Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Tuesday Open Thread

 UPdate: I believe this survey is thru the "Equal Opportunity Schools" initiative.  Oddly, this group just happens to have suddenly been getting some of their staff on various district committees.

end of update

I am hearing that as of about 1:30 pm that Garfield students were being pulled from class to take an online survey using their student ID number. Does anyone have any information on this?

About Lincoln High TONIGHT:

Don't forget: High School Information Night - January 15th 6:30-8:30PM @ Hamilton International School.
Join us for updates and important information:
-Learn more about academic offerings and registration information
-Meet & interact with Lincoln staff through a panel discussion
-Learn about athletics and activities program and how to get involved
-Go on a virtual tour through the halls of Lincoln High School

Following the presentation stay for the social to visit department tables, purchase gear, join the PTSA and connect with other families.

Washington World Fellows is accepting applications for their summer program.
The nomination and application period for the 2019 class of Washington World Fellows is now open through February 6th, 2019.

The University of Léon Language Center, the international language instruction center of the University of Léon, will be the central meeting location for the Washington World Fellows program. Fellows will take their Spanish language courses at the level appropriate to their Spanish language abilities alongside other international students.
Students must be nominated by at least one of their high school teachers or counselors in order to apply for the Washington World Fellows program.

To be eligible for the Washington World Fellows program, a student must:
  • be a 10th grade student;
  • be nominated by a teacher or counselor; 
  • have at least level I Spanish or equivalent conversational Spanish language proficiency; and
  • be a U.S. citizen or a permanent legal resident of the United States. Due to immigration concerns, unfortunately the program cannot be extended to undocumented students at this time.
Also of interest for senior girls:
The Stanley Ann Dunham Scholarship Fund’s mission is to empower young women to be leaders and active world citizens through education and service. Our annual college scholarships to Mercer Island High School and Rainier Beach High School students acknowledge and support graduating senior women who demonstrate a commitment to the values of Stanley Ann Dunham in education, leadership and community service.

In addition to being the mother of the 44th president, Stanley Ann Dunham earned her Doctorate in Anthropology after graduating from Mercer Island High School in 1960 and pioneered a microfinance model that is still in use today around the world.
On this the opening day of the Washington Legislature, the legislative agenda from Washington's Paramount Duty:
1. Fund the Promised Increases in Public School Counselors, Librarians, Nurses, and Social Workers; K-12 Class-Size Reductions, and Increased Educator Salaries from New Progressive Tax Sources
2. Fund the True Costs of Special Education with New Progressive Tax Sources

3. Eliminate Inequities Between Districts and Schools and Provide The Funding Public Schools Actually Need to Provide Every Child a Great Education 

4. Help Funding for School Capital and Construction Catch Up with Needs
• WPD supports a state constitution amendment to allow a simple majority for school bonds. School bonds currently require a 60% supermajority to pass, not a simple majority of 50%. From 2011-2017, 94 school districts lost bond votes that passed with majorities between 50-60%.

5. Prevent the $1.1 billion in school cuts caused by the Jan. 2019 levy cliff.  
What's on your mind?


z said...

I am hearing that as of about 1:30 pm that Garfield students were being pulled from class to take an online survey using their student ID number. Does anyone have any information on this?

It sounds like this is an Equal Opportunity Schools survey. These folks may have good intent, but from what I understand they gather a lot of personal student data, some of it coming from the district itself, demographics, grades, test scores, etc. And they ask the students online for personal information as well. Not okay.

How could this group be getting student data sent from downtown unless this has been thoroughly vetted with DoTS and legal? And if it's been vetted, then how is it possible that it's happening without word going out to parents and getting consent?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Z, I having been working for weeks and weeks on just such a scenario which is the Check Yourself survey being done in some middle schools. The district keeps insisting that they have no obligation, under either federal law or their own policy, to notify parents. I am seeking to talk to their Legal counsel on this issue as I disagree.

The district says it told parents but one booth at a crowded curriculum night at three schools is not notification.

Z, my question to the Board at the last board meeting was how come you get to ask kids about their home lives but parents can't know what is going on at school? Hmmm.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I also want to note the issue of using computers and time for these surveys. The Information Technology Advisory Committee met yesterday at Mercer (I'm a member). The principal and the librarian and teachers said their lives are made very hard with trying to get computer carts around to all the rooms. They had to invest in two $400 ramps just to get the carts to the portables. They long to do more with technology but have neither the space nor the time to invest nor the investment in hardware/software. (Not a ding at DoTs but the reality.)

The survey they are doing in some middle schools is one they eventually want to expand to ALL middle schools at ALL grade levels. So figuring the explaining/taking of the survey is about 30 minutes. Then there's the kids going to and from whereever it is given. Then there is the downtime for any teachers who might have wanted to use those computers.

Between testing and these surveys, that's a lot of time that teachers don't get to use technology to teach.

