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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Tuesday Open Thread

Two announcements from the Mayor's office yesterday caught my eye.


One was the 8-0 vote by the City Council for the Mayor's Implementation Plan for the Families, Education, Preschool and Promise levy.  Sadly, either the Council didn't listen or want to understand but that plan includes giving K-12 money to charter schools and placing a heavier burden on SPS for more high-risk students.  As time passes, it will worth tracking what current SPS programs funded by the City get reduced because of dollars redirected to charter schools.  I was somewhat surprised by the vote as at least three Council members have said to me that they did not support charter schools. 

The other announcement was about the pending renewal of the library levy.  It, like all the Mayor's renewals, is for more money.  She said:
From story time to summer learning programs to adult learning classes, The Seattle Public Library advances equity, education, and opportunity for all who call Seattle home. If we are going to build a city of the future, then we must build the libraries of the future, too.
I do agree that libraries ARE still important to many, many citizens who otherwise might have little access to what they offer.  However, I do not agree with getting rid of fines.

A scholarship in the trades is available:
If you or someone you know is interested in a job in the trades — such as plumbing, electrical work or welding — former “Dirty Jobs” host Mike Rowe is offering a scholarship program through his charitable foundation that will offer money for skilled jobs training.
As well, teacher and advocate, Jesse Hagopian, has a $1,000 scholarship, the Black Education Matters Student Activist Award.   Application deadline is May 10th.


According to the documentation for the upcoming Audit&Finance Committee meeting this week, the district has inherited a house across from Leschi Elementary worth about $750,000.  The woman who left it to the district, Mrs. DJ Smith-Brooks,  stated it was for:

“ for its general use and purposes, including but not limited to the construction of a parking lot.”


Van Asselt Elementary and Maple Elementary are joining forces for a family fun carnival this Friday, April 26th at the Jefferson Community Center, 3801 Beacon Avenue South from 5:30-8:00 pm.


Admission is FREE. Games, cool prizes, and concessions for sale. All concession money goes to benefit these two great schools.

What's on your mind?

65 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have a friend who is a librarian at a public library in Michigan and they have eliminated fines for the very reasons the mayor outlines. They did this about 10 years ago and she says it has been great. People are more likely to return overdue books and they come back to the library. The number of books they have to replace has been reduced and more people are using the library. My one concern is the books that have long waitlists. Maybe keep the fines on those so people return them in a timely manner.

HP

Anonymous said...

It was depressing listening to the public testimony from the April 17 Board meeting - what is going on with WMS, and how bad does it need to get before there is a change in leadership? How many teachers and students are they going to lose next year as a result?

Do other schools have similar security checks in the restroom? The practice of restricting bathroom breaks is not unique to WMS, though it seems unusually restrictive there. While I understand that some students might fritter away time, or in some especially egregious cases meet in the restroom for some other reason, where is the balance of maintaining student safety and allowing needed breaks? Also, locking students OUT of classrooms? That really happens?

sinking ship

Anonymous said...

Agree with HP. Fines of all kinds hurt poor people, whether traffic fines or library fines. Perpetuates poverty. I'd like to hear MW's argument to keep fines in place.

Dandy Lion

Anonymous said...

@ sinking

The best solution, IMO, is to get parents into the school. I do believe that some SPS middle schools encourage parents to show up at lunch and passing periods to sit and watch for problems and alert staff when needed. Have any of the parents approached the principal with such an idea?

CC

Melissa Westbrook said...

I like HP's form of fines. I believe in responsibility and accountability. It's one thing to have a regressive tax system that punished the poorest who, of course, have to buy food and other life necessities. But library fines and traffic fines? We are all responsible for borrowing things and bringing them back on time (and you do get a fair amount of time) and you are responsible for how you drive and where you park.

CC, I think the WMS parents have tried. I am being told the principal ignores the emails. It's hard to be collaborative if administrators won't listen.

Anonymous said...

@CC, based on the public testimony, it sounds like parents (PTA and volunteers) are being kept out of the school. Red flag.

sinking ship

Anonymous said...

Updated Waitlist Summary Report, 4/23, is now available. If anything, numbers have slightly increased at the schools with the longest waitlists.

just fyi

Anonymous said...

I’m sorry for what’s happening to all students and teachers at Washington Middle School.

