Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Tuesday Open Thread

Important article from the Seattle Times about earthquakes and school buildings in Washington State.  While no SPS school was included in the survey, it's still good reading. 

California, Oregon and British Columbia have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to strengthen school buildings, but Washington does not require seismic upgrades or have dedicated state funding for retrofits.

“We did select these schools to be a representative, meaningful sample,” said Corina Forson, DNR’s chief hazard geologist. The researchers chose not to include Seattle Public Schools, which has invested tens of millions of dollars from local construction bond to fund seismic retrofits.
Good for SPS.

One thing - parents, I know it's now summer so you want to leave school worries behind.  I get it; I've been there.  But put a note on you calendar to ask at the first PTA/PTO meeting - what will happen at our school if there is an earthquake during the school day that forces everyone from the building?  What kind of supplies do we have to meet that challenge?  What happens if the building is unsafe and it may take parents more than a couple of hours to come get their students?

OSPI has unveiled its new website which I have not explored yet.

Superintendent Denise Juneau's message about accomplishments this school year.

I talked to a friend yesterday who has one last kid in high school.  She talked to her Friend, Ms X, who said that at least two people told the friend - straight out - that they lied about their address to get their child into Roosevelt over Lincoln.  And Ms. X told my friend they didn't even rent an address; they just picked a random house near RHS.

Ms. X said her child asked why they didn't just do that and Ms. X told her child there was a waitlist and how did he think those kids at the top would feel if someone who lied cut the line?  College admission scandals? Hmmm. Back in the day, the district would, upon a complaint filed, investigate addresses.  I haven't heard of that being done in years.  I also note that there are several brand-new apartment buildings right by RHS; I suspect someone might rent one for the address. 

The Washington Charter Schools Association announced that four new charter schools will get new funding via the national group, New Schools Venture Fund.  This is a powerhouse funder.   From their press release:
The Washington State Charter Schools Association, in partnership with our member schools, is proud to announce that four charter public schools, all on track to open in Fall 2020, were chosen to be part of the Invent cohort at NewSchools Venture Fund.
Cascade Public Schools, Catalyst Public Schools, Impact Public Schools, and Lumen High School represent four of 18 organizations from across the nation selected for the Spring 2019 investment group (see school details and website links below).
What's on your mind?


Anonymous said...

I read the narrative of first year accomplishments by Superintendent Juneau. There was no mention of special education and this seems right, because, in my view, there is not much to report. She has not hit it off with the special needs communities and has not shown an interest in what families are concerned about. The culture of lawlessness in special education seems to have grown during the first year of her administration.

Too bad

Anonymous said...

I think I'm done with this blog, if I wanted to read tripe tweets I would use twitter.

Good luck

Anonymous said...

It is openly acknowledged that students attend Garfield using fake addresses (a classic scheme that is generally met with a shrug) but far worse is that there are students registered as homeless who are not homeless at all. Entering a shelter address downtown on paperwork gains not just entry into the school but also assistance (money, food, clothing, etc) that is diverted from families truly in need. A student I've known for years, who I know lives up north, told me this scheme when I asked directly how they were at Garfield. I have been conflicted ever since. I am not going to out this student but this level of deceit angers me.


SPS Hopeless said...

I know of many families who have fake addresses to attend Hamilton now and a few years ago to avoid being moved to RESMS. There was a time when I would have taken the high road but it's so widespread and families are desperate to get just about anything for their kids that I kind of understand. I should cash in on my Ballard high school address!!

Anonymous said...

@SPS Hopeless
You are correct and it was troubling to hear those families denigrate the students and experience that was to be RESMS. I guess they are extra special. I wonder now if those same families will have to "move" again to avoid the Lincoln experience since it won't be a fully formed school on opening day. It must be hard to have to live a lie for so many years.
-long road

Anonymous said...

Good luck, where's the lie in the tweet?


Anonymous said...


Anyone taking over the mantle from you to cover SPS on a daily/weekly basis and serve as a watchdog on the district? If so, who and in what outlet?

Seems Seattle Times doesn't bother to attend most of the mind-numbing meetings that can surface what's happening in the district, given district's overall lack of transparency and communication other than overly sunny superintendent missives that say virtually nothing about program, policy and budget decisions and tradeoffs being made at the district that impact all our kids.

Thank you again for your service and for letting readers know who might be stepping in to fill the void.

