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Friday, June 14, 2019

Friday Open Thread

Got a grad?  A good article from the New York Times about learning to be a financially responsible young adult.


Speaking of graduations, there has been a spate of stories about student speakers speaking their mind at commencements around the country.  From the charter school grad in Detroit who called out her school (and got her mic cut) as well as the San Diego student thanking all the great teachers and staff but calling out (not by name but by job) the counselor who didn't get scholarship information to her in a timely manner to the teacher she claims was regularly drunk in class - these kids have something to say going out the door.

From district Communications:
At the beginning of the school year, Amazon made a generous donation of $2 million to our partner, Alliance for Education, to support improved learning for students in Seattle Public Schools. 

This grant, the Right Now Needs Fund, helps schools address barriers to learning by supporting our young scholars’ basic needs, such as school supplies, clothing, or food. Funds are available for students during the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years, including the summer.

Did you know that any school community member can submit a recommendation for these funds? As we head into summer break, these funds can help students whose families could use extra support with groceries or access to summer enrichment programs. 

If you would like to recommend or request Right Now Needs Now Funds support, please speak with your school principal, school counselor, or classroom teacher.
Director community meeting with President Leslie Harris on Saturday, June 14th at the SW Library from 3-5 pm.

What's on your mind?

79 comments:

SCPTSA Update said...

Amizon made a $2M donation to Seattle Public Schools. These dollars should be used to support Title 1 schools.

A few people on the SCPTSA passed a resolution regarding PTA funding. It is called #Take Back PTA. This resolution was passed by a few individuals. They are working in conjunction with Seattle Education Association. I question whether the SCPTSA did the work of connecting with PTAs across the city.

https://www.scptsa.org/takebackpta?fbclid=IwAR0wFu8t-Rk2hfQMoDla9vR33FP13rdVb3OBkuytrBsyHC7NK4Ldu8HMkBg

School board members had a conversation regarding PTA funding for an elementary school. Director Eden had a spread sheet. She conducted a thoughtful analysis. There are seven different funding streams. PTA dollars represent a very small amount of funding. Students would be hurt without PTA dollars. Thank you.

Director Burk had a well thought out process, as well.

Director Geary acknowledged that particular elementary school uses those dollars to help at risk students.

Director Harris asserted that schools that have the capacity to raise PTA are similar to "private schools". How many private k classes are there with 26 students. She wants parents in Olympia advocating for additional dollars. Some parents understand that direct donations are the only mechanism to assure dollars reach the students.

Director DeWolf feels the community is ready to act on PTA funding. It appears that he bases his thoughts on the relatively few people that show-up to the John Stanford. He seemed disturbed. Board comments indicated that without PTA funding ..students would be harmed. He voted in favor of accepting these dollars.

It is better to work with PTAs and not deliver a blow to the parents that have worked to support our schools. One north end high school has 100 homeless students. PTA dollars support these homeless students.

Anonymous said...

If PTA dollars are helping needy students, which I don't doubt, let's see some numbers.

My math says if you have school with PTA funds available, the money to help needy students also helps the other students by allowing more attention to them as the needy kids are getting service.

For example, funding a reading specialist allows at-risk to get more attention in a pull-out or even a separate class. And this allows the other kids to get on with grade level or above work at a faster pace.

I'm all for the parents chipping in, but let's look at who benefits and try to spread the goodness around.

JJ

Anonymous said...

The district has posted the process for applying for the District 7 (SE Seattle) School Board position. Thanks to the Southeast Seattle Education Coalition for their advocacy on this!

https://www.seattleschools.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=627&pageId=87963151

—JvA

Peace said...

Watching the last school board meeting, I became concerned that our school board is going to make efforts to weaken their roles by imposing fund raising limits and other restrictions.

The Board President suggested that several schools have been elevated and become de facto private schools due to their PTA fundraising prowess. The implications from this statement are that private schools are superior to public schools and, god forbid, any Seattle public school children have those advantages. We must dismantle the success of these schools so that they can stagger along like the others.

This name calling and labeling is not new. Recall last year the moniker “ghetto school” was applied to one of the neighborhood schools. After some hue and cry, an apology was made.

Perhaps we should stop name calling. Acknowledge that each and every school has positive and negative attributes. Taking a sledgehammer approach will most likely not lift or improve any student’s outcome, but may weaken those schools that are performing well.

We need school board directors that reflect on, understand and help improve all our schools, not directors that pit schools against schools, areas against areas and certainly ones that don’t name call from the Dias.

Anonymous said...

@JJ, your comment doesn't make sense to me. Isn't the example you gave one that does exactly what you suggest we need--spreading the benefit around? Pulling out one kid to work with a reading specialist isn't likely to confer a whole lot of advantage to the rest of the class--having one fewer student for a short period doesn't really "allow more attention" to everyone who's left in the still-full classroom, nor does it "allow the other kids to get on with grade level or above work" that they otherwise would not have been able to do if not for that one struggling student. If there are a small number of struggling students, teachers will typically spend much/most of their time on grade level or above level work anyway, so having one student leave for individualized attention doesn't change anything.

@SCPTSA Update, if Director Harris really said that "schools that have the capacity to raise PTA are similar to 'private schools,' she clearly has no idea what she's talking about in terms of baseline services that should be expected at ANY school whether public or private. In other words, a public school that is able to provide a few extras with PTA funding is really just getting closer to the level at which a public school SHOULD operate--and those that aren't able to do so are operating a sub-par level. Her "baseline" is way off. (Another big difference between even well-funded public schools and private schools is that private school boards of directors and administrators actually listen to parents and are not so dismissive of concerns and divisive in their statements.)

HF

Anonymous said...

Seattle public schools has no legal obligation to spend $400K plus per year for one student to attend school in another state.

Why does the school board just sign off on these ridiculous expenditures. Start adding up these outside services and you can see why we have little left for our schools.

watching

Anonymous said...

Focusing attention and attacks on PTA fundraising is largely a distraction from the larger issue: How is the district allocating scarce dollars across its schools? Where is the budget transparency in those allocations?

Hey, SPS and Seattle parents, let's focus on where the real money and issues are:

*Passing a state income tax
*Ensuring adequate state funding for schools
*Ensuring a fair state funding formula that takes into account the level of student need and allocates resources accordingly and gives school principals the latitude to make spending decisions that make sense for their students in their building according to their needs
*Holding SPS accountable for prudent budget and school-level distributions
*Holding SPS accountable for transparency in what budget decisions are being made and why (e.g. be explicit about tradeoffs being made), taking into account the true cost of any initiative or program

The rest is just tinkering around the margins.

Concerned parent

Ballard Parent said...

Thanks to Director Mack for looking at data.

200-300 9th graders at Ballard high school fail at least one class. This information is probably unexpected. I'm afraid we are looking at knee jerk reactions and not actual data.


Private Schools? said...


Hour 1 Minute 1

Harris claims that they are creating private schools within public schools. Why is Harris going after PTA funds and not foundation dollars?

