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Friday, August 09, 2019

Friday Open Thread

The SEA and SPS have been negotiating for a new teachers' contract.  Their deadline to reach an agreement is about two weeks, with school starting on September 4th.  They are doing picketing trainings and are planning to wave signs on Monday from different area freeway overpasses during morning rush hour.


From SEA:
2019 Bargaining is heating up! Our Bargaining Team is hard at work at the table and they need our support. Money was one topic of discussion last week.

The district claims that the "sky is falling" when it comes to the budget. We will not accept this narrative, but words are not enough.
It appears the Board will have a short one-hour Work Session from 4:30-5:30 pm on Monday, August 12th to discuss the District VII director selection. That will be followed by a Closed Session on labor negotiations.

The Urban Native Education Alliance  SPS parent Michelle Landwehr has filed a civil rights complaint against the district with the U.S. Department of Education's Civil Rights office over the abrupt termination of the decade-long partnershipwith the Urban Native Education Alliance.

Beacon Hill neighbors are having a clean-up day at Dearborn Park International School Sunday, August 11, 2019, 11:30 AM - 4:30 PM, in support of the opening day of school.  Details here.

Love a librarian?  Nominate that person for the I Love My Librarian award.
Librarians touch the lives of the people they serve every day.  The I Love My Librarian Award encourages library users like you to recognize the accomplishments of exceptional public, school, college, community college, or university librarians. Each year 10 librarians are selected. Each librarian receives a $5,000 cash award, a plaque, and a travel stipend to attend an awards ceremony and reception held in their honor.

Nominations for the 2019-2020 I Love My Librarian Award are open through October 21. Winners will be announced in early December.
What's on your mind?

99 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow! it looks like to me that you have rolled over. I guess you are afraid of the SJWs over at the old Soup for Teacher Facebook page. After having said you were giving up on covering all things SPS, you've accelerated your coverage of all things SPS JSW related.

Perhaps you now realize that Mr.Orange will be re-elected and you are ducking for cover under your SSS security blanket.

I don't think you are getting the message that you are no longer welcome as a spokesperson for POC in SPS. Take the hint and move on before things get really nasty.

old lady

Melissa Westbrook said...

I'm only reporting some things going on in the district; as you can see, I offered no observations or opinions. I'm easing away from the work on MY timetable.

Job One is getting rid of Trump and I do believe it can be done.

I have NEVER said I was a spokesperson for any people of color. Ever. That people don't read for content or are making up things I never said is something that is out of my control. Again, I do smile at the amount of headspace I have in some people's brains.

I fear no one so I won't be taking anyone's advice on what to do.

First Amendment said...

The SPS Community Resource facebook page is a perfect example of a few bullies that are trying to silence community members. There is just a few of them. Those individuals were on display for all to see.

Individuals are smart not to interact with that group.

Good arguments stand on merit.



Anonymous said...

Frankly I think the minions are trying to make things so unpleasant here that parents will quit reading the blog and coming here for information that downtown doesn't want parents to have. I have never seen you once claim to speak for POC.

HP

Reality Check said...

There is such a thing as harassment and harassment charges for those that wish to get "really nasty".

Reality Check said...

I agree with HP. Quit reading SPS Community discussion and head to Melissa's blog for information. That facebook page has become a place for bullying and harassment.

Michelle Landwehr said...

I just wanted to clarify that it was not UNEA who filed the complaint. I am a concerned parent and I filed the complaint independently.
Michelle

Melissa Westbrook said...

Just to point out, Liza Rankin is still an administrator (not a moderator) at the Facebook page "SPS Community Discussion and Resource Exchange." I'd have to think as an administrator she must endorse that kind of unpleasant discussion.

As well, that's where Chandra Hampson declared that she knew my racial background and where I grew up better than I do.

Again, I'll have more to say about this at a later time.

Michelle, I failed to read that correctly; thank you for the correction.

Anonymous said...

Please don't engage further with the SPS Community Discussion FB page. Now is not the climate to be seen attacking POCs, no matter how many facts you have to back up your claims. I know it is hard to step away - but a wise woman once said "When they go low - we go high. (-M.O.)"

-Go High

Anonymous said...

More about Rankin,

I spent some time on Facebook viewing some of Rankin's post and documents she has uploaded. Those uploads and related comments go back to 2015-2016 and I think many of her actions would give the average SPS parent pause on supporting Rankin. It's one thing to support programs like SPED or HCC or ELL and many people who comment here do that, but it's quite another thing to support or attack programs based on the race of students in a program. I don't know what race Rankin is and frankly I don't care, but for her to have such deep seated resentment for white people is a completely different thing.

Rankin has in her close orbit a group of radical race based mercenaries that have viciously attacked people online for the last couple of years. Rankin has not distanced herself from these zealots. It seems the Rankin group has pulled off a coupe of the Soup for Teachers Facebook page. "Resource Exchange" is the new buzz phrase for taking over public education, all one has to do is google the term and then you can connect the dots.

They (Rankin's supporters) have called out Eric as a white guy or a white guy who supports a racist HCC program, they call out others for not knowing the exact white shaming response they are looking for and demanded that those people to drop out.

I don't want to come off as an alarmist, but if people here thought the Ed reform group was a scary threat then I'm here to say that the Ed reform people are benign compared to what's going on right now. One thought was that these people might really be Ed reform people in SJW clothing. Do any of these people have connections to the Gates Foundation?

SPS voter

old salt said...

I second HP.

The opposition to Amplify seems to have surprised folks downtown. Not sure why since after the community backlash against EDM. And given the raw feelings from that experience. What did they think was going to happen?

So shutting down information sharing that they don't control is probably a very attractive goal right now. We all know this blog is the place to come for information about the district. Especially any information that the district is trying to hide from parents.

It makes sense that this blog is a target.

Anonymous said...

Old Lady - I’m puzzled. Are you taking issue with the, as you term them, “SJW’s” on the Facebook page, or MW “supposedly” speaking for POC in SPS - or both? When you say “roll over,” I get the impression you’d rather she doesn’t - but you’re also hoping she takes whatever hint she should be getting.

Confused D2

Rankin's Views said...

Here is what Liza Rankin said on SPS Community discussion on January 31, 2018:

"I’m out of town but just sent this to the board. I favor Resolution 2017/18-10 as it does ask for the district to commit a plan to implement the goal of localized HC high school pathways, but appreciate some of the details added in the substitute resolution. Bottom line - we need to step up for all students and end practices that lead to racially and economically divided opportunities and outcomes, even if (especially if?) it causes temporary discomfort. If you can send a note of support or be there in person, please do so.

Dear school board directors and SPS staff,
I am writing to express my support for the resolutions to bring Highly Capable Pathways back to our neighborhood high schools.
Now is the time for bold leadership and a steadfast commitment to a just and equitable school system that serves all students. Sorting and tracking students into different locations is systematically upholding a separate and unequal system. On the agenda for your meeting tonight is the introduction of a resolution for black lives. Black students’ lives matter, and access to educational opportunities must also matter. Students in SPS who are white and affluent are achieving and advancing at exponentially higher rates than our students of color and poverty. Band-aid fixes only serve to widen the gap, as they tend to allow white students to achieve more and more. The only way to close opportunity gaps and improve outcomes for students of color and low-income students is to commit to providing them with the same resources and opportunities as their more privileged peers.
Testing and identification is only part of the equation. Standardized testing methods that are racially and culturally biased should have no part in any strategy to close opportunity gaps. The struggle shouldn't be for equity in HC; it should be to provide equitable advanced learning opportunities to all students. Striving for more diversity in HCC is centering the needs and wants of the dominant culture - it's making self-segregation more palatable with the presence of more students of color who must choose an environment that was not made with their needs and wants in mind.