But keep in mind, this has begun back when JH was promoted from WMS principal to executive ed dir. The first Nyland-installed replacement was incredibly destructive (bye bye spectrum for example) who was then replaced by this person who is a determined one-woman wrecking ball. She’s very anti-education, depriving kids from all backgrounds of the opportunity to learn. And SP has her back. And Juneau obviously does not care. And the board is powerless.

I admire the parents who have desperately tried to fix it with their respectful constant engagement and by working tirelessly through proper channels. BUT -HINT- cut and run!!! You are not going to change a thing. The damage is done, the titanic has hit the ice berg, and you have just got to RUN into a life boat now. Save yourself. Rent elsewhere. Because even as you get through WMS, then GHS awaits and it too is ‘transforming’, changing how it views what courses it purveys, and thus what access your kid will have.

So, stay put and work within the system and enjoy the admiration of others who respect your (fruitless) efforts while your kids’ educational needs are not met (I guess that makes them the very definition of the kids who are furthest from educational justice) or move to a school that WILL give your kid three years of excellent instrumental music and three years of excellent world language instruction and then go on to a high school that has a STABLE Master schedule chocked full of AP courses.

I’m truly sorry for the mess, but honestly, look around: this destraction isn’t by accident, it is by design and it is the overall trend line for our district, so your best bet is to simply get to a relatively calm educational island and hunker down. That has been my calculus, the amount of energy and time that was required to address this - all of which was for naught- energy and time that I had to pull out of our own limited family time - simply did not pencil out. Much happier now in a drama-free zone with no wantonly destructive principal.


sorry, move

Anonymous said...

@sorry is giving what is perhaps the best and most honest advice.

nearly gone

Anonymous said...

Agreed.

-Cynic

Anonymous said...

We have school board elections this year. Candidates need to be asked how they will solve the mess at WMS. That includes Board President Leslie Harris, who has not taken any action to address the crisis (and who is up for re-election this year). Denise Juneau also needs to be held accountable, but it is the board that can do so.

Save WMS

Ed said...

Save WMS

To borrow a quote from Barney Frank, asking the "Culture of Lawlessness" to take any action about schools is like asking Barney Frank to judge a beauty pageant:

If your hearts not in it (and it's obviously NOT), you won't do a very good job.

Anonymous said...

@CC

The principal has made it clear that parents are not welcome in the building, and despite profuse offers of help from the PTA and individual parents, she has refused all help whether from volunteers, PTA money or mitigation money. The problem is not just the dramatically smaller school and staffing level caused by that. The problem is lack of leadership and community engagement by the principal.

CapHill Parent

:-( Central said...

The problem is also that multiple people at the district thought hiring this principal was the best choice. Until we replace the higher ups who make these less than optimal hiring decisions, our district is doomed. Once a school gets tossed into the meat grinder like this it takes years to recover. A school isn't just a building.

Shameless Category said...

City Council Member Lorena Gonzales joins Superintendent Juneau to promote their partnership. Gonzales forgot to include charter school leaders. Does Gonzales not care to promote the city/ charter school partnership? It's all politics.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Shameless, more like keep the support for charters on the downlow while driving resources to them.

Anonymous said...

Are per grade/school (current) enrollment numbers for 2019 online anywhere? I know waitlists are.

Thanks!
- MemoReader

Anonymous said...

Why all the hate directed at charters? Take Washington Middle School as an example. The principal is driving the school into oblivion, and several posters above have suggested that it's time for parents to "run away". But how can they do that? Other desirable schools in SPS have long, unmoving wait lists, so they aren't a real alternative. Private schools cost a lot of money.

For parents without a lot of money, aren't charters the only viable alternative? I wish it weren't so, but that seems to be the pragmatic reality. Wishing SPS would begin to care about our kids' education hasn't been working out very well.

Fed Up

Anonymous said...

@CapHill

My understanding is that parents are allowed to visit their children's school if they wish to observe. Are you saying that parents have asked to observe classes, lunch or passing periods and been refused by the principal? That seems to be a violation of district policy and state law.

As I said, at our middle school, parents were invited to monitor lunch and it morphed into hallway monitoring.

I'd like to see an email where the principal denied access to the school by parents who wanted to observe.

