Friday Open Thread

Clarence Acox, a giant for music education in Seattle Public Schools, is retiring.  Story from the Seattle Times.

After 48 years, a titan of Seattle jazz education is leaving the band room.

Come fall, for the first time in decades, Clarence Acox, the 71-year-old, nationally acclaimed jazz band director who played a huge role in putting Seattle jazz education on the map, will not be leading a band at Garfield High School. Instead, he is retiring.

Starting this fall, all band programs at Garfield, including jazz, will be directed by Jared Sessink, who has taught for three years at Washington Middle School. Sessink, 28, said in an email that he was “deeply humbled” to step into Acox’s shoes.
A woman of note in public education has died - Vivian Palley.  From the NY Times:
Ms. Paley’s teaching approach involved asking children to describe an event, sometimes with only a few words, and then to dramatize it with their classmates. This taught them language skills but also compassion, fairness and how to negotiate relationships.

“She wasn’t mainstream, and she wasn’t a curriculum person,” Mr. Hornstein said. “To her, teaching was not about meeting a bunch of core requirements that you can quantify; it was about being a human being.” 
A fairly disturbing story, especially given the disproportional attention juveniles of color experience with police, from the NY Times on facial recognition.  Maybe a good question to ask Seattle PD.
The New York Police Department has been loading thousands of arrest photos of children and teenagers into a facial recognition database despite evidence the technology has a higher risk of false matches in younger faces. 

For about four years, internal records show, the department has used the technology to compare crime scene images with its collection of juvenile mug shots, the photos that are taken at an arrest. Most of the photos are of teenagers, largely 13 to 16 years old, but children as young as 11 have been included. 

Elected officials and civil rights groups said the disclosure that the city was deploying a powerful surveillance tool on adolescents — whose privacy seems sacrosanct and whose status is protected in the criminal justice system — was a striking example of the Police Department’s ability to adopt advancing technology with little public scrutiny.
Interesting story on the use of the term "high-functioning autism" from Disability Scoop.
“The term ‘high functioning autism’ is not a diagnostic term and is based on an IQ assessment, rather than a functional assessment,” said Gail Alvares of the Telethon Kids Institute and The University of Western Australia who led the study. “It was originally used to describe people without an intellectual disability, yet somehow has crept into everyday use and has come to imply that people can manage perfectly fine, and don’t experience any everyday challenges.”

“It might be used, for example, to argue that a child should be able to go to a mainstream school without support when in fact, while they may perform well on cognitive assessments, they still struggle with skills like understanding instructions, note-taking, self-care, changes to routine or interacting with their peers.
Yes, I am aware of a story in the Seattle Times about a Van Asselt teacher. I will be posting about that in a separate thread.

What's on your mind?


Carol Simmons said…
I served at Garfield H.S. with Clarence Acox for a number of years. He never once referred a student out of class for a discipline reason. He treated each one of his students with respect, dignity, appreciation, caring and love. It was an honor to serve with him.
Anonymous said…
Continued from Tues Thread @ Seattle Mom who said "My problem with Moms for Seattle is that they are misrepresenting themselves, and trying to manipulate voters using emotionally charged fake photos. If they want to be honest, then they can identify themselves and their issues in an honest & forthright manner."

Yes I do totally agree that they should identify themselves. However regarding the photos, there have been needles strewn at neighborhood playgrounds and schools, at least in our neighborhood.

In addition, we have had homeless people put up tents at our middle school. I surmise if it happened at our local school, perhaps there have been others as well as people have indeed been camping all over.

I have also noticed much more graffiti, as well as trash in Seattle especially around homeless encampments.

I don't think anyone can argue that things have changed dramatically in recent years and our problems seem to be growing. I don't believe they are exaggerating these very real issues we are facing.

They may have photo-shopped their photos, but they are also photos that could definitely have been taken, at least in my neighborhood, as well.

Once again, I think we are shooting the messenger instead of being concerned about electing someone to better address these issues.

I am not part of Mom's For Seattle, but I am a mom in Seattle and I am concerned about how we are addressing these issues. I know I am not alone. In addition, as far as "misrepresenting themselves", the folks the stranger identified were several females, so perhaps they are moms.

NW resident
Change Please said…
There are homeless and tents (and needles) in every park in my neighborhood. Every. One.
I lived near a tiny house area. I regularly walk Green Lake. And I drive I-5 so yes, I see what we all see. Honestly, someday when someone does a forensic accounting of how we got here, I'll be interested to see what is said.

