A Conversation about HCC (Let's Listen In)

Now to the conversation last weekend at the Central Area Residents Against Violence Facebook page about HCC.  I am teasing out parts of the conversation but you can go to the page and read everything.

As I mentioned, it involved ALTF member, Kari O'Driscoll who seems to be quite confident in her ability to speak for the Task Force and use the current smackdown method to tamp discussion.  Meaning, if she doesn't agree with your points, she'll just use put-down language to try to either make the speaker feel bad about themselves and/or show other readers what will happen to them if they have a differing viewpoint.  This came to me via a reader:
In a CA-RAV FB page weekend discussion of the ST (Seattle Times) What's Next?/Gifted Programs article, ALTF member Kari O'Driscoll smacks down as racist and privileged what I thought was a thoughtful and considerate post by a Seattle dad on his family's frustrations with SPS that led them to seek private. He pointed out that his family was Asian who have also suffered discrimination and she dismisses his perspective outright:

"Black folks are treated as a monoculture in this country. Asian folks are not. Period."
A lot to unpack there but I frankly don't have much to say except that in this district, it is currently the opposite of that.  I mean the new racial designation form has one place for "Asian" but for Blacks, it has multiple identities.

There was also this comment:
It should also be noted that most discussions of HCC tend to ignore Asian students altogether, lumping them in with white students in the white-vs.-POC narrative.
Also from O'Driscoll:
"We don’t {sic} have finite resources in the school district, and making the system more equitable for ALL children may indeed mean that those who are currently benefitting {sic} from the hoarding of resources have to give something up. If you’re not okay with that, you don’t truly want equity for all."
And raising the topic of junior Blanton's response to Danny Westneat's column, she writes that "his word weighs much more heavily on me than a rich, white columnist's do."

"(I chuckled at that one because if any profession rains down the riches it is certainly not journalism.)

There was much more and it was appallingly hostile and inappropriate - and, frankly, racist. I don't know what Kari O'Driscoll's qualifications are but she has no business whatsoever being on any SPS Task Force if she cannot respectfully take into consideration ALL community concerns."
Hoarding of resources.  Now the district could very well provide data that HCC does get more resources  but they never have. As well, the majority of money the program gets (via the state) is used for testing.  So I'm not sure which resources she is repeatedly references.

She also says:
The other complicating factor is that the district is squeezed between state law (which requires the district to give services to all students and eliminate disproportionality) and the fact that each building leader has the power to influence their school's culture and climate and what actually happens. It is incredibly complex but I hope folks know that the people on the task force have worked very hard to have tough conversations and live up to our mandate.
Didn't I just say that elsewhere? Yeah.

And into the fray steps one Jeff Flogel (and again, these are partial quotes):
Samara Louton linked several months ago on this group what I think is a great article on the topic that describes how school districts in gentrifying cities are increasing magnet programs to keep highly capable kids in the neighborhood schools. From my viewpoint, and that parent in West Seattle probably agrees, SPS is doing the exact opposite. 

I'll build on something you did mention about testing, though. If kids aren't getting the support during summer (from their families) to test effectively, how are they going to get the work done to effectively participate in a HCC program? Testing is just getting in the door. Then what? The result of putting unprepared, unsupported kids in a program with prepared, supported kids is going to dilute the program's resources (specifically the teachers), which takes away from everyone.  

Finally, and this is where I'll use a bit stronger language and have no qualms about it. This is not a white vs. black/brown issue. I'm so tired of that. Asians have suffered discrimination, even detention camps for the Japanese during WWII, and yet they're surpassing whites in everything from K-12 performance to family income, but the arguments always come back to those darn white people keeping other people down. It's as tiring as it is inaccurate.

I attended a very small rural school district that didn't have the network to find money or opportunities. It was not an easy road and I had virtually no mentoring to get it done. What I did have, though, was a strong work ethic instilled in my by my parents (probably had something to do with that dairy farm). I look back at my childhood and K-12 and I would love to have had the opportunities kids, any kids, have in SPS and Garfield HS. I couldn't make such complaints being made here as "the school district isn't informing me about programs" or "testing isn't convenient". I simply didn't have the opportunities, the networks, the mentors, etc. I don't think people here realize the opportunities available. Just go across the water to Kitsap County and see if there's a facility like Garfield HS. They, like me growing up, don't even have the same opportunities. But the opportunities here are being dismantled and those who do appreciate them are not going to just stand idly by.

I sampled the meeting minutes you suggested. Confirming my concern outlined above about SPS acting before knowing what to do, I see a lot of decisions to look into things, or to reduce this, or change that wording in a SPS program. These are not actionable items that convince me, for one, that SPS has a clear direction that I can feel confident about. However, I did find one draft recommendation that stuck out and it resonates with me- "Include specific call to focus on participation of African American students." Now if Leschi Elementary had taken that approach, to try to lift people up instead of removing opportunities from everyone, maybe our daughter would be sitting in Leschi as I type this instead of her private option. Maybe you don't like Stephanie Juha's language about dragging everyone down, but I think at least one objective way to describe it is putting everyone in the same learning environment, regardless of how you describe that environment.

That is my argument. If you have cogent arguments to address these concerns, I'd love to hear them. I moved to this neighborhood and was thrilled to learn my neighborhood schools, in 2011, were Leschi, Washington, and Garfield, all with magnet programs. What I've seen since then is so concerning to me that we chose a private option for our first child's kindergarten. I would love nothing more than to be convinced to send her to the neighborhood schools so really, I'm all ears.

I edited this post. In the second to last paragraph I mistakenly used "same opportunities" when "same environments" more accurately reflect my views. I believe that all kids should have the same opportunities, but I think it's naive to expect equal outcomes given the very broad range of preparation, motivation, and support kids show up to the K-12 door with.
He is fairly calm but clearly, speaks with passion.  And he has a different idea about how to serve all kids.  O'Driscoll, too, is calm at first.
Taking it point by point: First of all, I can only speak for myself and not the task force as a whole, so please understand that. I am not intending to talk about anyone else’s beliefs or values – only factually represent the kinds of conversations that are happening in my experience in that room of incredibly dedicated folks volunteering a lot of their time and energy.

I do think it’s important to note how much time we’ve spent, as well as the kind of work we’ve done digging in to data on testing, cultural and racial biases, data on what has worked and what hasn’t, models from other school districts across the country, etc.

Second, if you’re defining “highly capable kids” in reference to the article Samara linked, it is important to note that there is an abundance of evidence that the way we currently identify who is “highly capable” and who is not is prejudiced and produces a non-representative sample of who could benefit from these services, so “increasing magnet programs to keep highly capable kids in the neighborhood schools” before acknowledging this and redesigning the way we identify students is putting the cart before the horse, and will not result in increased equity, which is what the district has said it wants to do.

I don’t know what to tell you about your belief that the testing issue is a “red herring.” Again, there is ample evidence to show that the standardized tests are racially and culturally inequitable. A simple Google search will provide you with dozens of links going back a decade that bears that out. In addition, leaving the decision of whom to test to parents who *know* about this program in the district and teachers who recommend kids for testing is also incredibly inequitable. Not only do many teachers possess some implicit bias of their own that tells them which kids are “gifted” and which aren’t, but it is also well-known within Seattle that parents with financial resources are able to pay tutors and other specialists to help their kids pass the test, not to mention the fact that they are more easily able to transport their children to the test itself on a Saturday morning. That disadvantages kids living in poverty as well as kids who are not white or proficient in the English language.
If you read the statements, O'Driscoll and Flogel both recognize that the playing field for disadvantaged students is uneven before they walk through the schoolhouse door.

She continues:
Next, I feel like you’re actually making the point about the obvious disadvantaging of certain kids by talking about who is “prepared and supported” to engage in HC programs. It takes money and privilege to “prepare and support” your kid for HC. What I would like to see is a district that prioritizes recognizing potential to benefit from advanced learning opportunities, not just kids whose parents have the time and resources to “prepare them” to participate. 
So, in this case, what does "prepared" mean and what does "supported" mean?  Prepared might mean tutoring or test prep by parents.  But "supported?" That's a place where you get onto difficult societal ground because the income inequality (and the benefits of having a higher income)in this country make it so there are large numbers of kids who aren't "supported."  Is reading to your child supporting? Going to museums or zoos?  The ability to have family meals together and engage in discussion around non-family subjects? I don't know.

She says:
I would agree that this is not an Us v. Them issue, but it is absolutely an issue of allocation of resources.
Resources again? I hope the ALTF recommendations include a breakdown of these resources so we all clearly understand what is being talked about.
Unfortunately, I think that folks using language like Stephanie Juha did perpetuates this Us v. Them mentality and stokes fear within the community of families who are benefitting from this uneven allocation of resources that they will lose the advantages they currently enjoy. It is not helpful in any way, shape, or form, especially if it ends up making the work that our task force has so diligently done entirely moot due to political pressure. I wholeheartedly ask that people recognize that the goal of the task force is to create a more equitable system over time (there will be no sudden changes), and that, in centering the students who are furthest from educational justice in our current system, we hope to raise the level of education for all students.
Well, that's very high-minded of her but there are plenty of people on both sides doing the "us versus them" thing.  

My over-arching concern here, and I think it's shared by Stephanie Juha in the article, is that we get that you and SPS are "working on it". Our question is, why is SPS dismantling programs and taking opportunities away from kids before they've figured out what the long-term solution is? Kids only get one shot at K-12 and it's the foundation for their entire lives. We for one family, and we're hardly alone, are not going to risk our kids' K-12 for a social justice experiment, especially one for which we see no clear vision or path.

That's pretty darn honest but I would think all/most parents live in that belief of "one chance" for your child to get it right.

But I posted earlier why I think testing is a red herring. I don't think it was a vague concept- Leschi Elementary had a racially divided school house even though full-time Montessori vs. standard curriculum was a family decision with zero testing involved. That's my understanding anyway, anyone feel free to correct me on that. Full time Montessori was pulled before our first child was old enough to attend. So how do you explain that away?
Interesting point. 