Rankin View said...

Continued:

"Diversity isn’t equity - equity is equal access to resources for everyone. We need the district to identify and provide underrepresented groups with the opportunities they deserve in their home schools, so that students of color have the same choices about what community they want to be part of that white students do. (In our segregated city, the choices that white students and students of color make when deciding between the cohort and their home school have very different variables and implications.)
6 of 7 board directors voted in December to localize HC. We need to take a stand for our students and commit to serving their needs where they are geographically and academically. Please don't kick the can on equity by supporting the status quo with a vague plan to plan. The Substitute Resolution includes a priority on “minimizing disruption” which I would argue is antithetical to returning students to their home schools. The whole point is *to disrupt* systems that uphold systemic inequalities and are rooted in racism. Approve a resolution today (some combination of the two?), so we can begin planning NOW to meet an equitable goal - differentiated HC and advanced learning opportunities at every school.
Every classroom, every student, every day.
Thank you,
Liza Rankin

Anonymous said...

Rankin seems to be part of a bigger group of community organizers that are targeting SPS and Seattle for disruption.I have to agree that a coup of sorts has taken place at Soup for Teachers. The smart SPS employees will seek higher ground in a new career, but many will have to suffer through the cloning of Jill Geary.

It's notable that many of your longtime proponents have not come on here to aid in your support against these endless attacks. Even more puzzling is your kudos to Jesse Hagopian, what are you thinking?

Almost out


Melissa Westbrook said...

Rankin View, interesting.

"Students in SPS who are white and affluent are achieving and advancing at exponentially higher rates than our students of color and poverty."

This fact - that Seattle Schools gets good results from white students - helps to explain some of the huge gap that exists and gets widely (rightly) called out. But it's important to note this reason.

"Band-aid fixes only serve to widen the gap, as they tend to allow white students to achieve more and more."

This I don't understand what she's referencing.

"The only way to close opportunity gaps and improve outcomes for students of color and low-income students is to commit to providing them with the same resources and opportunities as their more privileged peers."

The district has now moved mightily to achieve this. However, no district can EVER provide the same opportunities for all children. They can within the school setting but students come from different home environments so the opportunities will never be the same.

Of course, the district should be providing the same resources (or more to students in Title One schools). And, they could be very strict and say that no school can provide more than X number of field trips in a year so that every school has the same number. That would equalize things.

She's for AL at every school but has that happened ever, despite years of CSIPs that say it's so? Nope. I'd love to hear how this will be done because it will take a lot for every single school in the district to meet the same standard of service.

Anonymous said...

As predicted, this blog was so caught up in its own echo chamber (and habit of demonizing dissenting opinions), that it became the John Hickenlooper of the district parent pulse.

Trying to play catch up to stay relevant obviously looks desperate and disingenuously.

This blog has supported the status quo for years, and has done damage as a result.

Playing the victim is laughable. You reap what you sow.

karma

Melissa Westbrook said...

Karma, if I understood half of what you are talking about, I'd respond. I don't so I'll leave it there.

Also, if you want to hear an echo chamber with demonizing dissenting opinions, go to SPS Community page.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all you do Melissa. I've relied on your blog for as long as my kids have been in SPS because you have helped those of us average parents to keep up with what's happening at HQ. Your critics of late are shouting in an echo chamber and frankly doing more to hurt their message than anything. It's too bad, too, because ensuring equity and addressing some of our tough issues is more important than ever in today's political climate.

The Soup for Teachers page is dead for all intents and purposes. Although I am an infrequent visitor, based on posts of late, I don't see these conversations being effective at moving the needle in SPS or building much needed support. Instead, I'm seeing alienating, bullying, mis-characterization of those who could be allies.....none of which will help kids.

I've learned in my years of work experience that you can be really educated, with alot of passion, and possibly more knowledge than others and still fail because you are an a$$hat.

I hope you continue to report on SPS; but I also think others need to step up. Again, thanks for your work, your participation, your note taking, your commitment to kids and families. You've helped me understand that as a parent I can make a difference.

Final thought-don't feed the beast.

-long road

Anonymous said...

How very naive of Liza Rankin to think that returning HCC students to their home schools would reduce racial disparities in opportunities and outcomes. Many of those home schools are even less diverse and more well off. She really doesn't understand what she's talking about--it's just optics.

Meanwhile, all the students who don't fit into her one-size-fits-all desired approach would suffer under her desired plan. Ironically, the ones who would probably suffer the most would be the handful of gifted students at those lower performing schools. You can't just wave a magic wand and suddenly make all students highly capable.

HF

Anonymous said...

As a POC, I’d be happy to let Melissa speak for me. She has always advocated for students. That’s more that the district staff has ever done. They just try to shove their agenda down our throats and claim to be too poor to pay teachers or fund classrooms.

Thank you

Anonymous said...

Let’s all be very clear about what is happening here. Juneau is launching an extremist attack on SPS schools and communities - with Native American education as one of her first and biggest targets. But it won’t stop there. She will attempt to end option schools and will attempt to eliminate teacher jobs and replace them with iPads - something SEA leadership has said it’s ok with given their position on Amplify. And Juneau has allies willing to do her dirty work of smashing any opposition to her agenda - that is the role Chandra Hampson, Liza Rankin, Manuela Slye, Tracy Castro-Gill, and others are happy to play because they’ve spent years resenting the influence some at this blog have, and if aiding and abetting the destruction of SPS is how they get their own influence, they’re happy to do so.

Juneau is leading a deeply inequitable administration and her disdain for Native American families, Black families (as we saw with the Washington Middle School mess) is just the tip of the iceberg. Will school board members and candidates stand up to her? Or will they help her gut this district? As for us, we need this blog more than ever, and the attacks on it and Melissa are about to get even worse. But those attacks are political attacks designed to silence opposition. We must resist.

Interested Voter

Alsept Teresa said...

“. And, they could be very strict and say that no school can provide more than X number of field trips in a year so that every school has the same number. That would equalize things. ”

The idea that some schools have more field strips because they have more resources is shortsighted. To take students to Alki Point, like I’ve done for years costs about $650 for the buses. That is peanuts to he district and I’m not sure they they charge schools, but regardless if they wanted they could simply not charge some schools. However, that is not the real reason some schools don’t take field trips. The real reason is because it’s a lot of work and teachers have to take that on, on top of everything else they do.

Instability said...

Rankin's plan involves enrollment numbers, bussing changes and pulling students from their existing schools. Adding enrollment changes, financial considerations, bussing changes and student disruption would cause chaos.



Instability said...

Sadly, I agree with Interested Voter.


Perhaps that is the intention of the Marxists behind Rankin and Hampson.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Instability, "Marxists?" C'mon.

Also, from Liza Rankin today at the Facebook page:

"Hi all, I stepped away from moderating here awhile back and haven’t been reading/keeping up, but I’m still listed as an admin and have gotten a few messages recently. I’m a candidate for school board moving on to the November ballot, so it seems inappropriate for me to be an admin even in name only. The current admins are revamping the comment and participation policy. Please let Megan Claire know by PM if you’re interested in helping keep this space focused on equity and supporting educators."

Really? She just totally missed all the slash and burn over there? And she "got a few messages?" More like a Bat signal.

What's also interesting for a Facebook page started to support teachers and I haven't seen any talk about the contract negotiations nor going out on Monday to support the teachers' overpass action.

Anonymous said...

A few things about Rankin's FB message.

She's not being truthful regarding not being on Facebook. (I'm friends with a family member and Rankin doesn't understand how others can see your private post on FB)

Let's assume she is being truthful then you would think her supporters who are constantly posting on Facebook would have warned her via email or her professional political consultant would have told her to quit being the admin back in May/June or they would be monitoring the site for harmful post on her behalf. Rankin has not condemed the FB comments she simply dosn't want to be the admin now.

