Tell the Board (and Turning off Commenting)

Editor's note: I have to go to a funeral for a family member and I will be unable to moderate the blog thru the weekend.  And unfortunately, because of some rude and crude readers who cannot stop themselves from being ill-mannered and racist, I am shutting down all comments.  I'm sorry but I can't allow disgusting comments to sit until I am able to moderate again.  So, this is my solution. 

Signs of issues both currently and coming.  

I urge you to write to the Board or go to community meetings with individual directors and tell them you want answers.

1) The continuing issue of enrollment projections and the harm it does to schools.  I'd love to be a fly on the wall at a PASS meeting but I do not believe that principals, especially high school ones, are happy with what is continuing to happen year after year.  Ask why this isn't happening in other districts. Ask why this happens, year after year.

2) Food and Nutrition ServicesThis story from KNKX is troubling and starts with the headline, "The Worst I've Ever Seen."
 “This is the worst I’ve ever seen,” said Francis, who manages the district’s central kitchen. “Not a smooth start to the year at all. By the beginning of every school year, we already have food sitting in place in the freezer ready to go out the first day.”

But not this time around, she says.

The state’s largest school district is facing a shortage of key ingredients that has left schools scrambling to feed students. And it’s caused nutrition services workers to take a vote of no confidence in an official who was just appointed as director of their department.
 3) The issue of racial classification in SPS.  This info comes via my readers.  I am absolutely on-board with supporting/lilfting up students of color but reclassifying everyone else seems odd. And why so many different classifications for "Black" but not "Asian."  The district should explain this action.

Caribbean Parent
Here are the race options on the Seattle Public Schools 2019 data verification form:

Race Category (Required)

* Black/African American
* Central African
* East African
* West African
* South African
* Caribbean
* Latin American
* American Indian / Alaska Native
* Asian
* Native Hawaiian / Other Pacific Islander
* White
* Middle Eastern and North African

The Seattle Data Verification form only allows the selection of a single item.

Race categories are standardized across the Federal Government by law for Federal Reporting purposes.

Ethnicity is based on the following categorization:

Hispanic or Latino: A person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race. The term "Spanish origin" can be used in addition to "Hispanic or Latino."

Race is based in the following five categorizations:

American Indian or Alaska Native: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America), and who maintains tribal affiliation or community attachment.

Asian: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent, including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Black or African American: A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa. Terms such as "Haitian" or "Negro" can be used in addition to "Black or African American."

Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands.

White: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.


Seattle Public Schools is no longer using the standard Federal Race Categories.

Collection of Race by Federal categories by Seattle Public Schools is required by law, although the district can use other terms, as long as they can be aggregated to the Federal Standard.

There are multiple issues with the district's form:

1) It specifically differentiates Black/African Americans from immigrants Africans, as a required field. This requirement is not made of any other race.

2) It assumes that if someone is from Central Africa, East Africa, West Africa, South Africa or the Caribbean, that they are "Black". Nearly 8% of South Africa, for example, is White. This is not a valid assumption and could be considered racist. This format invalidates the District's Race Data as required for Federal Reporting.

3) It assumes that if someone is "Middle Eastern and North African" that they are "White". This is not a valid assumption and could be considered racist. This format invalidates the District's Race Data as required for Federal Reporting.
Personal experience using the online data verification…

You were allowed to select a majority classification as to your race such as Asian, Native American/Pacific Islander, African-American. You were asked to select up to four majority classifications and then minority classifications. Only required was one majority and one minority.

However, you were not allowed to select the same majority classification more than once. So you could not select, White primary and then “Italian” , followed by White – Primary and Irish second. You could not select the same first category more than once.

I selected “White” for the first classification, and then the only secondary option available was “Eastern European” as defined by SPS which seems to be only southern eastern European east of Italy such as Albania, Czechoslovakia, etc.

My husband has a bit of Polish in him (think that qualifies as Eastern European), but I was not able to select “White” and then “Polish” as it was not of the options available in the SPS “Eastern European” as those were only Southern Eastern European like Albania. I found this incredibly odd as not all “White” people originate from Southern Eastern Europe, but if you selected “White” those were the only options made available. No French, no Danish, no Irish, only southern eastern European.

Again, this was within the first few days of the online data verification being available so I suspect a glitch. But, dang. Overall, very messed up and I gave the mental FU to the process and ditched it.

I have prepared Affirmative Action reports for years for corporations that had contracts in excess of 100K with the government. Based on the first selection offered by SPS you could put together a federally agreeable report.

However, all the sub-categories that SPS seems to have developed exclusively for their own identification would not work, and might even be illegal.


Anonymous said…
If only all the time, effort and money spent on racially categorizing kids was actually spent on educating them.

Dream On
Anonymous said…
I can't believe that the SPS twisted plan hasn't made national news.

Anonymous said…
@Woowzers, it should. Does anyone have good contacts? This needs some outside scrutiny since SPS can’t seem to figure it out themselves.

Help Us
Wake Up said…
The district seems to be officially collecting completely botched race and ethnicity information. And the form says that field is mandatory. But it's also impossible to accurately enter my child's race. So, what gives? Mandatory, but impossible. Thanks, SPS!

How would the Obamas enter their kids' data?

Michelle is Black/African American. Her genealogy has been done really thoroughly. On her father's side, she is descended from the Gullah people of South Carolina's Low Country region. On her mother's side, every single one of her maternal ancestors was multiracial and her distant ancestry includes African, Irish, English and Native American roots. And then Barack's mom was White (English descent with some German, Irish, Scottish, Swiss, and Welsh ancestry) and his dad was Kenyan (Luo). But his dad didn't immigrate to the US for very long and returned to Kenya. So for SPS purposes would his dad have been East African and mostly not American?

You can see easily how complicated this SPS form would be for the Obamas to fill out. It's 2019. Lots of us have kids with complicated race pictures like this.

Wake Up, SPS!

Anonymous said…
It's not the business of public schools to care about race! Get these children educated SPS and stop trying to conduct social engineering. You do know if the Feds would stop handing out funding based on distinctions then all this ridiculous data gathering would stop.

Anonymous said…
Conflating race with ethnic group never ends well. Classification and racial identity is challenging as it is without throwing more decisions in the mix.

Rookie Mistake

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