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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Tuesday Open Thread

There was a Seattle School Board candidate forum last night at the senior living home, Horizon House.  I'll have a separate thread as there were some notable statements made.


One comment of importance came from President Leslie Harris about the district/Board wrestling with is allowing students whose parents send a note to walk out of class on Friday for the Climate March which is happening.  So if your child is considering this, stay tuned about what to do if you want that absence excused.

Great story from the Seattle Channel on The Breakfast Club.
The Breakfast Group has been inspiring, empowering, and tapping into the potential of Seattle area youth of color for more than four decades. The all-volunteer non-profit organization mentors young men to help them achieve their goals of education, employment, leadership, and community connection. Through programs like Project M.I.S.T.E.R.™, where participants learn life skills and college prep, and the rite-of-passage "Tie-One-On" networking luncheon, the Breakfast Group is changing lives and inspiring the entire community.
Good story from the Seattle Times about the district's new dress code.  One comment asks about hats which apparently are not addressed in the new policy.  Another person notes that pajamas cover up private parts; can you wear those to school?

In North Carolina, a cheerleading squad got in hot water for taking a photo before a football game of them holding an election banner supporting Trump.  Via the New York Post:
All North Carolina high schools have a policy that prohibits students from displaying political signs on campus or at school events.

District officials said the following day that the act wasn’t endorsed by school or staff and that a student had brought the banner in and taken the photo before the game.
“The focus of Friday night football games should be on our students – the players, cheerleaders, band members – the focus should not be on politics,” Stanly County Schools said.

District officials said the policy against political displays on campus or school events “does not prohibit students from speaking their minds or engaging in protected First Amendment activities.”
“Because the cheerleaders were in uniform and were acting as representatives of the school, the display of the sign could be perceived as the school or school system endorsing a political campaign,” the officials said.
I note that a photo from the West Seattle Blog at an area football game showed Nathan Hale cheerleaders taking a knee before the game started.  Not sure if that's the same thing as the North Carolina story.

Great news for people who love comics AND science; The Far Side is coming back.

What's on your mind?

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

My elementary student's bus was 2 hours late yesterday afternoon. How is this still going on??

NW parent

D7 parent said...

Anyone taking a knee before a football game is not remotely the same as holding up a political candidate's election banner. Taking a knee is a peaceful protest against racism and police brutality. Why you even had to mention the picture of Nathan Hale cheerleaders in this story is beyond me- it feels like calculated provocation.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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Civil Disobedience said...

I have to chuckle that some parents want their children excused from walking out of class.

Melissa Westbrook said...

D7, I asked to spark discussion. Some believe taking a knee is political. However, this district supports Black Lives Matter AND made AA males a focus in the Strategic Plan. In the case of the Hale cheerleaders, in their uniforms on school grounds, it then shows the public that the district supports this effort. That's news that many might not know.

I just heard Superintendent Juneau on KUOW. She did a lot of filler talk on the questions asked. But she said she likes student activism but that kids could learn about science in school. She said that no child, even with a parent note of permission, would have an excused absence. If the parent comes and takes them out,then it is excused.

Anonymous said...

Superintendent Juneau was interviewed today on KUOW NPR radio. It was disappointing as she did not address the extreme budget and staff cuts all the high schools faced this year due to the district budget allocation, based upon false enrollment numbers. My understanding is that all the schools needed to let go of staff which greatly affected student schedules and coursework toward graduation.

Juneau did state something about "having the resources this year to allocate to other district priorities". Every high school was affected and some were really decimated with high school kids not getting appropriate classes, full schedules etc. There is no excuse for this situation.

The number in parenthases indicates how many students were not funded, 1610 across the entire district. Each high school lost staff.To reprint from the high school thread:
Ballard 1,971 1726 1866 (140)
Chief Sealth 994 1007 1165 (158)
Cleveland 848 847 895 (48)
Franklin 1,178 1144 1297 (153)
Garfield. 1,658 1488 1812 (324)
Ingraham 1,346 1386 1524 (138)
Nathan Hale 1,137 1099 1228 (129)
Rainier Beach 740 685. 806 (121)
Roosevelt 1,877 1635 1847 (212)
The Center 233 242 263. (21)
West Seattle 960 991 1,157 (166)

Totals 12,942 12,250 13,860 (1,610)

Fed up

Melissa Westbrook said...