CC

Anonymous said...

@CC

Ding ding ding! You've finally gotten it: "Violation of district policy and state law." Yes! And that's not all that's going on there!

It's amazing how long it takes for people to get what's up at WMS even after explaining it plainly.

CHP

Anonymous said...

@CHP

So you're saying there are emails from the principal denying access to parents who have requested to observe?

CC

Anonymous said...

Don't be ridiculous. She doesnt reply to any email, and she's smart enough not to say certain things in email. I'm sure your middle school is just marvelous, though. Tell us more about how marvelous your middle school is.

CHP

Anonymous said...

@CHP

Thanks for the answer, I think I get the situation. Calumny substituting for facts. As a taxpayer I'm pretty sure I could go to WMS and request to observe a class or a passing period and be obliged. This sounds to me like "trash the principal" because some parents are not feeling sufficiently respected.

It also sounds like it's the HCC parents leading the attack. My middle school was "ordinary" and the HC qualified students, like mine, were treated fairly and received a quality education - good enough to go to UW next year - which is good enough for me.

Cheers, CC


Anonymous said...

Rein it in, folks. The reports coming out of WMS are concerning. Despite what CC claims, identifying simply as a "taxpayer" and not as someone with an educational interest in visiting, such as a parent or volunteer, it seems one would need to make an even stronger case for visiting. For the safety of students, I would hope there are some guidelines in place for visitors. But for parents who have valid concerns about the welfare of their children, there should be a means for visiting the school. Likewise, parent volunteers should be encouraged. If a principal is discouraging parent volunteers or blocking parents from a short visit, it comes off as a red flag.

sinking ship

Anonymous said...

According to CC, "My middle school was "ordinary" and the HC qualified students, like mine, were treated fairly and received a quality education - good enough to go to UW next year - which is good enough for me."

Sigh. It's great that your child was served at their "ordinary" middle school (or K8 or wherever your child attended). No snark. It's what all parents should hope for. It does not sound like WMS students, HCC or not, are getting access to a similar level of offerings.

rinse repeat

Anonymous said...

Everywhere HCC goes... the problems are sure to follow. The only thing really surprising is why those parents would expect anyone to care about their problems at WMS. Is there a single gen ed complaining parent at WMS? It’s never good enough for them, no matter what. The special extras never special enough, the music not advanced enough, not separated far enough. The science, the foreign language, not good enough. 2 years ahead in math available to all, then their kids will need 5 years advancement or 10. Calculus in Kindergarten, yes please. (with tutors liberally available for dyscalculia) And even learning about social studies and social justice, it’s simply not possible if they have to sit next one of “those furthest from social justice”. One parent reported hearing HCCparents complain about minority students at TGM “lowering the conversation level.” This is totally not about the kids. It’s about parents wishing to maintain a separate and superior educational offering for their offspring alone. Get thee to private school. And don’t ask for help at WMS, or GHS.

See Ya

Anonymous said...

@See Ya, it is my understanding that WMS's principal has disrupted the educational experience of ALL students this year. For example, because the majority of students enrolled in World Language courses were also HCC students, all first-level world language classes were cancelled this year. For EVERYONE. I'm sure some gen ed parents complained about that decision. Publicly shaming students by posting the detention list for all to see? Pretty sure that didn't only affect HCC kids. And the list goes on.

Your attempt to point fingers and pit parents against each other isn't going to do anything to improve the educational experience of SPS students.

Enervated Educator

Melissa Westbrook said...

See Ya, just not true and this:

"Is there a single gen ed complaining parent at WMS?"

Really not true. There have been plenty of Gen Ed parents who don't like the bathroom restrictions and especially the naming and shaming.

Anonymous said...

MW.

Are you a middle school professional? I think not. Many middle schools actually have a limited number of bathroom passes written into the planners. Typically, 3 per class per semester. Bathroom restrictions are useful! Not a horror or evidence of an inappropriate instructional discipline. Evidently you are completely unaware of the number of students who spend vast amounts of time in the bathrooms. We can imagine why. It’s a lesson just to know that people notice it.

If there’s a real gen ed parent (one without any connection to HCC) complaining about WMS. Great, let’s hear it.

See Ya

Anonymous said...

