Monday, November 04, 2019

Who Will Win? (Part Two)

Update, Tuesday 3:35 pm - Just listened to KUOW's reporting on races today and what King County Elections knows.  Apparently some ballot boxes are filling up fast (they named one in Ballard) and they have sent drivers out sooner to make sure voters can get their ballot in the boxes.

They said that because of what looks like a last-minute rush, that the ballots they count at 8pm will ONLY be the early ones already received and likely ONLY half of what they believe they will receive.

end of update

Now I'll tell you how I think the school board races for Seattle Schools will come out.

District 1
Eric Blumhagen will prevail and probably by a comfortable margin.  I think his professional background, knowledge of the district and quiet passion came across quite well and voters were impressed.

District 3
Chandra Hampson will likely win.  I think if Rebeca Muniz had a better knowledge base of the district, she might have beaten Hampson.

Hampson will end up being Geary 2.0 so not much of a change.

District 6
Director Leslie Harris will maintain her seat and I don't even think it will be close.  No one is perfect but we need Harris' knowledge of the district, its players, its challenges and its virtues.  To have five new Board members would really hobble the Board's work and it would be advantage Juneau.

And I think in District 2, Lisa Rivera Smith will be a fine addition to the Board.


Anonymous said...

I think you’re right and I’ll be happy with most of these outcomes but Hampson will be a bitter pill to swallow.

I’m undecided on whether I want Castro-Gill to win her race. The kids in the Highline district don’t deserve to be saddled with her but I woukd hope she’d have less time to bully parents in Seattle if she won.

Madison Parent

Anonymous said...

Madison Parent,

Definitely NO on TCG. It’s a liability to have someone in power who will forever see themselves as an outsider, not ultimately responsible for any outcome. Also, the essential function if the school board is to check on the superintendent spending - classic executive/legislative branch balance of power. Her main job is to oversee the budget, and I get the sense she’s not comfortable with math.

Poly Sigh

LOL said...

Harris is awful. A terrible role model who conducts herself in an absolute abhorrent way. The way in which she speaks to staff and her counterparts is embarrassing. Playing “gotcha” only breeds contempt and resentment, not growth and change.

Anonymous said...

Madison Parent,
Your comment is irresponsible. If you think TCG is so negative to students why would you wish her to make decision as a board member? This is the NIMBY attitude so prevalent in West Seattle - SAD!

Fed Up

strategic plan said...

I don't see how Eric wins, D7,D6.D5 voters are going 15 to 20 points for Rankin. D1 Rankin and the rest go to Eric but by not enough to over take Rankin'd lead.

The UW student vote goes 80% to Rankin.

A white man who talks like Burke 2.0 and is endorsed by the Times just wont win in Seattle.

Melissa Westbrook said...

"The way in which she speaks to staff and her counterparts is embarrassing."

Really? Because I have found Harris to be very accommodating to her colleagues and always asks, when something is presented, "Colleagues, questions, comments or concerns?"

Strategic Plan, how many UW students vote? Also, I don't like your racial implications; Liza Rankin is a white woman and many white candidates win all the time. Don't muddy the waters with that kind of talk.

Anonymous said...

Strategic plan, more people vote in the Blumhagen leaning districts. I'd also quibble with your margins- most people are less invested in the school district, just kind of vote however, may well follow the Times. I think it will be a close one.

Wonk up

Strategic plan said...

Well have you even been bothered to analyze the voting data ? I have and I have one correction to make. In D3 it will be Liza Rankin by 15 points. I missed one value on my first calculation. The voting totals are very close across all the districts. You somehow think POC are not going to vote. If you think that then you haven't been paying attention.

The UW vote is interesting because of the social justice movement on the campus. Local media and the national narrative point towards Rankin. The Seattle Times is interesting because they endorsed Eric , but supported Liza directly or indirectly in every piece written about SPS.

Eric's managers attempted to re-brand Eric as a justice candidate and that fell flat and Eric's SPED angle is troublesome. Eric is a HCC/AL proponent and he is going to win or lose on that single issue. I say he loses. With Eric losing HCC is in even more jeopardy.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Strategic Plan, I have seen voting data from years back. It shows that:

1) What happens in the primary does affect the general election vote. However, because school board elections in Seattle have the oddity of being regional in the primary and then citywide in the general, the primary votes are not as easy to use to determine probabilities in the general.

