Tuesday Open Thread

Over in Bellevue, a debate club student is suing Bellevue School District because they barred him from possibly competing at a national debate event over him challenging the outcome of the debate club's elections. Reading the story, I'm not sure that BSD made the right call and now they have a court case on their hands.  From the Seattle Times:

“I was especially disappointed that the school was essentially telling me to be quiet and to silence my voice for speaking up when I have questions or think something is wrong, which is extremely ironic considering the fact that throughout my entire schooling career, we have been taught to stand up and express our voice,” Lang wrote.

Bellevue High officials, however, say Lang disrupted his classmates’ education. He asked students to reveal confidential information, in some cases making some feel coerced into saying they had voted for him after the election.

“Speech in school matters, even in something as small as questioning the integrity of a debate team election,” said Lara Hruska, a Seattle education lawyer who is representing the Langs. “If students are shut down for questioning in a nonadversarial context, how can we expect them to be engaged citizens in a fraught democracy?”

The general rule related to schools disciplining students for speech without infringing on their rights is the Tinker standard, from the landmark 1969 decision Tinker v. Des Moines, that defined students’ First Amendment rights. In it, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that students couldn’t be censored as long as there’s no disruption.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) has a great audio essay contest for high school students.
Established in 1947, our Voice of Democracy audio-essay program provides high school students with the unique opportunity to express themselves in regards to a democratic and patriotic-themed recorded essay. Each year, nearly 40,000 9-12 grade students from across the country enter to win their share of $2.1 million in educational scholarships and incentives awarded through the program. 

The national first-place winner receives a $30,000 scholarship paid directly to the recipient’s American university, college or vocational/technical school. A complete list of other national scholarships range from $1,000-$16,000, and the first-place winner from each VFW Department (state) wins a minimum scholarship of $1,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C.
Want to apply? Read the rules and eligibility requirements, then download and complete the 2019-20 entry form. All student entries must be submitted to a sponsoring local VFW Post by midnight, Oct. 31
The proposed topic is either the VFW announcing their political view OR them being a bit snarky:
"What Makes America Great."

Big congrats to Ballard High School librarian TuesD Chambers who has been named State Teacher Librarian of the Year.  I worked with TuesD on the district's technology advisory committee and she is indeed a dedicated educator with a lot of energy and ideas.
TuesD Chambers, librarian at Ballard High School, will be awarded the 2019 Washington Library Association’s (WLA) Outstanding Teacher Librarian of the Year Award. She will be recognized at the WLA Award Reception in October.
The district's policy on student walkout/strike action and absences.

What's on your mind?


No Questions said…
The Bellevue court case is interesting. The school punished the student for asking questions.
Anonymous said…
RBHS is not the only high school offering 1/2 year history to sophomores. Several IHS students are in the same situation (not new).

Anonymous said…
Thanks for asking, yes the 2 free years of community college has started at North. It looks like 90% of the students are previous Running Start kids continuing at North.

Hopefully the free 2 year program will attract even more SPS kids to Running Start and allow the state to possibly open Running Start to 10th grade students.

4 years at North for free is an amazing deal. Many of these students will have 2 separate AA degrees in the end. Next the state needs to open up preferred transfers to the UW or WSU for these amazing kids.

Pro RS
Anonymous said…
@Pro RS "Next the state needs to open up preferred transfers to the UW or WSU for these amazing kids."

Years ago there was an agreement in place where students who completed a two year degree at a WA community college were actually guaranteed admission to state schools including UW. However they would not be guaranteed to competitive majors.

That agreement went away, at least between them & UW, not sure about other schools.The UW simultaneously during this period expanded their admission to more International Students. Those students higher rate of tuition are serving to subsidize huge cuts in state funding to colleges over the years. This has also helped keep their in-state tuition in check after it also had some big jumps.

Therefore admission to UW has gotten more tough for in-state students, including many community college as well as Seattle high school graduates. They still do make an effort to take a proportion of WA community college graduates, but there is no longer that automatic admission guarantee.

In addition, community colleges in our area (Bellevue, Seattle colleges etc) are now offering 4 years college degrees. However they tend to be in different areas (ex BA in Health & Human Services etc), as to not compete directly with the universities.

