Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Tuesday Open Thread

Good story from NPR - How Hydroponic School Gardens Can Cultivate Food Justice, Year-Round

The students provide weekly produce for their cafeteria's salad bar and other dishes. Later that same day, for the first time, Quigley and several of her schoolmates also sold some of their harvest — at a discount from market rates — to community members. It's part of a new weekly "food box" service set up in the school's foyer. Each of 34 customers receive an allotment of fresh produce intended to feed two people for a week.

School-based urban farms are one part of the food justice solution, Easterling says. A 2015 U.S. Department of Agriculture census of about 18,000 public, private and charter school districts found 7,101 gardens based in schools. 
One summer activity you might consider helping your child with - have them write a letter (not a tweet, Instagram or email) to their favorite person.  Politician, artist, author, mayor, neighbor - anyone.  You can generally find a snail mail address.  Many of these people will respond to a hard copy letter as they don't get many of those compared to electronic messages.  This story from the Charles Schultz museum is a good example of what might happen.  I wrote a letter to former President Carter about 10 years ago and he was good enough to write a line on it, sign it and have it sent back to me.

From Politico's Morning Education:
A day after applauding Sen. Bernie Sanders' call to pause charter school expansion, the union voted against making such opposition a condition of its endorsement.
Union members also applauded when New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said “no federal funding for charter schools.” See our takeaways from the forum.
Members of the National Education Association, after hosting 10 Democratic presidential candidates at an annual conference, voted against demanding that any 2020 candidates seeking the union's endorsement publicly oppose all charter school expansion.
Another significant development: The nation’s largest labor union, already, is saying it’s open to new members, and they don’t have to be educators. “Community allymemberships will be open to anyone “interested in advancing the cause of public education” and who supports the NEA mission.
I'll have more to say about this one but it appears most of the candidates are willing to come out against for-profit charter schools.  Candidates who have been solidly for charter schools are Cory Booker and Beto O'Rourke.  I'll have a deeper dive on all their answers to different education questions in a separate post.

Also from Politico:
EDUCATION GROUPS WEIGH IN ON CENSUS DISPUTE: They are pushing back against President Donald Trump’s continued call for a citizenship question on the 2020 census possibly by executive order — even after the Supreme Court ruled in late June that the administration’s rationale for the move was legally inadequate.

“However the Administration responds, the [Council of the] Great City Schools will continue to use every resource to block their efforts,” Michael Casserly, the group’s executive director, said in a Sunday statement to POLITICO.

The National School Boards Association’s chief legal officer, Francisco M. Negrón, Jr., told POLITICO in a Sunday statement: "Given the widespread adverse impact such a question will have on our children, we urge the administration to refrain from extraordinary executive measures that circumvent the necessary judicial review preserved by the Supreme Court."
Good story from the Seattle Times on reading and dyslexia.
Washington teachers lack “a common language and common theory of practice of how to teach reading,” said Aira Jackson, director of English language arts for the state Superintendent of Public Instruction.

A year ago, Washington lawmakers passed a bill that requires districts to screen children for signs of dyslexia. That bill was aimed at helping kids with a specific learning disability. But it will usher in major changes in the way all kids are taught to read in this state, Jackson said.

Washington’s new law specifically calls on teachers to emphasize four reading skills: phonemic awareness, the ability to hear, identify and manipulate the smallest unit of sound, or phoneme, in a word; phonological awareness, the ability to recognize and work with sounds; letter-sound knowledge, the ability to identify the unique sounds that every letter makes; and rapid automatized naming, the ability to quickly name aloud a series of familiar items.

Screening must start by fall 2021, Jackson said. However, some districts have started early, and others are already changing up their reading curriculum to emphasize phonics.
Elsewhere in the country, that dispute has been settled.
What's on your mind?


Anonymous said...

I know it is a complicated topic for many reasons, but I wish SPS would talk about integrating schools again - especially as it is once more (thanks to Kamala Harris) in the national news.


Yes, I agree it is not super feasible to once more bus Ballard kids to Garfield, but I sincerely believe that it is possible to redraw neighborhood lines to create more integrated schools. It often feels like SPS is trying to achieve the opposite. Whitman was once diverse, until SPS redrew the lines to send the minority-majority neighborhoods to RES. Was that deliberate?


