Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Tuesday Open Thread

We have one person now running for Seattle school board in November - it's Rebeca Muniz and she's running (I believe) in Jill Geary's seat.  (Geary is stepping down and I believe this will be the most competitive seat unless the other incumbents also choose to leave.)
About Ms Muniz:
- She appears in a couple of photos with Director Harris - not sure how well they know each other.
- She calls herself "a woman of color"
- From her LinkedIn Page;
She graduated from the University of Washington with a Masters in Education Policy and Leadership. She is the current Program Coordinator in the Division of Public Behavioral Health and Justice Policy at the University of Washington. She has helped advance research with the Seattle Public Schools racial equity teams, and on topics such as the development of youth leadership. She volunteers for One America Votes and the Gender Justice League organization.
The City Council passed the MHA yesterday.  We should be seeing many changes in housing in neighborhoods throughout the city.  I'd like to believe the Council when they say it will create more affordable housing but I have my doubts.  But my questions continue to be: why were schools called "amenities" in the HALA and why no impact fees to help schools, etc. that are part of the fabric of neighborhoods?  The MHA Implementation Plan has the word "school" in it once.

I saw an interesting story about social media on Facebook today and I wanted to ask parents what they would do (if anything) if this happened to their child.

Apparently a student in a secondary school was dancing, someone videotaped it and, thinking it was funny, sent it out on the internet. The student in question, who has no social media, found out and is upset.  (Unclear if this is something among friends.)  The student went to the parent.  The parent wants to track it down on social media, get it removed (good luck with that after the horse got out of the barn) and bring in kids' parents to talk about respect and privacy.

It's unclear to me if this was taken in a private setting or a public one (which might make a difference).  My advice was to get her son to laugh along and tease back about other kids' funny actions.  I say this because too much protest and the kids might push it out there harder and make his life more miserable.

Is this bullying? Should the school get involved?  Should the parents be brought in? Wondering what parents on the front line of today's parenting think.

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said...

Hmmm. I thought you were running for Jill's seat.

Re: Social media issue. Not to dismiss this families concerns but really? A portion of a video dancing at a party. There are so many much bigger, uglier fish to fry. I understand their child is upset but believe me, this is a great opportunity to teach her that the internet is forever and that social media is pervasive even when you do not engage in it. This is the times our kids are growing up in. We might as well have the honest and brutal conversations that hopefully will prevent them from doing stupid things. Nevermind. They are teenagers. They will do stupid things. Let's pray the do not destroy their lives in the process.
Mama Mia

Anonymous said...

Why did you put quotation marks around "woman of color"?

What's that all about?


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Melissa Westbrook said...

Huh, I put the quotes because that was Muniz' own quote. I don't like to make assumptions about people's heritage and she helped me out by directly saying that. That's what quotes mean.

Neurodiversity, sorry, the blog is not a business forum, non-profit or not.

Anonymous said...

Be sure to watch "Seattle is Dying" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpAi70WWBlw

So sad

Anonymous said...

Because of the MHA my lot in Ballard is now zoned for up to 4 units. My property is now valued at over 1 million dollars. Not bad for a $175,000 investment. I will be selling to a developer next week and leaving as soon as my kid graduates. I'm so happy that she will be debt free after collage now and I will have a new home mortgage free and a vacation home. I'm sort of sad to leave Seattle but we all know Seattle is just a name now.

Goodbye Seattle

Anonymous said...

Rebeca Muniz is just what SPS deserves, Muniz will be a force driving more families to pass on attending SPS.

Just Goofy

Michael Rice said...

Just Goofy wrote: Rebeca Muniz is just what SPS deserves, Muniz will be a force driving more families to pass on attending SPS.

I was wondering if you could be more specific and explain in detail why you have come to this conclusion.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Just Goofy, and you based that opinion on what? I'm with Michael.

Anonymous said...

Come on , read her bio. You might want a person with a 100% slant towards all things SJW but I don't nor would I send my kid to a college that has a person on staff for that.

"She volunteers for One America Votes and the Gender Justice League organization."

Geez I wounder if it will be 4 years of everything JSW?

I"M TOTALLY DONE, FINISHED with this type of BS!

Most likely she's just full of hot air like most all the past candidates.

Just Goofy

Anonymous said...

One thing I recently noticed about District 3 Geary's seat is how gerrymandered the district is. It's Sandpoint but not View Ridge, the U District, then south of The Cut it arcs from Madison Park to north Montlake and clear over to East Lake, Denny Regrade/South Lake Union, and even into Belltown, with a gerrymandered spike along East Boston.