HS dad said...

Why is it always Garfield?

Parents, can you ask your kids if this is happening at other high schools?

Melissa Westbrook said...

I think in this case it's Garfield because it has to do with AP courses. I suspect there is some behind-the-scenes collusion going on that maybe the district doesn't even know about. I have queried the Board about it.

Anonymous said...

The best "progressive tax" source are progressives, really if progressives want to pay more then go ahead who's stopping them?

Yellow Vest

Anonymous said...

Why is SPS asking students about drug and alcohol use by their parents and abortions are a private issue, yes it's killing another person, but it's legal. What is SPS up to?

Maybe we should be able to see the drug and alcohol use by school board members?

--Orwellian times

Anonymous said...

My Garfield sophomore was not asked to take any online survey today, did not hear anything about such a survey, nor knows anyone else who may have taken it. My child takes AP classes.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Orewellian, when did SPS ask about abortions? If you can show how you know this, I would ask that you refrain.

z said...

FNH: It's definitely happening. It might be only certain grades, but I suspect that it's more a matter of time because they need to roll the computer carts around to each classroom, and there are only so many carts and staff available at one time. See if they hear more about it tomorrow.

Everyone: If you don't want your kids sending personal information out to third parties, make sure you give them a heads-up about this. Kids can refuse, but there will be some pressure for them to do it. Staff does not give students the impression that it's optional.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I went and checked at Garfield's webpage and saw nothing about a survey. My source is good so I have queried the district/Board on this.

Sad to say, I do note one other issue at Garfield (which I suspect could be an issue at other schools).

Garfield has a 1-2 minute televised news update nearly every day. (It's available on YouTube.) I see a sweet part of it is saying happy birthday to students with a birthday. Problem is, they say the full names.

So now you have the ability to know a kid's name, birthdate and where they go to school. No school - in any form - should be broadcasting birthdates. An adult should have thought of this.

I am thinking of writing up a best practices for schools for student data privacy because it seems that this is an area where not much thought is given. And should be.

Anonymous said...

We desperately need a definition for "equity" in this city and in this district. Because it increasingly seems that "equity" is being defined as the lowest common denominator. Rather than raising everyone up to high levels and standards, it's focused on pulling everyone down to a lower level. This is especially true with funding, where the problem is deemed that certain parents and schools have more - when in reality the problem is a structure of racism and white supremacy that ensures many people have less. So we need to make sure people get more, not less.

Les Moore

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Yawn said...

Washington Paramount Duty claims that SPS's levy will reduce class size. I don't think so because state funding must pay for teachers.

It is time for Washington Paramount Duty and SPS to be honest. They are trying to help the state create a funding imbalance.

I've seen two figures. One figure claims SPS is asking for 50% above current levy limits and another claims that SPS is asking for 98% above current state levy limit.

Eric B said...

Yawn, care to share where you saw those numbers and what the backup information is?

Now, I do tink it's true that SPS and WPD are mustache-twirling villains. Their secret plan? Getting the state to fund more than one school nurse per 5000-7000 students. Those dastards!

Yawn said...

I received my information from State Senator Reuven Carlyle. The Governor and OSPI seek to raise levy funding to 22%-28%. This is great for wealthy areas. Poor rural areas of the state will suffer.

Equity means Seattle will see less funding. It is that simple, unless you want to create funding imbalances throughout the state.

Eric B said...

Yawn, you have a pretty weird definition of equity. It doesn't mean that you have to reduce everyone to the lowest common denominator. It can also mean that you raise all boats. It isn't just Seattle that has state funding 1 nurse per 5000-7000 students. Fixing that for one group fixes it for everyone. I would love for that (and other glaring issues) be fixed statewide. If the state can't do it, then we go to Plan B.

Having Seattle have a higher allowable levy rate is somewhat inequitable. On the other hand, every district in the state could have that if they were willing to tax themselves for it.

Reuven Carlyle is my state senator. I'll have to make contact with him.

Yawn said...

Maybe, just maybe, people in Aberdeen or struggling communities don't have the capacity to tax themselves. Maybe??

Yawn said...

McCleary was based on inequity. Nothing has changed.

Robert Cruickshank said...

The McCleary case was about the inadequacy of state funding. The Supreme Court never said that local levies were unconstitutional or that they needed to be capped. The Supreme Court instead said the state needed to cover all the costs of basic education. The state was the one acting unconstitutionally, not districts. The legislature provided a very narrow definition of basic education that does absurd things like give SPS enough money for a nurse at 9 out of 100 schools, and doesn't fully fund textbooks or special education and other items, and got the Court to agree that was OK. But that does not mean basic education at our schools has been fully funded.