Tell that to the north end high school that is serving 100 homeless students.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfFGsCjRui4&list=PL4qDca8XEC4NIaRJ27inlNvSeUaS33Aso&index=3

Anonymous said...

Trying to make PTA funding fair does not mean that other issues don't also exist. However, using the other issues to ignore this unfairness creates a straw man argument.

Although PTA funding helps needy students in the buildings of those schools (as well as the fundraisers' students), it creates a system of building haves and have nots, which is inherently unfair.

PTA funding has been addressed in many places across the country already, including in districts locally. The change is coming and is inevitable because the issue is so obviously unfair and analagous to Charter Schools in many ways.

At least most parents have finally stopped using building funding based on student needs as a rationale to maintain the PTA gravy train in their building. That went on for years whenever this issue was brought up and was, essentially, a ridiculous argument.

p.s. Who really cares what Harris said? When this issue is finally rectified, and PTA funding in SPS inevitably becomes more fair, people will only look back and wonder why it was allowed to persist for so long.

Public schools should be the checks and balances in the system for the many parents who will both blindly and/or willfilly try to give their children more than others.

noMore GravyTrain

Anonymous said...

PTA funding definitely does not create a system of building haves and have nots. There are no have buildings. I think people at higher funded buildings (NOT title 1 funds, but higher WSS district funds) would be shocked at the low level of funding out into these schools, just how few adults are in these buildings. PTA funds fill in to help struggling students (who are in all buildings) where the district does not. Taking PTA funding only harms struggling students and, ironically, means students with needs can't afford to live in school attendance zones with lower funding (generally affluent ones).

Pro-PTA

SCPTSA said...

Every conversation must include elements of levy funding, grants, foundation funding and WSS. PTA dollars are used to fill in for short falls.

I care about Harris's choice of words. It is the responsibility of the board to support the needs of all students.


Anonymous said...

There will NEVER be a state income tax in WA ever.

If liberals want massive funding for JSW BS then ask your progressive local billionaires to fund that.

The state should fund students not districts , if vouchers are good for elections they are certainly good for funding education also. Oh wait you libs can't control school choice like elections.

SO ONE BILLION DOLLARS PER YEAR IS NOT ENOUGH TO RUN A SMALL?MEDIUM DISTRICT BECAUSE WHY?

I hope we see some cost control school board and city counsel candidates this fall.

Enough waste

Linh-Co said...

Thank you Teresa. I completely agree with you. Also, thanks for hanging it out there on the Amplify vote. It's difficult having differing views in this district.

PTO said...

Parent groups have the option of becoming PTOs. They would not fall under the umbrella of the PTA.

The goal of PTO is to encourage interaction between family and schools, serve as a source of support and work with teachers staff and the community at large to improve our student's educational experiences. The PTO works closely with the school administration.

It appears that the Seattle Education Association may be stepping in because they want "self help" to be part of their dues paying membership. Meanwhile, we have a teacher shortage.




Anonymous said...

"Taking PTA funding only harms struggling students"

This is patently false.


NoMore GravyTrain

SCPTSA said...

NoMore Gravy Train,

Let me know when the WSS supports low K-3 class sizes for low income students in non-title 1 schools, food, clothing and other support services provided by the Weighted Staffing Formula.

Signing out.

Anonymous said...

Enough Waste,

I completely agree. The Seattle School District spends ~$19,000/yr per kid while producing mediocre results. Other school districts spend less and produce better results. Why?

The solution to an alcoholic's problem is not to provide them with more beer and the solution to Seattle School District's problem is not to provide them with more money.

Fed Up

kellie said...

When my oldest started Kindergarten back in the early 2000's, every school in the district had counselors, librarians, as well as math and reading interventionists. There was also a fully funded volunteer coordinator and after school activities, with an activity bus in every school paid for by the families and education levy.

Over time all of these things disappeared. Families in non Title 1 schools were told to fundraise to replace these positions so that there would be more funds for Title 1 schools. That narrative that non Title 1 schools are REQUIRED to fundraise so that there are more funds to be spent at other schools is at least 20 years old and started with John Stanford and then Olschefski.

The fundraising argument is filled with mythology on all sides. There is this mythology that greedy privileged parents snap their fingers and money appears. The entire notion that fundraising is some sort of "gravy train" is utterly ridiculous. Fundraising is incredibly hard work that as SCPTSA has stated is often distracting the core missing of education.

It is time that the unrelenting push for more fundraising is given some daylight. That process will require addressing the simple fact that there are poor and struggling students in every one of the over 100 schools that SPS operates and SPS has relied on parent fundraising to address those needs.





seattle citizen said...

Ballard Parent, do you have a source for your claim that "200-300 9th graders at Ballard high school fail at least one class"?

Thank you.

Ballard Parent said...

Seattle Citizen,

The information is publicly available. I can't find the data for the entire year, but here is the information for the first semester of 2018. As you know, failure in 9th grade shows these kids are at risk of not graduating.

All E grades by number of students for 2018 1st semester
Demographics
#E's/Total E
Achievement
Difference
75% Caucasian
82/151
54%
-21
2.75% African American
18/151
12%
+9
0.6% American Indian
3/151
2%
+1
9% Hispanic
29/151
19%
+10
6.2% Multiracial
11/151
11%
+5.4
6.5% Asian
7/151
5%
-2
0.02% Pacific Islander
1/151
.007%
+05


Anonymous said...

Ballard parent,

Are you perhaps misinterpreting the data? What you posted indicates 151 failures over all grade bands in the 1st semester of 2018. Assuming there would be about the same number of failures 2nd semester, that does come to 300 per year, but for ALL student 9-12, not just the 9th graders. Also I would imagine many of the 2nd semester failures are by the same students that failed 1st semester, so 300 failures does not equate to 300 students failing - probably closer to the 200 end of you estimate.

The total enrollment at Ballard is around 1700 students, so there are probably around 425 freshmen. I can totally see 200 of 1700 students failing a class - that's about 12% of the students, but 200 of 425 kids failing a class seems improbable.

Mom of 4

Anonymous said...

Mom of 4-Ballard High School is currently at over 1900 students. -TeacherMom

seattle citizen said...

151 is the number of individual classes failed, not the number of students failing classes. If a student gets one "E," chances are pretty good, unfortunately, that they got two, maybe more "E" grades.

My guess is that maybe 100 students got an "E" in at least one class, while 1600 or so didn't get any "E" at all. 1/17 = 7% or so. NOT 50%.

The important question posed by the data presented is why non-whites are more likely to fail a class.

seattle citizen said...

True, TeacherMom, but some of those are Running Start, which skews numbers a little bit. I'd guess 1800 full-time students in building all day this year.

Ballard Parent said...

I'm sorry. I provided the wrong graph. :-/

Will try and locate 9th grade numbers.

Anonymous said...

@Seattle citizen & teachermom
Close but a little higher enrollment. I remember it has the highest enrollment in district. As of May 1st 2019, 1983 if you include running start. P223 total of 1942. P223 Total FTE 1860. I think the last number has to do with funding (not number of students as don't always correlate) as I don't think all students are funded, but I could be wrong. Kelly has explained this before but I forget.