It is important for kids to see that not everyone does well. That sometimes life treats some with harshness and they end up with very little including no home. And, that there is no one reason. (I'm sure it's hard for kids to understand that some people have no family in their lives. It's probably the scariest thing for kids to imagine.) It's a good idea to build in compassion for others who may be vets or former foster kids.

But clearly, this city is at a tipping point and the more I hear, the more I think this may be what swings the city council elections.

But what would "better address the issues?" Closing encampments and saying, "You either stay at a shelter or move every day from place to place?" Is that even legal? I don't know.

Forcing people to leave the city? That will drive them to another locale (but what? at least we don't have them here?)

I feel frustrated that it doesn't even look like the City did triage. Back in 2017, Mayor Murray said he wanted to end homelessness for families by the end of that year. (Oddly, his staff denied that but it was right in the online text of his speech.) Then he was out.

It's my belief that families would be the first people out of homelessness if you gave them housing and a more stable life. I can go out on a limb and say no parent wants homelessness for their child. But I see no stated movement to do that.

I think the real problem is a lot of talking and spending and yet it is not visible what has been done or what has changed. And that's a real problem for electeds.

But again, like with the Seattle School Board, you will have a majority of newbies on the Council. A few, like Alex Pedersen and Cathy Tuttle in District 4, have worked at City Hall and know the ends and outs. Most of the others don't. So, like school board, there is a learning curve.

I think both Mayor Durkan and Superintendent Juneau look forward to consolidating their power as their oversight groups find their footing.

Lastly, "don't shoot the messenger?" Well, if they had been honest from the start, it might not have looked suspicious. As I say, courage of your convictions if it's that important to you.
Anonymous said…

This Mom said…
I'm okay with a photo shop print. It would have been unkind to actually distribute photos real camps with real people.

Anonymous said…
Thanks for that link. "Moms" support for Heidi Wills says it all.

Anonymous said…
I believe the changes we have seen in Seattle are correlated with two events:
1. The institution of the LEAD program (~2012) which widely fostered the idea that Seattle is a safe place to shoot up. This is when we began to see a lot of drug problems visible on the streets.
2. The sweeps of the jungle that spread a serious homeless problem throughout Seattle.


Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
Yes, that's an excellent point. If they had used actual homeless photos would people have felt the homeless were being exploited? However I don't find their message straying far from any candidates I am hearing from in my neighborhood. They do indentify themselves in this article as in the age of social media they are facing conspiracy theories about who they are, which I do believe is true. They were accused of being a far right group in ultra liberal Seattle. But the answers to the questions in the article are not far right. An example:

"We also wanted candidates who were committed to a “housing first” approach in terms of a commitment to getting folks off the streets and into housing. Studies show that housing is the first step to recovery of any kind. Same thing with mental health and addiction. In other cities, they’re using mobile addiction vans that can help provide treatment. We would like to see Seattle at least exploring evidence-based services like these and really learning from what other cities have done.

This is from the Parent MAP article interview with Mom's For Seattle. That is not a far right view at all. That is the argument the majority of candidates are making as evidence based to help the problem.

Also when asked what are some of the mistakes you’ve made? They replied:

For one, we did not disclose ourselves early on. There were reasons for that, but I think the lack of disclosure has caused everyone to make up their own narrative around us. We didn’t come out because, one, we didn't know how big of a deal that was going to be, and two, we were a little bit afraid. I mean, look at the backlash we've already received. We’ve had reporters showing up at our doors. Celeste had her blog hacked; they’ve taken our logos and made fake ads that said, “Kill Democrats.”

They also stated they are learning as they go so they made mistakes not identifying themselves they state they are not politicians, but indeed Moms.

NW Resident
Anonymous said…
They also stated it would have been illegal to use actual homeless camp photos for a political ad. I also completely agree that the images are unfortunately representative of what we are actually experiencing in Seattle.

I have not yet made up my mind on who to vote as multiple candidates support the same changes and policies. Because mental health and addiction funding, as well as our laws, are managed respectively by our county and/or state, I support a candidate that understands we need a regional approach and better coordinated efforts. Our city is unable to adequately address these issues alone.

NW Resident
No Caps, you managed to be near incoherent and cryptic. Your comment goes.

"They do indentify themselves in this article as in the age of social media they are facing conspiracy theories about who they are, which I do believe is true."

I don't care if Moms is left or right; not the point to me. It is the courage of convictions especially if you are appealing to people on an emotional level. They dug their own hole. I laugh because they are trying to challenge me on their Facebook page (naturally with no names attached).

I do agree with some of what they say but it feels like the wrong way to go about it. They could have used photos of real encampments without people around. Is the Seattle Times breaking the law? No.