Her post should cause concern because she doesn't understand that once you're a candidate or school board member anything you say or anything someone you are following says will be under scrutiny. sort of like Ms. Highline. It will be much worst if these SJW candidates who are vocally anti white win. They will feel empowered to do and say even more outragious things.

Rankin has been busy scrubbing her post and files from the internet. I have been archiving her data for future releases.

Rankin reads and post on the SSS blog. She knows what people are saying. I'm sure her consultant has told her to deny, delay and defend.

Rankin's ideology is clear based on her internet footprint and per her ideology she will not be representing all students and in my opinion will be purposely harming students by disrupting their education. Hell she brags about doing so.

I welcome Rankin debating anything I have posted here and remeber I have the information archived.

SPS voter

NotA Marxist said...

Yes, Marxist. Check out the book: A Marxist Education and note the author.

Anonymous said...

Where did all these ideologs come from. Looks to me like they have been spending the last 4 years preparing for a takeover of SPS. You know we don't have to sit back and allow this to happen.

--Red Flag

Anonymous said...

OMG the ring leader is Au,

As a public high school teacher, Dr. Au began writing regularly for Rethinking Schools, co-founded the Puget Sound Rethinking Schools group, and he joined the steering committee of the National Coalition of Education Activists. He remains active with the local Rethinking Schools group, and has been involved in coordinating the Annual Northwest Conference on Teaching for Social Justice.

And to think our tax dollars are first being spent to give Au a laboratory at the UW to then turn out his SLW army against the same tax payers. It's time to kill the funding for Au and his followers.

--Red Flag

Mike said...

@MW I'm guessing Instability was referring to the attempt by some in SPS to install curricula based on Marxist critical pedagogy, which has been popularized on college campuses and is now being (inappropriately) applied to K-12.

In earlier posts I mentioned critical pedagogy is being pushed by the manager of SPS Ethnic Studies. I wondered if you or parents realized it's a Marxist pedagogy claiming "social justice" as it's goal.

In effect, critical pedagogy assumes everybody will be equal and treated equitably after the "oppressors" are held back until the 'downtrodden' are able to reach the same economic and educational levels as the oppressors. There is special emphasis on 'thinking about the social implications of a school subject' rather than actually gaining facts or performing mathematical operations. Does this sound like Everyday Math or Amplify, perhaps? Does it partially explain why a significant number of graduates aren't ready for Freshman math and writing at college?

I'll add that adherents of critical pedagogy are 'true believers' who see nothing wrong with lying, obfuscating, misrepresenting, race-baiting, insulting or any other tactic to further their agenda. Taking over Soup for Teachers to raise the 'downtrodden' would be a righteous act - all the more so if they can hide their scheme behind the good name of an established organization.

NotA Marxist said...

Rankin accepted Au's endorsement. She owes taxpayers an explanation as to why she is supported by an individual that is promoting Marxism in education. What part of the Marxist pedagogy does Rankin plan on supporting and promoting. Elimination of HCC may be part of the equation.

Con't said...

"He discusses why he has been careful about revealing that he is a Marxist. Au’s father was a Communist, and he instructed Au to be quiet about this to avoid persecution. So, from an early age, Au learned that there were dangers associated with revealing one’s leftist politics. Later in life, as a graduate student, Au learned that US academics generally dismiss Marxists as illegitimate. To become a successful academic and publish in acclaimed journals, faculty members must be cautious about sharing their Marxist orientations.
Although a reader can infer from Au’s tone and anecdotes that there are dangers associated with being a Marxist educator and implementing radical pedagogy and curriculum, it might have been helpful for Au to be more explicit about potential risks. When individual educators act in isolation, at a minimum, they risk being ostracized, but they may face more serious risks, such as being fired, threatened, or worse. It is important for Marxist and radical educators to be cautious, aware, and well supported. This support can come from a variety of sources, including from friends, family members, and colleagues, as well as local, national, and international organizations. Citing another Marxist educator, Brian Jones, Au explains that even if you are the only Marxist educator in your workplace or community, you do not have to be the lonely Marxist. He advises readers to network, collaborate, and spend time with other radicals in person or by other means, including social media."

https://isreview.org/issue/111/dialectical-practice-marxist-educator

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

Us Marxists are laughing and laughing.

Joe Wolf said...

From the Capitol Hill Seattle blog: New private middle school for boys opening in the Central District.

https://www.capitolhillseattle.com/2019/08/new-seattle-school-for-boys-private-middle-school-opening-in-the-central-district/?fbclid=IwAR2FGnyHFIJwnyQub80ShTcJWRe_0LcpgoJ5OWLAsDVKszHovkbkKulToBA

Melissa Westbrook said...

To all that provided the information on Professor Au, thank you. I did not know this at all.

I note that he was one of the people supporting Castro Gill's calls against my work. He and I worked together on the No on 1240 campaign against charter schools so I was quite surprised. When I contacted him about his piling on, he said yeah but that I didn't defend him in a long-ago blog post (that I reread and thought, "That's what bothered him?"). He clarifies that HE didn't call me anything but:

"In that spirit, I really think it is worth it to seriously consider what might be driving that perspective about you or your blog."

Problem is, they refuse to understand what it means to have an open forum blog. Problem is, he knew me and could of contacted me about concerns he had but he didn't.

I'm surprised that he thinks name-calling (that he didn't do) as a method for change.

Of course, now that I know more of the backstory of his academic goals,it becomes clearer.

Thank you, Joe, for that info on that new school. It actually sounds pretty good and at $10K a year, that's reasonable for a private school. And they will have a tiered system for paying that so even more so. It will likely challenge Washington Middle School for population.

Anonymous said...

Ok here’s the thing. The criticisms of Au are absurd. Nothing wrong with being a Marxist or an SJW. These sorts of trolling comments do take away from the discussion and the issues.

What is happening here is that they’re simply doing a bad job of advocating for kids of color. They are more interested in power plays and attacking Melissa than in fighting for kids of color who face specific harms.

Notice there are no comments from Tracy, Liza, Chandra, or Manuela on the former Soup FB Group thread about Licton Springs’ new principal - even though that thread has over 50 comments. Did they speak out when kids of color were being hurt and harassed by that principal at WMS? Have they spoken up for UNEA? Did SCPTSA put out any statements about the WMS principal when she was harassing students of color? Have school board candidates Liza and Chandra put out statements about the horrible principal being assigned to Licton Springs? Notice that it was a school board candidate who posted about Licton Springs on the former Soup FB Group so Liza and Chandra’s silence is even more significant.

Tracy thinks it’s absurd that she gets called out as supporting white male corporate ed reformers...but that’s *precisely* what she did when she went nuclear on critics of Amplify. She will be doing it again when she launches attacks on defenders of option schools when the JSCEE moves to close them in order to impose a standardized curriculum that white male ed reformers want.

Wayne Au surely knows better and has to understand that the people he has spent years fighting are now advancing the same corporate agenda but doing so under the cover of equity. But he seems to not care any more.

Owlet

Corporate Model said...

It appears the same people that have objected to the corporate model of education (one size fits all and standardization) will be promoting the corporate model of education in the name of equity.

I hope cooler heads prevail and actually understand that everyone has a right to speak.

You are amazing Melissa. Hang in there.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Owlet, just for myself, I don't care if Au is a Marxist or a SJW. But knowing that makes it clearer to me how he frames his work (even if he isn't saying that outloud). I don't agree that it's trolling.

I do agree with you about the silence from some on the issue of Licton Springs.

Anonymous said...