I'd never noticed before, but I think this district may be illegal in its shape. I wonder what the odd shape does to who is electable in that district.


Boston Spike

David Westberg said...

So sad that in an effort to jail poor people (on McNeil Island, no less), local Sinclair outlet KOMO needs to parrot the Spady/Chamber of Commerce line from last spring.

Why not check out the Crosscut piece in rebuttal? Or Trumps 1989 published letter (identical words) about putting the Central Park 5 (one of whom was 14 years of age) to DEATH (they were later found innocent by DNA) before telling us what is "sad"?

David Westberg said...


So LEAVE if you won't help Sinclair!

Ask an Ironworker if there is "dying" going on.

609 Shlep said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
David Westberg said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

@Michael Rice

Well I think you of all people would find all this justice and gender speak not only obviously hypocritical but also identity politics in disguise. For example weren't you at the Feb 27th board meeting? and didn't you hear Jill Geary admit to the systemic failures in special education. I don't need to tell you this you live it.

So here comes another UW product spewing all things ed reform blah blah blah person of color!!!!

Will there ever be social justice for SPED students, will there be educational justice for SPED students? Will there ever be improvement in outcomes for SPED students?

BTW if Geary couldn't get JUSTICE for SPED then who can?

SPED Parent

David Westberg said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
David Westberg said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
David N Westberg said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Melissa Westbrook said...

Move on from arguing, please.

Eric B said...

Boston Spike, I was wondering the same thing. My district (1) does a wild "wrap around the north end of the city" thing, touching both Ballard and View Ridge. Come to think of it, I don't remember the director districts ever changing, which is a bit weird.

Joseph Rockne said...

I'm a bit removed from elementary school, but I've been told that the fourth graders at Bagley have been assigned To Kill A Mockingbird. Is that true?

Is that an age appropriate book?

I read the book in high school. My high school teaching brother teaches it in 10th grade and thinks some of it is difficult even for that age student.

My daughter read it in seventh grade.

Jet City mom said...

I think 4th grade is inappropriate. 7th/8th grade may be appropriate if as part of American history and parents are informed as to content.

I used it as part of a weekly bookgroup with a 5th grade class, but as the teacher was AWOL, I did not have guidance re book selection.

As an adult, some violent imagery in the book, I completely forgot about until another parent objected.

Anonymous said...

It's the same Lexile level as books such as Chronicles of Narnia or Phantom Tollboth, so for 4th graders reading above grade level, it's certainly an acceptable choice so long as there is scaffolding for historical information.

To Kill a Mocking Bird is read differently by people at different ages, and it's a book worth re-reading through because of that. A 10 year old will get different things out of it than a 20 year old, but that's OK. It doesn't mean a younger student shouldn't read it!

Good Books

Anonymous said...

Hmm, 4th grade? Probably best for middle school and up. There is also a newer book (2010), "Mockingbird," about a school shooting and a girl with Asperger's - perhaps that's what's being read? It's difficult to be in the position of not wanting your child to read an assigned text - you don't want to censor the class reading, but choosing an alternative book for your child (which is usually the option given) ends up singling your child out. What you really want is for the teacher to make age appropriate choices (it's not just about Lexile level!), but sometimes teachers have VERY different ideas about what is age appropriate.


"...I vote at least 13 years of age and maybe later when they actually have the developmental capacity to ask deeper questions and generate deeper thoughts about the intersection of sex, race, rape, prejudice, etc. Just because a child has a broad vocabulary and reads well on a technical level, doesn't mean they really understand the full meaning so why encourage it? I remember reading it as a freshman in high school and it was the right time for greater absorption of the full significance of what was going on."

differing opinions

Anonymous said...

Yep Asperger's and a school shooting, just a little light reading with a dash of identity politics.

I guess it dosn't really matter because according to main stream liberals the world is ending in 12 years.


Anonymous said...

ALERT ALERT ...where did the pedophilia warning post go? Are you censoring important safety information. Someone wrote they retired after 40 years and know of a pedo still working in SPS and you delete the warning. The guy used his name so I believe he wanted us to know and you have delete the info.


Melissa Westbrook said...

OMG, I deleted it because it was part of a chain of arguing. I have written about this issue previously, and in fact, the guy is going to plead out or go to trial in April. He no longer works for the district. His name is Albert Verachismith and he works at Muir.

Michael Rice said...

Actually, I was asking for Just Goofy to show some evidence. Anyone can say anything, but take the time to provide a link or something more than a blanket statement.