They didn't know how big this would be? They have Strategies 360 on the case. C'mon.

Yes, it is quite hard to sometimes sign your name and be the cheese who stands alone.

The Cheese
Anonymous said…
There are other schools in Seattle besides Garfield, WMS and Licton Springs, but you wouldn't know it from reading this blog.


Anonymous said…
People who have not stepped in human feces or had their car broken into or picked up used needles on play grounds those people can tend to view homeless encampments as benign. People like me that volunteer to work in our parks, we see thousands of dollars in damage caused by these encampments. I hope a new city counsel will think of children and the environment when crafting polices around these encampments.

Just facts

2cents, sorry you don't read the blog much because that is absolutely not true. I have written about nearly every single school in this district at one time or another. The blog started because of a mom (not me) who was worried about school closures. There were many schools discussed then.
Anonymous said…
@ just facts, homeless encampments aren't the problem, it's homelessness that's the problem. And mental illness. And substance abuse. My car was broken into, but I don't assume it was due to a homeless encampment.

It's all fine and good to say you "hope a new city counsel [sic] will think of children and the environment when crafting polices around these encampments," but it's more helpful to talk about solutions. Cleaning up encampments and shuffling people along from this spot to that doesn't really address the underlying problems.

If property crime is a big issue to you, I assume you're also even more concerned about violent crime in the city, too? What should we do about that? And does your concern re: pedestrian safety (e.g., stepping on feces) also extent to safe walking and biking routes? What should we do about those?

I think these are all valid concerns, but the challenge is how to address them at their core--not just on the surface, by sweeping up camps and making parks and sidewalks clean. We have big problems to address. I share your hope that a new city council will think of children and the environment when crafting policies related to encampments, but I hope they will ALSO think of those who are actually homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. It's a losing battle otherwise.

housing first?

Anonymous said…
There are children living in camps too. So just moving them along might help the child who wants to play in the park, but doesn't help the child who is living in the park. I know children at my kid's school who are living in tents. We are all already outraged. Ratcheting up the outrage does not help us grapple with the complexities we need to create solutions.

- HS Parent

Anonymous said…
@HS parent I did not read any comments about "ratcheting up the outrage". There are many candidates running for council who are critical of results to date, and feel they can present some better policy solutions. That is a plus and to me suggesting something different if we are not having good results does not equate to "ratcheting up the outrage".

I would state though that many people are "outraged" about rampant increases in property crime fueled by addiction, as well as same small group of repeat violent offenders with addiction issues (most happen to also be homeless) who are back on the street immediately after they commit violent crimes. This is a small group in relation to the larger homeless population. Recently one repeat offender grabbed a coffee cup and dumped hot coffee on a toddler. This person had a history of multiple violent offenses. Many do feel we have a loophole in our system and there needs to be a much better solution in place.

Anonymous said…
KUOW interview with Moms for Seattle:

It's much harder to put your name out there when your children are not yet grown and flown, and/or you're beholden to an employer. That's understandable.

KUOW Says said…
The Mom's group isn't the right wing group that some would like for you to believe. They oppose injection sites. Some believe that those that oppose injection sites are right leaning. One contributor previously supported Mike O'Brien.

"Former state legislator Jessyn Farrell called the PAC a “front group for a conservative, anti-government agenda” in an online post and questioned their lack of transparency." Farrell works with Nick Hanauer. Hanauer has funded his own PAC. He doesn't even live in Seattle.

Elsa said…
Nor do the Bellevue "Moms".

KUOW Says said…
Hanauer has a long history of creating PACs, funding candidates and funding lobbying institutions i.e. League of Education Voters to influence elections and policy. This is not an apples to apples comparison.

Various PACs are trying to neutralize PACs and money from outside the state.

PACs are a problem.
Anonymous said…
Here's an article from KUOW about moving low-income families to high-income areas in hopes of improving their children's outcomes.

Anonymous said…

$eattle public $chool$

bold italic calibri font.

tag line: excelling at spending more for less.

that will be $30k
HP, that was an interesting article. There was this in it which also applies to charter schools:

"In fact, almost half the families in the Seattle experiment decided to stay in low-income areas even when told that their children would likely do better somewhere else. Many said they preferred to stay close to their jobs or to family and friends."

There was a study where the researchers looked at patterns for charter school enrollment and then outcomes. When parents were told that the charter school they enrolled their child in had no better academic outcomes than the public school they left, they said, "But I picked this school." Choice, plus, as the KUOW reports stated about family/friends, are powerful motivators. Parents and kids get a comfort level with a school and that may be the most important factor to them, not academics.

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