@Owlet
Seattle Council did come to our school, more than once, for PTA meetings. I also saw them meeting with African American families at a different point. I don't know what transpired at that meeting and I don't need to know. It seems to me it was a dedicated space for parents of color. I am not a parent, and I am white.
Last time I saw Slye, she was in attendance at the TAF meeting with WMS families. And then she requested to talk to our principal.
Regarding UNEA, I don't know their position. If you so care, why don't you ask? Regarding lack of comments on social media: does it occur to you there are real ways to take action? Do you know for a fact they have not written or spoken to supt and/or board? It seems to me you are stuck in the "I make a statement on facebook therefore I am an agent of change" So cute.

WMS IA

Anonymous said...

Tracy is wrong to assert that readers of this blog would oppose ethnic studies curriculum or would sue to stop it. I support it and want it to succeed. There is one troll who comments on this blog who will continue to trash it but that person remains unrepresentative. Yet Tracy continues to lump everyone together. Why? Because her goal is to silence people and disempower people. That’s inappropriate, especially for an SPS employee.

Owlet

Anonymous said...

The thing about Au and his follower's goals is not about helping Licton Springs or Washington Middle School. It's about how they (Marxists) seek out to divide communities by playing those who seem to be oppressed against those that have been successful. I'm not going to get into the weeds on the subject because people are more than capable of looking into the subject themselves.

Basically this is how they operate,

Marxist stage one- Frame the argument. SPS is racist and so is any program not specially designed for POC and any person who supports it.
Marxist stage two- Personally attack those with opposing views. We have seen these attacks on SSS blog, FB, Twitter even the Seattle Times.
Marxist stage three- Infiltrate public education. Take a look at SPS hirings and the SB election.
Marxist stage four- Discard the useful idiots. Not name calling just using Marxist own words and yes Melissa you have been used then discarded.
Marxist stage five- Change public school curriculum. The easiest way to do this is in electronic form. The indoctrination can be very personal where text books can not


I think what is genius of Marxist like Au is that not only has he fooled so many people, but that we the people that oppose his ideology have paid for him to spread it. The Marxist or aka SJWs have targeted SPS for takeover and have declared anyone and anything that doesn't conform to their ideology as racist. We know how hard it is to fight against the term, but I will say this, if what these SJWs claim is true then wouldn't that make all teachers racist?, because why would a person continue to work in a racist institution unless they were a racist? In reality we know that SPS is not racist and that SPS teachers are not racist, but the SJWs keep beating their all things are racist drum because that's all they have and it's working.

In this country people are free to pursue any ideology they like, but to those who do please remember not to confuse our tolerance as acceptance.

-- Red Flag

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, too many people have abetted extreme inequalities on this blog for years. PTA sharing was an absolute nonstarter. Mob mentality against anyone who questioned HCC included defense of the demographics that included lead paint in poverty and how accomplished people have gifted children. Borderline eugenics and beyond.

What do you expect? The political climate was changing and the dominant narrative on this blog was stuck in some time warp.

Enough with the red scare. It reeks of desperation to hold onto a loss of power and privilege.

karma

Anonymous said...

There is a valid Marxist critique of critical race theory/critical pedagogy that should concern Au more than it does and that Owler and Red Flag allude to. Marxists sees the class struggle as the lynchpin of the dialectic because capital or money is the source of power. Critical race theorists tend to replace class with race and see race as the sole source of power. They discount money significantly. Whenever critical race theorists uncouple race and class in their struggle against oppression, they can too easily become tools of the capitalists and right wing, because natural allies by class, such as working class whites and working class blacks, become polarized and divided from each other along race lines and end up struggling against each other instead of against the oppressor. But by ignoring the issue of class, this also radicalizes working class whites against their economic self-interest and drives them to the right.

Critical race theorists suppose that racist actions by one non-dominant race group against another cannot be racist, so critical race theorists and critical pedagogues are too tolerant of racism among minority groups, in a good Marxist's eyes. These internecine fights hurt everyone. The phenomenon is leveraged by the right wing to keep the left divided, unorganized, and susceptible to Trumpism and other forms of race-based right wing nationalism, and it requires little effort because it is the left itself undermining the left.

We have conflicts of interest on top of this, because racial equity advocates in Seattle tend to be very wealthy, so they are perfectly comfortable uncoupling race and class, as they prefer not to undermine the power they derive from their class.

All this is going on in Seattle right now. Critical race theory and critical pedagogy unwittingly are being used as tools of the right wing to maintain its dominance while staying out of the fray, leaving ignorant leftists to fight among themselves. Race and class have to remain tightly linked in the struggle to keep the left united against oppression. Without ample focus on class, the so-called SJWs just become tools of the right and ultimately will further, rather than impede, oppression.

Proletariat Unite

Con't Discussion said...

My comments should be not taken as an attack.

We're seeing fierce levels of aggression. No one person owns the truth. If groups are forming to break advanced learning, I will only mention that little attention has been paid to the concept of alienation.

Anonymous said...

Snippet from last week's exchange:

TCG: "I am going to respond by asking you to consider the credentials of the people you are taking advice from. If you want to understand if something is racist, are you going to take your cues from a white woman with no formal training on critical race theory, or a woman of color who not only has formal training, but is employed to teach others about it?"

RKD: "Are you a wyte person? If so, your not seeing the racism a womxn of color is calling out is called privilege. Ytfolx don’t get to decide what is or isn’t racist to black and brown people."

SD: "Yes, I am a white person. But [M] isn't. So why doesn't she count?"

TCG: "[M], herself, has written very publicly that she identifies as a white woman."

SD: "She is also Mexican I believe. And are no white people allowed to discuss race? How do we have a conversation and learn, without discussing?..."

TCG: "Did I, or anyone, say white people can't talk about race? I teach white people how to talk about race..."

One could write a dissertation on the perspectives encapsulated above.

observer

Anonymous said...

The analogy of this conflict is more like one between the Clinton Democrat types and the Sanders types. I disagree with your framing of your opponents' methods as way to help Trump. That is a scare tactic. Since Seattle is an overwhelming Democratic bastion, liberal infighting won't play out into larger effects like it does in the rust belt, etc.

Information is power and, so as long as this was the only game in town, lots of people were left out of grapevine who didn't read this blog.

That was then, this is now. Information is now being dispersed through many channels. As a result, many more are aware of what's been going on in this district. They don't like the fact that it has been structured to benefit certain privileged people for way too long.

I'm not in agreement with a lot of what I read from "the other side." They are too caught up in jargon and undergraduate critical theory. This results in a simplistic way to to look at the problems in the district--literally in black and white.

However, I'll take the outcomes. It's a way to step forward outside of the power and privilege that have been allowed to run the show in SPS. Too many administrators have been afraid of what they saw as the the "power parents" and didn't question (too loudly) PTA funding, HCC inequities, and the like for fear of being run out of town.

What's up with the use of "SJW"? Nothing like using perjorative terms to make a point, I guess.

karma




Anonymous said...

Oh darn I forgot a couple more very important additinal Marxist ploys, infiltrate the media and entertainment industry. The Marxist are employed by the Seattle Times and Crosscut for sure. Also they are making their way into local NGOs and religious groups.

"critical pedagogues are too tolerant of racism among minority groups" that's interesting and makes me think possible the Ed reformers are using the SJW movement to fracture public education to the point that we are all going to be looking for a savior.

--Red Flag

Con't said...

A dissertation could be written about observer's comments.

Anonymous said...

touche

Anonymous said...

karma's comment gives away the game. To them, smashing privilege is more important than helping kids of color. That explains the lack of interest in the attack on Native education or the suffering of kids of color at the hands of the former WMS principal.