Anonymous said...

Book selection should be based on more than lexile level. Content is equally important in determining appropriateness. It's also important to remember that what's appropriate for the average middle school student may not be appropriate for those who are particularly sensitive. This is often a problem with highly capable children, who, despite their advanced reading abilities, are often hypersensitive. What may go over the head of your typical 4th grader may be deeply disturbing to a highly capable 4th grader. SPS--the district and/or individual teachers--needs to do a much better job at determining appropriate book lists for both grade and ability.

all types

Anonymous said...

The budget JoLynn Berge and Steven Nielsen doctored up for the Board is a POLITICAL document, not a budget.

In 2013, SPS served 50,998 students with a general fund of $621M.

Our district has NOT gotten inundated with Special Education students or dramatically poorer students, YET next year we are going to be serving about that same number, only now with a budget of OVER $900M? And, that is too little money? What?!?

So, despite the extra $300M, to make ends meet, Berge and Nielsen want to CUT TEACHERS? AND change the secondary WSS from 29:1 to 30:1?

WHY NOT CUT HEAD OFFICE? If they can't find $40M to cut from JSCEE, why not get a parent committee to present an alternative budget to the board that whittles down JSCEE staff but preserves both teachers and the original 29:1 ratio? In tough times, priorities...

Berge and Nielsen are intent on singling out and punishing certain schools. They also have gifted a few *special* ones with extra 'love' aka money.

They have mutated the weighted staffing standards (WSS) formula that distributes money fairly/consistently amongst all to the most incompressible convoluted non-algorithm, literally incomprehensible, so that you can't follow it and use it to predict what school "x" would get based on their enrollment and student composition. That should tell you the tool is now a political tool, not a budget tool. So much for equity.

To short-sheet a school, then, have kids show up, but, have no teacher for the kids, then have them waste time parked in front of a sub until the principal can actually hire a teacher destroys student learning, unnecessarily and predictably so. Why are Berge and Nielsen doing this? In hopes those kids go away, to get the credits/teaching they need through other, non-SPS means? Running Start comes to mind, but so too does Red Comet or any other easy to tee up ready made, pre-approved OSPI solution.

They have post-open enrollment numbers RIGHT NOW. If this is not a POLITICAL document, then, why can't they just post the raw data? Probably because armed with real data, communities could push back they bogus teacher RIFs NOW.

Remember this district closed schools in West Seattle, despite parents with their baby buggies pleading with them not to. SPS did it anyway, and then SPS had to reopen every single school pronto, but not before letting Schmitz Park lapse into a shanty town with 17 portables. Shameful. Yet, who lost their jobs for that level of incompetence; it cost the district millions? No one. Well, BERGE and NIELSEN are doing it again. Hammering certain schools, failing to support others and doing so unchallenged, because they have made access to data impossible, so, pushing back is impossible.

If they have nothing to hide, why haven't they released the data? Is post-open enrollment showing something they don't want us to see? Like maybe, Lincoln is failing to launch? Back when West Seattle had their post-school-closure crisis, and a new school had to be opened as an option to cope with the enrollment demand outstripping seats, that new school garnered 188 kids without even trying, parents were so ready to abandon non-preforming local schools and were keen to go for that K5 that was outside of their boundaries because it was that alluring. Can the same be said for Lincoln? How many non-attendance kids selected it? Any? Did LHS post-open enrollment number hit the budgeted 566? And, if not, if those students are staying at Ballard and Roosevelt, have their proposed RIFs been adjusted to reflect reality, or, are those communities being forced to twist in the wind to serve Berge's and Nielsen's POLITICAL agenda?


Den of thieves said...

Last year SPS allocated $33K comprised of part federal funds, part state funds and part city funds for special ed services for my kids. SPS provided ZERO services ZERO ZERO ZERO. So where did the funds go? The STATE needs to audit SPS's use of SPED funding. Remember the Tiers group that dog and pony road show? what about the level 4 determination or the back door pay offs to the kicked to the curb special education director. All under the nose of the OBAMA appointed do nothing department of ed ,wink wink wink we need more money for nothing.

Preserving Innocense said...

Let children be children.

Fourth graders should be exposed to some concepts, but not all that To Kill a Mockingbird has to offer.

Anonymous said...

I read To Kill a Mockingbird over and over again when I was in 4th and 5th grade. For recreation. It is a great book for kids because it is written from their viewpoint and, therefore, very engaging. Difficult topics in the book are treated with restraint. Anyone who thinks this is an inappropriate book for 4th graders should reconsider.


