Friday, March 15, 2019

Friday Open Thread

On the heels of the horrific shooting at a mosque in New Zealand yesterday, I give one suggestion.

There is video out there of at least part of the shooting (the shooter put a camera on his head).   I would suggest telling your child to NOT watch it.  I know, if you tell them, they might not have known and might want to watch.  However, I urge you to tell them there is never a good reason to watch a live killing of anyone and, in this case, dozens of people.  There's always some smart kid at school who might want to come up and ask your kid, "Wanna see this?"  Tell your child to say no. You cannot unsee that kind of thing.

Superintendent Juneau issued a statement/apology about the issue of the district letter to parents about testing and Ramadan.   She said this:

The Washington state-scheduled testing window overlaps with Ramadan, and we cannot adjust that schedule. However, we can and have provided accommodation recommendations to school leaders.
Just to note, while the schedule may not be adjusted NOW, this issue could have been avoided when they made up the schedule. I would presume it didn't happen because of the contract with SEA and SPS.

I would be interested to know what accommodations are being offered.  Anyone?

I also will note that your child does not have to take the test except in high school and you can opt them out.
Families who opt their children out of participation in assessments, including Smarter Balanced, must submit a request in writing and sign and date the communication. The communication must specify the specific assessments they are opting out of. Parents or guardians must submit an opt out communication annually. For your convenience, families may use this opt out/refusal form or submit a clear written and signed document. Opt out requests should be submitted to the child's principal prior to the start of testing. Check with your school for information about testing dates.
An article from the Times about Special Education.
Over the weekend, the state Senate unanimously passed two bills that would improve funding, accountability and programs for special-education services that federal law guarantees to 15 percent of Washington’s 1.1 million public-school students. They now await consideration from the House, which is expected to unveil its 2019-21 budget proposal later this month. 

Washington ranks near the bottom on federal special-education reports because of its poor student outcomes and segregated classrooms.

“You would think a state like Washington, which just hosted the Special Olympics, would be doing really well,” said Sen. John Braun, R-Centralia, chief Republican budget writer and one of eight lawmakers who drafted Washington’s new education funding model. The numbers are bad, he said, but more funding isn’t going to be enough to improve them.  
Senator Braun, like most GOP legislators, just doesn't want to believe that the money currently being spent on Sped could have anything to do with the outcomes.  Weird.
The most ambitious proposal, crafted by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, would have phased in $300 million over the course of several years, and provided a financial incentive for districts that do a better job integrating their classrooms. 

The approach would have adjusted funding for different degrees of services provided to students and the amount of time they spent in general-education settings. But Democrats and teachers unions dismissed it, saying it was too cumbersome.
There are protests today organized for young people to fight climate change.  Anyone's kid leave school today to participate and give you feedback?  The Swedish girl that I mentioned on International Women's Day, Greta Thunberg, has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

It's Women's History Month and the district has a good write-up about the buildings in SPS that are named for prominent women.

Lincoln High parents have a Facebook page and boy, those people are busy creating a great new school for their children.  There is also a PTSA page as well.

Community meeting tomorrow with Director Harris at High Point Library from 3-5 pm.

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said...

To the best of my knowledge the testing schedule is provided to the district by the testing companies. However, I've never heard that SEA was included in that decision. As an SEA member I'd love to push the testing window in June so that we can get the vast majority of a year of teaching in.

Theo Moriarty

Melissa Westbrook said...

Hmm, well, the window is over a month so why the schedule didn't accommodate for Ramadan is now a mystery. Thanks, Theo.

Anonymous said...

It's a huge window and if it were pencil and paper we wouldn't need so much time but the onerous burden is in serious part driven by the availability of the testing computer carts. We spend more time in the buildings fussing with the test schedule than we ever would feeding the booklets into optical scanners.

Anecdotally on the fasting issue about a decade ago we were encouraged to ask the Imams at the local mosques to provide a religious waiver for observant students so they could eat during the day and not pass out during soccer practice. Otherwise those students would miss soccer and that's a huge sport for students in this town.

Theo Moriarty

Former WPD said...

Washington Paramount Duty seeks to :

1. Create McCleary 2

2. Assist in passing an unconstitutional income tax aka "capital gains tax".

Anonymous said...

Recent news story and article from KING 5. The use of physical restraint and isolation in Seattle Public Schools. Namely B.F. Day Elementary and the handful of others that offer the special education SEL program, or SM3. This makes me sad for everyone involved. The students, their families, and their teachers who are tasked with helping them.



Melissa Westbrook said...

Former WPD, I can tell you have a real issue with WPA. But you keep repeating the same thing over and over so unless you have some new detail, please do not keep doing this.

Anonymous said...

SBAC OSPI Testing window:

March 4 – June 7
(administered within the last 12 weeks of the school year, but no later than June 7)

12 weeks from June 18th the original end of school is approximately April and it certainly is that now after the extra days are tacked on.

Ramadan: May 5 - June 4

Spring Break: April 13-17

So when you put that all together with cycling 3 grades per elementary school through testing and the limited laptops: its actually not that easy to find a good slot and to get it all done.

And if you could squeeze into the remaining weeks in April around spring break you are pushing the testing earlier which does drive down scores something the district is desperate not to do.


Windows said...

Maybe with all the snow days, we could get an extension on the testing window, put it closer to the end of the school year and farther away from Ramadan. More time for kids to learn. Additionally all the wealthy families will already have trips planned during that last week, so privileged students will be less likely to take the test, and that will make it look like a big increase in scores next year so the district will really look like it's winning.

Anonymous said...

"...so privileged students will be less likely to take the test, and that will make it look like a big increase in scores next year so the district will really look like it's winning."

But by that same logic, wouldn't that make it look like a big decrease this year? Probably your comment was tongue in cheek.


Anonymous said...

C'mon, everyone knows the really privileged kids are in private school and the privileged kids who do remain in SPS all opt-out of the tests, you know, like anti-vaxxers.

Big Jim

Anonymous said...

KUOW just had a short piece by Ann Dornfeld about cuts to librarians if the legislature does not act. However there was zero mention of any other of the draconian cuts by the district including all the teachers, counselors and staff at the high school level.

ed watcher

Anonymous said...

This Friday and Saturday, March 22nd and 23rd, the SPS Science Curriculum Adoption Committee will be meeting. I am a teacher who refuses to teach Amplify because it is not good for our students! I have been bullied by MM Welsh, but I will continue to advocate for better science (TCI).
Amplify is monotonous and boring, with so many gaps. It turns off students love of science.
Please advocate to refuse to adopt this horrible curriculum.