Further, the Court rejected the idea Yawn is proposing that somehow districts need to have money taken away from them. There's nothing equitable about that. Equity, especially in the McCleary case, was about adding more money into the system. WPD has always argued that all schools need more money, and some schools need a lot more money. For example, one might say Ballard HS needs $2000 more per student, but RBHS needs $8000 more per student. (Numbers aren't precise and are intended to illustrate the larger concept.) But the actual legislative response to the Court in 2017 created a bunch of new inequities and made matters worse. So that needs to be fixed and more money from the state is key.

This is what the Seattle Times and Reuven Carlyle are trying to prevent - they don't want taxes to go up so they are fighting as hard as they can to keep public school spending capped, even though that cap is below the amount needed to actually run a modern school district and educate kids.

What the Times is also trying to do is tell Seattle liberals that in order to have statewide equity, we have to vote down our local levy and cause a massive crisis for SPS that will include mass layoffs of as many as 1100 people, mostly teachers, with huge cuts to programs and skyrocketing class sizes. That argument is absurd on its face. Seattle needs to pass its local levy, especially as a failure would be extremely inequitable. And then we all need to continue pressing our legislators - especially Reuven Carlyle - to add billions more in funding for our public schools. They can start by adopting Inslee's capital gains tax.

Robert Cruickshank said...

Or, if you don't want to read four paragraphs from me, just watch this excellent video from ESD 112 in Vancouver, WA that explains this pretty well: https://www.facebook.com/ESD112/videos/332080134309170/

Another Name said...

The legislature- not the court- determines the law. Courts simply interpret the law. Issues of levy caps and definitions of basic education belong the state legislature.

I don't believe anyone wants the levy to be voted down. I do believe there are other levy issues that need to be addressed Washington Paramount Duty could report on Carlyle's ACTUAL words and refrain from articulating perceived intentions.

Here is what Carlyle had to say:

"Please note that I voted against the McCleary deal. However, it passed and we now have a state centric system and thus need to be cautious about already changing the new model and ensure local levies are modest and used for enhancements not what is actually basic education. 1) state's obligation to fund 'basic education' is critical including special ed, etc. and I don't want to distract and effectively shift obligation back to locals; 2) Seattle is asking for an unprecedented local levy authority of 98% ABOVE current law which I fear could cause a backlash in Olympia even if voter's approve. There is some room for modification in levy rate deal that was punitive to Puget Sound area but maintaining the highest local levy rate plus new state funding is challenging. McCleary simply needs time to be implemented to keep focus on state funding; 3) property taxes have doubled in Seattle in 5 years and effectively overturning the planned local levy reduction is troubling especially when voter's approved children and education levy; 4) Seattle's pre-McCleary per student funding in 2012 was $8,560 and post-McCleary in 2019 is $12,000. Policy debate should look at that core number and figure out what's right for all kids in WA. Keep up the advocacy and let's all continue to figure it out together."

Carlyle has some legitimate points.

Robert Cruickshank said...

Carlyle is wrong about most of these points. First, if he voted against this new model, why should we be cautious in changing it, especially given how badly it shortchanges his own constituents? The model was a Republican proposal that Democrats caved to accept in order to avoid a state government shutdown in the summer of 2017. There is ample evidence this model doesn't work from districts across the state - large and small, urban and rural, east and west.

Second, Seattle is not asking for anything unprecedented - they always ask for more levy authority than they can collect. (Did Carlyle hand this talking point to the Times so they could use it to attack the levy? One wonders.)

Why is "maintaining the highest local levy rate plus new state funding" challenging? For whom is it challenging - for legislators who don't want to piss off billionaires and large corporations? What about the students and teachers who are suffering the results of this spending cap? And does Carlyle really believe that Seattle schools should take a 22% budget cut that would result from rejecting the levy? Is he going to defend that to his constituents? I know he just got re-elected and probably thinks he's insulated from voter anger, but if SPS's levy fails Carlyle will take some of the blame and I think the fallout will be ugly.

He also seems to pit the city's Families and Education Levy against the SPS levy when he writes "property taxes have doubled in Seattle in 5 years and effectively overturning the planned local levy reduction is troubling especially when voter's approved children and education levy" - does he really think that the FEL means we should reject the SPS levy? And if the SPS operations levy fails, that guarantees the failure of everything the FEL is trying to fund.

Carlyle then says "Seattle's pre-McCleary per student funding in 2012 was $8,560 and post-McCleary in 2019 is $12,000. Policy debate should look at that core number and figure out what's right for all kids in WA." No, the policy debate should look at what is the need for each student and each district and make sure everyone has *ample* funding. And his choice of date is revealing given that 2012 is after the recession cuts. Why not compare 2019 to 2009 or 2005?

Ultimately Carlyle has to answer to parents in his district. If he thinks we're going to be OK with him tanking the SPS levy he has another thing coming.

Judge said...