Another Ballard parent

Anonymous said...

Kellie,

Who said fundraising is a gravy train? Having auctions and producing 100sK? Yep.

You are behind the times on this one. This ship has sailed.

Invoking superintendents from 20 plus years ago isn't going to address the issue that new parents and recently transplanted parents see clearly: haves and have nots in public schools isn't cutting it in these more woke times.

NoMore GravyTrain

Patrick said...

Enough Waste, there was never going to be a state income tax in New Jersey. Until there was.

What's "JSW"? If you want to be understood, may I gently suggest spelling out acronyms the first time you use them.

kellie said...

@ NoMore GravyTrain

You are the one who is clearly implying the "gravy train"

I concur that the issues of have and have nots in SPS is a real issue and it is also an issue that has been a major focus for decades. Folks who are "new" to the conversation may have no idea of the history and the 100's of failed attempts to address this. And frankly, this is a large district and there are many folks who remember the history. This focus on PTA dollars is just the latest iteration of a very long conversation.

Again, mythology is rampant in this conversation. SPS deliberately shifted the responsibility to care for individual disadvantaged students to the PTAs at non-Title one schools. This was a clear policy decision. To be clear, I don't agree with this policy. But it is real. Any change in course, will need to address this as well.

Over-eager and Over-privileged parents did not create this mess. The district created this mess. And yes, I can cite plenty of history to substantiate this point of view. In addition to the direct requests that parents pay for staff at many schools, there have been countless ways that the district relied on parents to solve problems.

Starting in 2007, while SPS was still busily focused on closing schools, SPS was also adding portables in NE Seattle. SPS would drop the portable and walk away. The responsibility for purchasing furniture and supplies would fall on the PTA. It took several years of active parents to finally get SPS to use capital dollars to pay for supplies for a new homeroom.

That is just one small example. The issue of have and have nots is real. The issue of SPS being utterly dependent on fundraising is also real.

But most importantly, The ability of SPS to pit families against each other ... has been a constant. I just refuse to blame other parents for the inequity.





kellie said...

To be extra clear, fundraising like we have now, was virtually non-existent 15 years ago. There was a small handful of schools that raised a lot of money and that money was primarily for class size reduction, not paying for core functions and basic necessities.

The current situation of mega-fundraising did not happen over-night. It is important to acknowledge the causes of how we got here, if we want to do anything differently.

Anonymous said...

Kellie,

Here's a myth that you're perpetuating: that fundraising in these schools that raise exhorbitant amounts of money are primarily focused on needy children.

This is simply not true. Period.

The money goes to multiple areas of funding. Lots of arts and enrichment are right there in the total.

Let's just keep it real.

The parents who didn't like the WSF and now WSS were appalled that some schools were getting "more" than LAP, etc. That's when the real fundraising on steroids got started in SPS.

I was there back in the day, too. In fact, I've "been auctioned."

NoMore GravyTrain

Facts Matter said...

I appreciate Kelly's history of the district. Individuals are focusing on a few schools that have the capacity to raise funding. In the large picture, $100K is chump change. Let's take a look at numbers.

Franklin High School: 1200 students. Here are their numbers for Bilingual education ($552,997), Self help ($91,318), PTA ($10K), Alumni ($30K), SPS additional dollars ($514,326), FRL ($442, 814), LAP ($227K) City dollars ($335,064). These numbers are around $2M additional funding.

The following describes how funds are allocated to support and improve student learning for the 2018-19 academic year.
Funding Source: General Education Dollars
Amount: $6,801,363
Funding Type: Combined Funds
How Funds Will Improve Student Learning: Staffing and essential supplies of core program
Funding Source: Special Education Services
Amount: $2,151,224
Funding Type: Specific Use Funds
How Funds Will Improve Student Learning: Ensure additional sheltered supports in Reading, Writing, and Math. Provide additional supports for students to meet state graduation requirements.
Funding Source: Transitional Bilingual and mitigation funds
Amount: $552,797
Funding Type: Specific Use Funds
How Funds Will Improve Student Learning: Ensure additional sheltered supports in Reading, Writing, Math and Science with lowered class sizes. Provide additional supports for students to meet state graduation requirements.
Funding Source: Self Help
Amount: $91,318
Funding Type: Combined Funds
How Funds Will Improve Student Learning: TBD
Funding Source: PTSA Grant
Amount: $10,000
Funding Type:
How Funds Will Improve Student Learning: Instructional mini-grants and club supports
Funding Source: Alumni
Amount: $30,000
Funding Type:
How Funds Will Improve Student Learning: Instructional grants and uniforms for athletics
Funding Source: SPS
Amount: $514, 326
Funding Type: 24-Credit Augmentation
How Funds Will Improve Student Learning: Installation of Advisory program, additional support services and additional electives to increase credit-earning opportunities
Funding Source: Free & Reduced Lunch
Amount: $442,815
Funding Type: Combined Funds
How Funds Will Improve Student Learning: Create additional elective courses for students, particularly in CTE and Visual and Performing Arts Some reduction of class sizes in core content.
Funding Source: Learning Assistance Program (LAP)
Amount: $227,302
Funding Type: Specific Use Funds
How Funds Will Improve Student Learning: Additional courses in math and reading for students 9-11. Credit recovery for students in grades 11-12.
Funding Source: City Levy Grant
Amount: $335,064
Funding Type: Specific Use Funds
How Funds Will Improve Student Learning: Lower class sizes in core content for 9th grade students; Increase college readiness support and support of ELL students; Tutorial support for students grades 9-12 in core content; Case management for students needing academic acceleration

Facts Matter said...

Roosevelt High School has 1800 students. They receive: LAP ($45K), Supplemental ($2500), FRL ($89K), Self help ($165K), Bilingual $46K for a total of approximately $692K additional funding. Plus Roosevelt has more students than Franklin which receives an approximate $2M additional funding.

The following describes how funds are allocated to support and improve student learning for the 2018-19 academic year.
Funding Source: Learning Assistance Program (LAP)
Amount: $45,460
Funding Type: Combined
How Funds Will Improve Student Learning: Supplemental state dollars to support K-4 literacy and supplemental reading and math for Tier 2 students K-12.
Funding Source: Basic Education
Amount: $10,949,463
Funding Type: Combined
How Funds Will Improve Student Learning: Instruction for all students aligned to state standards.
Funding Source: Supplemental Funding
Amount: $2,500
Funding Type: Combined
How Funds Will Improve Student Learning: Additional support for students
Funding Source: Free & Reduced Lunch (FRL)
Amount: $89,677
Funding Type: Combined
How Funds Will Improve Student Learning: Funding to support MTSS supports at all schools.
Funding Source: Self Help
Amount: $165,000
Funding Type: Combined
How Funds Will Improve Student Learning: Building funds to support classroom and building programs.
Funding Source: Transitional Bilingual
Amount: $46,319
Funding Type: Specific Use
How Funds Will Improve Student Learning: Teachers/IA's, translations, extra time to support translations at family events, resources to support academic success of ELL students.
Funding Source: Special Education
Amount: $2,128,486
Funding Type: Specific Use
How Funds Will Improve Student Learning: Teachers and IAs, IEP writing and extra time, services, and resources as specified in student IEP

kellie said...