@rinse

Similar you say? My student did not have access to Bio and completed only Algebra I by the end of 8th grade. I believe WMS HCC kids have access to both Bio and Geometry. Our school now does offer Geometry to students who are ready, and there were a number of 7th graders in my student's class their 8th grade year, but there is still no Bio.

There was also a pass policy.

Believe me, I have no interest in visiting WMS, but I think if a reader of this blog asked the district to let them witness the reportedly horrific injustices that are taking place there, the district would provide a supervised visit.

CC

Anonymous said...

P.S.

You perhaps could elaborate on this "list" for detention. How can students stay after regular school hours when they have to catch buses?

CC

Anonymous said...

Article about the detention list:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/education/up-there-to-humiliate-is-a-seattle-schools-detention-list-bringing-shaming-back/%3famp=1

—SE Mom

Melissa Westbrook said...

See Ya, you know I'm not a middle school professional. But you know what I do know, from years and years of being in this district, that schools do things differently. WMS appears to be way off the charts for change. So unless you are an ED who knows every single middle school, I'm not sure you have the knowledge base either.

You can go back and view the last couple of Board meetings to hear from WMS parents of all types.

I'm thinking that all this pushback might be by the principal's wife who was quite outspoken early on.

Anonymous said...

Up there to humiliate:’ Seattle school’s detention list sparks debate about shaming
March 29, 2019
By Danny Westneat
Seattle Times
Public shaming has a Victorian feel to it. But the notion of using peer-pressure embarrassment to try to compel better behavior made a bit of a comeback in a surprising place: a Seattle public middle school.

Last week, on the wall of the cafeteria at Washington Middle School, administrators projected a large yellow slide on a screen, titled “Detention Today.” Displayed below, for the school of 660 students, were the names of the seven middle-schoolers on the docket to be punished that day.

A parent sent me a photo of this dishonor society list, snapped on a cellphone by a seventh-grader. I can’t share the photo with you, because … well, because The Seattle Times tries not to be in the business of shaming or embarrassing kids.

So why would a public middle school do it?

“It felt like it was up there to humiliate,” one eighth-grader said.

A group of students and parents protested the list at this past week’s Seattle School Board meeting.

“This is not educating the ‘whole child,’” said parent Andrea Radosevich, using the school district’s jargon that indicates the emotional development of kids is just as important as academics. “It is public shaming, and it is wrong.”

“I guess it’s possible the kids don’t care that much” about having their names up in lights, speculated another parent, Sue McLaughlin. “But shaming is not something personally that I think would be very effective.”

Right. It kind of went out with the dunce cap.

Still, it’s fashionable in some schools around the country, particularly charter schools, to have “accountability walls.” These are spots in the school where everything from a student’s grades to test scores to discipline records can be listed for peers to see.

The stated premise is to build a school culture in which everybody is answerable to everyone else. Some of those charter schools also have strong records of academic achievement, including with the traditionally most-difficult to reach students.

“That is part of our culture — not having kids getting away with just not trying,” the CEO of one the most accomplished charter schools, Success Academy, told The New York Times about its “no excuses” discipline policies.

But even some of those get-tough schools have begun to back away from their most shame-inducing tactics — such as having misbehaving kids wear different-colored shirts, or forcing them to stand for a full class period when they didn’t do their homework.

The reason is that shaming can lead to more defensiveness or self-loathing on the part of the shamed. In the best case, kids conclude, “I never want to see my name on that detention list again,” and are motivated to improve. But other times it’s more like, “Everybody here thinks I’m a loser, so what’s the point?”

A former Seattle School Board member said detention lists may even violate district policies here that are designed to protect students from being marginalized.

“No, this is not typical behavior for Seattle Public Schools. I was appalled to hear of it,” said Sue Peters, who was president of the board in 2017.

After this column was published online Friday, the principal of Washington Middle School, Emily Butler Ginolfi, wrote to apologize for the detention list, and any harm caused by it.
It “doesn’t reflect the core values of Washington Middle School and the district,” she wrote in an email. “Schools need to be safe and supportive. I will continue to work with staff, students, and families to make good on this promise, and rebuild the trust of the school community.”

So I guess that’s the end of that, hopefully. Still, it’s surprising to me that educators wouldn’t first ponder the negative atmosphere created by such a list, before displaying it on the cafeteria wall....