Concerned parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

Concerned Parent, I have asked around but no one seems to want to do the work of covering SPS. I think Ann Dornfeld at KUOW does her best. As well, Dahlia Bazzaz at the Times is now showing up (and staying) at Board meetings but, like Dornfeld, they only cover what will grab readers.

The SPS Community Discussion and Resource Exchange group at Facebook does cover some SPS stuff. (They are an outgrowth of Soup for Teachers.) How well is up for debate and fyi, they allow attacks and name-calling so reader beware.

I also note an Eastside blog that may be of some interest. It's called Eastside Education Network. It was started by a Special Ed parent, Beth Sigall. Her blog mostly covers legislative issues and some Sped issues. She is ed reformy with ties to both LEV and Stand for Children but she has a passion for the work.

The Eastside Education Network covers Bellevue, Everett, Issaquah, Lake Washington, Mercer Island, Northshore, Riverview and Snoqualmie Valley. Their mission:
"Eastside Education Network brings together parents committed to ensuring our public schools achieve successful outcomes for all students."


I had always wanted to start a parent group like this in Seattle because PTSA is too big and unwieldy with so many units and also schools with no PTSA. I think PTSA can get bogged down with state and national agendas as well. A focused Seattle Schools parent group - with satellite groups for regions so that schools in the same area could have their own regional focus - would probably have great power.

FWIW said...

I'm sad at Melissa and her contributor's have been the target of an attack.

I'm afraid there is a cadre of extremists in our midst. Some think a Marxist approach to education is the way to go. There has been little attention to the notion of "alienation".

I support advanced learning opportunities. I didn't support Amplify.

FWIW, my family is not white.

FWIW said...

Clarification: I'm sad that Melissa has been the target of an attack. Her contributors have been attacked, as well.

Melissa Westbrook said...

As I said, FWIW, not so much about me but about having that kind of thing spread throughout the district. It's not good and it's not civil. Great shifts do mean plain talk and yes, some pushing back. But this is not the way.

juicygoofy said...

Regarding the opening of Lincoln, most families I know with rising 10 graders scheduled to move have figured some LEGAL way around assignment to Lincoln. (HCC students enrolled at Garfield or Ingraham last year. Families with dual parent addresses are using the alternate address. Renting families moved to within Ballard boundaries. One family is moving to the East side. etc.)

Anonymous said...

I personally would rather rent a room or apartment within Roosevelt or whatever school area over sending my kids to private school. The waitlist process is a joke.

Tired Parent

Anonymous said...

We're scratching our heads over here about why anyone would NOT want to go to Lincoln HS. It's an embarrassment of privilege...we feel almost guilty that our kid gets to go there. What are people trying to avoid/hold on to?

- Persephone

Anonymous said...

Lack of advanced classes(and previously spoken hostility toward them), weaker/not established music program/drama program/no biotech etc academies. My kid also has already tried PBL and really disliked it so an emphasis on it in high school does not sound great to them. I think a lot of people really will like the PBL emphasis, though, and the arts will probably naturally come on in a couple years. Pretty rough for incoming 10th graders, though. I also know a lot of people who have either rented rooms or used another address(many kids legitimately have more than one) to avoid moving.

BHS actual

Stability said...

Parents want stability for their students. I don't blame parents for wanting stability for their children. Between CORE 24, Science Alignment (Chem/Physics) etc. these kids have been given the short end of the stick.

HCC students that decided to keep their children at the local high school received a double whamy. These are the same kids that have been moved multiple times through out their educational experience.

I feel for incoming sophomore students.

Anonymous said...

What kind of message are these people sending their kids by scamming the system to get the school they want for their kids?

This is part of the continuum of moral bankruptcy found in the recent scandal of faking credentials to get Junior into USC et al.

Your kids are watching and you won't live happily ever when your kids follow you down the cesspool.

Progressives until it affects you.


Anonymous said...

It's the Seattle progressive way...wink wink.

Code Pink

All bad things come to a end said...

Future population trends for Seattle show less children being born and smaller families.

A 14% lower school age population could happen by 2025 and would result in the need to reconfigure the Seattle school district to avoid operating half empty school buildings.

2018 - 53,000
2019 - 51,000
2025 - 45,000

A district with only 45,000 students will not require the funding levels that many are attempting to force the state legislators to implement. There will be the possibility of building closures as the SPS student population continue to shrink.

SPS is heading into a rough patch with enormous uncertainty. SPS has spent the last 15years building up an TOP down heavy bureaucracy with a palace for its rulers.

Those days are coming to and end. It turns out that is not what the people wanted. Who knew.