Brian Duncan said…
Hmmm, on the District guidance on student strike/walk out absences, it omits the RCW that a previous commenter, "Save US" cited that allows for up to 2 days per year excused absences for parent approved "reasons of faith or conscience..." RCW 28A.225.010 (4) (e). My understanding is that RCW generally supersedes WAC, as RCW is the compendium of underlying statutes, not administrative regulations, which are secondary to statutes. This RCW subsection does not seem to require Principal agreement with the parent's approval under this subsection, and appears instead to be a blanket exemption requiring only parental approval. It does not specify how the parent(s) should communicate their approval to the school authority (Principal or designee). Presumably this is what various sources referred to in saying that if a parent picked up their student from school, it would be an excused absence. An excused absence would confer a right of the student to make up any missed work, which could be important for some students, taking that aspect of it out of the discretion of the particular teacher(s) and/or Principal.

Perhaps the District prefers not to call attention to this potential for an excused absence, as it would not apply to students whose parents are unwilling to approve of student's absence by reason of faith or conscience, and thus not to all students equally.

I tend to think students and parents should exercise their rights to advocate and even protest sometimes for reasons of faith and conscience in matters like this.

Brian in Ballard
Tim said…
Hey. Anybody want to talk about school lunches? This call for no confidence is enlightening.
Anonymous said…
Apparently the district is about to announce that the Source will no longer be available for regular grade monitoring, and parents will get only 8 grade updates (progress reports, report cards) per year now.

The Source
Anonymous said…
Well then we need to fix it so that the tax payers of WA children who qualify are guaranteed admittance to the UW and or WSU. It doesn't make sense for Seattle and WA state to fund these programs then just cut off the kids off at the home stretch. So many of the other programs participants fail to graduate from the UW due to not being prepared for the rigors of college. After 4 years I think these kids deserve a free ride all the way to their BA.

Pro RS
Tim, thank you for that link. For those who did not read it, it's a letter from Local 609 that covers cafeteria workers to Superintendent Juneau just last week. There is a new head of Nutrition, Aaron Smith, who apparently flipped the table on that department and schools are suffering. Local 609 took a vote of no confidence in his leadership and the letter states that.

NoProgram Cuts said…

Berge says:

"For at least the remainder of the current contract, she said she doesn’t foresee any need to make staffing or program cuts unless enrollment changes. After that, though, layoffs may be on the table."


The claims that they don't need to make program cuts for the next 3 years. Their feet need to be held to the fire because their words are meaningless.
Anonymous said…
I have neighbor who works for the school food services. We aren't really friends but we do the neighborly hello with occasional small talk thing when we cross paths. I made the mistake of asking her how things were going with the labor dispute I had been reading about and ended up getting much more earful than I ever hoped to.

After going on for over ten minutes, she got to a point where she said the school district didn't know who they were dealing with (speaking of her union) and that they weren't a bunch of P****s (think cats) like the teachers union is and so on. She said that the workers are placing their orders for food supplies incorrectly so that not enough food is being distributed. She laughed and said they now have hardly any work to do, especially the drivers who are driving empty trucks and still getting paid. She has a lot of hatred for the new head of her department and they are doing this to take him out and get a good contract because the district is too chicken to go public with their sabotage campaign during union negotiations.

I finally got a word in edgewise and said that it sounds like the strategy is pretty awful if it involves preventing kids from getting fed. She got huffy with me then and clammed up. It at least ended the conservation I felt trapped in.

This was about two weeks ago and it has had me interested in following the news about it to see if the media verified anything that she was saying. But I haven't seen much talk about it since the reports about mismanagement at that time. I am sharing just to say there seems to be more than one side to how this is being presented.

Anonymous said…
The SPS food issue sounds so complicated...there is now a youtube video with a HS student interviewing a food service manager. It highlights some key issues, but why, oh why, is the employee sharing issues they have with other SPS employees, on youtube?! Very unprofessional. The newly hired food service lead can then claim all kinds of grievances. Gah!. And while I appreciate the genuine concern food workers have shown the students by paying for food out of their own pockets, just think about the liability issues for schools. What if the food had gotten a student sick or caused an allergic reaction or ? Some rules are place for a reason.

Anonymous said…
From the District website announcing high school graduation dates. Just found the misspelling of Quincy annoying...

Nova High School
Wed., June 17, 5 p.m.
Garfield High School
Quency Jones Performing Arts Center
400 23rd Ave., Seattle, WA 98122
Garfield High School on Google Maps

Ignorant, I don't know what is in the water but I see more and more spelling and proofreading errors from schools and mostly from JSCEE.

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