2) While many more votes get cast for City Council elections, you see a drop in votes for school board. Why? I would guess either voters are not interested or, more likely, just don't know who to vote for.

3)Do I think people of color aren't going to vote? I don't know. Voting trends for different regions find there are more people voting in the north end than the south end. I would say, given the interest from the appointment process for Betty Patu's seat AND the City Council election, we may see an uptick from the south end.

UW students, many being not from WA State and even more from out of the country, are not big voters. So why you give that credibility is unclear to me.

I absolutely disagree that Eric could lose on a single issue. That he got the most votes from a roomful of kids of color at a forum that youth/young adults of color organized speaks volumes. He has been reaching a wide variety of voters.

NSP said...

The D1 vote is going to be close, I don't see either Liza or Eric winning it in a walk. Maybe I'm wrong, though. We'll find out tonight, though you can expect the final vote total to shift at least 5 points toward Liza from the first night totals.

I don't see TCG winning her race. Aaron Ostrom has many years of work in Highline schools, and it's obvious in the voter's pamphlet statements.

Strategic Plan said...

The kids of color are not voters. I'm not saying Eric would be bad, he's just going to be a victim of the left's blame game. Tell you what needs to change is the goofy configuration of D1. People who live in D1 send there children to schools in D2 that needs to change.

Strategic Plan said...

The problem isn't TCG winning, the problem is she will still be on the SPS payroll. I'm not a person who likes to rip people's livelihood away, but their has to a limit of what public employees can get away with. If she worked at my company she would be terminated for violating several policies. It all seems very suspicious to me. It's like she has a green light from the administration to rant and rave.

Anonymous said...

Strategic Plan, and even the Times E-Board endorsement called Rankin an “excellent candidate.” I don’t see Blumhagen having enough widespread support. He and Rankin raised about the same amount of money, but over $20,000 of hers came from individuals, while $13,000 of his came from he himself. Rankin has the labor and progressive endorsements, including The Stranger, plus folx from all over the district. Blumhagen has all the school board presidents that lead us to where we are today. HCC is changing no matter who ends up on the school board. I’d rather we had people who have shown leadership and collaboration than who expected to coast to a win on past task force participation.

Not happening

Anonymous said...

I went to UW and studied a social science major. I am very social justice oriented and I support Eric over Liza mostly because he is much more qualified and someone the district needs. You reasoning is wrong.

You are aware that some of Eric's detractors supporting Rankin have been busy making bullying statements about him, and making mean comments about kids and people who are autistic. I don't see that going on toward Liza.

Social justice advocates? Please most progressive people are smart enough and can see right through it.

Voted 4 Eric

Voted Blumhagen said...

I'm social justice orientated and I voted Blumhagen, too.

Rankin's literature has a lot of meaningless campaign promises. She likes art. We all do, but there is no realistic expectation that she would be able to provide art for all students.

Voted Blumhagen said...

Eric has shown collaboration. He served on PTA boards for 11 years and received the Golden Acorn Award. He served on multiple task forces and helped lead the district on multiple issues. Eric has plenty of leadership and collaborative skills.

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

To note, I just deleted a comment but not because I'm not supporting those candidates. We do not allow anonymous comments; give yourself a name or moniker and try again.

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

I wouldn't count the Blumhagen chickens just yet. And certainly, "Blumhagen victory by comfortable margin" is way off the mark. It's a battle between SPED and HCC. People are tiring of HCC Uber Alles.

Go Rankin

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

"District 1
Eric Blumhagen will prevail and probably by a comfortable margin. I think his professional background, knowledge of the district and quiet passion came across quite well and voters were impressed."

Is -3 points comfortable?

Every election is different.

Crow time

Anonymous said...

Idiots - MW hasn't lost, she wasn't running, she doesn't have kids in SPS now.
Our kids are the real losers here

Truth hurts

Anonymous said...

SPS: Welcome to Harrison Bergeron's world.


Anonymous said...