Jet City mom said...

Let me guess, you are white?

“I’m not implying we should ban To Kill a Mockingbird. But make no mistake: its privileged position in the canon is muscling out some other great books—and that’s what should make us uncomfortable.”


Melissa Westbrook said...

On To Kill a Mockingbird, I think it not a book to be read in a 4th grade class. Do I think individual 4th graders may be able to grasp its many facets? Maybe but probably not. We assign books for many reasons - complexity, historical context, values, etc. Most kids would not be able to fully grasp the meaning of the text.

I would agree with link Jet City mom on the issue that there are many, many fine books about racism that should become part of the public education rotation. It is a difficult choice and one that should be part of a balance of reasoning and not just one factor like "it's a popular book" or "this new book was written by a black author." We need more texts from people of color and, luckily, there many great ones.

Book Maven said...

Canon is by definition privileged and emphasizes works by white men, so we don't need to debate that here. Someone asked about TKaM specifically, and we don't even know if that's the actual book they're reading. Some 4th and 5th graders can obviously handle a work like TKaM, but you have to look at the ACTUAL CHILD and decide if it's a fit. Some 4th and 5th can also handle a work like The Hate U Give or Watership Down or Things Fall Apart. Remember a 4th grader might be as young as 8 if they had a late birthday and as old as 11 or 12 if they had a late birthday and were redshirted to delay K. Look at the actual child. Many are ready for challenging, interesting, world-aware writing whether canon or not, and 1 book is a few days of an entire year. An avid reader will easily read 20-50 books a year, so there's room for canon and there's room for non-canon. Is a child not ready? That's just fine! We are in a golden age of children's and young adult literature, there is much to choose from.

Former WPD said...

Part time workers will be loosing their jobs because schools don't want to pay full time healthcare benefits for part time workers. These positions will be replaced by full time workers. Who can blame them?

Increasing the levy lid will decrease state responsibilities and increase local responsibilities. The numbers are staggering. Stay tuned.

Melissa Westbrook said...

"...schools don't want to pay full time healthcare benefits for part time workers. These positions will be replaced by full time workers."

One, why should schools have to pay the difference? That's the district's responsibility.

Two, how do you know they will replace them?

kellie said...

@ Mel,

There was an accounting decision made by downtown. Principals were told that they need to charge about $13,000 to the discretionary fund for each part time position to cover the health care.

This is a great example of the tail wagging the dog. Nearly every school in the district is undergoing the displacement process and first up are the part time employees because part timers are suddenly vastly more expensive to the school building.

An accounting decision has fundamentally redirected the process of the RIF's. You would think the union would be all over this but ... this issue has gotten very little day light.

Anonymous said...

@Book Maven

I suppose you recommend anything by Adichie? Barf Puke barf diarrhea


Anonymous said...

A bill that passed the Washington State Senate and has been heard in the House would allow teachers to show sexually graphic and other controversial content without parental notice or even principals being notified.

The Bill Analysis of SB 5689 states:
"Provides that a teacher's evaluation may not be negatively impacted if a teacher
chooses to use curriculum or materials that address sexual orientation including
gender expression or identity if the materials are age appropriate and connected to the
content area"

This would be a dangerous policy open to an individual teacher's subjective interpretation that may be very offensive to parents and the community, with no oversight by the school or district administration allowed. In the worst case scenario, it could be used to groom children sexually.

North Mom

Anonymous said...

Gender identity?

If you have a penis you are a boy if not you are a girl.

Case closed

Former WPD said...

The union is involved.

A win isn't always a win i.e. unsustainable double digit pay increases, lifting the levy cap, mandating complete healthcare for every worker and advocating for an unconstitutional Income Tax aka Capital Gains Tax.

Book Maven said...

@NB (which we could already tell, thanks for being so clear)

Adichie and Achebe are different people writing in different millennia. Things Fall Apart is by the latter.

Jet City mom said...

Case closed.
You have a very narrow idea of how we come into the world, you obviously have limited experience with a selection of baby people, because sometimes they have a penis, sometimes they don’t, sometimes they do not have any discernible genitalia and sometimes they have extra.

Physical appearance also does not necessarily have much to do with what combination of chromosomes they have.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Case Closed obviously doesn't know medical terminology because babies come out in all ways. So boy or girl is not the only standard.

North Mom, if that's the entire bill in context, I would say no as well. Parents have a right to know what is being taught in the classroom and - by district policy - to examine it before it is taught. I can't imagine a district saying to its teachers, "Whatever you want to say."