Anonymous said...

What date are/were finals grades due? My high school junior is continuing to check the Source as multiple teachers haven't finished grading final projects and tests. Is there a district cut off or does each school do their own thing?


Board Appt. said...

Candidates for school board for district 7 are listed:

Anonymous said...

The open enrollment report from April had only about 150 10th graders TOTAL transferring into Lincoln. In contrast there were 400 9th grade students. So yes it seems the majority of parents did not want their kid moved in high school and made other plans. In addition, the HCC kids who would be transferred in this group (maybe 150-200?) chose to go to a pathway school of Garfield or Ingraham, instead of a neighborhood school with boundary changes. I don't blame parents for wanting some predictability and stability for their kids. Whether this means moving, using the other divorced parents address, or actually renting an apt if they are financially able. People move all the time for schools for their kid. It's a different situation regarding the student at Garfield pretending to be homeless in order to free services & stuff.

Another View

Anonymous said...

NPR had a really great much deeper analysis on the Biden/Harris exchange about federally mandated school bussing. We only heard sound bytes during the debate and Biden & Harris only had time for a quick exchange IMO. What was missing sorely was context. I was surprised it hear from a commentator that African Americans were really split back in the 1970's about forced bussing. In addition the congressional black caucus at the time did not support it!

Biden was viewed by the (African American) commentator on NPR as more than likely truly believing he was doing the right thing at that time. He apparently was vocally pro-integration, and for building new schools, equity in African American majority schools etc. but like many people of all races including African Americans at the time was against bussing being imposed by the federal government.

I am curious if Seattlelites from all backgrounds currently believe our schools should have forced bussing today? Do you feel it works well or not to truly integrate schools and provide equal opportunity?


Anonymous said...

link to podcast https://www.npr.org/2019/06/28/736995314/listen-biden-supported-a-constitutional-amendment-to-end-mandated-busing-in-1975


Anonymous said...

You should go to school at your neighborhood school and not bused across the city.

Case closed

Anonymous said...

Interview with Biden about bussing question. He explains the complexity and how he understood the African Amnerican Community at the time not supporting mandatory bussing. He also mentioned during the debate he prefers increasing funding by three times for Title I schools, and he has always been for voluntary bussing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74JnNDzjcXk

I also believe he was self conscious not to appear to talk over Kamala Harris due to a male-female dynamic. It was clear he did not get a chance to explain his position in full. As a female, I did notice the women talking more than the men, which I think was intentional. I think many of the males in the debate were trying to be sensitive to a gender dynamic as to not appear to be a bully.


States Rights said...

Bussing is a complicated issue. I would not support the federal government getting involved with this issue.

Anonymous said...

Regarding forced integration and bussing kids out of the neighborhood, this is complicated IMO. I am white, but I have a couple of black friends who prefer schools for their kids such as Franklin with more minority students over Garfield, a school with more of a mix of white & minority students. I have heard them negatively refer to Garfield as "gentrified".

They also have encouraged me to send my (white) child to Franklin through the choice system if possible. however, my child's schools is majority white. Therefore, we have made efforts outside of school for her to have friendships with kids of diverse economic as well as ethnic, racial and religious backgrounds.

I feel that my black friends overwhelmingly (of course) expect and want for majority minority schools to have all the resources and classes available same as majority white schools. I like Joe Biden's idea of tripling money for Title I schools as many Title I schools are also majority minority.

I do believe that when you are a minority in the greater society, it can be quite powerful to be in a school with majority students and teachers who are of a similar race, culture & background. Also think about historically black colleges which can be so empowering. My friend who is a darker skinned African American person with some Jamaican ancestry has also told me how much more comfortable in fact she feels when visiting Jamaica or Africa because of a lighter/darker skin divide in some black communities in the US.


Anonymous said...

FYI for IB students: UW has revised their IB credit policy to now include SL. Students who started in Fall 2018 may have their IB credits reviewed as well.

good news

Melissa Westbrook said...

JK, your comments are a good jumping off point for a discussion of segregation. Many parents in charter schools are choosing majority minority schools - segregation - because it feels better for their student and their family. But meanwhile, segregation in this country is growing.

What was interesting about Franklin is when the district went to the Supreme Court over their use of race in enrollment, they used the numbers of white kids, a minority there, to show that white students used the race option to get into Franklin. Meaning, it wasn't just kids of color using the race option in the enrollment plan.

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

“The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race,” Roberts wrote, glibly.