Blumhagen might be able to pull out a win but it's going to be hard - the remaining ballots will break for the Stranger's endorsed candidates and that means Liza is very likely to prevail. What a disaster for SPS. I think we are going to see a lot of 4-3 votes in the next few months. DeWolf is unlikely to get re-elected, which will help improve matters, but it could be a rough two years ahead.

TCG losing in Highline is at least some good news. Parents there clearly have no desire to be talked down to by a bully. They've instead embraced another person of color who has actual roots in the schools there and doesn't treat the community with contempt.

Mixed Bag

Anonymous said...

I was looking at the platforms of some of the winning east-side candidates and was so pleased to see that excellence in education and serving all students was valued. Such a refreshing change from SPS where excellence and achievement is scorned.

Minimizing the gap by lowering the ceiling is an abomination. So sad for all kids that there is no acceleration offered. HCC is in the early stages of being dismantled. Walk to math, Spectrum, etc. all gone.

Tragic to see such disdain for students who yearn to learn. Harrison Bergeron indeed!

This will be a period of true shame for SPS.


Anonymous said...

Students who yearn to earn? Oh please! Wait while we go barf.

The disdain is for parents like you. Kids are kids. Endless publications like this one got you where you are.

Go Rankin

Anonymous said...

Go Rankin. Yes, kids are kids. Kids like to play. Kids like to learn - yup, they do, all of them. For SPS to opt to simply babysit: shame indeed.


Anonymous said...

So far we have Hampson, Hersey, Rankin, DeWolf on one corner.
Harris, Mack, Rivera Smith on the other corner.
Sucks for this blogs fans, not for the students at SPS as a whole.

Fed Up

Anonymous said...

Let's trash TCG since our guy lost! So predictable. Never Nevermind she's behind by only 700 votes and saying "clearly" people prefer her opponent is laughable.

She doesn't have contempt for parents. She has contempt for the opinions regularly expressed on this blog and is actually well-liked and respected by many, especially POC families and teachers. These facts seem to really get under the skin of this group who continues to prove her points.

This group has become the conservative voice of SPS on the wrong side of history.

Keeping Score

Anonymous said...

What do you mean OUR guy? We were also rooting for Rebecca (sic) Muniz (even when we misspelled her name, you know)
But now do don't care about her because the only goal was to block Diamond-Encrusted-Spoon Chandra Hampson from rising as a school board director. Rebecca (sic) is unexperienced and never said a peep about HCC or special education but anything was better than letting someone that has so terribly disrespected Melissa win.
And this is how petty we are.

Delete Me

Anonymous said...

I’m embarrassed that commenters fail to mention taxpayers when bemoaning the winners and losers of the school board race. Yes, the services are for students, but we’re talking a billion dollar budget here. Ability to best steward those funds will allow us to offer more/better services. And that’s the primary job of school board members, never gets a mention.

Do Better

Melissa Westbrook said...

On TCG, "...she's behind by only 700 votes" which is a lot for a small area like Highline.

On SPS elections, I got 2 out of 3 right.

And people are making the assumption that Hersey will vote lockstep with Hampson/DeWolf and maybe Rankin? While I believe in his belief in the work of equity, I have spoken with him and he is very much his own person. Time will tell.

Anonymous said...

I agree it's too soon to know about Hersey--give him a chance to do right by ALL students and families.

I also think it's too soon to put Lisa Rivera-Smith in any particular corner. She ran uncontested so didn't have to answer many tough questions, and based on prior interactions with her I think she could go either way.

My hope--and I acknowledge it is probably unrealistic--is that all new Board members will feel the weight of their office and will use solid evidence (ahem, ahem--not the crap that JSCEE often tries to pass off as justifications) in order to serve the public good. That they'll ask good questions and not settle for vague answers. That they'll consider all students, not just some. That Board members will be willing to listen to parents regardless of their backgrounds and concerns, and they will be willing to really hear and understand the challenges faced. And most importantly, that Board members will reject the notion that we need to pit constituencies against each other and will instead find ways to provide for the needs off all students, while recognizing that students are all different and one size does not fit all.

all types

Anonymous said...

"On SPS elections, I got 2 out of 3 right."

You went all in on Eric, but fell short. You flip flopped on Hampson.

I hope DeWolf steps up as board president and muzzles Harris and Mack.

Hersey is well aware of your conniving ways.

We win

Anonymous said...