And then Driscoll fires the first shot:
So much privilege in your answer, and so much misinformation.

We don’t have infinite resources in the school district, and making the system more equitable for ALL children may indeed mean that those who are currently benefitting from the hoarding of resources have to give something up. If you’re not okay with that, you don’t truly want equity for all. 
As for relying on PTAs to make things more equal, that is inherently problematic because the PTA funding is inequitable in and of itself across the district, so again, you're relying on entrenched systems of inequity to solve problems they can't solve.

Standardized tests are racially and culturally biased. There is a lot of evidence to show that.
I'll just note that the test the district uses, in the early stages, is a non-verbal test that has been shown to work better for ELL students.
To characterize families who don’t know about Advanced Learning opportunities as “not pursuing the best opportunities for their kids” is incredibly ignorant. The district was created to serve all families.
If you can’t imagine what barriers might exist for a single mother who is a refugee, speaking no English and raising multiple children without a car, you lack imagination and, perhaps, empathy. There are any number of situations that exist where individual families aren’t able to research exhaustively, don’t have a network of friends whose information about the system they can draw on, etc, and it is both the right thing to do for our city and communities as well as the legal mandate that the district find ways to give those students the same opportunities as every other kid in the district. Especially given the intentional barriers that were thrown up for decades to keep students of color from having access to opportunities. It is not a matter of other families not caring as much about their kids as you do, and your implication that it is is truly horrifying. 
As I said elsewhere, when I see, from both the district, the Board and the ALTF wording like "intentional barriers," what I hear is "lawsuit."  Because if the district had created and enacted a program that had "intentional" barriers to some classes of kids, that would be grounds for a lawsuit. And yet, it has never happened.
Was Fogel implying that some people don't care about their kids as much as he does about his?  I'm not sure I read that into it but it may be worth considering/studying how some families of color figure out the system and others don't, who they are and what could the district learn from those families.

Fogel is not happy:
"So much privilege in your answer"
"lack empathy"

You know what Kari O'Driscoll, when you make it personal, it means one thing- that you can't articulate a cogent argument. And you haven't. You've dodged all my questions and finally just resorted to insults and labels. I find it intellectually dishonest and quite honestly, you've validated every reason we've run as fast as we can away from SPS.
You're just playing semantics games. But you know what, I'll give it to you. You tell me what demographic name you want to apply to the Asian demographics who are out-performing whites and just substitute that demographic name into my assertions and then my argument still stands. I'm trying to discuss substance but you, like so many people, just bog down a discussion with race-baiting nonsense to distract everyone from the inconvenient facts that derail your agenda.

You don't know this because you seem to judge faster than you ask questions, but I've logged several years living abroad in countries with a foreign language. I never expected any special favors. I learned the language or figured out how to bridge the gap but I'd never blame the host country for what I don't know in their country. That just seems really rude to me.

I get there are families with tough situations. I don't deny that. What you fail to understand is many people expect SPS to try to pull them up, not tear other people down. Here is the Seattle Times' pictorial representation that I think perfectly captures the sentiment.

I'll note here that this editorial cartoon by David Horsey got panned by some.

O'Driscoll goes to an old line of attack:
I dodged none of your questions and I challenged you on your internal biases. If that feels personal to you, I’d suggest you own it and work on it.
C'mon, she said things very personal to him and now she's wondering why he feels attacked?

Fogel fires back:
And to top it off, you dismiss my opinion as privilege, ignorance, lack of empathy, and even "horrifying". You might check your own bank of empathy. And if that's what you call "challenging internal biases" then let's just say you and I have different value systems and different ways of sharing thoughts.
That's an interesting thought.  In this very sensitive discussion about access and opportunities and resources, could it include having different value systems, some that could come about because of systemic racism?

She calls him "racist" but then says this:
I apologize if you felt that me pointing out the areas where you were lacking information and/or were saying things that were racially and culturally insensitive was "hostile," but I go back to my stance that the work we are doing is specifically for the purpose of increasing equity across the board and, as such, we have to center kids who are furthest from educational justice, not those who would benefit the most from the system in its current iteration. I don't really have anything else to say to you. You opted out - that's your prerogative. If you feel so strongly about this issue that you feel the need to fight for a certain outcome, I encourage you to apply for the task force starting next year that will look at implementation of our recommendations.
And that's a good point.

Fogel comes back:
We could argue the points all day. I don't have a problem with people having a different opinion. It's the tone. I didn't call you or your ideas ignorant, horrifying, or accuse you of lacking empathy. I challenged the district, the work of your committee, and what's being done to advanced learning and magnet programs in SPS. I didn't put any labels on you as a person or use hostile language.

I think you left the issues and made it personal, I suppose an effort to discredit me instead of just debating the issues. If that's your way of sharing thoughts, so be it. I consider your approach hostile and intolerant of dissenting views. My opinion. You, your committee, and SPS can throw labels on parents like me and ignore us, but don't complain about the families whose opinions and values you reject abandoning their neighborhood schools.

It's too late for us to get involved in SPS. Deciding on a private option is something you do before Kindergarten because after that, there are only very few openings as kids in those schools move, which explains a lot of frustration from parents like Stephanie Juha- parents like her, certainly as a group, are trapped having committed to public schools only to have things change mid-stream. The same frustration came out in a recent Danny Westneat column (he has K-12 aged children in SPS). We as a family feel fortunate to have seen what's going on early enough to make a different choice and our resources are now focused on that school.
I would urge the Board and the district to consider that last paragraph.

O'Driscoll then seems to go momentarily blank as she says:
I really wanted to be done with this, but I have to take issue with the way you characterized what I wrote. I didn't throw any labels on you at all. I *did* call out the comments you made that are rooted in racist assumptions and led with factual information about the inherent bias in standardized testing. I also called out what I saw as ideas rooted in privilege (and btw, I don't consider saying someone is privileged to be disrespectful - again it's simple facts - I am a person of privilege as well, simply because I'm white), and I will not apologize for calling out rhetoric that demonizes other families for not living up to standards you think they ought to live up to. If you can't own your statement about why other parents don't "pursue the opportunities" for their kids as lacking empathy, that's your call, but I absolutely stand by it. As for Westneat's column, it was rebutted by a black student who is in the same program Westneat's kids are, and as someone on a task force who is asked to center students like him, his word weighs much more heavily on me than a rich, white columnist's do.
Again, was he "demonizing" other families? Not sure I heard that.  And was Westneat's column "rebutted" by just one student's experience? Not from my reading. 

O'Driscoll does provide some new information:
Universal testing is in the pilot phase in two schools, and we are also considering what it might look like if we had multiple sources of information for kids who exhibit potential to benefit from these services.
Another reader made this thoughtful comment:
The HCC program is not only more appropriate education for qualifying students, it is the only guarantee SPS high schools will offer advanced courses at all, and those are open to any and all students like mine. Students benefit from HCC even when not part of it.


Anonymous said…
You are the butt of many jokes at the moment, and this is why. You are the Mrs. Kravitz of Seattle Public Schools. This is your definition of reporting? At least only Abner was subjected to Gladys' citizen reporting.

Anonymous said…
If what this really is about is a battle over limited resources, why isn’t SESEC et al building bridges with allies to hit up the state leg or even some cuts in Juneau’s bloated executive admin overhead? This is just politics done poorly, and politics done poorly does not hold up to data, and will result in a loss for the kids that need a victory the most. Scream epithets all you want, and even recruit young reporters to falsify/revise history to fit with an ideology, but at the end of the day, truth will win. But usually after much damage has been done.

Thank you, Melissa.

More Noise Please
State/ Private Resources said…
The thread highlights the fact that some families choose private school. With this choice, SPS looses state funding and PTA dollars.

As the ALTF discusses resources, they should also be mandated to discuss "resources" in regards to dollars (state and PTA) lost when parents choose public schools. As is, a large percentage of parents choose private and SPS enrollment is declining.
No Joke said…
I appreciate an open and honest HCC discussion.

Bewitched, your comment is nothing more than an attempt to discredit Melissa; an individual that has spent approximately 2 decades within SPS. It isn't going to work.

If you want to look at a "butt" of a joke, try looking at SPS Community Resource Facebook page, where our local professor has been taken to task, again, for showing complete lack of sensitivity. There is an SPS employee that has been repeatedly called out for being a bully. That is no joke.

State/Private Resources said…
I meant to say, the ALTF should be required to study state and PTA dollars lost when families choose private school.
Anonymous said…
Melissa has done a fine job of discrediting herself.

This blog is the equivalent of the Daily Mail. It has duly served the privileged in the district for many year while being a gossip churning cesspool.

Once Trump got elected, people began to wake up. At the same time, many new people moved here and were appalled by HCC, PTA funding, etc. No more business as usual.

Melissa has pretended to be a friend to the powerless since the winds have changed.

The record on this blog is clear. You reap what you sow.

Gig's Up
Anonymous said…
The private school attendance rate was exacerbated when busing started and has remained steady since. No study is needed. The private school percentages have been the same in SPS for thirty years.

The threat to "go private" when you don't get your way has proven to be a meaningless and empty threat.


Bewitched, you certainly betray your age with that comment.

It's a frank discussion between two people about one of hottest topics in the district right now. It's a very worthy thread.

Gig's Up, you going to go all biblical on me. Well, you may reap what you sow but I remind you, if you sow the wind, expect the whirlwind.

And again, my critics are all still here, reading away.

Actually, Pathetic, the guy in the discussion was excited about the public schools he would enroll his child in and then realized that the district was changing in a direction his family didn't like. So he enrolled his child in a private school and he seems to indicate that once entrenched, people don't come back.

Resources said…
There is nothing pathetic about loosing state and parent funding. The district would be smart to consider these dollars and try and get families back into the system.

Anonymous said…
Interesting that you avoided substance: This blog has protected and furthered the interests of the privileged and powerful, to the detriment of those without power.