Fed Up, as I said, I'll do a write-up of last night's school board candidate forum but President Harris isn't on the same page with Juneau. Harris brought up the high school situation and said it was not good and needed attention.

Anonymous said...

People are not fleeing socialism. They are fleeing dictators and authoritarianism. People who live in actual socialists countries like Denmark, the UK, etc., are pretty happy with their governments and happy in general than Americans.

HP

CB said...

Through United Way's "Day of Caring" a team of about 100 volunteers from a big corporation came to help do routine grounds maintenance at my daughter's SPS middle school. Thank you, volunteers, it looks great! But why doesn't the district or the city maintain school grounds? Why was there a massive open ditch filled with overgrown blackberry bushes and horsetail and three feet of standing runoff water and weed trees on middle school grounds in the first place? Why don't we tax the corporations and use the tax money to maintain our school grounds instead of asking their employees to care for one day during their off hours? I'm so frustrated with how low a priority children are to our city and state.

Unknown said...

Hi Melissa and All,

Taking a knee is a political statement just like a Trump banner is, but the wonderful thing is that we have a federal system that allows North Carolina to ban such things and Washington to allow, or even to encourage in SPS's case, these types of displays.

Isn't local control and federalism great? They can do their thing, and we can do ours.

Fed Up, thanks for the numbers. I'd been wondering about that. It certainly looks like what Melissa was writing about last week as far as resources being directed to those in need in the name of equity. At around $10k per student, that's a lot of money to redirect towards those who are furthest from educational justice by paying the activists in the district to not teach students because they're sitting around figuring out how to create PD sessions where they lambaste us teachers for being racist. It's going to be a bumper crop of new JSCEE specialists this season!

SP

Anonymous said...

They came to Hale also:

THE NATHAN HALE COMMUNITY ORGANIZATION (NHCO) WOULD LIKE TO THANK ALL OF THE MICROSOFT EMPLOYEES who volunteered on the United Way's Day of Caring. Last Friday, nearly 100 volunteers helped Nathan Hale and JAMS with much needed yard work. They have helped improve the safety and appearance of our school for the entire community. Thanks again and see you next year!

The parents at Hale have 'garden parties' to maintain the grounds:
THE NHCO'S FRIDAY GARDENING PARTIES START THIS WEEK on September 20th at 9:15 - 11:30 (or any amount of time you wish.) Parents and Guardians sign in at the Main Office and then meet in one of the interior courtyards (Benson or Commons) to garden and socialize. No experience necessary. We provide the tools and snacks. Remember to complete the SPS Volunteer Application.

HP

NSP said...

Endorsing a political campaign (giant Trump banner) is also very different from endorsing a concept (people shouldn't shoot African-Americans). That's true up and down the ballot and why the "tell Congressman X that they are terrible for supporting Y" ads aren't regulated under the same rules as "vote for Congressman Z" ads.

Melissa Westbrook said...

CB, the district only pays for very low grounds maintenance and depends on the goodwill of parents and others. But that work from others can be piecemeal from year to year. And, it takes jobs away from maintenance workers.

Anonymous said...

Then I'm confused, if they want "true" socialism then they should be immigrating to those places you clam are socialist and not the USA. If hate the USA then why don't you move to a socialist nation? (but they are not). So you think you know for a fact what my friends were escaping? Bubble Bubble toil and trouble.

--Pocahantas

Anonymous said...

Why is the racial slur poster not deleted?

JJ

Anonymous said...

A country can have socialist type programs or school structures such as social security, public school, or universal healthcare, like Canada, United Kingdom & many other countries, and not considered be a "socialist"government in how their economy works. Public school and social security in the US were really radical ideas when we adopted them in the US and many argued against them. When I was in college history professors educated students with examples of how the US is not really capitalist in its old meaning anymore. We have evolved into situation where there is not true capitalism. We have most power in the US now concentrated in the hands of relatively a few, and in some ways we have gotten closer to being an oligarchy. This is relatively recent thing historically in the United States.

CK

Melissa Westbrook said...

JJ, I'm not sure I understand what you are talking about (and fyi, I can't be here all the time so do have some measure of patience).

Oversight Needed said...

The Seattle Times reports on school board candidates. One candidate has a criminal record. According to the Seattle Times, the board president has not read the criminal record. Perhaps it is time for the board president and board members to exercise their oversight duties and READ any criminal records record related to perspective board members.

Anonymous said...
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Melissa Westbrook said...