In the meantime the JSCEE staff will keep growing and growing. I think taxpayers are at the breaking point and the next step will be to fail levies.

--Control JSCEE

Anonymous said...

TCG absolutely disrespects parents. I regularly see her bullying people on Facebook. Anyone who doesn't agree with her, she attacks. Doesn't matter if they are a POC. I wouldn't wish her on Highline.


Stretch said...

It is a bit of a stretch to call Hampson a "Diamnond Encrusted Spoon". Let's see what happens after the end of her term.

Anonymous said...

Yes, let's see what happens. If the social justice slate is effective then I think we all win.
If the are ineffective and cause turmoil then the movement will be rejected and for all purposes dead. Sawant fell victim to her inability to recognize that the turmiol she created was tiresome and divisive.

Now we have the plan, we have the board and it's is up to us to press the district everyday on producing results. I'm talking about NOW, not next year, F-ing NOW.

Ask your director at every meeting to show you the results, so you know what they have done to meet the plan NOW!

Those at JSCEE can get it done or move on because this new board will insist on controlling the JSCEE workers. Policies be damned!

--Judgment day

Anonymous said...

Now we have the plan, we have the board and it's is up to us to press the district everyday on producing results.

What results, specifically, are you talking about?

We've always had a strategic plan of some sort, as well as a Board. But you seem to be talking about very specific results of interest--"the results". What are they? And do any other results matter?

Also, what does this even mean? This new board will insist on controlling the JSCEE workers. Policies be damned! (Do you perhaps mean that you think you now have allies on the Board who will enable you to continue bullynig your JSCEE colleagues and push your own agenda forward? Just a hunch...)


Anonymous said...

Ha, no and no.

Let me be more specific. We now have a very specific entity called out in the SP, AAM.

Let's say they are the canary. Every school day that passes were a task is not identified or implemented means that the district is not following the SP. It also means that AAM are falling further behind from receiving the educational justice called for in the SP.

I would expect someone down at JSCEE to understand how to create a project plan and a road map and DRIVE results. It goes like this, What did you accomplish yesterday towards the goal? What are going to do today? The manager will track the task and if someone is blocked then they unblock them. If people are not meeting the objectives then they are gone, it's really that simple. We don't know yet if SEA will get out of the way, if not then we will deal with that issue in public if necessary.

--Fresh air

Melissa Westbrook said...

We Win, your tone is ugly and this idea of promoting Us vs Them in this district is wrong and not helpful.

Don't know if you missed my update but King County Elections still has about half the ballots to count. That's a lot of votes. I don't know which why they will swing but the Blumhagen/Rankin race is the closest of the three races.

You are incredibly wrong about me "flip-flopping" on Hampson; I was NEVER for her candidacy.

Do I think Director Hersey has been told things about me? Sure, but has never been anything but kind and polite. I gave him his first photo seated as a director and he was quite grateful. He also probably cannot miss the number of people who seem to be still upset/angry that Emijah Smith didn't get the nod. I continue to be surprised as this still being an issue and I'll bet he is as well. He said he would run again for the post in a couple of years; wonder who will run against him?

Judgment Day, seriously?

"...this new board will insist on controlling the JSCEE workers. Policies be damned!" You know I don't like Rankin and Hampson but they are both women of honor. They are not going to ignore Board policy and neither will the rest of the Board. And the Board controlling the staff at JSCEE? You made me laugh outloud.

Have you forgotten the dreaded "micromanaging" by previous Boards over much less? There is NO way the Superintendent would allow the Board to direct JSCEE staff. Not in their work zone.

Fresh Air, and as well to you, good luck with that. It all sounds a lot like the TCG crowd and I don't think they are all that popular at JSCEE.

Outsider said...

The strategic plan as published seems like mostly posturing, and it might be wishful thinking to think anyone at headquarters cares about implementation. The real strategic plan, meanwhile, is elimination of advanced learning, and on that, they are making real progress every week. Spectrum was already eliminated and nominally replaced by a fiction called ALOs. Now HC is on the way out, to be nominally replaced by a fiction called blended something-something.