Anonymous said...

@NW did you use the hot tub time machine? It's 2019 not 1970! BTW SPS is already busing white kids from RHS area to Ingraham.

Some people

Melissa Westbrook said...

Some People, I don't care for your tone. You could give input without being snide.

Anonymous said...

@NW, I believe your are confused. The Broadview area was reassigned to RESMS not Whitman. Do you think Broadview is a minority neighborhood?

You throw out redlining accusations without facts.

Problem solved

Anonymous said...

Busing in Seattle: A Well-Intentioned Failure

By Cassandra Tate, Posted 9/07/2002, HistoryLink.org Essay 3939

...In 1977, 65 percent of the district's students were white; by 1995, the proportion had dropped to 40 percent (where it remains).

...In the first year of district-wide busing, the number of white students dropped by nearly 12 percent compared to the previous year, reducing total enrollment by 10 percent. Both the percentage of white students and the overall number of students fell steadily during the years of mandatory busing.

...By the early 1990s, some of the most vocal critics of mandatory busing were African Americans, including the charismatic John H. Stanford (1938-1998), superintendent of Seattle schools from 1995 to 1998. In a key presentation to the School Board in November 1995, Stanford said the data showed that low-income students who attended schools outside their neighborhoods scored lower on achievement tests than low-income students in neighborhood schools. Furthermore, parental involvement in the schools was lowest among bused students, who often needed it the most...Stanford urged the board to put more emphasis on the quality of the education in the classroom and less on the color of the skin on the students.

history lesson

Anonymous said...

@NW There is also a strong argument for community, enpowerment and students be able to attend strong well resourced schools in their own communities. Biden is proposing tripling Title I money. Perhaps other dem candidates will propose this as well if they win. A higher FRL and minority populations population also makes many schools eligible for many grants and special programs. IMO money and resources are much better than forced bus out of neighborhood of all students. It did not work very well in many cases. Forced bus in a community only if there is a reason to such as legal segregation meaning people who were actually prohibited to attend certain schools like in the past. But I also believe we should also have more actual choice available as well so students who choose to attend schools outside their neighborhood can also do so as well.


Melissa Westbrook said...

JK, increasing Title One money is something several candidates are suggesting.

For several reasons I agree people should have some choice within an urban district. (I think that harder to do in smaller districts.)

SPS has Option Schools. I wish the district would do a survey to ask parents why they do or don't choose an Option School. Distance? Focus? Didn't know?

The district does allow - correct me if I'm wrong - for students to choose an Option School out of their area but they have to provide transportation. There's an equity issue, although it might not be as much once more light rail comes on.

Anonymous said...

Candidates for what?

More money never solves these types of cultural issues.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Sorry, Owler, I meant candidates for president.

You make an assumption that the problems are all cultural for schools with struggling populations. I don't agree and I do think more money is needed. Our schools are very different and they do need more.

Anonymous said...

@Melissa The district does supply free bus passes to all high school students, so it would be an equity issue perhaps only in lower grades, not high school.


Anonymous said...

More than 1.5 BILLION a year? How much more?

I thought enrollment was dropping 2-3 thousand students this year.


Anonymous said...

Again, I know there is no easy answer - and I know desegregation of schools come with some negative outcomes as well as some positive, but I think the positive outcomes are large enough that it is worth keeping the discussion open.

"In an important 2010 Century Foundation study of students in Montgomery County, Maryland, the researcher Heather Schwartz of the Rand Corporation looked at children whose families were randomly assigned to public-housing units in a way that allowed her to compare the relative impact of compensatory spending and integration strategies. Some students were assigned to public housing in relatively high-poverty areas where schools spent $2,000 extra per pupil for reduced class size in the early grades, better professional development for teachers, and other initiatives. Other students were part of a housing-integration program that allowed low-income students to live in middle-class neighborhoods and attend middle-class schools that spent less per pupil. Both approaches helped, but the outcomes for students in the integrated schools and neighborhoods were far better."


It is interesting that Seattle concluded the opposite.