Hola aloha, you need to be clear on who you are referencing.

D7 parent said...

JJ is most likely referring to the poster signing themselves Pocohantas.

For reference, if you need it: https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2018/10/16/how-pocahontas-myth-slur-props-up-white-supremacy/

Caribbean Parent said...

The district updated its online "data verification form" this year.

"Race" is a required field for completion. There is not an option to choose more than one race.

The form specifically requires parents to identify as "Black/African American" vs "East African" or "West African" or "Central African" or "Caribbean" or "Asian" or "White".

Parents can't choose for example, "West African" and "Black/African American", they have to choose one or the other. And the form threatens that if parents don't answer honestly, their child can lose their school assignment.

Based on the districts strategic goals, if a student is "Black/African American" male, they get extra help in class. But if they are "West African Male" they don't. Clearly the district is seeking to distinguish immigrant blacks vs. not immigrant blacks.

I believe the specific identification of students based on gender, race, and immigration status, is itself racist.

I know a black African American student who comes from a wealthy, educated NE Seattle family who's parents are both lawyers. Some how the district has decided that this child is entitled to special treatment; And have no doubt, as my son watched their teacher spend an entire class period helping this single student. Not the immigrant Asian girl. Not the poor West African boy. Not the transgender white homeless child.

No, the only students that have been signaled out for special attention, are Black African American males.

Seattle Public Schools has become warped and absurd.







Melissa Westbrook said...

Caribbean Parent, you said this:

"Based on the districts strategic goals, if a student is "Black/African American" male, they get extra help in class. But if they are "West African Male" they don't. Clearly the district is seeking to distinguish immigrant blacks vs. not immigrant blacks."

Where did you read that the Strategic Plan says "Black/African-American male?" Because I didn't see that.

The data verification form may just have more precise nomenclature for students; how do you know it would relate to who gets more supports in class?

Caribbean Parent said...

Melissa,

I know, Melissa, it sounds like I'm making this stuff up, because its so absurd, but I'm not.

The Strategic Plan Says, "an intentional focus on African American males." That's right from the district website.

Suddenly, on this years data verification form, the there are 11 major categories. Six of those categories are specifically related to Africa and Blacks. There is one category for Whites, and one for Asians. And this is a required field, with the threat of loss of school assignment for not answering honestly (says it right on the form).

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the district is trying to identify African Americans vs African Immigrants.

How do I know that this drills down into class time? Because I talked with a teacher who was required to group their class in such a way as to provide additional focused help specially for black African American students so their test scores would improve, although they were also specifically told to name the groupings using group numbers, so they fact that the groups were based on race would not be documented in their performance goals submitted to the state.

And I also know my son was very upset one day, when in his view during the entire language arts period, the teacher was focused on a single Black African American student, and my son couldn't get any help.

Not the immigrant Asian girl. Not the poor West African boy. Not the transgender white homeless child. Not the Native American student. The district has called out Black, African American Males. Its written all over the district website.

Seattle Public Schools has become warped and absurd.

https://www.seattleschools.org/district/district_quick_facts/strategic_plan

CascadiaMom said...

Today my daughter and her friends reported that students were vaping in the Hamilton Middle School bathroom during the school day. They have witnessed this multiple times inside school during the school day.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Cascadia Mom, I hope your daughter and friends told a teacher/administrator. That can't be happening in schools but I have heard of it at high schools. I've seen it outside of Roosevelt as well.

HM said...

Outside of Hale, too.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, middle schools are certainly not immune to the things you might suspect (or hope) only occur at high schools. I doubt Hamilton is unique in this respect. Vaping may be the newest problem happening in middle school bathrooms, but it's not the first.

HF



Anonymous said...

When does a child become an African American Male? If he is born in the US? If his parents are African American? Do you have to trace your ancestors to former slaves? What if one parent is an immigrant and the other was born here? These categories make no sense. All black children in America suffer under systemic racism.

HP

Anonymous said...

Can someone post a full list of the race options on the new data verification form? I can't access it now.

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Madison is removing HCC for all but math and science... and those courses are now just computer curriculum, right? So, no advanced teaching, period. Anyone hear otherwise? Hmm. Over a billion dollar budget and we can't support and promote learning or achievement. We are a joke of a district.

Anon

Anonymous said...