Eliminating AL is something they can really, easily do, and it has clear benefits. It will knock down the college and career prospects of students formerly served in a cohort setting. Since most of those are white and Asian, it might have the effect of redistributing post-school opportunity toward students of other races (or perhaps just to students in private school or other districts, but whatever, can't hurt to try.) Also, putting HC cohort students back into general ed classrooms will lighten the load of teachers on average, and might therefore indirectly benefit other students. HC students tend to behave relatively well and can learn grade-level material easily, so they can be largely ignored. Teachers will on average have fewer struggling and high needs students, and more time to devote to them.

Many comments in this blog refer to the possibility of differentiation, in a spirit of spin or wishful thinking. But note that Juneau never uses the word in her op-ed. She stays solidly with the "every student is gifted" theme, signalling the obvious -- there will be no differentiation. (Her description of the future approach sounds a lot like the standard nod to AL that appears on lots of school websites, with no connection to reality.) But one thing that really does happen a lot in Seattle classrooms: students are put in pairs or groups to do their work. Having more good students in the classroom makes that approach work better, since the good students can be sprinkled around and can potentially help to teach other students who are closer to the 2-3 boundary. It might work only one time out of three, but it's better than nothing.

That is the real strategic plan of SPS, and you can see why it appeals to most teachers and many parents. It's bad news for HC students, of course, but tough beans. They got out-voted.

Anonymous said...

@Fresh air/Judgment day,

I would expect someone down at JSCEE to understand how to create a project plan and a road map and DRIVE results.

Well yeah, we would all expect that as well. Then again, there don't seem to be many examples of where that HAS happened, so I'm not sure why you'd expect anything different now.

It sounds like you're saying that now that we have a SP, now staff need to get down to the work of actually figuring out how to accomplish what's in the SP, specifically for AAM. Staff need figure out what the specific projects are, create a plan to implement them, oversee implementation, then measure outcomes and (hopefully) see results. How far along are we in that process, given staff's lackluster planning/implementation/oversight/evaluation efforts of the past? As you say, "every school day that passes were [sic] a task is not identified or implemented means that the district is not following the SP. It also means that AAM are falling further behind from receiving the educational justice called for in the SP."

It looks like the intent is to only use a few specific indicators for measuring success of the broad, district-wide plan. Ok, fine. Let's look at those. Note that while the development of interventions and projects may focus on AA males, the outcomes themselves do not. Here there are:

Goal 1 - Students of color who are furthest from educational justice will feel safe and welcome in school.
Ok. I assume there are baseline data for that one and they are looking for a specific level of increase, but who really knows...

Goal 2 - Students of color who are furthest from educational justice will read at grade level by 3rd grade.
What is the strategy to get there? Sending very advanced HCC readers back into 1st and 2nd classes doesn't seem likely to do the trick, so what IS the plan? It doesn't seem like something someone in a cubicle down at JSCEE will just figure out and implement on their own, under daily fear of being fired for not making progress on something over which they likely have little control. (But yes, I'd love to see ineffective JSCEE staff move on, don't get me wrong!) What additional resources are needed (time, money, training, supplies, etc.) in order to get all of the "students of color who are furthest from educational justice" up to grade level of reading? Does the Board need to allocate resources, approve curricula, etc.?

Goal 3 - Students of color who are furthest from educational justice will be proficient in mathematics in 5th grade and 7th grade.
Cool, glad to hear they will be. Now, how to make that happen...? I guess someone else down at JSCEE can identify or implement a task of the day to make it so? Not likely. We need a comprehensive plan for that--probably one that comes with resources.

Goal 4. Students of color who are furthest from educational justice will finish 9th grade on track for on-time graduation
Again, how do you make this happen? Is the solution to not allow teachers to fail students? Didn't some of the GHS students forced into HfA say the classes were too hard? Will student athletes not be allowed to miss class for games if they are in danger of failing a class? Will a 7th period class option be added? Will students be eligible for extra support? Will teacher be expected to teach differently? Will someone at a desk down at JSCEE issue an edict that all 9th grade students of color are required to pass 6 9th grade classes? How to make this happen...?


Anonymous said...