Red Flag's comments should be deleted anyway but especially the one they posted at 7:31 PM, which predictably veers into anti-Semitism. Racism should have no place here.

Proletariat Unite's comment is one of the smartest things I've seen here in a long time. Uncoupling race and class plays right into the hands of the oppressor every time.

Duck

Anonymous said...

@Duck

What makes you think that I'm into "smashing privilege" for its own sake? Making the district truly more equitable will help low income and children of color significantly. Using horrible examples of NOT being equitable (Native education and WMS) is a straw man argument.

Let's work together to make this district more effective and fair for all students.

karma



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

Moving on, What is all this talk by SEA that SPS has hidden $167,000,000?

Does SEA have proof?

SPS Voter

Melissa Westbrook said...

Red Flag, I have been called many things but "useful idiot" isn't one of them. I'll add it to the list.

"because why would a person continue to work in a racist institution unless they were a racist?"

That's an interesting comment because it means not only are the teachers/staff mostly racist but the entire institution is inherently racist because it was built by and with the white dominant culture.

I think the zealots would say that all white teachers are racist (as are all white people because white culture is the dominant one in this country). But even reeducating the teaching corps will not change the entire institution. And how you reform entire institutions is quite the endeavor.

"No one person owns the truth." I would agree but tell that to the zealots and they will say, "We do." Absolutely. I have never heard Castro Gill ever confess to not knowing something or ceding space to anyone else on any given topic.

Observer, I have never said I'm an expert on race and bias. But I certainly am entitled to my opinion as it pertains to this district because of my years of experience. But again, Castro Gill will have none of it. I puzzled over her assertion that I identify as white but yet I'm not allowed my Mexican heritage. She and Chandra have said that to me. And she's only half-Mexican but has chosen to identify as a POC but talks about her white mother at her blog. Did I miss some rules somewhere about who decides what a person is?

Karma, I smiled at "undergraduate critical theory." Was that meant as a burn? As well, I find that some people find SJW to be a burn and others wear it with pride. It's hard to know in any given comment exactly how it's being viewed. That's why I say zealot.

Duck, I may be dim but how is the the last Red Flag comment anti-Semitic?

Karma, well, there are some that seem to want to reduce public education to mean the same, same, same at every school. I don't think that's what people are fighting for when we fight for kids of color. There are always people who use others' hard work for their own ends. And sadly, some of them really don't care about those kids.

SPS Vote, please don't be cryptic. Either say who you are talking about or I'll delete it.

WhatA Disgrace said...

Melissa was bashed on the SPS Community forum by a district employee with a PhD. This person felt that because she had a PhD, her knowledge was superior, and, in her mind, that was a license to call Melissa horrible names.

I will point out that Melissa has earned the respect of educators that hold PhDs. These PhD level educators have spent decades working in SPS schools. They held administrative level positions. But mostly, these individuals have spent decades working for social justice. Melissa has worked beside them and she is a respected member of their community.

WhatA Disgrace said...

If the goal is to take PTA funding, they will only end-up hurting low income children non title 1 schools.

Melissa Westbrook said...

WhatADisgrace, thanks for that. To note, Castro Gill is working on her PhD from an online university.

What was astonishing to me is attacking Eric Blumhagen and telling him to step aside for a POC to run. Problem is Liza Rankin (to the best of my knowledge) is white and Sanaz Saadat who may be a POC didn't clear the primary. So Eric and Liza should be step aside? Hmm.

Why do you think taking PTA funding and sharing it will hurt low-income kids?

WhatA Disgrace said...

What astonishes me is that Castro -Gill looks at a person's lineage and makes a determination. Astonishing. Shameful. Disturbing. Frightening.

I don't have a problem with PTAs sharing their dollars. The proposals are yet to be determined. I will say that non-title 1 schools use their PTA dollars to support low income students.

Anonymous said...

WOW Soup for teacher has been totally Hijacked.

"SPS Discussion and Resource Exchange is refocusing and going through a transitional period. In the upcoming weeks, we will be updating our mission and comment policy to be more explicitly supportive of marginalized groups. We will also be putting together a robust team of mods who will enforce this comment policy. If you would like to participate in this process, please PM me.

In the meantime I would like to underscore a very important point: I’ve received numerous comments from group members, both publicly and privately, suggesting that posts that call out racism are “personal attacks” or “slander.” This is not the case. Posts calling out racism or any other form of ignorance and discrimination are an invitation to sit in the discomfort of having your privilege pointed out and to think critically about how the different forms of oppression you benefit from permeate our society. White folks, especially, have a tendency to derail these critical conversations in order to center their own experiences or feelings over those impacted by the issue. "

Who the hell gave these folks the keys to the kingdom?

FB bullies

Mao's Fifedom said...

" Posts calling out racism or any other form of ignorance and discrimination are an invitation to sit in the discomfort of having your privilege pointed out and to think critically about how the different forms of oppression you benefit from permeate our society. "

Anyone that interacts with SPS Community forum deserves what they get. Grab your little red book.

Anonymous said...

I doubt the creators and supporters of the original FB page "SOUP FOR TEACHERS" are behind this new direction or support what is going on. It would be nice for someone to bring back the original page.

FB bullies

Melissa Westbrook said...

FB Bullies, here's the thing. I'm not sure I would agree with your phrasing "the keys to the kingdom" which is a telling phrase. Who has the keys to the kingdom in this country? White people. So it's not odd at all that POC want to have access to those keys AND let people know that they have been shut out too long.

As to the new update at that Facebook page, I'm not surprised. That Facebook page started as a rallying cry from parents (very generous parents) to support the teachers during the strike. Those parents did yeoman's work. Then, it evolved to give more information and news as well as alert parents to issues of import.

To their announced changes - it's a private Facebook page and they can do whatever they want. Will it drive off some people who don't want to be in a WWW smackdown? Probably. But again, it's their page.

I read this:

"...comment policy to be more explicitly supportive of marginalized groups. We will also be putting together a robust team of mods who will enforce this comment policy."

I'm thinking that means that anyone who is not POC should wait to comment on any given post. How long that is, I don't know but it might be good for the mods to give a timeframejust so everyone knows who can post and when. As a moderator myself, that sounds very tricky.

I see that school board candidate Liza Rankin approves of this new commenting policy as does candidate Molly E. Mitchell.

I also think there is a huge difference between calling out racism versus ignorance but again, they do not. We all have a lot to learn especially in a rapidly changing world. I think helping people with that process rather than demeaning them is a better way to create understanding, action and allies.

Grievance Studies said...

Soup for Teachers was so easy to say. SPS Community Discussion and Resource Exchange doesn't exactly roll off the tongue the same way, so I just call them "CaDRE" now.

This article by Roderick Graham (asst. professor at Old Dominion University) on "grievance studies" (critical race theory, women’s studies, queer studies, etc.) is actually quite helpful in contextualizing what we're seeing in the war between the old CaDRE group and this blog now.

TCG is attempting to "de-platform" voices she disagrees with.

Hi article is long, but worth reading:
https://arcdigital.media/the-political-and-the-principled-a-different-take-on-grievance-studies-1984b0c3fb41



Anonymous said...

The rules seem to be that identifying as white negates POC identity. You then cede any authority to speak as a POC. Perhaps an oversimplification, but that is how the exchange reads.

For Highline's sake, I hope candidate Garcia gets strong support in November's election. In the primary, he and TCG are separated by only 50 or so votes.

voter

Melissa Westbrook said...

"War" is a strong word and one I would not use.

Anonymous said...

Always worth remembering *why* TCG is trying to deplatform Melissa - she did it in order to ensure that an online science curriculum concocted by white billionaires got adopted by SPS. TCG believes she alone is qualified to speak about and make decisions for SPS - she's attacked quite literally everyone else, including an immigrant Latinx mom and a Native American superintendent. She is a typical bully who misuses racial equity as a cover for her toxic behavior.