Why don't we also talk about institutionalized classism? or Institutionalized patriarchy as well as other categories? The impact of class as one example is one of the biggest impacts to success in society. There are generations of poverty people cannot escape with all its effects, regardless of race or ethnicity. Because of intersectionality, we really need to be looking at how class, race, gender, and other categories intersect within individuals. Some individuals have more advantages than others. Some immigrants might be wealthy when they arrive in the US, while others are not. Some immigrants speak English, while others do not etc.

KJ

Caribbean Parent said...

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. https://nces.ed.gov/statprog/2002/std1_5.asp.

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.






Melissa Westbrook said...

"Asian" has one line? That makes zero sense.

Anonymous said...

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.

-Messed

Caribbean Parent said...

Messed,

I have a screenshot of the form. The options I have listed in the post above are stated exactly as on the form as of Friday 9/13. I was given a single dropdown list. On a web form with a standard dropdown list, there is no way to select multiple categories. I tried anyway and failed.

Selection of one of the major categories is "required". The district then does provide other subcategories, but the selection of a subcategory is optional and not required. I looked at the subcategories, and they are just a list of countries, not "Race" or "Ethnicity".

You state, "Based on the first selection offered by SPS you could put together a federally agreeable report."

I fail to see what federal category the district is going to assign someone to if they mark for example "South African" on the form. Is that person aggregated as "Black/African American"? Is that person aggregated as "White"? Is that person aggregated as "Chinese"?

While it's true that the majority of people coming from Africa are Black, the district can't simply make that assumption. The same goes for "Middle Eastern and North African". I've been to North Africa and saw a lot of Black people. I've also been to the Middle East and saw a lot of white people. What federal race category does "Middle Eastern and North African" aggregate to?

The strategic plan specifically says, "an intentional focus on African American males." Let's not kid ourselves about how the district works. Principals will have to write into their performance goals the improvement of test scores for, "African American males". Teachers will have to write into their performance goals the improvement of test scores for, "African American males". Teachers and principals and staff will be evaluated on test scores for, "African American males".

The categories were no accident. My original point was that the district is clearly doing this so they can disaggregate "Black/African Americans" from other "Black Immigrants" even if they've made a mess of the data collection.

I've had a teacher tell me they were instructed by their principal to include certain Black African American male students in a targeted learning group, and the principal had the teacher write into their goals specific test score improvements for that group which was part of the teacher's annual performance evaluation.

Clearly, district leadership and the school board believe it's fine to identify specific students based on race, immigration status and gender for additional services in the classroom, and principals, the district's website developer, staff, and teachers are just doing what they've been told to do.

=====

"Under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, discrimination based on race, color, or national origin in programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance is prohibited... All public school districts are covered by Title VI because they receive some federal financial assistance... The Office of Civil Rights works to ensure that schools, districts, colleges, and universities satisfy their Title VI obligation to give students of every race, color, and national origin equal access to high-rigor academic courses and programs, extracurricular activities, and other educational opportunities."

https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/frontpage/faq/race-origin.html


Anonymous said...

What about mixed race students--do they no longer count? If a student is 50% in one category and 50% the other, are they (or their parents) forced to choose one over the other?

unclear

Anonymous said...

If you really want to get complex many US people with Mediteranean region heritage from lands that border our World's East, West, North and South are actually mixed race. How do we classify Maltese or Turkish origin people? Or take for example, Sicilian origin people who made up a majority of "Italian" immigrants to the US are (now) classified as Italian. Their history though is very complex. Their genetics are comprised of North African, Middle eastern and European people DNA which reflects their many different rulers over the centuries. Even in the US they were subject to Jim Crow in the south and red lining years ago, and not treated fully as white. Italy has been a unified country for a very brief period in history since 1870. It is a country made up of people with diverse origins. In Italy Sicilians are considered less European than those from the North as they are a mixed race people with a very complex history prior to unification. As an analogy Puerto Rico as another example is part of the US, has their own unique culture and history.

It's complicated

Anonymous said...

Yes, race is complicated. However, reporting general categories to your school district shouldn't have to be.

Is it true you have to select a single race on the Data Verification Form? If you can't select multiple races or "mixed race" as a category, the district is denying my child her racial identity and heritage.

It is pretty ironic that the district seems to be doing this in service to their new strategic plan, which starts off with a "Theory of Action" that specifically calls for SPS to "undo the legacies of racism in our educational system."

Does the district think racism against mixed race students and their families is acceptable?

HF