@ NoMore GravyTrain

I am not perpetuating that myth. That is your interpretation and not what I said.

I have stated very clearly that SPS has transferred the requirement to support struggling students in non-Title 1 schools to PTA fundraising. I never said that is the ONLY THING that happens. I have simply stated that this is a complex issue and that one of the many complexities is that there are struggling students in every school and that PTA dollars do a lot of good and that SPS has systematiclaly leveraged this generosity.

There are likely parents who are appalled that some schools get more. I am not one of those parents. I believe deeply that you need to fund your priorities and that higher need schools should get more - a lot more.

And LAP dollars and over-entitled parents did not create this funding on steroids. That's laughable. I have been in many district meetings where the direct instructions from downtown were passed along to schools instructing non Title 1 schools, to fundraise to replace targeted cuts during the recession.

With over 100 schools, the inequities in SPS are vasty more disparate and visible than other districts. Shoreline has two high schools and two middle schools. It is relatively easy to create parity. SPS has 19 high schools. The challenge is far greater.

Blaming other parents is not a solution. Acknowledging the complexity of the problem is critical to any meaningful solution.



Facts Matter said...

Before the state funded full day k, non title 1 schools paid for full day. The amount was $180 per month. The funds were used to supplement title 1 schools. Funds have been shifted to Title 1 schools for a long time. No one is complaining. However, the attack on parents and PTAs is disturbing.


Alsept Teresa said...

Thank you Kellie and Facts Matter for clarifying thus issue

Facts Matter said...

Aki Kurose:
Title 1 ($316K), LAP $106,909), Supplemental ($59K), FRL ($292K), Family and Education Levy ($272K), Nesholm ($190K), Bilingual $492K) for a total of $1.4M:

Funding Source: Title I, Part A
Amount: $316,995
Funding Type: Combined
How Funds Will Improve Student Learning: After school program, additional in class assistance, small group pull out when needed to reinforce grade level state standards.
Funding Source: Learning Assistance Program (LAP)
Amount: $106,909
Funding Type: Combined
How Funds Will Improve Student Learning: Supplemental state dollars to support K-4 literacy and supplemental reading and math for Tier 2 students K-12.
Funding Source: Basic Education
Amount: $3,527,785
Funding Type: Combined
How Funds Will Improve Student Learning: Instruction for all students aligned to state standards.
Funding Source: Supplemental Funding
Amount: $59,367
Funding Type: Combined
How Funds Will Improve Student Learning: Additional support for students
Funding Source: Free & Reduced Lunch (FRL)
Amount: $292,574
Funding Type: Combined
How Funds Will Improve Student Learning: Funding to support MTSS supports at all schools.
Funding Source: Family and Education Levy (FEL)
Amount: $271,435
Funding Type: Combined
How Funds Will Improve Student Learning: City Levy funds to support targeted students and increase attendance at funded schools.
Funding Source: Nesholm MS Literacy
Amount: $190,359
Funding Type: Combined
How Funds Will Improve Student Learning: Supports improving Literacy.
Funding Source: Transitional Bilingual
Amount: $429,404
Funding Type: Specific Use
How Funds Will Improve Student Learning: Teachers/IA's, translations, extra time to support translations at family events, resources to support academic success of ELL students.
Funding Source: SPED
Amount: $1,582,520
Funding Type: Specific Use
How Funds Will Improve Student Learning: Teachers and IAs, IEP writing and extra time, services, and resources as specified in student IEP

Anonymous said...

@Facts Matter & nomoregravy train
Yes I remember paying $180.00 for full day kindergarten on a $37,000 year gross salary and alot of my income going toward paying our rent. It was rough. We also had 28 kids in our K class and class sizes for my kid in middle were on average 36. I was floored to learn that some schools with higher numbers of F&R lunch kids in SPS have 17 kids in a classroom! Like Kellie, I also believe that schools with more F&R lunch qualifying children do need more resources. But other schools also have low income & F&R lunch kids as well, and if enrollment is high at the school that can also add up to alot of kids. In addition to extra grants, if a schools has a majority of F&R lunch kids they are also targeted for many special academic programs by universities, and other outside organizations including local cultural and arts organizations. There does need to be a baseline of what is provided by the district for all children. It is just not o.k to have kids in desperately overcrowded classes and schools paying for counselors etc and then to talk about taking away their funding which is peanuts in the larger scheme of the entire funding picture.

MP

Anonymous said...

That was then and this is now. Kindergarten is now full day. Parents wanted full day kindergarten and paid for it (and supplemented others in the building) when it wasn't state funded. This was not required except in highly impacted schools, for which the state paid.

Like all districts, students in non-LAP schools who are FRL will not have money go to their schools. The difficulty has always been for the one ones on the border of being a LAP school.

However, the research is also clear that FRL students have better outcomes when they are not in highly impacted schools. Translation: They are already getting more services/needs met in schools that are not LAP for several reasons. Less impacts mean better learning environment. That is why the money goes to highly impacted schools.

Again, a large part of fundraising benefits the fundraisers' students. Always has or they wouldn't be so reluctant to have to stop keeping the the PTA funds in their own schools.

I was in Gravy Train school 20 years ago, Kellie. Believe it or not, you're not the only one who has institutional memory. I actually was in the school and know that a big chunk of the funds benefited the fundraisers.

NoMore GravyTrain

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I feel like some in WA & Seattle can be at times provincial in their thinking. Some many be unaware of other states and big cities in regards of what it takes to fund education, mental health etc TRULY well. There are alot of issues here with big city growth and taxes are relatively quite low comparatively. The folks arguing for a state income tax, I am with you completely. Why can't we change the state constitution? Transportation is making some gains, but IN-CITY light rail also won't be completed here for many years.In many districts in the NY metro area K-12 School funding is also double to triple per student as compared to Seattle and surrounding areas, and many class sizes are under 20. Private schools in Seattle can't compare and those districts also serve special education and a diversity of students unlike private schools in Seattle.

Other places have also experienced (or always had) a surge in unaffordable housing. NYC for example a place that has always been expensive has many more homeless people overall than Seattle, yet I read recently that less than 1% are on the street. They have had a right to shelter law in place since 1979. NY State also much stronger mental health funding as well as laws in place. WA state I read is toward the bottom in mental health funding out of all the states in the US. NY state also funds a 4 year state university education IN FULL for ALL families regardless of size who earn $125,000 or less in the state. In comparison (although its a start) what recently passed here will provide university funding in full for ONLY families of 4 who make under $50,000. Those families already qualified for Pell, it just made it a guarantee so if they apply after the deadline, they get the funding.

Big picture

Anonymous said...