As anyone with any sense of justice knows, you must go to the source of the perpetuation of injustice.

So, of course we will keep reading here!

The winds have changed. You are finally playing defense.

Change is coming. MLK quoted a bit of the Bible, Btw. LOL!

Gig's up
Resources, forget about getting families back; how about not loosing families?

Gig's Up, well, let's see what the election brings. Don't get your MLK,Jr. mention.
Anonymous said…

I’m amazed that HCC has been turned into some prize everyone thinks is of great value. It is not. HCC is the ability to use the same curriculum two grades ahead. That’s it. We have a diversity problem, yes, but mostly we have populations under prepared at kindergarten vs populations who are over prepared with resources at home. We must invest in quality universal preschool. And universal screening for HCC.

Affluent families can stay at SPS or they can go. I’m not really sure what benefit they provide - PTA money doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of the service gap. Affluent families will always have resources to purchase supplemental educational services for their own children, no amount of social engineering will change that. Scratch that, affluent families are good for something, they make a good smokescreen and boogeyman to stoke infighting, distract from a dysfunctional school district.

Reality Bites
Anonymous said…
Gig's Up What are you even talking about? Districts surrounding Seattle have Highly Capable programs. Are you also against the AP and IB classes being offered in Seattle? After all they are self select segregated like at Garfield. You cannot deny that the majority of the kids taking advantage of those classes are also middle class, same demographic. Public school districts across the country offer AP classes. Most are aiming to help all kids become prepared for college by encouraging them as options. Remove those as an option, and you will also remove opportunity for those who are furthest from educational justice. But like others I do see that is next with this line of thinking. I feel very sorry for the kids in Seattle Public Schools.

Bye Bye
Anonymous said…

Maybe worry more about PTA dollars and political influence for families that drop SPS. The public money is the cost of educating YOUR student. The district simply scales up or down when families come/leave. SPS has surged in enrollment in recent years, and funding hasn’t magically improved services, remember? Per student funding has also increased under McCleary. Teachers got a much deserved raise, but I’m still waiting to see how students themselves have reaped the benefits.

Reality Bites
Anonymous said…
"What are you even talking about?"

Here's what I am talking about:

People make a choice to live within the boundaries of a big city. They get the culture, diversity and the like.

However, when they have kids, they want strictly neighborhood schools that reclined until 1968 (yeah, segregated neighborhood schools is also an issue), want to fund those through auctions that put to rest the FRL school two miles down the road, and are a-okay with HC which is almost exclusively comprised of children of highly educated parents, resulting in the virtual absence of Black. Hispanic, Native American and Pacific Islander children.

I have a problem with the aforementioned scenario. You don't? That's on you.

Gig's Up
Anonymous said…
Correction: Redlined

Anonymous said…
HC is state law and should be. Local norms and other best practices should be used to identify underrepresented students.

Gig's Up
Anonymous said…
Being "prepared and supported" is not an HCC thing, it's a general school readiness thing. Students from more "privileged" families (e.g., higher income, 2-adult homes, native English speakers, higher parent ed level, etc.) generally start K with higher levels of K readiness. This is not rocket science. Students from more disadvantaged families often start a little behind, and if SPS can't figure out how to help them catch up, they stay that way. (SBAC score and graduation rate demographics tend to be similar to those seen in K readiness test disparities.)

It's disheartening to see that the ALTF has apparently accepted the idea that SPS just can't figure out how to help struggling students do better, so the goal needs to be to limit the opportunities to those at the other end. What small mindedness.

Then to try to pass it off as HCC "hoarding resources" seems absurd. Has anyone ever seen anything that suggests HCC students are getting more than anyone else? There's no special curriculum, no special teacher certification, classes are often larger, transportation is funded by the feds or state (and probably helps subsidize transport for others, too), etc. For a ALTF member to suggest HCC represents a "hoarding of resources" seems to fly in the face of logic and evidence...

Unless, of course, she means the term another way, and is suggesting that it is the parents and students who are "hoarding resources" by trying to get instruction at their child's level? If that's what she means, has she ever talked to parents of HC students? Has she talked to teachers, who say they can't serve them in the classroom? Has she talked to neuropsychologists or gifted ed experts who can speak to the point that these students have different needs than their age-peers? Has she read any research on best practices for highly capable students? As an ALTF member, I'd hope the answer is yes all around. But her comments suggest an ignorance of the purpose of HC services and the needs of such students.

all types
Unimpressed said…
The district's plan is misguided. First of all, the district wants to lower the amount of students in the program from the top 98% to the top 99%. This will not help students furthest from educational justice access advanced learning opportunities.

Secondly, the district's plan does nothing to identify students of color that have inappropriately been labeled special ed. students. Nothing. Those are the students that truly are furthest from educational justice.

There are people that simply hate HCC children. The district harnesses this energy and pits communities against each other.

The truth of the fact is the district is simply wants to eliminate HCC for administrative ease; both within schools and within the Seattle Public Schools.

So for those that want to dismantle HCC...go ahead. It will do nothing to support students furthest from educational justice; especially south end schools that won't have higher numbers of HCC learners.
"The district simply scales up or down when families come/leave."

Ah, but who is still with the district? Probably more students with challenges - low-income, ELL, Special Education. That's not good or bad but that would be the reality. The other reality is that it is good for a district to have different kinds of kids. ALL kinds of kids.

"...are a-okay with HC.."

I think the majority of the HCC parents have been saying - for years - that the district needs to do better. And nothing changed. That power rests with the superintendent and school board.

Following on Unimpressed's final thought - I think this change will "go ahead." I think it futile to argue because this seems like a done deal. However, you can and should advocate for a program that truly does serve all kids who need/want it in every school AND that principals MUST follow district directives on implementation.

Because, as I told the Board, if every school's principal decides how the program will be in their school, the change will be a disaster. And possibly bring on a lawsuit.

But I do think this initiative will ultimately fail and lead to many disillusioned parents including some on the ALTF.
Anonymous said…
What will the recourse be if (when) this initiative fails? I can’t afford to send my kid to private school, and I live in SE Seattle, and my kid is in HCC. I can’t imagine they would ever reinstate the HCC cohort.

- So frustrating.
drum said…
I am sorry to say that I think Unimpressed is spot on. I am also convinced it is a done deal, and no matter how much spinning the district does to try and claim that it is not, they ultimately don't care about HC/AL families' concerns. I don't believe they ultimately care what the Task Force's recommendation will be either. It will either be aligned with the plan that they already have, or if it is not, they will simply go ahead with their plan anyway. It's pretty damn disheartening.
Well, the plan is proceeding as Principal Gary at Madison sent a letter to parents in early October saying this:

"Across our school district, all elementary and the majority of middle schools have transitioned away from self-contained classes for students identified as “advanced learners” through SPS testing. Based on educational best practices and the priorities detailed in the SPS strategic plan, the district’s Advanced Learning Department has recommended an integrated learning model.

Beginning in the fall of 2020 Madison will no longer offer self-contained classes for students who’ve been identified as Advanced Learners though SPS testing. This change affects 6th and 7th graders who are currently enrolled in Honors Language Arts or Honors Social Studies. This change does not impact math or science classes.

Throughout the 2019-2020 school year, Madison’s staff will receive training on strategies to increase differentiation and scaffolding so that all students receive rigorous lessons and assignments.

Madison will continue to offer Highly Capable Cohort classes. If you wish to have your current 6th or 7th grade advanced learning student tested for the HCC program, please do so by contacting the Advanced Learning website. The deadline for registering your student for HCC testing is September 23."

So the word has gone out to schools to prepare for Fall 2020.
drum said…
Principal Gary's letter is very similar to other kinds of messages that have gone out in various schools. Like I said, I am fairly sure this plan--eliminating self-contained classrooms/schools and offering all services at neighborhood schools--has already been in place, regardless of ALTF's work and recommendations.
However, I'd just like to offer a couple of clarifications: students identified as "advanced learners" are not entitled to self-contained services, under current policy, in contrast to students identified as highly capable--who DO have the option of choosing self-contained services or staying at their neighborhood school. I believe that word did come down from central office --but the decision to eliminate self-contained classes for advanced learners is not really the district's/central offices. That's on the principal, I would think.
Drum, I did find that confusing as well. It appeared to me he was talking about Spectrum but then it said "no self-contained" classes.
Anonymous said…
"There are people that simply hate HCC children."

Actually, it's not about you and your children. That may surprise you if you're used to thinking in those terms.

It's about students in a system that is minority white, and yet white students are overwhelmingly the majority in HC and schools that have high PTA funding.

All here in progressive, woke Seattle.

That's the issue, not "feelings" like hatred toward your child.

There are actually...

Bigger issues

Unimpressed said…

I don't consider the district's plan a done deal- not at all.

drum said…
My bad; I guess I misinterpreted your statement, "The truth of the fact is the district is simply wants to eliminate HCC for administrative ease; both within schools and within the Seattle Public School." I supposed it is my personal belief that the district plans to go ahead with this, regardless of public input and/or ALTF recommendations. I agree with you that their plan will do nothing for students of color who are not currently being served.
NE Parent said…
District language is a mess. I believe "Advanced Learner" is what used to be called Spectrum and then ALO. So, the "Advanced Learning Department" is responsible for both "advanced learners" and the "highly capable cohort HCC)", two distinct designations.

In our middle schools, it would appear ELA and Social Studies and Science were self-contained classes combining, Advanced Learners, HCC, and single domain HCC or Advance Learners. Math is based on placement test, or previous course completed. Self-contained Social Studies seems to have been eliminated for middle school HCC across the district this year.

What I understand is happening at Madison based on the letter is that the HCC students will remain self-contained for some classes, but those classes will no longer include students designed as "Advanced Learners".

State Law around HCC says the district is suppose to provide a continuum of services once started. So the district could face some problems if it suddenly discontinues the existing HCC self-contained classes in middle school.

