they will be in the red. No thanks.