Sorry, move

suep. said...

What's happening at Washington Middle School is a travesty. A school is being destroyed. With this latest development, we learn that students have been denied a science class this year. Science is a core subject. So WMS students are now being denied their basic education, as defined by state law.

Anonymous said...

Busted!

I am married to the principal at WMS. How did you know?

For the record, the list on the wall is wrong in my opinion but so is accusing critics of HCC privilege of being married to the WMS principal. One could just as easily accuse the blog owner of getting Amazon gift cards from grateful HCC parents for her continued advocacy of the program!

CC

Anonymous said...

HC pathway schools, by design, offer an accelerated continuum - some of the same "ordinary" classes taken in high school, but taken a year or two earlier. Had CC chosen an HC pathway school for their HC qualified child, they would have been able to take Geometry and Biology in 8th grade, assuming they were on an accelerated math pathway at the beginning of middle school. But they didn't. To now suggest that their child's offerings were not similar, because of their choice to opt out, is a bit disingenuous.

For sake of discussion, let's suggest a baseline for a comprehensive middle school would include access to two years of a world language, a continuum of math and science classes (with a minimum of Algebra 1 in 8th), and elective options beyond PE. And LA/SS classes taught by the same teacher for the entire year.

getting absurd

Anonymous said...

Way to fight the Man, CC! Passive aggressive comments on a blog will change the world!

Changemakers!

kellie said...

Back to the open thread, because I don't know where else to put this.

RIFs are coming. My best guess was 20-50 RIFs based on the enrollment projections and budget cuts. I believe this was supposed to be covered at audit and finance this week. Was anyone able to attend and can report back?


Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I am surprised to learn that HCC students are offered Bio at WMS and the regular kids are denied. What if a very bright non-HCC student wants to take Bio? Are they told to wait until high school or can they take it?

Surely there are non-HCC students who can do the work. It seems very unfair.

Neighbor


Anonymous said...

@Neighbor
Sadly that's up to the principal. A couple allow it; most do not.

@kellie
Thank you for this reminder. I hope we can take this up in a new less trolled thread. Even if funding were restored by the state, is it true that the district is planning on restoring only 50% of these rifs? It seems like a stealth way of permanently reducing staffing. I'm also curious to hear if it was addressed at that meeting.

Jon

Melissa Westbrook said...

CC, you brought HCC into the discussion. When I see commenters who circle back, over and over, to HCC as the problem for every situation, I do get suspicious. I didn't say you were married to the WMS principal.

Neighbor, you know that Gen Ed kids at WMS cannot access the Biology class how? I actually doubt that as HCC, on paper, only exists in LA/SS and Math. You can look it up.

I will be getting to other issues at the meeting but I am just one person.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Also, thanks for the laugh of the day:

"One could just as easily accuse the blog owner of getting Amazon gift cards from grateful HCC parents for her continued advocacy of the program!"

Yes, I just live for those Amazon gift cards.

Anonymous said...

So, MW, you are denying that you receive Amazon gift cards from HCC parents as thanks for your advocacy?

Just a straight answer please.

Dr. Moon

Anonymous said...

Dr. Moon,

Melissa does a great service to ALL students and parents in Seattle Public Schools and if someone wants to send her a gift for all the time, energy and abuse she gets, that's not your business.

Go troll somewhere else, please.

faithful reader

E. Eagle said...

Middle school students all over the city have access to bathrooms, are not publicly shamed, are taught science every year, and get to study a world language. Why can't students at Washington also?

Three world languages (HCC pathway schools marked with an asterisk):
Meany- French, Japanese, Spanish
Eckstein- French, Japanese, Spanish
*Eaglestaff- French, Japanese, Spanish
Pathfinder- Spanish, Chinese, Lashootseed

Two world languages:
Denny- Chinese, Spanish
Mercer- Chinese, Spanish
Whitman- French, Spanish
Salmon Bay- Japanese, Spanish
*Madison- French, Spanish
*Hamilton- Japanese, Spanish
*Jane Addams- French, Spanish

One world language:
Aki Kurose- Spanish
McClure- Spanish
Broadview-Thomson- Japanese
Hazel Wolf

Zero world languages:
*Washington

Anonymous said...

That's interesting, McClure - super rich, Aki - super poor, and they both get just Spanish?