What I read instead is that the district whats to raise the HCC qualifying number to 99, eliminate appeals, and kick out the advanced learners from the self-contained classes in middle school. This could make a big difference in the number of students in separate middle school classes, and a smaller difference in self-contained HCC elementary schools.

High school currently only has a pathway for HCC, with classes open to everyone. So the high school pathway is a different issue. When the district redid the high school boundaries 2 years ago, staff tried very hard to get rid of the HCC pathway, but failed because of the additional impact on school boundaries and because not all high schools offer a full set of AP classes.
NE Parent said…
When the district first eliminated self-contained spectrum starting 8+ years ago, the number of students qualifying for HCC increased significantly. So perhaps instead of trying to get rid of HCC, which the state may have legal issues with, the district will instead be satisfied with just squeezing down the numbers.

As far as HCC "hoarding all of the resources", its interesting to compare for example Bailey Gatzert, which is less than 8% white, with Cascadia, which is HCC. Bailey Gatzert spends $21,343 per student, compared to Cascadia's $11,978. Of the 6 years my son has been in HCC, 5 were in old buildings, and 1 in a new building.

Personally, I believe the district should provide some type of adversity score in determining eligibility. And I believe the state and city should do more to require and fund pre-k. But attacking and eliminating "advanced learning" seems absolutely stupid. The fact that the district has already eliminated walk-to-math is mind boggling.
Anonymous said…
"What I read instead is that the district wants to raise the HCC qualifying number to 99, eliminate appeals,.."

I hope that's really what the district is wanting. Keeping HCC and eliminating the appeals process to close the loophole that enables parents to buy their kid's way in is a very welcomed thing.

-Make HCC truly HCC
Anonymous said…
"So perhaps instead of trying to get rid of HCC, which the state may have legal issues with..."

If the district provides services to qualified HC students, they will be in compliance. Nothing in the state law says that a separate program is needed.

Fine Print
Anonymous said…
"Leschi Elementary had a racially divided school house even though full-time Montessori vs. standard curriculum was a family decision with zero testing involved."

Gig's up, reflect upon this statement carefully. We cannot fix this simply by eliminating options for diverse kids from diverse backgrounds. There will be some disadvantaged kids who take the plunge into those classes, but eliminating them truly eliminates opportunity for all.

It is the same with AP and IB courses. It is the same with who goes to private school and who goes to public. However, it is even worse when you remove programs that provide opportunity for kids furthest from educational justice in the public school system.

All or nothing thinking and you provide no bridge for all. Those who are not being served leave the system and you have a bigger divide in the community. Look at the big picture.

Gig's up said "are a-okay with HC which is almost exclusively comprised of children of highly educated parents, resulting in the virtual absence of Black. Hispanic, Native American and Pacific Islander children. I have a problem with the aforementioned scenario. You don't? That's on you."

All have expressed concern, including those who support a highly capable program that kids of color are largely absent from not only HC, but also AP classes. In fact parents have been providing information to the district (on their own time) on successful programs that include kids of color for a long time. All want that goal.

If you are not listening then "that is on you". Prior to this announcement, district and schools had been busy dismantling multiple advanced learning options in neighborhood schools. It seems you are out of the loop. This puts all SPS kids at a disadvantage against peers planning on college, not only in neighboring districts but nationally.

Wyeth Jesse has also expressed a plan to keep a cohort for those kids scoring 1% to Melissa in an interview so you must know that this program is not being eliminated either. I am sorry you are so against it, but kids like mine (soon to graduate) would still qualify under that criteria.

Bye Bye
Anonymous said…
"There will be some disadvantaged kids who take the plunge into those classes..."

Absolutely stunning statement on multiple levels.

Gig's up
Anonymous said…
@Fine Print "If the district provides services to qualified HC students, they will be in compliance. Nothing in the state law says that a separate program is needed.

And yet, the service has to be bona fide, and not symbolic, as any parent who has tried to access ALOs for their kids will attest. It has to exist in reality, not just on paper, for everyone. Existing on paper equally for everyone doesn't muster.

There is overwhelming proof just sitting there in plain view that these services have not been and cannot be delivered using a MTSS in neighborhood schools, as it is currently constituted. In fact, it is obvious to anyone that the administration has an issue with educating advanced learners, and especially advanced learners with disabilities (the 2e kids that are being erased from the discussion), by the fact that they are dismantling the programs overtly without any oversight. That is a legal liability to SPS, and the Directors if they refuse to exercise oversight.

Juneau will be looking for a new job soon.

More Noise Please
Anonymous said…
Your need for segregation is at odds with my need for inclusion. It’s just that simple. Increasing your need for segregation doesn’t help.

Inclusion Now
Anonymous said…
Inclusion Now,

Inclusion is a woke buzzword that practically speaking denies my kid the services she needs. She’s dyslexic, stuck in an “inclusion” ELA class that glosses over her very real needs for actual individual attention!!! She has an IEP, legally protected right to services, and this is watered down and spun as some integration thing. If SPS offered a separate school for my SpEd kid to support her dyslexia, I’d take it in a hot minute. Even if teachers weren’t trained, at least she’d be in a cohort of peers, I’d be in a community of parents that could also support my parenting her challenges. If you really want inclusion and integration, I think we need to have that busing conversation again. Your “inclusion” is selective, doesn’t support the students who need it.

Reality Bites
Unimpressed said…
Some people think that placing all students in the same classroom will lead to Shangrila. In reality, it does not work that way.
Anonymous said…
I teach and have taught in HCC for years. We don't have a budget. There are no trainings. Most colleges don't teach about giftedness in their prep programs (UW...) so the teachers have no innate knowledge unless they are also gifted people and we don't go into the frustration of teaching very often. The only resources we get are a room and all the derision as well. That's an uplifting environment. There isn't a newsletter from AL or any PLCs or Job-alike days for us. Resource is an incredible false narrative and as we are trained in SPS Ethnic Studies these false narratives are unacceptable detours to equity.

Mr. Theo Moriarty
Anonymous said…
Yes Gig's up, there will always be some kids from disadvantaged backgrounds, like some of my own family members I may add, who take the plunge into those classes. Meaning AP classes. There has been and will be unfortunately some kids who come to high school less prepared to take AP classes. If those options are taken away because some kids are opting in more than other kids, you eliminate the bridge. Is this really "stunning" to you? Maybe you have not had family members like I have, who come from disadvantaged backgrounds?

Bye Bye
Sunshine said…
I am concerned about some of the people pushing the Ethnic Studies program. For example, an individual leading the Ethnic Studies effort recently called a highly respected math teacher a "racist" because he was a former administrator of this blog. There are a couple of bullies on the SPS Community facebook page. Increasing numbers of individuals are noting and calling out these tactics.

SPS hires are making the district look bad.
More Noise Please, you do come to a place that I think the Board may need to be cops on.

The district has made it clear what they want - HCC services in every building (despite the fact that schools couldn't even do ALO service which was a lower measure of service).

If the Board says yes, then the debate should be HOW it gets carried out and WHO decides what it looks like. Personally, I think the district should have maybe three kinds of plans for schools to choose from but principals should not be allowed to decide on their own. They are not specialists in any way, shape or form on these types of services.

The Board should say, if that, then this:

- they want someone in JSCEE to go over every, single CSIP for what plan schools have chosen.
- As well, additional info should be required from the district/schools - what resources will you need to enact this plan? What PD, what consumables, etc.
- And, WHO will pay for all this? Because the district has a tendency to enact initiatives/reforms and then NOT pay for them, expecting it to come out of school budgets.
- This change should come with a 5-year plan where the district has to, each year, submit a report on how it's going and stats, etc.

Reality Bites, your comment reminds me that I have been meaning to write about dyslexia as there are a lot more stories/concern about that issue for students.

Sunshine, interesting. That reminds me about another post I should write about TCG and Director Jill Geary.
NE Parent said…
State Law does not specify which services are required for HCC. But it does specifically require identification of HCC, provide funding for testing, and provide funding for busing to self-contained programs.

Could the district completely disband for example the HCC elementary school program and send HCC elementary kids back to their neighborhood schools? It could, but it would very likely be sued for violating state law. The district would then likely have to prove how it was providing HCC services in all elementary schools across the district, having itself already set a decades long precedent of providing math two years ahead.

Two years back when the district considered eliminating the HCC high school pathway, it acknowledged that it would not be able to do so until it could provide advanced classes in all high schools which would require time and resources.

HCC is a nice poster-child for social justice warrior bashing, but in the end eliminating it will do nothing to help low income and other disadvantaged students better succeed.

Personally, I believe the district should develop some type of adversity score for eligibility that takes into consideration things like overall school achievement level, student specific poverty, ELL status, etc. as I believe disadvantaged students also need differentiation. Clearly its much more difficult to score in the top 1% when coming from a school that is struggling with under-performance.

But then the district is not known to always acting rationally...
Unimpressed said…
The district has overspent. Joylynn Berge has clearly stated that the budget is reliant upon consistent enrollment numbers. Enrollment, this year has declined.
Anonymous said…
Do people think that SPED services are being provided in all buildings?

Coin flip
Anonymous said…
Are you trying to say you care about students with dyslexia?

"Reality Bites, your comment reminds me that I have been meaning to write about dyslexia as there are a lot more stories/concern about that issue for students."

I have a hard time believing that because of your behavior.

--Lets see
NE Parent, the district could get sued but not for a long time. They can claim they are providing services and the state would probably accept that (for awhile at least).

Coin Flip, I think Sped services are very, very different. You are talking about a number of challenges all under one Sped umbrella. There are varying numbers for any given school and some schools have specific rooms/equipment for different challenges.

Do I think every child who has an IEP/504 is getting the services in those docs? I do not.

Let's See, tell me, what in my "behavior" would indicate I'm not interested in students with dyslexia.
Anonymous said…
"HCC is a nice poster-child for social justice warrior bashing"

Why is name calling, in violation of stated rules, allowed to continue on this blog?