Goal 5. Students of color who are furthest from educational justice will graduate ready for college and career.
How does Core 24 play into this, since it removes some flexibility from student schedules? What "projects" will get all such students up to grade level on the SBA? How will SPS increase SAT/ACT scores to whatever level indicates college/career readiness? What level of advanced coursework completion indicates such readiness, and how will challenges with HfA implementation at GHS be resolved as HfA is implemented more widely? As for "college enrollment without developmental courses," nice idea, but seems unlikely--what "projects" will staff undertake to ensure the current high need for remediation in college is eliminated? What are the factors that necessitate remediation for so many now--often even students who are not "students of color furthest from educational justice"?

This is not easy work, and simple having the SP and "favorable" Board members does not make it any more so. There is much, much more to do, and it will take a lot of actual planning to make it happen.

all types

Anonymous said...

I have HC kids in a neighborhood school, and from where I'm sitting (BRYANT ELEMENTARY), Outsider just nailed it.


Anonymous said...

Since you were not a supporter you have no idea what has been discussed. Honor doesn't mean letting JSCEE staff run amok. The super works for the board and she will do what the majority ask her to do. I understand this is hard for you to grasp, but there is a new sheriff in town.


Melissa Westbrook said...

The super works for the board and she will do what the majority ask her to do."

Hilarious; that's called "micromanaging" and previous Boards got called out mightily for it. But, sure that could happen.

Anonymous said...

I don't see how eliminating HCC for students performing two to three years above grade levels would adversely effect those students ability to go to college. If what is being promoted is true then a HCC high school student would only need to attend up to 10th grade before moving on to college. If these kids are so gifted I would think colleges would be seeking them out for full rides thus increasing their chances.

There's something fishy about the HCC argument and while we are on the subject, it was SEA that fought against "walk to math" and not JSCEE.

What's up

Anonymous said...

I feel that there are various aspects of Seattle Public Schools that DO need Micromanaging and that takes board members that have the bandwidth to do so and trust from the other board members that it will be done professionally. Unless SPS wants to see future levies fail they need to show the public that it's not going to be business as usual down at JSCEE.

It's time

No singing yet! said...

Rankin hasn't won yet! If she still has a few thousand vote lead after tonight's drop then I would say it's over. Let's see the new numbers before crowning her.

Melissa Westbrook said...

It's Time, well, prepared to have Board members called out by the Seattle Times. Because that's what they previously did when this happened.

And you think levies will fail if the will of some of the Board isn't done? Wow.

Anonymous said...

Liza Rankin 61,378 51.47 %
Eric Blumhagen 57,379 48.12 %
Write-in 490 0.41

Rankin is ahead by 3,999 votes which is around the total for the other D1 candidates in the primary. I'm curious who those primary votes went to in the general. Any guesses?

It seems like the other primary candidates aligned with Blumhagen more than Rankin based off of the voter guide.


Melissa Westbrook said...

It was Christopherson, his wife and another candidate. Hard to say if someone voted for those outliers, how they would vote between Blumhagen and Rankin. Someone did tell me last night that many Stranger readers vote late so maybe those votes will go to Rankin.

Anonymous said...

@What’s Up, you seem confused about the point of HCC (it’s not getting into college), and also about what’s required for HS graduation (which typically IS a college entrance req’t).


Anonymous said...

Christopherson supported Rankin based off the emails send out from his campaign email address.

I would assume his wife supported Rankin also. I don't know if that made a difference, but I'm sure it possibly helped Rankin in D1. There was a bunch of noise over on facebook about it.

--D1 voter

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

The king county voters site says the next results are due today at 4:00 PM

Results posting schedule

Results posted by 4:00 p.m.

Results posted by 4:00 p.m.

So where are the results?


Anonymous said...

dropped at 3:30 eric still behind. 4k votes. who knows

no caps

Anonymous said...

Then it's over.


Anonymous said...

The district is being recalibrated. It usually takes people who hate somewhat radical to make change happen because planning nice doesn't work.

I don't agree with all of the ways or means of this new crowd but and supremely thankful that the are in the process of righting glaring longstanding injustices in the district like HCC, PTA funding, etc.

They may overstep and make mistakes like Hampson did with the like/heart, but they are going to recalibrate the district for the better. In fact, they already have.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Karma, I think that's fine. Things do shift from superintendent to superintendent and board to board.