Actual Antifa

Anonymous said...

It's funny that the FB post casts their dialogue as "those calling out racism" vs. those of "privilege," as if POC can't be privileged and vice versa. It's particularly ironic when TCG likes to pull out her "PhD" as proof of the legitimacy of her POC viewpoint, suggesting her perspective is more valuable because she has (or is working on) a PhD...which she would probably say is elitist and a marker of privilege in a white or maybe even Asian person. Those who are in positions of power or influence (e.g. district administrators, SB candidates) also probably fit that category of "privileged" compared to many, but in their eyes lowly blog commenters who have virtually no influence on the school district or board members and who are just struggling to help their kids survive all the SPS BS and constant ratcheting down of services are the "privileged" ones who just shut up and let these more vocal and connected POC tell them what's what and continue to attack our kids, who are also considered "oppressors" because of their skin color or parental income? This is insanity, and they are such shameful hypocrites.

Oh, and @karma/FWIW, we see through you, and yes, it's clear that you do want to smash privilege. I think the goal of making things more equitable is a great one, but while you say you want to "make this district more effective and fair for all students," your past words have made it clear there are certain groups that you'd be happy to exclude from fair treatment--certain students for whom you'd be thrilled to see their privilege smashed by not providing them with appropriately challenging instruction. When you say you may not agree with a lot of what you read from "the other side" that is "too caught up in jargon and undergraduate critical theory" and looking at things too simplistically "literally in black and white," what do you mean when you say that, however, you'll "take the outcomes"? What outcomes? This blow-it-all-up approach is not generating positive outcomes now, and there's not much evidence it will. What are the desired outcomes for all students, and how will we know that that we are being, in your words, "effective" for all students?

HF

Anonymous said...

As stated, I'm not into getting rid of prvilege for its own sake but as a means of making educational experiences and opportunites more fair for students who have not gotten fair treatment in this district.

Are you aware of the Black parents who are leaving the district because they are tired of decades of the district shortchanging their kids and worse? Google the Seattle Times article.

While this blog spent endless threads for years on HCC and how to maintain its disgraceful process of qualification, which has been deemed against most practices by endless experts, certain demographics in SPS have continued to be failed by the policies of SPS. For them it can have consequences like lifelong poverty and even prison.

If you take these facts as an attack against you and your own, that's your problem.

I don't need to answer your questions. Figure out the answers yourself. What would make this distric more effective for all students? Do your own research and then start advocating for all students. That would help.

Maybe if the people on this blog had spent more attention to the big picture instead of naval gazing, reality wouldn't be such a shock right now.

karma

Anonymous said...

meant navel, not naval..

This privilege ship has sailed, I'd say.

karma

Anonymous said...

Funding is not the issue with low performing Title One schools. Part of the problem has to do with setting low expectations. For example, right from the start the district broadcast that they believe there is either a bias against African American male (AAM) students or there is something inherently wrong with AAMs ability to learn. To be clear, I don't believe either of those statements to be true.

When an AAM reads the declarations in the Seattle School District's Strategic Plan I can imagine they are hurt, embarrassed or possible even angry or maybe all three. As with SPED there is sometimes in schools an underling resentment by parents who think that SPED students are taking away funding from non SPED students. This is not true and it has been shown as false in part by the recorded violations of the IDEA laws by the district. I fear that the same resentment could happen with AAMs students as still happens against SPED students.

I'm afraid that the new district's plan will cause more problems than it will fix. In fact there is nothing published by the district on how they are going to help AAMs, they only provide confusing jargon and hyperbole.

I believe the district and the board have made a huge mistake by indirectly calling out the district as racist in a round about way and by acting racist by declaring that AAM students are somehow inferior to other non-AAM students.

SPED parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

"While this blog spent endless threads for years on HCC and how to maintain its disgraceful process of qualification, which has been deemed against most practices by endless experts, certain demographics in SPS have continued to be failed by the policies of SPS."

Really? Look, I have ALWAYS said things needed to change in Advanced Learning (and the byzantine nature of the program was what brought me into district activism in the first place).

But your main point is correct and I just had an interesting conversation today with a local activist about that. The district is getting a shake up and that is good news.

However, I've been around long enough to see other initiatives get taken over and held high as a beacon of fairness/equity when really they never get off the ground and it was all a political ploy for someone's career. We have to fight that.

"If you take these facts as an attack against you and your own, that's your problem."

Right, we all have to deal with working out these systemic issues and yes, they can come home in a personal way.

But again, if we can't speak to each other in a civil, non-demeaning manner, then expect that there will be some who won't be the allies needed for this work. I know there are people who just can't take conflict and there will be some. But if it looks like a brawl, they will step away.

I think some who are advocating for their candidates for school board might heed this. I've never been afraid of getting in the mix but I have learned that many, many others do not want to do that. Call it fragility or avoidance of conflict but, bottom line, they have a vote for school board as everyone else. Want to get elected? I don't think the hammer is the way to go. I could be wrong.

Anonymous said...

Can anybody actually describe what the contract issues are? What are the points of contention in the contract process, if any?

back to basics please

Anonymous said...

MW, your mantra in the HCC debate, for years here, has been that it's "open to everyone." That was an endorsement for business as usual.


You did not, in fact, advocate for change in qualification to HCC until relatively recently. You also were a strong advocate for Spectrum.

karma

Melissa Westbrook said...

Back to Basics, salaries (because of the costs of living in Seattle), fair workload, “meeting the needs of the whole student”, PD and lens of racial equity access. This from SEA. Not sure what the district’s priorities are.

Karma, you are wrong, wrong, wrong (or you subjectively read posts. By Board policy and Superintendent’s procedure, the process was open to all. And the district made changes that made it more so. That as NOT an endorsement of business as usual. In fact, I wrote a lengthly blog post a couple of years back when Sue Peters brought in a top expert for a Board Work Session. I endorsed many of those changes (and none of them happened).

Also, I did advocate for Spectrum; it kept kids in their neighborhood and saved the district transportation dollars.

I have always said if the district provided AL services in all schools, I’d be okay with that. But it has never, ever happened.

Katie said...

I attended my first meeting on "changes to qualifications" for AL in 2003. That was the year that SPS did universal testing.

At that meeting, Dr Vaughn, the long time head of AL, was very clear that there were extreme challenges in proper identification and that they were "working on it." The meeting further clarified how this was a national issue.

The results of universal testing was a massive uptick in AL enrollment and that uptick was almost exclusively white. Dr. Vaughn stressed that they were working hard to find multiple means to identify under represented groups. However, all of the strategies for identifying minorities, would also identify a disproportionate number of white students and therefore increase the lack of representation.

He said that they would be working on improving enrollment from already identified students.

Many, many advocates have died on that hill over the years. This blog is not the cause of that problem.

Anonymous said...

Just a note to parents. You can take your 8th graders into any of the local colleges for both an english and math assessment test. I think it cost $45 to take the administered test.

SPED parent

Anonymous said...

@karma, the problem is that "getting rid of privilege...as a means of making educational experiences and opportunities more fair for students who have not gotten fair treatment in this district" wouldn't actually do that. Cutting HCC does not get rid of privilege.

Qualification for HCC is not a good proxy for privilege. Most students of high-income families do NOT qualify for HCC. If you want to fight against privilege, HCC should not be the bogeyman. Eliminating HCC and making those students go to their neighborhood schools will not make most of those home school demographics any less privileged. It also would not mean that neighborhood schools would suddenly evolve and offer more challenging learning experiences for their students, except maybe in some of the most privileged schools where the numbers--and vocal parents--might help bring that about. That would effectively increase inequities between schools, as the "basic educational" programs would become more disparate.