Situational ethics
Anonymous said…
The district is moving forward with no actual plan to provide meaningful HC services. Yet as long as SPS submits a board approved HC plan to OSPI that checks a few boxes, they will get their funding. OSPI has little tooth when it comes to enforcement. WA is a local control state - it's up to local school boards to ensure the district is meeting OSPI guidelines. The WAC for HC also acknowledges the limited resources available - which is an excuse SPS would surely use for their move to throttle HC services.

But the idea that HCC is hoarding resources is laughable. See Theo's comment above. Compare the average budgeted $ per student at HCC schools vs the district average. You know what will suck up district resources? Trying to deliver the same level of acceleration in all neighborhood schools. Which means it ain't gonna happen (the acceleration, that is, if HCC is reassigned to neighborhood schools). What happened to the guidelines for minimum cohort sizes that were created during an earlier round of APP/HC splits?

I would be very wary of a district promise to provide "advanced classes in all high schools." Most likely, they will eliminate some of the most advanced courses. The new core of "advanced classes" is unlikely to serve HC students in 11th/12th grade. This has already happened at many high schools over the last few years as the cohort fractures. But SPS has checked "Running Start" as an option for HC services at that level, so voila. And what happens to the state money for those students? It shifts away from SPS. The counselors still have them as part of their student load, but the neighborhood school loses the funds.

Pushing for promises from the district is meaningless. Promises will be broken.

downward spiral
Situational ethics, I have been on the fence about that term. I've done research and, while it seems a more negative term, it is still sometimes used by others as a badge of courage.

Readers, what say you? I don't use that term myself, preferring "zealot", but you tell me.

Downward Spiral, I concur on high school courses. I would bet that there will be an equal number of classes at each school with some schools choosing different AP offerings. I'd guess there will be almost no honors classes (unless Honors for All pans out but given how little data there is, I don't think so).

I am surprised at SPS ceding money over to Running Start - years back they were trying to get student back. But maybe they ran the numbers and it's cheaper to let students go elsewhere than having teachers who can teach AP courses.
"Promises will be broken."

Of course and that should be emblazoned over the entrance doors at JSCEE. It is the truest thing you can say about this district.
Anonymous said…
I also concur with Downward Spiral. Yes an equal number of AP classes for certain. However possibly an equal number of sections as well, and that is will cause major issues for students. Many general education students especially at some schools with larger numbers of kids opting in, will not get into AP courses. We have already seen some of this at our local high school, but I expect much worse. Parents will get upset at this pretty fast. Once again HC will be blamed because HC kids sent back to those neighborhood high schools will likely fill alot of those classes.

A Parent
Anonymous said…
Kari O'Driscoll reeks of privilege. Here is a white woman, likely middle class, college educated, telling other parents whose background she knows nothing about that they are "hoarding resources" and some kids have to do with less. She is saying this only because she has extensive resources of her own. If she was working class or struggling to make ends meet she'd never dream of saying such a thing.

Her words are offensive and she should be called out in the strongest possible terms.

She is surely unaware of a woman of color named Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who now serves in Congress, who called out this exact thinking, on this exact topic, as an example of a "scarcity mindset" that we have to stop and get out of: https://www.newsweek.com/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-scarcity-conflict-education-town-hall-college-1365949

I think it's reasonable to discuss whether there should be an HCC cohort. People can legitimately have pro and con opinions on it. But what is happening right now is a small and loud group of people in SPS who have decided HCC has to go and will stop at nothing to kill it. They believe "equity" means "taking away perceived privileges from white parents and kids." That is absolutely NOT what it means and anyone who claims that's what it means is not antiracist and not someone who you need to take seriously.

And again I remind everyone that *the option schools are next in line for this treatment.* Parents at option schools appear to be in a state of self-delusion, not realizing they need to mobilize NOW to defend their schools and their curriculum from a similar attack.

Anonymous said…
Just to point out, an "equal number of AP classes" is not an EQUITABLE number of AP classes if there is disparate levels of demand and/or readiness for AP classes.

@Inclusion Now, you said "Your need for segregation is at odds with my need for inclusion."

You need to define what you mean by "inclusion." It sounds like you mean one-size-fits-all classrooms, when most of us know that doesn't work. You also need to explain what your "need for inclusion" is, and on what evidence you base that "need." It sounds more like a desire, one based on personal biases and perceptions not borne out by the evidence.

Show me any evidence that putting gifted students in GE classrooms helps GE students. There are studies that show that detracking can help struggling students without negatively impacting typical students, but I have not found a single study that looks at the impact of this approach on HC students. In fact, I'm not sure HC students were even included in those interventions, since often districts have separate gifted ed programs and the "detracking" interventions were focused on GE students.

On the other hand, there's plenty of evidence that gifted students do worse when put into GE classes, and do better when cohorted. They learn differently, work at a different pace, etc., and teachers aren't magical beings who can be everything to everyone.

Your "need for inclusion" is not demonstrated in the literature. The need for special HC services, however, is.

My need for evidence-based approaches is at odds with your need for soapboxing.

Tired AF

Anonymous said…
Tired AF
You are 100% correct. "Equal" is not "equitable" if there is more demand for certain classes at a particular school. But the district does not define a baseline of what should be provided. Enrollment demand this past year at some high schools did not equate to allocations.

They have shown they will manipulate budget (as Kellie pointed out) behind the scenes. This led to students at some schools being disproportionately affected by staff and class cuts. That's not equity, equal or anything else but shifty and wrong IMO.

A Parent
kellie said…
The term "hoarding resources" does not make sense in budgetary context. However, this term does make sense when you think of students and teachers as "widgets."

By the end of the 2008-09 school closure process, ample evidence had been submitted to staff and the school board that school closures did not make any sense in terms of either enrollment or finances. However, the closures proceeded for "other reasons." The publicly stated other reasons were equity and hoarding resources or re-distributing resources.

Again those reasons did not make any sense to most of the general public. There was a lot of unnecessary turmoil and the closures were opposed by the two African American board members, Mary Bass and Harium Martin Morris.

However, Superintendent Maria Goodlow Johnson made it very clear that "resources" need to be re-distributed. The net effect was that predominately high FRL and minority schools were closed and students and teachers were moved so that "on paper" you had many more schools that were racially balanced. Even if that racial balancing meant a lot more tracking, rather than inclusion.

When teachers are thought of as widgets, this looks like teacher seniority. Experienced teachers are often considered to be a resource that is hoarded, rather than evenly distributed through the district.

Anna said…
I wonder if it would be possible for the district to add a teacher recommendation component to the program (vs standardized testing)?

I ended up in AP classes as a high school student in 10th grade because my 9th grade English teacher recommended me for it. I didn't undergo testing of any. kind. It was a real lifesaver for me as a very messed up teenager and I believe helped keep me from dropping out.. Why not let teachers suggest kids for HCC who may not have the test scores to get in but show aptitude in other ways?
Anonymous said…
@NE PArent,
Here we go again with the "per pupil" argument. Really? Title 1 dollars are FEDERAL DOLLARS TO ALLEVIATE THE EFFECTS OF POVERTY.

Fed Up
Anonymous said…
There already IS a teacher recommendation component, and teachers are free to recommend to any parent that they think a kid is a good candidate. However, teacher recommendations have been shown to be biased, and one of the proven ways to reduce disparities is to rely more on objective testing rather than subjective teacher recs.

More outreach and education to teachers who work with minority and lower income and other under-identified students could help, but it's probably not enough. More resources for such teachers, and smaller class sizes in such classes, and more wraparound services for such students and families, is probably more likely to help close the gap, but those don't seem to be a realistic option.

all types
Anna, first, you don't need to test to take AP so yes, that's open to all.

"More resources for such teachers, and smaller class sizes in such classes, and more wraparound services for such students and families, is probably more likely to help close the gap, but those don't seem to be a realistic option."

And that's the saddest thing I've read today.
Anonymous said…
@ Kellie you mention that FRL and minority schools were closed and funds were redistributed.

So are you saying minority schools were closed to better serve majority white schools?

You can see how building a new school for a predominately white HCC group doesn't sit well with a lot of people. Especially when considering that many north end schools are 60+ years old and falling apart. Optics are important and the optics on giving away an new building to a closed group looks bad.

The squeaky wheel politics being played down at JCSEE is crooked and some get that and want it to change.

If people want their child to attend a new school then they need to do what everyone else has to do and that is move into the attendance area for the school.

The state should not be promoting busing because it's expensive, it's not equitable and it's aiding in climate change.

Equity matters
Anonymous said…
I think the "hoarding resources" term may have been used to refer to something that extends beyond SPS and school budgets, as I've sometimes (here?) heard it leveled as an accusation toward parents with resources who use said resources to try to help their own kids. Apparently it's not cool to try to do right by your own kid(s) if others have less.

For example, if you have the means and choose to move to a neighborhood with high-scoring schools instead of low-scoring, you're "hoarding" opportunities. (I guess since not everyone has the opportunity to make such choices, those who do are "hoarders"?) Similarly, parents who are highly educated themselves and who want the same for their kids--and who thus maybe help with homework, find tutors if needed, enroll kids in educational camps, etc.--are also "hoarding resources" by helping their child learn, because not all are in a position to do so.

I find it deeply troubling that such language is used, as it implies that parents are trying to help their children get a leg up on others, as if there's a competition for who can be the smartest 3rd grader or something. In my experience, parents don't force a lot of expensive educational "opportunities" onto their kids--rather, they help them when needed and/or desired. The kid likes science and wants to go to science camp? Cool. The kid wants to do free online math programs in their spare time so they can move faster and maybe skip a grade of math? Sure, lets hook them up? The kid is struggling with reading and hates it? Let's see if we can find someone to help turn things around for them. It's mostly about parents responding to what's currently in front of them--not parents trying to ensure that their kid gets more advantages than the next one. The parents aren't hoarding resources--they already have resources, and they are using them.