@Nomoregravytrain

And what exactly is wrong with parents raising money that will also
benefit their own kids, as well as low income kids in their building, and for things we consider basic education in public schools? Music programs, counselors, etc? Why do you want to punish middle class kids who are needed, and have a right to attending our public education system? As mentioned these schools also don't get million dollar grants, half the size classrooms (!), or targeted for a myriad of academic or cultural programs by outside entities.

SPS is actually already doing alot for the lower income majority schools in terms of "equity" from my vantage point. In fact I feel there should be a baseline provided to all public school kids. Radical statement in your eyes wow, I know. In addition, some of those families who make under $50,000 can also take advantage of free university education. I don't (shocking I know) see an issue with all kids having classes and resources considered basic for public education.

Big picture

Anonymous said...

@nomoregravytrain And BTW people like you also have no business or right to determine what my child receives as a basic public education. You also have no right to make assumptions of my or anyone else's families "worthiness" to receive a basic public education based upon JUST their race, ancestry or socio-economic history of which you know nothing. Assumptions galore from people who don't have a much deeper understanding of US history abound in Seattle. You really do know nothing at all as we come from very diverse backgrounds historically that go much much deeper than just the superficial conversations about race I hear so often in Seattle.

Big Picture

kellie said...

@NoMore GravyTrain

I believe this is the heart of the argument. "Again, a large part of fundraising benefits the fundraisers' students. Always has or they wouldn't be so reluctant to have to stop keeping the the PTA funds in their own schools."

There is some big presumptions in that statement and you and I have very different points of view about this.

My experience has been that parents give to support kids other than their own. The world is never short of self centered and myopic people. But it is also full of generous people. My experience of PTA budgets has focused on things like coats for homeless students, gyms shoes for kids without and tutoring for kids below grade level.

I'm certain that your experience of parents into fundraising for their own kids is also valid.

The real challenge is that fundraising is NEVER a monolithic ONE THING. With over 100 schools and tens of thousands of individual donors, the range of reasons for giving is enormous. And once again, we have no real meaningful data, just lots of anecdotes.



Facts Matter said...

Non- Title 1 schools have large class sizes. There are 26 K students in a class. There is nothing wrong with parents wanting to support their teachers and children.

Look at the data. Students of color, in non title 1 schools, continue to underperform.

K teachers made it difficult for students not to attend full day K. Some were forced to pay $180 per month.

The PTA provides approximately $4M out of the district's $1B budget; a miniscule percentage of dollars. This is a stupid fight for the few people on the SCPTSA Board (including 2 school board candidates) to pick.




Anonymous said...

We had 26-29 in K-5, 32-38 in middle school at our overcrowded non-title I schools that had the enrollment bubble.

A Parent

Single Mom said...

It's so silly to go after parents for paying for a counselor or nurse or crayons. Honestly, it's bullshit. It's sick to fight to stop little kids from having a counselor or a nurse or crayons. Sick. Repulsive. You want to stop kids from having fancy high-end things like whatever Montlake and Lawton and McGilvra are buying? Fine, go after the high-end swank if that floats your boat. But it is disgusting to parade around arguing that young kids should only have access to a nurse on Wednesday or a counselor if mommy happens to live in a neighborhood with a school with a counselor. Get some sense. All PTA funding is not the problem. Go wage holy war against the part of the funding that is the actual abomination. And stop picking on the part of PTA funding that is providing counseling services to little kids who need it.

Anonymous said...

I don’t think anyone is arguing that children should not have access to essential services. What is being analyzed is the effect of extensive fundraising on schools and who benefits the most from it. When school fundraising is used for specialists and school day tutoring, often the most low income students are corralled into separatist pull out tutoring. They end up being identified and removed from the general classroom setting, while the better off students are now more homogeneously grouped and getting the benefit of a lower teacher to student ratio ( not a tutor). It seems to me that fundraising that is used for these purposes is at odds with the district’s mission to restore educational equity to those furthest from educational justice.

Salut

Anonymous said...

Let me get this straight- individualized, one on one or very small group tutoring explicitly for students furthest from educational justice is now bad because you can come up with a way it might not harm middle class students' learning?!?! What a perverse and punitive world you live in, Salut. FWIW, I was incredibly grateful when my own lower middle class child was identified and pulled out for intervention services for being below grade level. Sitting in the classroom when she was behind would have been to the detriment of all, but mostly her.

Gobsmacked

Anonymous said...

Could Salut and others who use general terms and phrases like "restore educational equity to those furthest from educational justice" please define what they mean?

What, Salut, would it look like to "restore educational equity" in SPS? What is success by that yardstick? How will you know when you have achieved "educational equity"? What does that classroom look like? What needs to change to achieve that "educational equity"? Please explain.

What you mean by equity may not be the same as what others mean by equity. Or maybe it is. But without concretely and explicitly saying what you mean, it's impossible to know.

Thank you for explaining.

Concerned parent

Anonymous said...

There are negatives for the individual child identified for extraction based intervention. The ongoing public identification process itself, both to the student and their peers, the loss of crucial partnership learning with peers, the disruption of the student/teacher relationship etc. We need much more documentation on whether the supposed gains outweigh the negatives. Very often extraction occurs during the most creative classroom learning time and extracted students often miss out on art etc because that is when teachers are most comfortable releasing them. Perhaps they gain improved skills more quickly that they otherwise would have, but whether those gains come at the cost of the student's positive connection to the school in general is something to consider.

The issue for discussion here though is if PTA fundraising is being used to benefit comfortably off students at the expense of children furthest from educational justice by in essence buying smaller class size for the well off and segmenting the school’s population into non diverse learning clusters for parts of the day. If so, then the educational mission of equitable learning is being undermined. There are schools in this district where as early as kindergarten half the class will spend their day in a small room working on basic skills with a PTA paid for IA, while the rest of the class gets enrichment and faster paced instruction in their classroom with their classroom teacher. No prize for guessing which group is ahead at the end of the year. These kind of practices may be behind the maintenance of the opportunity gap even in PTA rich non title 1 schools.

Salut

Andi said...

@Salut, so if PTAs were funding enrichment specialists or pull out school day tutoring for students ahead of grade level, that would be OK with you? Then the mostly low income students would not be corralled into separatist pull out tutoring. They would would remain in the general classroom setting, receiving the benefit of a lower teacher to student ratio and instruction from an actual teacher (not a tutor).

Melissa Westbrook said...

Salut, I tutor kids and I pull them out for the tutoring and then? They go back to the same class. And, I tutor the kids who most need the help but I tutor every single kid in the class. There is no identifying to it. I think that a good thing (and no PTA is paying for it).

You cannot possibly make the assumptions you are making for all schools.

Tell me what school(s) this may be.

"There are schools in this district where as early as kindergarten half the class will spend their day in a small room working on basic skills with a PTA paid for IA, while the rest of the class gets enrichment and faster paced instruction in their classroom with their classroom teacher."

Concerned Parent, I will have an update on the "equity" term.

Anonymous said...

I saw the referenced practice in both TOPS and Montlake. That wasn’t recently, but it was a practice I observed first hand. Perhaps under new school leadership they no longer do this. But variations and degrees of the practice are widespread in schools that use PTA funds for academic support.