I guess that's equity for you.

amiga

Anonymous said...

Why does it always circle back to HCC? Because the posters themselves blog endlessly about how their HCC kids have not derived an nth order privilege or advantage from their entitlement, which they believe is theirs alone. Every now and then people push back, and HCC posters are aghast. WMS is a good example. WMS has been a festering school for decades, but nobody cared. Bloggers remember it as Shangri La. HCC reigned supreme and it was great for them. It was a total black/white+ divide, wasn’t their problem. This wasn’t ordinary “middle school stuff” has MW posted. Kids were beat up in the locker rooms with broken face bones, bathrooms were set on fire, kids mercilessly bullied on buses, some got safety transfers elsewhere. HCC had created an atmosphere of total toxicity at WMS, and those parents and bloggers fought like mad to maintain it. But their ever growing numbers necessitated a split. HCC parents advocated shoving out every other group but of course that was on a path to flop from the beginning. Now it would appear that the toxic environment has spread to the entirety of WMS. What goes around. Suddenly it matters. Of course public shaming is reprehensible. But where were you when all the other reprehensible things went down? Blaming the district isn’t entirely accurate. Listening to the voices of incessant parental advocates of privilege got SPS into this situation. So now they have stopped listening. The district isn’t mostly HCC. And HCC isn’t “furthest from social justice”. Closest to, might be it’s location.

Principals Spouse

Melissa Westbrook said...

Another laugh of the day - do you all know how ridiculous it sounds?

Melissa Westbrook said...

So Principals Spouse (which I'm sure you are not), "posters" are not commenters, nor are "bloggers." I blog and readers comment. I never had a child in HCC.

WMS festering school? I can only say under Jon Hafaker, that's highly unlikely. He ran a pretty tight ship. And, all the sources of strife line up to HCC? Hmm.

The toxic environment at WMS today is the result of the actions of the principal. I haven't met an WMS parent yet who didn't say that.

I wrote about many topics in this Open Thread; we can stop about WMS.

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

@ Neighbor,

"I am surprised to learn that HCC students are offered Bio at WMS and the regular kids are denied."

That's unfortunately the way our HCC program is set up. Instead of a true "gifted ed" approach that provides instruction more consistent with the learning style of gifted students, HCC students get simple acceleration. And since HC students who opt in to HCC typically do so before 8th grade Bio, they should already have had earlier science classes or their equivalent in our middle school science sequence.

sci ops

Anonymous said...

@ Melissa, a minor correction. On paper, for middle school, HCC actually is includes LA/SS and science, not math.

sci ops

Anonymous said...

Washington Middle School has been a divided school along lines of class and privilege for some time. HC classes mostly separate and aloof. Lots of disdain and class based bullying towards those not in HC. Extravagant unapologetic display of privilege by HC core adults and little concern by them for non HC experiences; something that was difficult to assuage, despite the great efforts of non HC staff and mentors. Students knew from day one where their place was and to whom the power belonged.

Not so anymore. The privilege remains but it’s under consideration. Smaller student population demands that resources must now be shared and evenly distributed. HC does not like this, hence the squeals. Kudos to the administration for trying to level the playing field, both fiscally and structurally.


Salut



Melissa Westbrook said...

Principals Spouse, you really don't listen. I never had HCC students nor did they go to WMS. My knowledge base is seeing Halfaker in action at another school and what then-WMS parents told me.

SciOps, I did err on math but I had not heard it now included science (which seems odd to me).

Salut, that's your opinion. You offer no real evidence. And, that doesn't explain the harsh discipline across the board.

I expect to see WMS numbers drop fairly rapidly and then we will have yet another failing school.

Anonymous said...

@Principals Spouse, can you be a little clearer re: your pretty explosive claims? Are you suggesting HCC was/is somehow to blame for these horrible things that happened in the past? Are you suggesting that HCC students were somehow immune from these things like violence and bullying? It doesn't make sense. If HCC was there, weren't HCC kids also experiencing these awful events in some way shape or form? If HCC was somehow immune from the experience of toxicity, how did HCC cause it? (And remember, it was the district that put APP there in the first place, not HCC parents/kids.)