Maybe instead of accusing well-off parents (or for some reason, only HCC parents) of "hoarding resources" we should flip the term and more accurately note that some parents are "resource-poor" because they have fewer resources to poor into their children. If we did that, we'd also better identify the problem that needs fixing--more resources for those in need, as opposed to artificially limiting opportunities for those who are doing well.

all types
"So are you saying minority schools were closed to better serve majority white schools?"

No, Kellie said this:
"The net effect was that predominately high FRL and minority schools were closed and students and teachers were moved so that "on paper" you had many more schools that were racially balanced."

Not the same thing at all.

"You can see how building a new school for a predominately white HCC group doesn't sit well with a lot of people. Especially when considering that many north end schools are 60+ years old and falling apart."

Sure, except that HCC in elementary had been in some of the worst buildings for years. And the district made this decision and it wasn't on any plea from HCC parents.

"If people want their child to attend a new school then they need to do what everyone else has to do and that is move into the attendance area for the school."

Except that the district has many schools that are Option schools so not everyone chooses to go to an attendance area school.
Anonymous said…
Let's not forget that under MGJ's tenure, SPS sold MLK to First AME for below market rate.


Anonymous said…
@equity matters

Sigh, so many people do not know the history of this and are just making all sorts of assumptions of racism and favoritism.
The school closures had nothing to do with better serving majority white schools. A new school was not purpose built for the HCC. New schools were built because of the growing school-aged population in Seattle and the district chose to move one HCC population into one of those buildings - probably based on the convenient number of students in that geographic area, not because of some desire to give that population a shiny new building. Some of you are just making scenarios up that have no basis in reality.

Once upon a time, the highly capable cohort for the entire district attended Lowell Elementary, then WMS (and later HIMS) and then had the option of going to Garfield HS. Lowell Elementary, a very dilapidated old building, housed HCC and high needs SpEd students, and by all accounts they coexisted happily with this arrangement for many many years. So what changed? Along came superintendant Maria Goodloe-Johnson, a woman of color, who, against strong community push back, led the district to close several of these schools and redistribute the students. A neighborhood gen Ed population was moved into Lowell Elementary. This necessitated splitting the existing highly capable cohort there into a 'south of ship canal' group which was moved to TM Elementary (neither the HCC population nor existing TM population were very happy about this) and a 'north of ship canal' group which stayed at Lowell. More closures in the face of a growing population meant there was no longer enough room at Lowell for the 'north' HCC kids so they they moved out of Lowell to a temporary location - the old Lincoln high school which was being used as a temp school location while others were being renovated. It was a big move - the building was old and not set up for elementary students, nevertheless the community grew, fueled in part by the new convenience of having finally an HCC school in geographic proximity to the neighborhood the kids hailed from, and the systematic dismantling of other options for advanced work at neighborhood schools. North HCC kids stayed at Lincoln for about 6 years in the end, with the district moving it to the newly built Cascadia school. As school-aged populations grew and middle schools reached capacity the district moved around HC middle schoolers as a kind of release valve - moving some to JAMS, and them to REMS. Ingraham became a option school for high schoolers who wanted to do IB instead of AP course at Garfield. The splits/moves were somewhat unpopular, both with the HC community and existing school communities who had to take them in. With each split, there became more indications of inequity between the site offerings and more conflict with co-located school populations. Through it all, parents continued to sign their kids up for eligibility testing and apply according the district process, relieved to at least have access to the 2 year accelerated curriculum it provided, even with the uncertainty and moves. Most of the ill-will toward HCC seemed to start when it was split and moved from Lowell to other sites and continued to gain traction ever since. All of this is to do with failed leadership (Goodloe-Johnson was eventually fired) and flawed decisionmaking around capacity, demographics, school closures, assignment plans, services at neighborhood schools, and identification/support of eligible underrepresented students This has gone of in SPS for decades! These latest moves to demonize HCC and dismantle it under the guise of equity are just more of the same. At least those people criticizing HCC should try to understand how we got the this point.

I can't help but observe that there didn't need to be nearly so much hatred for HCC when it was perceived as a bunch of geeky misfits sharing a grotty old building in the central district with significantly disabled SpED kids.

neverending story
Anonymous said…
The language of "resource hoarding" enables child abuse, because what it does is say that parents who advocate for the needs of their children are wrong to do so and should just let their kids go without intervention or assistance they need.

Anyone who uses the term "resource hoarding" to criticize parents advocating their kids *must* be shunned.

The proper job of a school district is to ensure every child's needs are met, regardless of their background. It is never acceptable to take from one child and give to another. If there aren't enough resources to go around, we take them from Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates, not from other children.

Anonymous said…
Well you might know the history of HCC locations, but most people don't. So when SPS places a majority White select population in a new building the optics are poor. SPS should not be engaging in social engineering. They should set equitable attendance boundaries and stick to them.

In the case of RESMS, SPS uprooted students from a predominantly white school in an attempt balance enrollment at another. The process resulted in one school being underutilized and the other being over-crowded.

SPS then delayed needed maintenance on Whitman middle school as a sort of punishment for those students who lost their transportation and continued on at Whitman. They couldn't fix a leaky roof or a bad heating system or a dilapidated parking lot, but they had over $5,000,000 million to replace a fairly new metal roof on a predominantly black school.

It's not just SOC that get screwed over by this district.

What equity
"equitable attendance boundaries" - you'd have to define that to me.
Anonymous said…
@JP "The proper job of a school district is to ensure every child's needs are met, regardless of their background. It is never acceptable to take from one child and give to another. If there aren't enough resources to go around, we take them from Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates, not from other children."

Yes, of course any sane person would say that is the way it should be. But I think there is so much built up animosity toward not only HCC kids, but also those "privileged" middle class white kids that can you believe just want appropriate classes at their high school, they think they can get away with it.

Did you see the Berge and Juneau recent enrollment and budget allocation excuse video by any chance? Did you hear about the enrollment and budget meeting at a high school with Berge? That is not what they think. They think it is perfectly o.k to take (& take) from certain schools and not fund them properly.


Anonymous said…
I'd like to add that when HCC/Cascadia moved into the REMS building, another pocket of HCC elementary kids north of the canal moved into the old Decatur Elementary, which Thornton Creek had abandoned to move into its glitzy, massive new building. (I guess the needs of "expeditionary learners" are safe, but not the needs of HCC kids.) TC parents were reportedly very distrustful about this group crawling into the old husk of a building - as if TC can have a giant new building to itself - and control all the old abandoned structures, too. Somehow, Decatur has plugged along and never attempted to raid and pillage that fancy TC building.

I wouldn't say HCC looks too privileged in that scenario.

(N.B. The vitriol against HCC long predates the current "social justice" zeal against gifted programs. Neighborhood parents repeatedly told me it was just for "weird kids." They must be so happy to have a new reason to slam it.)

Anonymous said…
yes! - thanks Spike for pointing that out. I totally forgot about Decatur.
That building was no prize LOL

neverending story
Anonymous said…
How will SPS deal with the even whiter neighborhood schools that will pop up if self-contained HCC ends? Has anyone thought that far ahead? If people haven't noticed, the neighborhoods aren't exactly diverse. This plan won't fix that at all.

Anonymous said…
"I wouldn't say HCC looks too privileged in that scenario."

This talking point of downplaying HCC is getting old.

Having a student in an elementary self-contained program with virtually identical demographics of other children of highly educated parents within the boundaries of a highly desirable big city--all on the public school dime...yeah, that's why there is such extreme pushback.

kellie said…
@ Equity matters
"So are you saying minority schools were closed to better serve majority white schools?"

No, that's not what I'm saying. I'm addressing the language of "resource hoarding" because that phrase seems to be perplexing for many folks following this issue. That language goes hand in hand with the notion that students and teachers are often treated as widgets and are therefore "resources" which are "hoarded" or "distributed." That's a hard concept for anyone who actually cares about students, teachers or education.

My comments about the school closures of 2008-09 were because "resource re-distribution" was publicly stated many times and often repeated during the board meeting for the vote on school closures, that schools needed to be closed for "other reasons" or for "equity reasons."

The definition of equity seems to shift drastically with each administration. At that point in time, just 10 years ago, "equity" necessitated that MORE highly capable cohorts be created. Because, the fastest and bestest way to create equity was by co-housing a predominately white, low FRL cohort with a predominately non-white, high FRL cohort and expand tracking. In order to create this magical and equitable balance, some schools would need to close and students would need to be re-distributed. (sarcasm intended here, but this accurately represents the thinking at the time)

This created an "equity win" on paper. In order to create this paper victory, multiple schools were closed and thousands of students were moved. The students moved were either part of a highly capable cohort OR predominately non-white and high FRL. But this was all for the greater good, because at the end of the process there were SEVEN fewer Title 1 schools in SPS and dozens of schools were more racially balanced.

This paper victory was hailed as a major equity victory by the powers-that-be.

However, what I remember most about that board meeting was impassioned comments from Directors Mary Bass and Harium Martin Morris, who plainly stated that this was optics and theatrics over the needs of students.

And now 10 years later, the entire process is repeating. Except that 10 years ago, Advanced Learners were "hoarding resources" in their "local schools" and those resources (senior teachers, parent dollars and volunteer hours, etc) needed to be re-distributed TOWARDS Title 1 schools.

The irony here is that disbanding the cohorts, which tend to draw students from affluent NEIGHBORHOODS, will simply return those "resources" to the already affluent neighborhood.

SPS loves to shuffle the deck chairs, rather than just prioritize funds for students.
Anonymous said…

In the area Decatur draws from, the parent demographics are identical for both HCC and the neighborhood schools. This will accomplish nothing except for the removal of challenging work for kids who demonstrably need it (and are guaranteed it by state law, by the way).

And please explain why multiple people are upset that kids might be getting good educations in the public school system. ("all on the public school dime" -- Note to Obvious: It costs a lot less per pupil to educate kids at HCC schools, and why is it a scandal that people might expect public schools to excel? Are you serious?)

A "highly desirable big city" shouldn't be putting itself in the position where it tears down every last shred of academic credibility. Why not ask SPS to change its selection methods? (SPS mandates how the kids are selected, you know. Not other HCC parents. The anger is misdirected.)