Again the issue is whether PTA funds being used for academic support or intervention are undermining educational equity by furthering academic segregation and promoting practices which benefit those who least need it. The PTA paid for small group instruction results in the segregation of high need students, where they often spend time on boring low level activities while their peers get richer classroom activity and the benefit of the sustained attention of their assigned teacher.

I appreciate the dedication spent tutoring a full roster of students. But that is not what PTAs are paying for in Seattle. They are paying ostensibly for supplementation for high need students to boost their skills, but the methodology employed works against their advancement and increases the opportunity gap. They are in effect paying for academic segregation. Principals go along with it because teachers enjoy having time with those smaller groups as it is easier and they want to keep the power parents happy.

Salut

Anonymous said...

@Salut "buying smaller class size for the well off" Really?! Where are these well off schools with lower class sizes than the majority of Title I schools in Seattle? Maybe we should tell all those Lake Washington, Bellevue, Mercer Island & Shoreline parents what they are all missing!

Our school, NOT in a wealthy part of the city, but a traditionally working class area of the city that has now seen property values rise as everywhere else in the Puget Sound region (does not make us all rich) had 26-28 kids in our bursting at the seams elementary and 32-38 kids in our record breaking overcrowded middle school. We are now at the overcrowded high school with 12 portables. No small classes there either. Oh and we had one 1/2 time counselor in K-5 paid for by PTA funds to serve our severely overcrowded school 450+ kids at the time and paid for full day kindergarten. Our kid who loves art had zero art class in elementary school available. But why should all kids have a basic education that includes counselors, music or art?

The reason you are upset is that with all that is given to Title I schools at the expense of the other schools in the district it often is not enough. Small class sizes, grants and all the resources will never by itself be enough. However all children deserve and have a right to what we consider a good and basic public education in the US. It is not for you or anyone else to decide who has a right to a solid basic education.

A Parent

Anonymous said...

@Salut, your equity argument doesn’t make sense. Equity is generally about providing extra help to those who need it so things can be more fair. Now you say it’s not equitable to give them extra, because that extra replaces something else, so they’re getting shorted in that other area.

So I guess what you really want the PTA to fund are time machine, so struggling students can get everything everyone else gets PLUS individualized support and instruction, all in the course of the same school day. Nifty!

Then again, you’d probably argue that time machines might interrupt a child’s sleep patterns and this would only hurt struggling students, so maybe we should mess with the timeline of the other kids, too, just not provide any social or academic benefits from the time shift. Just do it to mess up their sleep schedules, for equity sake.

If it’s not time machines, then what exactly do you want to see? Surely it’s not just regular classrooms with no extra supports, because we’ve seen that and kids still struggle. If it was as easy as doing nothing, there wouldn’t be an issue, right?

So how exactly does one go about closing gaps while not providing needed remediation or differentiation, while also providing basic education to everyone else? I’d love to hear how you think that’s possible.

Nifty trick

Anonymous said...

No More Gravy Train raised what may be a common implicit belief: advantaged schools have arts and enrichment while disadvantaged schools do not.

There are equity-focused enrichment activities happening within many schools, but is there an agreed upon baseline of what every school should have? A broader, fact-based discussion needs to occur about how this differs school by school, especially for schools that don't quite qualify for FRL.

SPS has been providing supplemental arts education (free to students) to select schools with an equity focus via an initiative with the city called Creative Advantage.

Implementation began in 2013 with various phases by region starting with the Central area and later adding the South end.

The Creative Advantage 5-year evaluation shows arts education equity indices by SPS school, and the picture differs dramatically school-to-school in some surprising ways.

Rainier Beach was tremendously successful in increasing art classes taken over the period measured (p. 28). In contrast, many middle and high schools declined in classes taken in 2017-18.

The evaluation found a pattern in the Central area of Black/ African Americans being under-represented in music, but over-represented in visual arts.

The initiative involves a post-implementation phase when schools have to independently sustain their supplemental arts education.

As city support phases out for the first region, school concerns about sustainability didn't just focus on money - so PTA funding as the grand "cure" doesn't seem likely.

In the evaluation, pressing key issues that negatively impacted arts education sustainability post-implementation were staff turnover, communication, space and time for the arts.

Yes, funding, too, but money alone doesn't solve for the other four issues.

A higher-level discussion about equitable access to arts and enrichment might include the overall short shrift given to the arts and sciences in schools (and, oh yeah, PE, lunch and recess too) vs. ELA and math.

Do we agree we need to rethink school - its purpose and structure as it benefits the whole child - or just continue down this path of prioritizing standardized testing, ELA and math?

How do we solve for space?

Do we want to pool funds toward Creative Advantage (rather than pool PTA funds) so that teachers don't have to spend their time writing grants?

There are schools such as Northgate who are doing superb work in creating a supportive environment for a very high-needs population: after-school tutoring, homework clubs, and daily, free afterschool enrichment offerings including Lego, Minecraft, science, art, etc. funded by an OSPI grant. Fresh fruit and vegetables every day for snack funded by the sugar tax.

Is the enrichment Northgate is providing similar to other high-needs schools?

I’m curious what teachers have to say about arts education at their schools.

nn

https://www.creativeadvantageseattle.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/CA-Eval-Y5-2017-18.pdf

Anonymous said...

I have been a volunteer tutor in SPS for the past 15 years. Mostly in middle & high School. I don't think that disallowing school day tutoring will ensure that every student has a similar experience in school. Maybe they get to by in class that year, but those deficits can snowball into failing high school classes, curtailing dreams of college, even dropping out. It is hard to help a teenager who thinks they are not good at academics after missing out on years of further instruction because they lacked some skill early on.

What do you think is more equitable, pulling them out of elementary school math when they are a little behind, high school math when they are missing too many more years of instruction to catch up or keep teaching them the same as everyone else and risk graduation? And if you choose the latter, do you really think they got the same experience as their classmate who learned to multiply in 3rd grade?



-Tutor

Anonymous said...

Salut's point is valid. The point is that by helping needy students by pulling them by PAID tutors (apples/oranges with the volunteer tutor anecdotes), the students who are left in the class are more homogenous.

PTA funding often involves auction, hobnobbing with teachers over drinks, including "auctioning" teachers to spend extra time outside of school with the selected students who had a parent "win" are also part of the overall picture. How many of the parents of the needy students attend this event, even with "scholarships"?

The bottom line is that that all of this back-and-forth about the who is benefiting misses the real issue: building haves and have nots paid for by parent fundraising in public schools. It also creates a haves and have not parent population because, even implicitly, money equals power.

nn's point about baseline offerings is also valid and is congruent with the discussion about high school baseline offerings.

The PTA funding ship has sailed. Hundreds of thousands of dollars of parent fundraising in some schools, while the one down the road a few miles gets little- to none can no longer be justified.

NoMore GravyTrain

Wildcat said...

Walk to math also creates homogeneous math classes for one classroom. In a two room school per grade, the ‘grade level’ math is the special ed kids, the behavior problem kids and the few kids whose parents didn’t know about the 13 question test at the beginning of first grade that would forever determine math. My kid didn’t belong in advanced math, but the make-up of the kids between the two rooms was shocking.