There's a bizarre sense that those kids who do qualify for HCC are privileged and don't really "deserve" it because they haven't really done anything to "earn" it. But should we serve kids based on how hard they've worked rather than based on their academic level--and if so, how do we measure past effort? Does the kid who spent her summer in science camp and reading literature and watching math videos not deserve it because she had the privilege to do so and didn't have to care for her siblings instead? Does a kid to whom learning comes easy not deserve it because learning comes easy?

I understand--and agree with--the desire to ensure that qualification criteria are fair and equitable, but services needs to be considered as part of that equation at the same time. Qualification criteria and services need to be tied to each other. If qualification is based on local norms (with the result that different groups of students will be at different achievement/preparation levels), there need to be service options that reflect that. Your guy the CogAt developer says just that. On the other hand, if you have an achievement based program, where you simply give kids the material a year two ahead of schedule, eligibility should be based on current preparedness. A single program can't be all things to all people.

Personally, I'd like to see both approaches go hand in hand. We need a program that identifies those who are capable of significantly above grade level work but not yet achieving at that level; some sort of intensive services that help them get there. Then we also need a program for kids already achieving significantly above grade level, because most classroom teachers aren't capable of serving them in a regular classroom when they have a bunch of other kids working at grade level, below grade level, only a year above grade level, etc.

I've said all this before--as have others--but you seem to enjoy painting all HCC parents as defending the status quo and I know nothing I say will change that, so whatever. If we have A and B but also need C, it's a little bizarre to call those who argue to not eliminate B as defending the status quo. We're not arguing that we don't need C--just that we shouldn't get rid of B just because we're still figuring out C stuff.

The most effective approach, in my eyes, is to stop worrying so much about who is qualifying right now and start directing a lot more attention and resources to the pipeline. Catch kids early and ensure that they get the services they need to fully demonstrate their high capacity, reducing AL program disparities over time as the currently-underserved groups get better services.

all types

Anonymous said...

@karma/FWIW, we agree on many things re: the need to better serve and identify HC students. However, I don't agree that we can decouple the program of services from the eligibility criteria--there needs to be an appropriate match, and there needs to be some consistency across the district (i.e., you don't want an Asian who's in the top 3% at one school moving to a lower performing school so they can be in the top 2% and qualify, just as you don't want a student who's in the top 1% at a lower performing school but working AT grade level getting above-grade-level work while a student working above grade level but at only at the 97th percentile for their high performing school to get only grade level work).

We need solutions that better serve all by building students up, not tearing others down.

all types

Anonymous said...

Highly educated parents is the demographic from which HCC is mostly comprised, which is a form of privilege, as well.

As has been stated before, HC is a service and not a program, as defined by state law. HC is not about fitting qualified students exclusively into a pre-existing program box that was in place before the state law was enacted.

The programmming vs. qualification feedback loop argument is also a ship that has already sailed.

Again, if having HC finally follow best practices feels like "tearing down," that is the problem of the beholder.

karma

Melissa Westbrook said...

All Types, yes, karma does sound a lot like FWIW.

"The programmming vs. qualification feedback loop argument is also a ship that has already sailed."

I don't agree.

Anonymous said...

@karma, I can see you’re very into ships sailing right now, but that last comment doesn’t make any sense. Programming, or services, should fit with the qualification criteria. THAT would be best in accordance with best practices. Maybe it’s sailed in the sense that SPS needs to address the eligibility, but it absolutely has not yet sailed when it comes to services. So, huh?

The problem is that when you make statements like “having HCC finally follow best practices,” you’re only looking at only one component of best practices—eligibility. But simply changing eligibility criteria without fundamentally changing the nature of services to match is a recipe for continued inadequacy. Services need to fit the target population(s).

Your next comment will likely be a reluctant agreement, with a statement that we also need a continuum of services—which, from where I sit, requires some pretty rosy glasses to see happening anytime soon in SPS. Sure, the ALTF version whatever they’re on now has talked about a lot of things, but it’s FAR from clear that they’ll settle on a rec that would cover the range of HC students an provide a true continuum. It’s even less clear that SPS would actually implement something that sweeping if they did. The ALTF has mentioned concerns about feasibility, and we know there’s little political will downtown and at many schools for something comprehensive. So, continuum how so?

I’m truly at a loss for what exactly you think this shiny new incoming ship will look like, and how it’s going to provide safe harbor and and a reasonable voyage for the extremely diverse range of kids who all need a ride. Maybe if you could help clarify (instead of avoiding the question as usual) what you see coming—and have seen on the near horizon for seemingly years now—that would help. You often disappear in the face of legitimate questions, but maybe not this time?

All types

Anonymous said...

The truth is that I believe that the district wants to dismantle HCC to score equity points, fake equity points. The well off schools will offer acceleration and enrichment to their students while the title one and almost title one schools will focus on bringing students to standard. Those schools won’t be able to offer the same things to their advanced learners, no peer group, no clustering. But the optics problem will be gone.
The neighborhood schools are incredibly inequitable in terms or resources and leadership mindset. Black and brown kids will suffer the most. But SPS will be happy and call it a victory.

Fake equity

Anonymous said...

@Fake Equity. I teach in SPS and couldn’t agree with you more.
Disgusted

Anonymous said...

Hmm
How will well off schools offer acceleration and enrichment? Who is paying for it?


Fed up

Anonymous said...

@ SPED Parent,
"When an AAM reads the declarations in the Seattle School District's Strategic Plan I can imagine they are hurt, embarrassed or possible even angry or maybe all three. "

Nope. You do not get to speak for us AAM parents. You do not get to "imagine" how we feel. Whatever way we feel, we chose when and who to express it to and we do not ask for permission.
I am a Sped Parent myself and I do not need you to tell me how I feel.

Fed up

Maps said...

Karma said- "Highly educated parents is the demographic from which HCC is mostly comprised"??? SPS doesn't track that information, so you just made that up. And the data suggests otherwise.

According to the 2016 ACS, 27% of Seattleites have a graduate or professional degree. That number clearly has no correlation with HCC.(https://www.seattle.gov/Documents/Departments/OPCD/Demographics/AboutSeattle/ACS_16_1YR_DP02.pdf).

To find the most common educational attainment by census tract for the whole city, go to this site (https://seattlecitygis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=3eb44a4fdf9a4fff9e1c105cd5e7fe27)
Then click on Social Characteristics
Then click on the icon for Layer List (looks like 3 pieces of paper near the top right)
Then unclick Population Density and click on Most Common Educational Attainment
And then you can look at what the most common educational attainment is for your neighborhood.

This looks nothing like the district's HCC heat map (which is available here for elementary students: https://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/Enrollment%20Planning/Maps/AL/HC_ELIG_15.pdf) The whole NW quadrant alone is proof of the apparent lack of correlation between parent educational attainment and student HCC designation.

If HCC and parent educational attainment were so strongly linked, you would expect to see far fewer HCC students in Ballard and NW and that's the opposite of what you find. And it seems like the following schools would be FULL of HCC students: Graham Hill, John Muir, McGilvra, John Rogers, and Montlake. Like, they should have more well above the average level of HCC students compared to the district in general. And that's not the case.


Anonymous said...

@fed up: PTAs in part, of course. But many schools use those funds to supplement basic things like recess monitors and teacher grants. Yes, some pay for staff, which is not fair.

But most of the push to serve AL students at low FRL schools will come from parent demand for services and from teachers now having more kids who are performing above grade level. That won’t happen at every school, so the inequities will persist. Educational justice? Nope!

Fake Equity

Anonymous said...