What are we going to do about the segregated neighborhood schools, once HCC is drowned? No one seems to want busing, and that might be the only realistic solution in a city that's this segregated.

Wouldn't all this effort be better spent in guaranteeing all kids get a higher level of general education, rather than putting HCC kids in classrooms with way overworked teachers who cannot differentiate? ALO tried differentiation already and it failed miserably. Teachers couldn't deliver, and didn't. That's why a lot of us are at HCC in the first place.

Having a student in an elementary self-contained program with virtually identical demographics of other children of highly educated parents within the boundaries of a highly desirable big city--all on the public school dime"

One, you don't know that all HCC kids come from families with highly educated parents. Two, you will fault people who live in a "highly desirable big city?" And "on the public school dime?" It's public school and it's a program that the district set up. One that has received many complaints over the years from parents in the program.

Thank you,Kellie.
kellie said…
@ Equity Matters,

"You can see how building a new school for a predominately white HCC group doesn't sit well with a lot of people. Especially when considering that many north end schools are 60+ years old and falling apart."

I think this falls in the damned if you do and damned if you don't category. Ten years ago, equity was all about the paper optics and racial balancing, not actual inclusion. You have to remember that Superintendent Maria Goodlow Johnson, an African American woman repeatedly stated that placing HC cohorts alongside predominately non-white and high FRL students would make it more comfortable for AA families to choose to send their students to the cohorts.

Fast forward a few years to 2012 and the entirely-predictable but yet utterly-shocking happened. Everything Mary Bass and Harium Martin Morris said was correct. People HATED these newly created monstrosities with entrenched tracking, that did NOTHING to actually increase equitable identification or inclusion.

So as part of BEX IV, it was decided to stop expanding this practice, at least at elementary. This was a HOTLY debated decision. Multiple board directors wanted to place another cohort at Olympic Hills (predominately HRL and non-white) as well as identify other predominately high FRL and non-white schools to co-house additional cohorts. (Northgate, Viewlands and Broadview Thompson were the top contenders for getting a cohort)

Instead of creating more paper victories, it was decided to create a new school, that never existed before, rather than shuffling boundaries and displacing communities and expanding tracking. It was a concern that the "optics" might not look good. However, the decision was made mostly because the voices of the Title 1 schools, who did NOT want that shared cohort experience were prioritized.

Fast forward to today and nobody remembers that process.

Anonymous said…
Rearranging the deck chairs is a good analogy. Thanks for explaining the rationale for those school closures and redistributions @Kelly. I think the people who currently are in favor or dismantling HCC and returning HC students to their neighborhood schools should take note of what you pointed out. It's fake equity. What might look good on paper doesn't necessarily correlate to benefits for actual students. Just as moving a portion of HCC students to a low performing, high FRL, high minority population school makes it look like these schools are performing better, and are more racially and socioeconomically balanced - that doesn't correlate to actual improvements for the high FRL/minority students there. If anything it masks the districts deficiencies. And then of course, perpetuates the whole "segragation" thing. Likewise sending the HCC kids back to their neighborhood schools might on paper make some of the schools look like they are performing better (but will probably not change their racial or SE balance) in reality the higher performing/HC (and more likely to be affluent, white and Asian) kids will still be meeting/exceeding expectation and the lower performing kids will still be struggling, neighborhood schools will still be " segregated" in some parts of town reflecting the nieghborhood demographics, hgher performing, college bound (once again, a higher proportion of which are affluent, white and Asian) will still chose AP classes (until the district scraps them too) and lower performing ones won't. How exactly does the district plan to change all of that. Unless the district actually provides something tangible, new, different from what its currently doing to get them up to standard. They haven't thought it through beyond the buzzwords and feel good social justice credits. I can see no actual implementable plan to bring the underperforming groups up. All I can see is an intention reduce rigor and reduce options for the higher performers. It's pathetic and it does every student a disservice.


Anonymous said…
Kari from district says "We don’t {sic} have finite resources in the school district, and making the system more equitable for ALL children may indeed mean that those who are currently benefitting {sic} from the hoarding of resources have to give something up. If you’re not okay with that, you don’t truly want equity for all."

Yet, Mr Theo Moriarty says "There is no budget at all, nor trainings for HCC. Others have pointed out the huge sizes of classes, nearly double students as well as thousands less funding per student, as compared to high FRL schools.

Since there are no resources for HCC beyond busing and testing provided by the state not school district, she may actually be referring to the district's move to shift resources away from majority schools with middle class students. For example, budget allocations and severe cuts faced this past year at Roosevelt, Garfield and other high schools. The more middle class white the school, the more cuts.

"Hoarding of resources comment" therefore makes no sense in the HCC context, only in the larger budget allocation mess context.

Therefore, one might reflect upon this smoke and mirrors game, as a way to use HCC arguments to shift resources instead away from the majority of middle class students in SPS neighborhood schools, under some guise of equity? Clever as to not raise the concern of general education parents who may not be connecting the dots. The district will just tell them sorry there is no budget. With with time, as their kids have a harder time getting classes they need they will eventually see through it and/or those with means will leave if they can.


Anonymous said…
>>>People HATED these newly created monstrosities with entrenched tracking, that did NOTHING to actually increase equitable identification or inclusion.

No Kelly. What an absurd, self serving version of history, from a self aggrandizing know-it-all. (Where exactly do you work to have gained such authority? Anywhere besides school district task forces?Lol)

All attempts at inclusion were thwarted tooth and nail by proponents AL at TM. They are there for the segregation and nothing more. The white imports couldn’t spend even a single hour sitting next to neighborhood kids for social studies. “It would lower the conversation level.” The fact that learning about history is best learned when those whose history is taught, are actually present. Nothing about us without us. It’s a thing. But of course, this same parent cohort hates that too. Before that the AL crowd did everything it could to get rid of disabled kids from Lowell. The building was all for them you see. The district didn’t create the monstrosities. You, the parents did. The district been trying to fix it for years.

And you are wrong about resource hoarding. Students in poverty, facing racial discrimination, ACEs, and/or not speaking English, require extra resources, beyond the weighted staffing standards and title 1 funding. Inclusive schools evens out that burden. Segregated classrooms that are cherrypicked to avoid addressing these students have in fact hoarded resources, much the same as charter schools.

Go Private

Anonymous said…
As I mentioned earlier, I think it's possible the "resource hoarding" comment may have been referring to something else, since it doesn't make a lot of sense in the context of HCC. There are a lot of articles our there that use this term in a broader sense, and they make interesting reading. Here are a few [and full disclosure, I've only skimmed them thus far].

The Hoarding of the American Dream

How the middle class hoards wealth and opportunity for itself

Richard Reeves on opportunity hoarders: It's not just the 1%

School Opportunity Hoarding? Racial Segregation and Access to High Growth Schools

Could make for an interesting thread...

all types
Go Private,
Segregated classrooms that are cherrypicked to avoid addressing these students have in fact hoarded resources, much the same as charter schools.

This definition of "hoarding resources" gets ever stretched out. You don't have any factual proof that any HCC parent has their child in HCC to avoid Gen Ed classes. None. Do I think there probably are a few? Sure.

Sorry, but there is little comparison to charter school cherrypicking and what you assign to HCC.

And, the district IS pushing many more dollars into schools with students with challenges. So no one has said here, "don't do that" and certainly not me.

All Types, I'll think about that thread - so many others in line.
Anonymous said…
@ Kellie, thanks for the history.

Does the district publish accessible statistics for HCC % by income level?

They're trying to force the HCC disparities/racial paradigm--when given Asian and Multi-racial HCC stats it clearly doesn't make sense. I'm amazed at the district and district-associated employees who are willing to whitewash those stats. I'd be pissed if I were Asian or Multi-racial and told that my experience is inherently privileged and doesn't qualify as a minority group experience.

Let's face it, talking honestly about income levels and access won't generate as many jobs as the forced racial scenario will. Just look at all the new job titles and taskforce groups that have formed around racial equity.

--Pork Barrel
Anonymous said…
Nice try Melissa at dismissing opposition. It’s not one person claiming segregation and resource hoarding. (Or, opportunity hoarding if that’s more palatable to you.) It’s everyone not associated with HCC. The whole hew and cry by privileged parents is not over services or needs or outcomes. It’s simply about maintaining the segregation and tracking at all costs. “Differentiated learning can’t work”... not because it doesn’t work, but because the hoarders don’t want it. “Boo hoo hoo. ALO sucked.” According to parents who only wanted segregation all along. That’s not proof or evidence. Where’s the data proving the claim in SPS that HCC even is more efficacious than GE?. More whining about “data” from Honors for All (desegregation for 1 hour in high school). But nary a peep asking for HCC segregated efficacy, nor Honors efficacy. Why not? Because HCC parents don’t care if Honors was ever good or not, only that they have a track, for themselves and selected minorities. How many people have posted that HCC sucks, well, except for the social club aspects, and the other well bred students in the program. Tons. (Wake up, the district is listening. They hear the total lack of respect for staff and other students.). You cause segregation.

Go Private
kellie said…
I suspect that a thread on "resource hoarding" would be very helpful. That term is bandied about as if it was so self-explanatory that there is no need to either define to explain the term.

It is used so effortlessly, the "go private" actually made my point for me. Go private said "Segregated classrooms that are cherrypicked to avoid addressing these students have in fact hoarded resources, much the same as charter schools."

Go private and the vast majority of the anti-advanced learning crowd are utterly convinced that advanced learning programs in all their iterations, "hoard resources" without ever needing to define or itemize what is being hoarded. It's just obvious.

Most of the pro-advanced learning crowd are utterly baffled by this assertion. I have stated many times on this blog and elsewhere that we don't have the current program because it is "good." We have the current cohort-based-program because it is CHEAP.

This all quickly devolves into a massive shouting match of "you are hoarding resources" with the swift response of "no, we're not." A little bit of time to used to define this term would go a long way.