Anonymous said...

Salut's scenarios, which to my mind, fly in the face of good academic practices, underscore the recent (approximately last 12 years) growing philosophy of the Seattle Public School administration. It's one reason I will no longer be supportive of the SPS. We've become a big city, with big city problems and an increasingly moribund public school system.

au revoir

Melissa Westbrook said...

"Principals go along with it because teachers enjoy having time with those smaller groups as it is easier and they want to keep the power parents happy."

First, this is a SCHOOL and DISTRICT decision so your ire should be directed that way.

Second, you think that PTAs pay for tutoring for kids who are behind in order to get smaller class sizes? Brother.

A Parent,

"The reason you are upset is that with all that is given to Title I schools at the expense of the other schools in the district it often is not enough."

Title One funds are NOT at the expense of other schools. Those are federal funds directed at schools with very high FR/RL populations. It takes nothing away from any other school.

NN, thank you for that information.

What should be discussed is how much enrichment is available WITHIN any given school.

"The bottom line is that that all of this back-and-forth about the who is benefiting misses the real issue: building haves and have nots paid for by parent fundraising in public schools. It also creates a haves and have not parent population because, even implicitly, money equals power."

Sure but here's what truly needs to happen to get to the bottom of this:

- every school has to make their budget public and show where they choose to spend their dollars, including accounting for ALL non-fed/state/district dollars, whether from boosters or PTA or grants or any other kind of giving.

And, what are those extra non-government dollars going to?

- an accounting at each school for arts and music broken out by funding sources

- an accounting at each school for how many field trips each class takes in a year (on average)

Anonymous said...

We can debate what are and aren't effective policies until we are out of breath. The problem is unsolvable at the school level. We have a have and have-not society that is becoming more economically polarized year-by-year. Students are delivered to the door of the school at age 5 who are at very different levels, and on very different trajectories. It's like trains on diverging tracks and we are trying through sheer force of will to pull those tracks together. It's not doable, and we point fingers at each other and argue. The inequalities in society are driving the divergence--the "gap"-- wider and wider with each new policy passed at the national level. The forces at work are much larger than can be overcome with tinkering to the school system. Still, we try. And argue. And blame. And power continues to concentrate.

asdf

Anonymous said...

It isn’t a question of debate. It’s a question of analysis and review. Are PTA funds being used for school based initiatives, such as divisional classroom strategies, that may be advancing the already privileged over the disadvantaged. Are PTA dollars expanding the opportunity gap rather than eliminating it? We have curriculum adoption policies in place, but we have no similar policy to assess the effects of PTA monies on academic achievement. In some cases there is significant money being dropped into schools and it isn’t under the same review criteria as curriculum.

Salut

Anonymous said...

No More Gray Train & Salut,

You are saying that it hurts a student to be pulled from a class activity by a paid IA but not hurt if the adult is a volunteer? Presumably district paid IAs don't hurt the student, or how about grant funded tutors? The student is still missing the class activity either way. You argued that is unethical for a student to have individual or small group instruction & miss doing what the other kids were doing. How about if they are all in small groups, maybe one group is more fun or memorable than the others.

I am really disturbed by this understanding of what equity means. That every student has the same experience every day. That is one reason I tutor so many students who could be on their way to college, but now are struggling to graduate from high school. Because they all got the same EDM experience, every day, no individualized instruction, no recourse for students who fell through the cracks. Just make sure they do the same things as everyone else.

I don't think that is equity. Equity is every student gets what they need which may be different than the student sitting next to them.

-Tutor

Anonymous said...

@ Salut,

For one thing, the idea that curricula are being thoroughly evaluated is has not been shown to be true. Curriculum adoption policies may be in place--though as we just saw, they aren't necessarily followed--but that is a completely different thing than looking at the effects of specific curricula on academic achievement for certain types of kids. To my knowledge, nowhere has SPS published data on how kids do using x vs. y curriculum, especially not while controlling for all sorts of different factors. They didn't even do it for Amplify, when we supposedly have all this data from pilot schools. They haven't done it for schools that have better outcomes using different math curricula than the district's. They tend to produce outcome data based on race, but not income. And so on.

Secondly, how many PTAs do you think actually fund "divisional classroom strategies"? Providing one-on-one tutoring in a subject of need does not remove the student from the classroom for very long--and usually not every every day, either. It's also not at all like you and Gravy suggest with this bizarre idea that it's moving out a bunch of struggling students so the rest of the class can speed on through the curriculum with a nice small class size. If there are 28 kids in the class, pulling one for a short period of intensive instruction leaves the rest of the class with 27--still quite large. Those 27 are ALSO going to be at different levels, too, with some probably also below level, some at, and some above. It's not like there's this ONE kid who needs extra help and the rest are all AL-qualified kids. Even if it were, that would be even MORE reason for that one kid to get some special attention.

Third, if you really want to look at whether your so-called "divisional classroom strategies" are "advancing the already privileged over the disadvantaged" and "expanding the opportunity gap rather than eliminating it," look at the data yourself. Are disparities at the schools that have such practices (to the extent you can find any) widening over time, such that the gaps at K entry (which are already there, as measured by K readiness testing) are made worse, as demonstrated by state test scores later on? My guess is that the schools that have significant PTA funding actually do better at closing the gap than schools that don't. I'm also guessing that teachers and principals at such schools would have some sense as to whether or not one-on-one tutoring is helping or hurting, and that if it were an overall negative, they wouldn't ask for PTA funding for such approaches. But maybe they, too, are in on this plan to advance the more average kids at the expense of those who need extra help, right? Sure.

Still waiting on what you think would be an "equitable" approach to helping struggling students while not conferring any hypothetical benefit to others....

nifty trick

P.S. - @Gravy, PTA funding does not "create a haves and have not parent population." Those disparities exist before kids even enter school, and they will persist long after in the absence of major and exceedingly unlikely economic structure overhauls in this country. Also, your comments suggest you think the "role" of struggling students is really to thwart the progress of other students in the class. Are you advocating for a "nobody moves forward until everyone is at the same level" approach? Sounds like you'll love Amplify. I can't imagine SPS will fare well in the long term, however, if the overarching philosophy is that we teach below grade level.

Anonymous said...

Try putting a dollar amount on the volunteer hours going into schools. It will dwarf the fundraising, including all the booster clubs & foundations. Frankly I think it makes much more difference too.

-HS Parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

ASDF, just what Nick Hanauer just wrote in The Atlantic and Obama agreed.

Nifty Trick:

"My guess is that the schools that have significant PTA funding actually do better at closing the gap than schools that don't. I'm also guessing that teachers and principals at such schools would have some sense as to whether or not one-on-one tutoring is helping or hurting, and that if it were an overall negative, they wouldn't ask for PTA funding for such approaches."

Another data point that the district should be looking for.

Anonymous said...