But keep in mind SPS' dismal record of carrying out initiatives. The district has presented no plan for HCC in 100+ buildings. Are they going to give schools vague guidelines and no PD/resource support? Are they going to depend on technology i.e. personalized learning?

That, to me, is what is most troubling.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, kind of like how they've planned for Core 24?


Anonymous said...

@Karma said: "I don't agree with all of the ways or means of this new crowd but and supremely thankful that the are in the process of righting glaring longstanding injustices in the district like HCC, PTA funding, etc."

It's easy to make HCC the scapegoat, but if one were to look a little deeper & think a little harder they'd likely see that HCC simply reflects what happens district-wide: people with higher income tend to have children who perform better on all sorts of tests & academic measures (kindergarten readiness, SBAC in various grades, AP tests, graduation rates, etc.), and the disparities are evident very EARLY (pre-K). They are evident by race, too (but not because of race, to be clear). This is not news, but it is conveniently omitted from discussions about HCC.

Looking deeper, one would also see that more expensive neighborhoods not only have more children qualifying for HCC, but also that non-HC students outperform their non-HC peers at high-FRL schools. GE schools vary. On average, the level of instruction in a 3rd grade class in a low-FRL school with high test scores is going to be higher than in a low-FRL school with low test scores--even though both are 3rd grade. Teachers tend to recalibrate their teaching to some extent to the level of the class, "teaching to the middle" or, in many cases, teaching to the below-grade-level. So while HC instruction may transparently be "set" at 1-2 years above grade level, GE grade level instructional levels may be more nebulous, with the actual level of instruction more dependent upon the make-up of the class. After all, that's kind of what differentiation is, at the most broad level--teaching to the general level of the class.

Why does the make-up of the class differ? Partly due to parent income. Parents of means often choose more expensive neighborhoods partly for their typically higher-quality schools, so higher-achieving students end up clustered in certain neighborhoods. Parents aren't "testing their children into" those schools that are more likely to teach at/above grade level, but there IS some level of "testing" going on--parent income testing (and probably some parental education and resource testing via the research that is done to identify schools of interest, too). Children don't have to score at a certain level to enter those high-scoring schools, but they do get the benefit of education more "at their achievement level" nonetheless. In some ways, you could say their parents "bought their way" into better schools, since if the parent had chosen a house in a neighborhood that had low-scoring schools the student would likely end up with lower-level instruction focused more on students working below grade level. The student would be one of the high achievers, and likely a little neglected in class. For years. You can see why parents seek out schools that are likely to better fit their students' abilities.

That's analogous to what happens with HC students in GE schools. Seattle neighborhoods are somewhat segregated by income (& race), and thus so are our schools. That also means that our schools are somewhat segregated by achievement, which also means that teaching/instruction is somewhat segregated by ability level. Even in GE. Parents of HC students are more likely to choose schools that are a better fit for their HC student, so they choose those higher-scoring GE schools. But sometimes those higher-scoring GE schools still aren't quite enough for HC students, who are still cognitively ahead of even their "good school" peers. After all, it's all relative, right? The difference between GE in a lower-achieving school and GE in a higher-achieving school is analogous to the difference between GE in a higher-achieving school and HCC. Look at test scores: average SBAC scores are generally highest for HCC, then higher-income GE schools, then lower income GE schools. It's the same pattern.


Anonymous said...


Now, you could argue there should not be differences across GE, either. There's a case to be made, although it's a MUCH harder sell because there are MANY more parents whose children would be impacted by a lowering of the bar. (And it would be a lowering of the bar, otherwise there would be no need to discuss it or make big changes--you could simply raise the bar elsewhere!) It's a much easier sell to unite people agains HCC, since it's smaller--and since parents who "bought" their child's way into a high-achieving GE school can also feel self-righteous about it and (somewhat hypocritically) join in the outrage. So while GE in a high-achieving, well-off school is essentially the "GE version of HCC" when compared to GE in a lower-achieving school--there are more honors/AP/IB classes, there are more parent-funded resources, there are likely more experienced teachers, there may be higher parent engagement, etc.--those parents are happy to help vilify HC students and their families for actually testing into a services for which there is evidence of need.