Because the shouting match, just enables the power-that-be to go enact whatever changes they were planning to enact all along. Every time I have seen district plans shifted, it happened because someone went to great effort to shift the shouting match into a dialogue.
kellie said…
I have to say that this comment from "go private" is now sadly, my all time favorite blog comment. The district didn’t create the monstrosities. You, the parents did. The district been trying to fix it for years.

This comment was in response to a question posed to me by "go equity" regarding the optics of placing HCC into a new building in North Seattle. In response to that question, I outlined a long history of parent opposition to placing predominately white, AL students into buildings with predominately non-white, high-FRL students, in order to create paper victories and the optics of paper diversity, while ignoring any need for inclusion and ignoring the fallacy of pushing this white savior narrative.

As part of that history, I noted how the district pushed ahead in 2009 and created the tracking at TM. There was not one parent who testified in favor of this move and it was opposed by pretty much everyone, except the district. The district created that monstrosity. The same monstrosity that Superintendent John Stanford dissolved in 1999 at Madrona, was re-created 10 years later at TM, because nobody respected the history and the inevitable consequences.

Move forward to 2012 and the district was so happy with the "success" of the paper diversity at TM, that the district tried to replicate this success at Olympic Hills and 1-2 additional TBD schools as part of the BEX process. The district also tried to encode Into policy that when a Title 1 school was re-built with larger capacity, then it should be DISTRICT POLICY to place HCC into those buildings. That was Equity, circa 2012.

Fortunately, for everyone, a large group of committed parents and teachers made certain that the voices of Olympic Hills families were centered in this process and these families pushed back hard that they did not want a pretty new building just so that they could be saved by HCC.

The one thing that has been an absolute constant during all my SPS years, is SPS's incredible ability to divide and conquer and somehow make all district failures the accountability of some mysterious group of entitled parents. (over there!).

Anonymous said…
"Sorry, but there is little comparison to charter school cherrypicking and what you assign to HCC."

Spectrum was Exhibit A as a direct comparison to charters, with underserved students, FRL, EL and students with IEPs all in the "other" classrooms. HCC is also similar in characteristics since the demographics are in no way reflective of the overall SPS population.

Melissa was an all-out advocate for Spectrum while chairing the anti Charter campaign. Comment that called out that bit of hypocrisisy were usually deleted.

Anonymous said…
HCC existed long long before any current parents probably even had kids. How dare you blame us parents for "creating the monstrosities". Only the district is and has ever been responsible for how it defines, identifies, delivers, and locates the state mandated HC education. You are truly deluded if you think parents have ever really had any real say in the matter, let alone creating it. The district does what it wants, according to the whims whoever happens to be in charge. It is so f***ed up that people blame well-intentioned parents who are doing nothing more egregious than accessing a district program that has existed long before their kids were even born.

Anonymous said…
@ Go Private said: "Students in poverty, facing racial discrimination, ACEs, and/or not speaking English, require extra resources, beyond the weighted staffing standards and title 1 funding. Inclusive schools evens out that burden. Segregated classrooms that are cherrypicked to avoid addressing these students have in fact hoarded resources, much the same as charter schools."

Ok, so you're saying the additional funding that such students need is more than they are currently getting, even with WSS adjustments and title 1 funding? I'm not going to argue that current funding is sufficient, but isn't it insufficient for everyone? And aren't there other funding sources to address some of those needs you mentioned, such as the National School Lunch Program? City-subsidized preschool? Etc.?

Also, haven't we seen that "inclusiveness" sometimes tips schools out of being able to qualify for title 1 funding? Are you suggesting that a high-poverty school is better off losing their title 1 funding if it means they will have more students from average or higher income families? How, specifically, does that help?

What are the additional services that should be provided to "students in poverty, facing racial discrimination, ACEs, and/or not speaking English" to help explain why they "require extra resources, beyond the weighted staffing standards and title 1 funding." More importantly, what should be shifted from whom in order for "inclusive schools" to "even out that burden," accounting for the fact that inclusive schools may also lose title 1 funding? Does the WSS need to be adjusted to better reflects challenges in educating students with certain characteristics? In other words, does the weighting need to be adjusted?

HCC is not more expensive, and there are lots of HC kids in GE classes already. Really, it sounds like your beef is not with HCC kids specifically--or even HC students more generally--but with students who do NOT fall within your "poverty, facing racial discrimination, ACEs, and/or not speaking English" group that you say needs additional resources. Eliminating HCC and spreading HC students out around the district--but still mostly clustered, unless we also scrap the NSAP--does nothing to provide additional funding to those students you say need more. In some cases, it will provide less.

Changing the student demographic mix also doesn't solve issues of poverty, racial discrimination, ACEs, ELL, etc., unless you are simultaneously spending less on other students. But spending less on HCC and HC students--and I don't think money is allocated by HCC/HC status--is too small to make a difference anyway; you'd need to spend less on all the other types of students who didn't fit into your criteria. Reduce per-student funding for any non-FRL student. For any student who "doesn't face racial discrimination" (although good luck defining that one, especially while continuing to ignore Asian students). For students who haven't faced ACEs (again, how to identify?). And so on.

(part 1)
Anonymous said…
(part 2)

Basically, it sounds like you want less funding per student for students who are white (maybe Asian?) and/or who do not qualify for FRL or ELL (and I presume special ed). Does that sound about right? Overall district outcomes might warrant it, and someone objectively looking at the data might be able to make that case. If so, however, that's not an HC/HCC thing--it's district-wide. Based on things like poverty, not race. Like HCC families have been saying all along.

I'd add, in any discussion of changing the weighting formulas to better reflect the challenges of educating certain students, it would also be important to bring teachers into the discussion. One area for consideration would be whether or not they thought they would also need additional time, materials, PD, etc. in order to effectively differentiate for HC learners if there was a greater mix of ability and asynchrony levels in their classrooms. Maybe a little extra funding in WSS for HC students, too, since they probably aren't as easy to educate--in a regular setting--as you might assume.

"But nary a peep asking for HCC segregated efficacy, nor Honors efficacy"

Not true about me; I've been asking for both.

"The district didn’t create the monstrosities. You, the parents did. The district been trying to fix it for years."

Complete BS. Just - not - true. But it fits your narrative so go ahead and believe it.

"Melissa was an all-out advocate for Spectrum while chairing the anti Charter campaign."

And so...? I did favor Spectrum because it was a way to serve at least some kids in their neighborhood schools and serve nearby kids. Not as much busing around.

Go Private:
"Students in poverty, facing racial discrimination, ACEs, and/or not speaking English, require extra resources, beyond the weighted staffing standards and title 1 funding. Inclusive schools evens out that burden.

How? How do "inclusive" schools even out that burden? Please be specific.
Anonymous said…
"One area for consideration would be whether or not they thought they would also need additional time, materials, PD, etc. in order to effectively differentiate for HC learners if there was a greater mix of ability and asynchrony levels in their classrooms."

I'm a teacher and the answer is no. We already have a range of students in our classrooms, including HC students who stay in their neighborhood schools, students who are one single subject gifted, etc.

In terms of asynchrony, once again HC parents think this is something new under the sun. Students who have been in war zones, multiple foster care, have autism, ADD/ADHD, are the only one of their culture, race or ethnicity-- this is public school and all experience asynchrony in their own way. Your child just isn't all that exceptional after all.

As far as teaching goes, SPS HC students who stay in their neighborhood schools do as well or better than those in the cohort. We've got it covered.

Anonymous said…
"Not as much busing around." What does this mean? Spectrum students are gen ed students. Period. Busing is not even on the table.

Why didn't you address the actual issue: All of your complaints about how charters cherry pick students and leave the FRL, EL and SpEd students clustered into the remaining classrooms?


Teacher, you really think every class in every school would be ready? I don't but I salute you for your good work.

I never said that last sentence, Enough, and you are starting to sound incoherent.

Anonymous said…
I'm an SPS teacher and I disagree with Teacher. The issue isn't that HC students aren't all that exceptional. The issue is meeting the needs of students at so many different levels. The more levels I need to teach to, the less everyone gets. I am only one person and I only have so much time in the day to teach and to prep multiple level lessons. I am grateful for those years where I don't have as many levels. I feel like I can provide more to the students in my class. I'm curious. What makes you so sure that your HC students are doing as well at your school as students in the cohort? If that is the case, why wouldn't the HC students return to your school or never leave?
SPS Teacher
Anonymous said…
The study by the district outlined that non-cohort students do as well or better.

I'm all for walk to math, btw.

Reading and writing are not at all difficult to differentiate. The concept is taught to all and the skills are differentiated.

Most HC students are not working the full two grade levels ahead, particularly in writing. That's why so many parents complain about the rigor.

I think self contained should be in place for the extreme outliers, just like in SpEd.

"The study by the district outlined that non-cohort students do as well or better."

I believe that measure was just by testing. From my understanding, grades are not the sole reason for the HC cohort.

Teacher, want to explain that last sentence?. Are you saying only the Sped students with the greatest needs should be served?
Anonymous said…
@Teacher. I agree with walk to math. It is really hard to differentiate grade level math in one class. Writing and reading are much easier.

However, I think reading is harder than people say. This year I have 5 reading groups ranging from below grade level to 2 years ahead. For sure I can give my high group harder books and comprehension tasks, but when I look at the common core for the level they are reading I need time to really teach them new info. I can’t always teach them the same concept. Some kids are working on retell and others have retell down, but need work inferencing. I feel spread too thin. I feel the pressure to get kids below standard up to standard and have some time to really teach everyone else. For sure, some years are easier than others. I think it is easier to integrate Spectrum level learners. I don’t feel like I can serve my current HC learners as well as I would like. Maybe it is just because I know the difference between what I am teaching them and what I know they could be learning if I had more time.

I agree with you about writing.
SPS Teacher.

Popular posts from this blog

Tuesday Open Thread

Seattle Public Schools and Their Principals

COVID Issues Heating up for Seattle Public Schools