Students not withdrawn from regular class activity to participate in PTA funded academic interventions or support are benefited by the removal of their fellow students. Not only do they get a smaller class concentration, they get exclusive groupings and enriched curriculum. While the students selected for intervention have their academic life interrupted, a disadvantaged academic group setting and often a non certified teacher for part of the day.

Under the guise of benefitting the less proficient, PTAs are funding academic interventions that disproportionately benefit the children of the donors.

Salut

Anonymous said...

I can tell that you like the sound of what you are saying, Salut, but it is not true. I doubt your are close to many struggling students, and don't really "see" what is going on with them when they are just left to be lumped in with the whole class during class time. My daughter wasn't getting it, wasn't benefitting, wasn't able to move along, until she got pulled out and helped specially. If we had been at a title 1 or higher WSS school she would have received these interventions from a district funded position, but since she was not, she got them from a PTA funded position. We have left the school, but boundary changes have made it poorer so that there is still this person, but they are district funded. Should we take away title 1 interventionists in your world? LAP funded ones? Anything is bad if it doesn't take place in the whole group classroom, regardless if a student is able to progress or not? How terrible for the struggling students you claim to desire to help.

Gobsmacked

I know! said...

The district can pay for PTA funded positions. Don't take those positions away without replacement dollars.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Salut, so I think you also dislike Sped tutoring? Because that happens a lot as well. As does speech therapy. I truly think you are overstating the amount of time in a day this happens in any given school.

Anonymous said...

@Salut said: "It isn’t a question of debate. It’s a question of analysis and review. Are PTA funds being used for school based initiatives, such as divisional classroom strategies, that may be advancing the already privileged over the disadvantaged. Are PTA dollars expanding the opportunity gap rather than eliminating it?"

When teachers such as you supported exclusion of special education students from the strategic plan and when you are now using removal of SDI pull-out for students with learning disabilities or delays as a wedge to the pta funding argument...

When you fail to recognize that pta funding for intervention differences is a direct response to the consistent failure of district sped services to use evidence-based materials, methods and certificated instructors for learning disabilities...

When SEA didn't change their contract to allow for closer monitoring and termination of the bad apples following the Muir Elementary case (and a search through the Times indicates that sexual assaults by staff have happened for decades without meaningful change)....

When the SCPTSA did absolutely nothing to strengthen protection of students after the Muir Elementary rape case, yet now some of those members want increased responsibility as Board members....

When you're advocating for the removal of pull-out, yet not advocating for a more inclusive substitute such as funding certificated co-teachers and additional planning time for co-teaching teams...

Then you're just a fakequity opportunist trying to stick it to the "power parents" with a total lack of regard for the students with disabilities entitled to equal access to education and a safe environment.

SEA Change

Anonymous said...

@Melissa

Sorry I was not more clear in my statements "The reason you are upset is that with all that is given to Title I schools at the expense of the other schools in the district it often is not enough. Small class sizes, grants and all the resources will never by itself be enough."

I am aware that Title I, a federal program, does not take away any money from other schools. I was referring to the fact that SPS does allocate resources differently to schools they designate as Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3 & Tier 4, which is largely based upon as I understand it the percentage of FRL students. In addition, higher poverty schools also receive smaller class sizes, outside grant funding and programs by outside entities.

I would also like to add that in addition to totaling up the "amount of money raised" as Melissa suggested (which should also be compared against enrollment) we should be looking at Non-Cash resources that all schools receive. For example, some outside programs are offered for free to schools with a high FRL percentage. Other schools if they want the program have to pay for it. Our schools have also asked parents to fund supplies, high school science related supplies etc. In addition, local universities also target schools with higher student of color enrollment to participate in various programs that offer support, mentorship etc. These programs are absent at schools with less FRL kids.

Another example, I know that our local middle school had to purchase instruments from a PTA fund for students who could not afford to rent them. However other schools receive donations for their instruments.

A Parent

Anonymous said...

Let’s not conflate federally mandated academic interventions for SPED and speech therapy with PTA funded and directed academic spending. The best methods to enable learning growth in students with legally recognized rights and needs are open to debate, and certainly the negatives associated with pull out supports are well known which is why we are moving rapidly to full inclusion and co-teaching.

Those negatives (stigmatization, disruption to school day, lack of communication between interventionist and classroom teacher, profiling etc) associated with pullout interventions funded by PTAs have not received the same scrutiny. Nor have the benefits to those not identified for such interventions been examined either.

Buying musical instruments is entirely different to paying to send some students en block for questionable basic skills building while there fellow classmates get to work more creatively with their assigned teacher.

Salut

Anonymous said...

Their

Salut

kellie said...

The argument that Salut and Gravy seem to be making is that if PTA dollars don't actually close the achievement gap, then it is OK to blame the ever widening gap on the use of PTA dollars at non Title 1 schools.

That argument is ridiculous on its face. PTA dollars are pennies compared to the budget dollars, grant dollars, foundation dollars, the families and education levy dollars and all those dollars don't close the gaps either.

School can only do so much and I firmly believe that school communities should provide help in any way that they can. But there is just no amount of PTA dollars that can possibly close the gap. After school activities, summer enrichment opportunities, and so many other factors cause the gaps to widen.

If a little PTA supported tutoring can help a few struggling students, I think most families would agree that some help is better than nothing.

Anonymous said...

@ Salut,

Again--sending an individual student out of the classroom for special attention isn't creating a vastly different experience for the rest of the class. We're talking about a single student in most cases (e.g., one-on-one help).

Students also get pulled out for a variety of reasons, so it may not be as stigmatizing as you think. Other students often don't know why a student is pulled out. It's not always obvious. However, remaining in class when you're obviously behind often IS stigmatizing. I bet most students would rather be pulled out and have the opportunity to catch up rather than be the one who is clearly struggling in full view of the rest of the class. Full inclusion and co-teaching also don't mean that there are no differences apparent to students observing their fellow classmates. Differences exist, and students can see them. Let's stop pretending we can make everyone appear to be at exactly the same when they aren't--and let's instead focus on trying to get those at lower levels up to grade level (while also acknowledging that some will always be above level, too).

How does it disrupt the school day more for a student to leave a classroom for a little extra attention than it would, say, for a teacher to spend more time with a particular student in class while the rest of the class works on something else? Or while the teacher holds that student back during recess to work with them? Any amount of effort directed to struggling students will create some level of accommodation or differentiation, which you seem to see as "disruption." The alternative--teaching all to the same level--doesn't seem like a good approach, so what specifically are you suggesting? You conveniently keep avoiding that question, and it seems like there is no pleasing you. By the way, the "profiling" you suggest is happening is based on academic performance. Are you suggesting that teachers should not base their instruction on that? That's a new one to me! If the true problem is that interventionists aren't collaborating well with teachers, then let's push for improvements in that area. Identify the problem, propose some solutions. Not that hard--and way more effective than this whole "no matter what they do it's unfair to struggling students and beneficial to others" nonsense.

nifty trick

Anonymous said...

Differences may exist or they may be the result of perception. What we must not do is validate and institutionalize difference in an academic setting by using PTA dollars to confirm bias.

Salut