If the goal is to make sure all students have access to the same things, and all perform the same regardless of race, income, ELL, etc., the focus on HCC simply does not make sense. HCC represents a small portion of the SPS population, and dismantling or shrinking it will do absolutely nothing to help the students who are currently underrepresented in HCC--because those students are also underrepresented in the high-achieving schools to which these students would return. The ONLY students potentially helped by shrinking HCC are GE students in already high-performing schools, who will add even more high-performing students to the mix (which may actually HURT the small proportion of struggling students in those schools, since they will be even more of a minority and may get less attention). Other students also likely to be hurt include HC students who lose access to instruction at their level, intellectual peers, teachers who may be familiar with the learning styles of gifted students, etc. The pain will be greatest for HC students in lower-achieving and/or lower-income schools, as they will see the most dramatic shrinking of services/access.

And while one-size-fits-all curricula theoretically solve the "problem" of students not all being at the same level, even with the the Amplify science adoption the district pointed out that teachers can supplement the lessons. Where do you think that will happen most--in schools where students need the full hour to finish the lesson of the day, or in schools where most students finish early and get to move onto something more interesting--like an actual hands-on experiment the teacher brought in, or a more interesting reading/video the teacher found to help explain the simplistic material in a more meaningful way? Good teachers will adjust their baseline instruction based on the current level of achievement of the class. The only way to ensure that this baseline is not skewed upward in some schools and downward in others is by ensuring the general student populations are of similar achievement and ability levels. The only way to do that is to change our school assignment patterns to redistribute students for equal demographics. That could make sense, but it's another hard sell given the costs, commute challenges, loss of walkability, loss of neighborhood feel, etc. But if the goals of those leading the current anti-HCC charge are truly about fighting injustices associated with income and race and how they affect opportunity, THAT is where they should be putting their efforts. Changes to HCC do not accomplish their stated goals in the least, and serve only to make some people feel better because they are biased against certain kids whose needs don't fit within the acceptable boxes.

all types

Anonymous said...

All types, I assume you have, but if not, I'd love for you to send your thoughts in the form of a letter to the board.

SE mama

Anonymous said...

They will be coming for Options Schools next. Option Schools are overwhelmingly chosen by white parents. Parents of Color don't tend to choose them. I have never understand why they don't replicate in demand schools in more areas.


Anonymous said...

@ SE mama, No, I don't feel comfortable sending such a letter to the board. There are people on all sides of the issue who won't like what I said, and I don't want it taken out on my kids. Sadly, that's today's climate.

However, I think it's an important area for discussion, if we want honest discussion. I'm not sure people really do.

all types

old salt said...

The last time this happened they did 'come for' option schools. The promise was that every student would be served the same in every neighborhood school. They closed a couple of option schools and they forced standardized curriculum on others. But they did not actually go further to providing a full-time nurse in every school to make them accessible to students with diabetes or ELL services in every school to make them accessible to new arrivals or a range of sped services in every school. They didn't standardize the AP offerings or recess time or art/music.

Then they needed to move students around to deal with increasing capacity issues so they completely abandoned the ruse of standardizing the school experience across the district. And started program placement at specific schools like dual language, splitting HCC & adding IB/IBx to manipulate capacity.

It's a cycle of chaos typical for JSCEE.

NSP said...

Eric is now 10K votes behind. That race is over.

Anonymous said...

So my top 0.1%-scoring, extremely motivated, super-intellectual, school-loving kid will go to our neighborhood high school with very limited AP courses, while her lower-scoring but richer peers will go to their neighborhood schools with plenty of AP courses? Yeah, that seems fair.

-bitter mom

Melissa Westbrook said...

Bitter Mom, I don't think that will happen. I think EVERY high school will have a limited number of AP courses.

Anonymous said...

Considering the new budgeting system for high school capacity with undercounting, rifs & shorting on backfills; it is hard to imagine that there will be standard classes offered at every high school. Especially classes that may have fewer students like AP math & science classes, or foreign language or other electives. Is the district willing to fund an underenrolled class in one high school so they can say that they offer the same classes in every school? Considering celebratory press release after all the cancelled high school classes this fall it seems unlikely.

Also with the new budgeting system it may be difficult to keep teachers for the same electives in every building. If you rif the new computer science teacher they won't be waiting around til Oct to be hired back & then you have one school that can't offer computer science.

-HS Parent1