Anonymous said...

They didn't *conclude* the opposite. The opposite *happened* here. Low income students bussed to affluent schools did worse than low income students who stayed in neighborhood schools. I wonder if it is our habit of labeling schools as rich or poor(and then dismissing the "rich" ones and discouraging them from raising money to help the low income students in their community) instead of targeting resources toward low income students wherever they are.


Anonymous said...

1) Seattle Plan: Students bused out of their neighborhood, housing patterns largely unchanged

2) Maryland (a): Low income students remain in their neighborhood, extra funding provided through Title I

3) Maryland (b): Housing integration, allows for increased school integration

Three different scenarios.

-apples oranges

More taxes, no peace said...

Most people do not realize that in Seattle 48% of your property taxes go to education. How much is enough? Many home owners are paying north of $4k a year and they don't even use the public schools. They read about an endless string of failures and a proposed racially bias plan as the center piece for the Seattle school district's fix all. They see unions attempting to push for the state to grab even more of your money for a failing regressive system by causing chaos and claiming that only a state income tax can save the children of color.

This is a typical Democrat tactic, give us want we want or we will ruin it for everyone.Or as the Democrat community organizers chant, "no justice, no peace".

SCPTSA said...

Placing low income students in non-title 1 schools means that schools receive lower funding levels. These kids do not always get the services that they need.

Of course, PTAs help fill the gap.

Anonymous said...

"Low income students bussed to affluent schools did worse than low income students who stayed in neighborhood schools."

I am curious if you can provide this data or report where it is located.

Thank you.

Sounds interesting

Anonymous said...

History lesson provided quotes of the superintendent at the time's testimony to that effect, which I remember as we were in district then. This is the data on which the vote depended. You'd have to look up historical data on the school district website, which SPS lately has taking to scrubbing on a regular basis(unethically, imo).


NESeattleMom said...
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Anonymous said...

"The last thing they want is more white people bused in" Who are they? "a glimmer of hope" hope for what? "Look exactly like themselves" Because we all look alike?

With talk like that you should be running for school board!


NESeattleMom said...
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NESeattleMom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I sorry it's not personal I'm just wondering if you even know the definition of the word "gentrification" ?


NESeattleMom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Gentrification definition is - the process of repairing and rebuilding homes and businesses in a deteriorating area (such as an urban neighborhood) ...

There are no negative definitions.

@ NESeattleMon - I suppose you would like to make the old CD a kin to a zoo or an anthropology studies zone? Perhaps a Cabrini-Green Northwest in the CD suits you?

I'm not sure you understand what you are writing.

--Not Oriental

Anonymous said...

@Not Oriental

From Merriam-Webster:
gentrification: the process of repairing and rebuilding homes and businesses in a deteriorating area (such as an urban neighborhood) accompanied by an influx of middle-class or affluent people and that often results in the displacement of earlier, usually poorer residents

Displacement can certainly be seen as a negative, no?

all types

Anonymous said...

Gerrymander, are you referring to Goodloe-Johnson's quote about black kids not having to sit next to white kids in order to learn?

She was the superintendent who stopped busing in SPS.

I recall no data, in terms of real outcomes, being given at that time.

So, your rebuttal of the Atlantic article is based on something you heard at some time by someone in charge?


Anonymous said...

People are not forced out. They usually sell at a price multiples over what they paid for their house. Renters are not so lucky and BTW this isn't a black VS white thing.

Many white poorer neighborhoods have been gentrification and no one said a thing.

Why can't liberals decouple themselves from everything as being repressive. Justice for this Justice for that and oh by the way can the rest of you pay our way to all this justice.

Oh boy

Anonymous said...

The Atlantic article is not talking about what we had. It was talking about integrated housing and attendance areas vs more money to title 1 schools. Not bussing. My "rebuttal" is based on testimony(no, not platitudes- testimony that the data showed low income students doing better staying in neighborhood schools than those being bussed) and data that was available at the time and was presented at various times- this was true for a long time- but has since been mostly swept.


Anonymous said...