Your are hung up on this idea of entitlement, but all kids are entitled to some things. One size does not fit all. Kids with disabilities are entitled to special ed services. Kids who don't speak English well are entitled to ELL services. Kids from low income families are entitled to FRL services. All kids are entitled to a "basic education." For HC students, our state has determined that a basic education means access to accelerated and/or enhanced instruction. I'm sorry if you don't like it, but it's true. Denying some kids the opportunity to learn at their level because you don't approve of the color of their skin, their parents' income or education, etc. is in pretty poor taste. HCC is not perfect, and HCC parents repeatedly advocate for better identification of underrepresented groups. But why do you seem to hate the kids, not the process?

all types

Anonymous said...

Salut, the problem with separate and unequal, is the huge resentment this type of service delivery engenders. Unbelievably huge. WMS was the place where gen ed, was basically completely impoverished to the deepest levels, and left to rot. HCC gleefully blames “the district”, but the failure to create a community, to share commitments, to include, is on those parents collectively. The more separate, the more resentment. The toxicity at WMS, was and still is, over the top, evidently. And no. Halfacre was completely inept in dealing with it. I’m not giving kudos to anyone. Public humiliation does suck. No science too. But the predicament was predictable.

Spouse

Melissa Westbrook said...

The toxicity towards gifted education is also "over the top."

Spouse, you have made your point. Move on.

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

I agree that the toxicity in this blog shown towards parents is just horrifying. I have attended several community meetings held by SPS board members. One thing that impressed me at those meetings about the WMS parents is that they were advocating both for HCC and gen ed kids at the school. They talked about how locating HCC at WMS resulted in lower per capita funding, because otherwise WMS would qualify for Title I funds. They asked board members if that could be taken into account in the funding formula, with more money flowing to gen ed. They were doing that on behalf of the gen ed kids, not the kids in HCC.

In my experience, Seattle parents who send their kids to public school want to do the right thing. In fact, if you are a Seattle parent with sufficient funds for private school and you send your kids to public school, you probably are concerned with issues like equity. Sure, there are some people who don't care. But look at how the levies ALWAYS pass, look at how many parents whose kids don't need special ed still advocate for it, look at the support given across SPS for racial equity, look at all the volunteering hours spent on this blog and at schools everyday. I get that everything isn't sunshine and rainbows, but in my experience there is a whole lot of goodwill on the part of SPS parents.

Finally, I get that some things said by commenters on this blog are over the top. I am not a conspiracy theorist. I believe that when mistakes are made in SPS, the vast majority of time those mistakes are made out of ignorance, bad systems, poor communication, arrogance, and the like. I doubt a single one of the mistakes is made due to malice.

Public institutions require oversight, and one type of oversight is the free press. The First Amendment codifies the right to free speech and a free press because the Founders knew that this needed for functioning democracy. I am sure staff members find that cumbersome, and I get they likely feel more criticized that praised. Unfortunately, that often comes with public service.

So, thank you to all the commenters who are here for good ideas, for helping to further transparency, and to be problem solvers. Thank you for Melissa for the work of hosting this blog. This is democracy. It is messy and hard, but it is better than any other alternative. And, because of all of us, our public schools are better, and can continue to get better in the future.

WSParent

WSParent

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Salut--If there are problems co-locating HCC, then maybe HCC should not be co-located. It certainly seems to be have harmed the gen ed kids at WMS in terms of funding, which is inexcusable.

I have no experience with HCC kids at WMS, but they are children and I am not going to denigrate them. I invite you to do the same.

WSParent

Melissa Westbrook said...

Again, move on unless you have something new to say.

Anonymous said...

Here's what I'd like to understand, Salut and Principals Spouse and others who applaud the current WMS administration:

How do the actions we've seen this year - Eliminating world languages, reducing instrumental music classes, rearranging all schedules midyear without warning to students or teachers, failing to provide science instruction and instead offering kids a summer class, refusing students access to restrooms, publicly posting the names of students sent to detention, and on and on - address the festering inequity? How do they help students farthest from educational justice?

I am serious. I want to know. The principal has offered no explanation. Is it wrong to ask?

Ruthie

Anonymous said...

You know what’s toxic, Principals Spouse and Salut? People who spout hatred for HCC kids year after year on this blog. These are KIDS, people. KIDS! Get a grip.

Bullies RU