The Supreme Court said that local levies are unconstitutional when used for anything beyond “enrichment programs.” Seattle School District v State (1978)

That case is interesting because it arose after Seattle failed to pass two levies. The District sued the state and said, look, it’s the state’s duty to fund this stuff. The court agreed.

If the state is failing to fund basic education the remedy would be to sue the state, not pass what may well be an unconstitutional local levy

McCleary reinforced the earlier decision. The burden on paying for basic education is now on the state.

Melissa Westbrook said...

"McCleary simply needs time to be implemented to keep focus on state funding.."

Oh the old, "let's wait and see" when we can clearly see what is coming.

The "voter's" (don't know why Carlyle keeps writing that) did vote for the City's education levy. Why is that okay to pass (and raise property taxes because it, too, is an increase in amount asked of voters) but not the district's?

"There is ample evidence this model doesn't work from districts across the state - large and small, urban and rural, east and west."

Robert is right that this is a very important point. I see some trying to make it all about Seattle when 1) it's not and 2) all the property tax that Seattle collects under McCleary does NOT stay here.

I agree, Carlyle is playing a dangerous game but he's a grown-ass legislator so we'll see.

Judge, and yet districts did use the money beyond "enrichment programs." Since 1978. Go figure.

And the problem, Your Honor, is that there are those of us not willing to wait to see what the fallout is. Not willing to see this district fall to its knees. And not willing for our district to have to take the time and money to go to court.

I think the real issue is the legislature's ridiculous definition of "basic education."

I give SPS credit for fighting back on the enactment of McCleary in the manner that the legislature did.

Robert Cruickshank said...

No, the Supreme Court has never struck down local levies for paying for things. They have instead ordered *the state* to fully fund "basic education". And they allowed the state to narrowly define what "basic education" is - leaving a huge gap for SPS to fill. If the SPS levy fails, there could be 1100 layoffs and SPS would lose 22% of its budget. Is that what you want?

Robert Cruickshank said...

Melissa is right that "the real issue is the legislature's ridiculous definition of "basic education."" The Seattle Times is engaging in a disinformation campaign to suggest to readers that levies cannot be used for anything other than "extras" like music and sports. That is totally and utterly false. "Basic education" is a narrow and legalistic definition, not the common-sense definition we might all have. It means that if SPS wants more than 9 nurses for the entire district, or wants class sizes smaller than 45, it has to pay for it by itself. There is an avalanche of misinformation out there and it's clearly a deliberate effort by corporate ed reformers to crush our public schools.

WEA Swipe said...

WEA didn't give a damn about the levy cliff. They swept across the state and demanded raises between 10%-20%. They knew- full well- that the state provided approximately 5%-10% for teacher raises. We're now seeing the fall out.

The state still has to fund $4B for McCleary and $3.5B in pension benefits. A capital gains tax will bring in approximately $1B and will be challenged in court. The $1B will cover expected benefit packages- this year.

Issaquah workers just voted to go out on strike.

I see a lot of desire, but not a lot of funding. Don't expect Bezos, Gates or any other billionaires to be your savior. It will never happen.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Issaquah workers just voted to go out on strike."

What does that mean? Teachers? Staff? Please be clearer on statements like this.

Judge said...

Because some districts used levy money for things that the state should have covered and some districts could not cover those things was what drove the McCleary litigation and decision.

If the local levy dollars are used for things that should be covered by the state, a local taxpayer could challengenge that use.

McCleary was not a good decision if you value education and live in Seattle.

The legislature gets to define “basic education.” A court challenge to that definition would probably fail.

Seattle passes levies. But that was not always the case. It may not be the case sometime in the future. But the Seattle School District case from 1977 and the McCleary decision enshrines the right of students to have a state funded “basic education.”

WEA Swipe said...

Paraeducators across the state (290 districts) are organizing.

"Kennewick School District paraeducators have approved a new pay agreement with the school district, avoiding a possible strike.
The deal gives them an 8 percent raise this school year, retroactive to Sept. 1, plus an additional 1.5 percent increase for longevity.
It also provides for a 4.1 percent increase next school year, plus a similar longevity bump."

Read more here: https://www.tri-cityherald.com/news/local/article224682920.html#storylink=cpy

Issaquah negotiations broke down. They are going on strike. https://www.kiro7.com/news/local/issaquah-school-district-staff-members-will-hold-strike-vote-tuesday-night/904969114

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Anonymous said...

There's a huge abuse coverup going on in SPS. We should expect news to break next week.

check the FIOA SPS request log for details.

SPS Staff

Anonymous said...

SPS Staff, where does one find the FIOA SPS request log? I find lots of information under Public Records Requests but no access to a list of requests that have been made.

Historian said...

The definition of basic education was EXPANDED- not narrowed- to include prek. 15,000 Washington state children now receive prek.

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Melissa Westbrook said...

Historian, that is true but is it included with K-12 spending? I don't think so.