Please refrain from using this name to make your comments as they do not reflect the thoughts and beliefs of our organization.
It is not in our practice to comment on blogs. Community members wanting to learn more about SCPTSA work in advocacy and events, trainings and resolutions or wish to get involved please visit our website www.scptsa.org, our Facebook page Seattle Council PTSA or send us an email

Best regards,
Manuela Slye, President
Seattle Council PTSA

Anonymous said...

@Really, John Stanford (SPS Superintendent 1995-98) was credited with saying: "I don't have to sit next to someone of another color to learn" (Seattle PI, 1999). Mandatory busing ended during his tenure, and the choice system was born.

Seattle School Board votes to end mandatory busing for desegregation in elementary schools on November 20, 1996

By David Wilma, 3/22/2001, HistoryLink.org Essay 3127

"Busing did not improve the academic performance of minorities who shouldered a disproportionate burden of busing. Parental involvement in cross-town schools did not increase and the financial costs of the program also hurt the district."

"'Before, we moved the kids to where the resources were,' said Joseph Olchefske, Seattle schools superintendent [1998-2003].'Now we're moving the resources to the kids. We want quality education close to home' (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)."

Under the choice system, there was no guarantee of enrollment at your neighborhood school, like we have now. Enrollment involved a system of tiebreakers (distance, sibling, and race; the race tiebreaker was later ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court).

history lesson

Billy Billion said...

Thanks to Director Pinkham and Director Mack for pointing out inconsistent financial numbers in Board Action Reports.

Director Mack asked a lot of questions regarding enrollment projections. The numbers were thought to be low. Both Pinkham and Mack abstained from voting on the budget.

SPS budget has reached $1,044,890,979.

The adoption included operating transfers from the Capital Projects Fund to the Debt Service Fund up to the amount of $2,819,525 and transfers up to the amount of $25,580,499 to the General Fund.

"The 2019-2020 Debt Service Fund Budget is recommended at $2,829,525. This fund will be used to pay the debt service on the 2010 Series-A Refunding bond that financed the John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence, and $10,000 in capacity for administrative fees or other currently unknown expenses."

Anonymous said...

Like when he found the infamous intermediary excel column. Pure genius.

Affirmative action

Melissa Westbrook said...

Manuela, are you now officially president? Because Chandra Hampson says she is.

I think it’s fine if SCPTSA doesn’t want to comment here but you do miss a wide audience. Many people won’t use Facebook.

Interestingly, President Harris said that it was hard to reconcile being $40M in the hole and spending $90M more than last year’s budget.

Billy Billion said...

Seattle Public School budget has increased 25% within the past TWO years.

The budget has nearly doubled since 2012-2013 when the budget was $569M.

Anonymous said...


MGJ didn't eliminate busing at all she eliminated choice. And the crosscut of buses that supported that choice.

To reality (and beyond)

Anonymous said...

The school board budget meeting was a total embarrassment. Burke MIA and others couldn't be bothered to attend in person.

If Ms. Pinkham's behavior is representative of the UNEA membership then you can see why the UNEA was booted.

The first priority of a school board should be to leave the district better than you found it and not to make deals with union base construction companies.

Very disappointing

Anonymous said...

I feel for the new school board coming in December, what a mess.

There is noway Harris should retain her seat. There is noway these &%$#% should be selecting PATUs replacement.

Has the CFO been sleeping on the job?

--Good grief

Melissa Westbrook said...

I am sad and shocked that the entire Board wasn’t there. This is the single most important vote there is. The budget passed wiith three votes? Not good.

Very disappointing, if you have something to say “not make deals with union base (sic) construction companies” then explain. Otherwise, do not be cryptic.

Good Grief, better they pick than a bunch of newbies (which is exactly what will happen if DeWolf gets elected to City Council).

“Has the CFO been sleeping on the job?” No, JoLynn Berge has not. But again, the last Operations Committee meeting where Director Mack questioned Berge and Linda Sebring, over and over on the budget, with no real answers, was deeply troubling.

The Board MUST stand up to staff. Period. The mantra should be “if you can’t explain it so I can vote on it, I’ll vote no.”

Anonymous said...

Any word on this?