@ Melissa - Spectrum was great if your kid's neighborhood assignment school also happened to have a Spectrum program. Due to capacity constraints, it became nearly impossible to get a Spectrum seat if you didn't already live in the Spectrum school's attendance area.

Advanced learning is difficult to provide at neighborhood schools without the addition of Math Specialists, so that "walk up to math" and other similar groupings can be implemented. Without additional staffing, you lose the ability to serve all kids, especially those in the upper grades.

I have first-hand knowledge of this, as my kids attended a neighborhood school that fluctuated between Title 1 and almost Title 1, and the school tried multiple strategies over the years to provide "advanced learning opportunities" while working within District staffing constraints. It is my experience that, as pointed out by Fake Equity (above), the primary focus of the school was on intervention/growth for kids working below grade level. Providing true advanced learning for higher-performing kids was pretty much non-existent at times, which led to families leaving for option schools and/or HCC (or APP, as it was known back in the day).

IMO, in order to support advanced learning, additional staffing would have to be included in the staffing formula for all schools, both Title 1 and non-Title 1, as it is my understanding that specialists who are funded exclusively through Title 1 are to serve only as an intervention for kids working below grade level. If these specialists are working with students at or above grade level, then a portion of their salary would have to come from somewhere other than Title 1 funding.

Schools providing advanced learning may need additional Reading Specialists, as well...and, in my perfect world, there would be Science Specialists in every school and access to hands-on science enrichment.

IMO, until the District is willing and has the means to adequately staff all schools to support all levels of learners, true advanced learning at all neighborhood schools is a pipe dream.

North-end Mom

NSP said...

@fed up, the PTAs will provide advanced learning, but not with money. With the army of volunteers that affluent PTAs can command. Yet another reason we can't just talk about PTA money. The volunteers make a huge difference by having more adults in the building. At my kids' elementary school, there were about 20+ adults per day coming in to do something with the students. Some stayed for an hour, some for a full morning of afternoon. That gives a lot of flexibility for differentiation.

Anonymous said...

I will speak about or write about what I choose. Now instead of pulling out the race card why don't you try and tell me how you feel about your son being categorized by the plan. If you think all the injustices by SPS are reserved for POC boy oh boy are you self absorbed.

Nope, POC don't get to dictate how the world works for everyone and SPS and teachers do not provide different levels of service based on a students race. I think you would be better served if you stopped trying to alienate everyone that's not a POC.

I don't owe you anything nor do my children or thier school, we treat people as people, not colors. Your attitude only alienates others.

SPED parent

Anonymous said...

Instead of saying "Black and brown kids will suffer the most" Why dont you explain in simple terms how they suffer and why they suffer. Do you have concrete examples ? Do you have complaint numbers or docket numbers for successful lawsuits?

There sure is a lot of huffing and puffing and race baiting going on, but there is little to no evidence being provided by these pop up community organizers. Hell they are more like community destroyers. They are happy to destroy everything for their cause. We all know that's straight out of their play book.

And since you threw it in my face I will say this...most SPED parents are trying to get a normal education for their child not HCC. Their injustices are documented in court filings and agencies filings, in awards and changes in policies. When a group of SPED parents invited PATU to a meeting to discuss how SPS was failing SPED students, she wasn't interested because she viewed SPED as a dumping ground for black male students.

She was never invited back. So here we are and I don't see this mess working out for anyone except those who can afford to leave.

SPED parent

kellie said...

If anyone wants to understand the madness that was school closures, you need look no further than this thread.

School closures were pushed as the "equity solution" of the day. The rhetoric was that if we just closed schools, we would have more resources to focus on students and then we will have real equity.

That is the reason why so many of us where were active during that time period are so deeply skeptical of this latest round of "if we just return everyone to their neighborhood schools and get rid of option schools and AL, then ... "

The bottom line is that the school closure were based in rhetoric and idealism, not real data. School communities were pitted against each other in a desperate game of survivor. Parents who pushed back were regularly called elitist and racist. (now the word of the day if privileged)

The "data" that was used to support the closures was that without counting any portables, SPS had more than enough space for over 55,000 students and therefore after school closures, there would still be 10,000 excess seats, due to declining enrollment. That information can be found in the 2004 closure report.

For anyone with even a passing familiarity with capacity issues, by the time SPS had reached enrollment of about 53,000, SPS had re-opened all the closed schools, opened a few more and added over 100 portables to the system. The entire process was based on illusion and sustained by community infighting.

At the end of the day, the heaviest burden was placed on those "furthest from educational justice". Minorities and Sped were impacted more than any other group during the closures.

The playbook has been recycled. The infighting is established. And history is repeating itself.


Anonymous said...

Again, what's going on with the contract negotiations? What are the special education issues?

reader

Melissa Westbrook said...

Fed UP, you said (partial):

"You do not get to speak for us AAM parents. You do not get to "imagine" how we feel. Whatever way we feel, we chose when and who to express it to and we do not ask for permission.
I am a Sped Parent myself and I do not need you to tell me how I feel."

I would posit that "imagine" means "I don't know but it might be this." I understand not wanting anyone - especially in the context of race - to speak for you but it might have been helpful to state what you think of the Strategic Plan and what it might mean for your child.

SPED Parent, a little harsh. Fed Up, stated that he/she is a SPED parent as well so that person likely knows how tough it is. You also said:

"POC don't get to dictate how the world works for everyone and SPS and teachers do not provide different levels of service based on a students race."

I think the point is that POC have little power about how the world works and that is the issue. In our own country that means change. As well, if you look at the SPED numbers, there are high percentages of kids of color relative to their population. That IS a problem.

I urge everyone to take a breath and think about how to make this discussion work.

Anonymous said...

What is the problem? Are you saying that SPS is falsely identifying POC as SPED? If so then you are indirectly saying the SPS in engaged in fraud to illegally obtain federal funding, or are you saying the SPED staff is so incompetent that they are miss-identifying SOC as SPED, but not miss-identifying NON-
SOC?

I doubt that SPS is doing that. There is a measurable criteria to qualify for services and it's too easy to audit. As with PATU you seem to be taking the same position, but you have no evidence? In all the years that I've been going to schools across the district to view special education in action I have never seen SOC warehoused in a room. So do you have evidence of this? Photos, court cases, letters of complaints? No you don't, you only have a bunch of community organizers just shouting it from the roof so it must be true and BTW, OSPI investigated PATU's claim and found it unfounded. Enough about PATU she's gone.

You should know that not every data point anomaly is a conspiracy.

So why is it OK for POC to slander NON-POC, but whenever a NON-POC pushes back they are told to SHUT UP?

I guess the good news is, with the new plan SPS will get those boys out of SPED, right?

SPED parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

I am saying that it is well-known that far too many kids of color end up in SPED. Is it done falsely? Probably not but more because we don't have enough training in cultural competency to keep some of those kids out of SPED.

I didn't say anything about anyone being warehoused. You might want to check those impulses to paint everyone with the same brush.

I didn't say "shut up"; I said you were being harsh.

SPED Parent, I don't care for your tone. Please dial it back.

Anonymous said...

Melissa,
Thanks for coming in to moderate. I do realize negating others to :imagine" is silly. My apologies.
Regarding the strategic plan, the jury is still out. I do follow up with the district every time I find an opportunity to ask how certain actions and decisions might or might not be aligned with the theory of action and goals.
@SPED, your anger is the reason I do not go to SPED PTA meetings. I don't feel welcome and my experience has been minimized there. Trust me, I am not making this up.
My story is pretty frustrating whether I am of color or not. My black son was identified as ELL and we wasted precious time until I had enough courage to speak out. He ended up with an IEP, three years too late. If you don't see how terrible experiences like mine are, I rest my case.

Fed Up