Seattle Public Schools is hiring a Chief of Student Support Services

"The Chief of Student Support Services supervises and directs the day-to-day operations of the District's Student Support Services division, including the Special Education, Advanced Learning, 504 Student Accommodations, and Athletics departments; chairs and serves on District committees as directed by the Superintendent; assists in planning, development and implementation of the Strategic Plan, Board Policies and Administrative Regulations; supervises and evaluates appropriate personnel staff; is responsible for all staff members in Student Support Services; and is a line administrator to all school sites."



Anonymous said...

I guess that's how the board want's to go out and be remembered. AWOL!

Oh and I finally reviewed the districts website, specifically the strategic plan.

1. Who published the plan on the website? It would be wise to proof read there a lot of garbage on the website?

2. How is it possible that the district could possibly legitimately produce such a biased plan?

3. How do they think an African American male would feel reading it?

I think the district should make it mandatory for every single 6-12 grader to read the plan.

--Good grief

Anonymous said...

If Pinkham and Mack had concerns about the budget and/or inconsistencies in the supporting documentation--as it sounds like they did--it seems pretty irresponsible to have abstained from voting on it. Ok, REALLY irresponsible. Oversight is your job. If you have concerns, so no. Make staff address the concerns and bring it back for a revote later.

do better

Anonymous said...

Did you notice how Pinkham reacted to Dewolf's adstaining on his proposal?

Pinkham almost gave himself whiplash.

That meeting was about the strangest one I've ever watched.

Where were all the people who signed up to speak?


Alsept Teresa said...

The new buzzword in progressive circles seems to be busing. The other day I listened to two so called Ed experts discuss the merits on NPR and I thought they were completely clueless.

I would like to point out that Seattle wasn’t the only city to conclude that busing didn’t work, it was stopped all over the country- because it doesn’t work.

It is also fundamentally unfair to poor kids. Middle class and rich kids will have parents who take them to school each day, however poor kids will have to spend hours on the bus each day just so a bunch of rich people and politicians will feel better.

The same can be done by allowed more apartment buildings in neighborhoods and thus changing the demographics or redrawing boundary lines.

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

Teresa Alsept wrote, "It is also fundamentally unfair to poor kids. Middle class and rich kids will have parents who take them to school each day, however poor kids will have to spend hours on the bus each day just so a bunch of rich people and politicians will feel better. "

I will be sure to share your distaste for all of us rich or middle class (code for white) with all the PTA members at the next meeting. You are done, cooked. transfer now!

Eckstein parent

Alsept Teresa said...

@Eckstein parent, who ever you are, you really seem to have missed my point. I have no issue with parents bringing their kids to school. I’m was simply pointing that poor kids will have to spend a lot of time on a bus if the proposal went through.

Are you even a fan of busing? As for knowing that I don’t live in Seattle it’s really kind of really kind of creepy that you know so much about me without telling your name

Finally. I work in SPS so I have as much right to post here as you

Anonymous said...

There is a commenter (or commenters?) that uses other people's pseudonyms with some frequency. They seem to take some perverse pleasure in agitating, whatever the topic. The posts more often than not contain some misspelling or four letter word. Is "Eckstein parent" really an Eckstein parent? You have to wonder.

kinda weird

Alsept Teresa said...

2 cents. I think I that If someone is going to insult a person, instead of just replying to their comment, then the decent thing would be to identify themselves. Otherwise they look cowardly. As for opinions and bias we all have them and I’ve never had a problem expressing mine.

Anonymous said...

@Teresa Apsept,
Regarding your comment on how to solve the problem without bussing, allowing more apartment buildings (in, I presume, well-off neighborhoods) only works for the segment of population that gets to go to those schools, and changing the demographics or redrawing boundary lines can create similar how-to-get-to-school issues as you said bussing does. It seems like we would be hard-pressed to draw boundaries that create racially, financially, and linguistically diverse neighborhood schools throughout the district —which are also walkable—given the housing patterns we now have.

Oh, and your assumption that middle class and rich parents would just take their kids to school themselves is inaccurate. We already have kids going to distant schools (e.g., HCC pathways), and many take busses. I’m not saying that bussing is the answer, but you might want to tone down your assumptions. Families are all different.