Showing posts from October, 2022

Anaylsis of Seattle School Board Decision to Bring "Student Outcome Focused Governance"

 Several things are clear about this decision that the Seattle School Board made - not unanimously - last Wednesday night at their regular Board meeting. There is not a united front on this issue. It seemed pretty clear that Director Chandra Hampson was the driver of this initiative and, on that night, wanted a united vote. But, true to form, when she realized she wasn't going to get that, she tried to make it personal. This is exactly what President Brandon Hersey said wasn't happening (and he seemed to laugh at Director Leslie Harris for her saying her hesitation wasn't "personal").  Hampson twice insinuated that some directors had "individual wants and desires " and it was that attitude blocking progress. From the Board meeting, I got the vibe of "we gotta do something." Hersey, Rivera Smith, Hampson, Rankin - all seemedto say this. But the problem is we were never told if there were OTHER options. I tried very hard to keep up and I never

SOFG Recommendations Get Board Approval (and the Mouse That Roared)

Once again, I slogged through nearly 3 hours of the last Board meeting to bring you the most important highlights (and there are several). I will do a separate post with analysis about what I think it all means. There were four directors in attendance and three coming in virtually. President Brandon Hersey was one of them and boy, did he sound sick. Director Leslie Harris was also under the weather. They were both visible but, without explanation, Director Michelle Sarju was not present nor was she on video. She was there via audio only. Superintendent Comments Nothing that interesting from Superintendent Brent Jones but he did say that he, some senior staff and some Board members all attended the recent Council of Great City Schools conference. (I have done a public records request for the who went and the costs. That's a lot of people to send.) He also referenced Blaine K-8 as "in Ballard" and it's in Magnolia. The student board director for the evening was Frankl

Special Education Guide Available

 Really fantastic info from the Seattle Schools Special Education PTSA , their publication:   Getting to Results: A Guide to Special Education in SPS Available in 10 languages  

Shooting at St. Louis High School Leaves Two Dead

One student and one teacher were killed yesterday in a St Louis magnet high school.  Seven others were hit and are in the hospital. There is some sameness to this story but also a couple of different issues. Same - AR-15 - 600 rounds of ammo - current or former student (the latter) - The teacher, Jean Kuczka, a health teacher, put herself between the gunman and students and was killed. Different - The shooter was killed. (School shooters tend to be taken into custody; this one died in a shootout with police) - Most school shootings are in suburban or rural schools; this was an urban magnet high school - The shooter left a note in his car which read in part: “I Don’t have any friends I don’t have any family, I’ve never had a girlfriend, I’ve never had a social life, I’ve been an isolated loner my entire this. This was the perfect storm for a mass shooting.” Sounds like textbook alienation.  The school's doors were said to be all locked and there were seven security people in the bu

NAEP Scores Are Not Good But Should We Get Hysterical? No

The 2022 NAEP scores (National Assessment of Educational Progress) have been released and it's a poor showing all around. But over on Twitter, there's many other questions that people have raised beyond just scores. To be noted, we were in the middle of a pandemic; not an excuse but certainly a reason. I would be more worried in a couple of years if this slide doesn't stop or gets worse.  Found, COVID School Data Hub, a great website about COVID-19 and school data that may answer some questions for you.  I also highly recommend Chalkbeat for the best coverage of NAEP scores.  For example: Reading scores fell by similar amounts between 2017-19 as between 2019-21. That's right: The decline in reading in the two years right before the pandemic was nearly as bad as the pandemic-era decline! I don't think there's a definitive explanation for what happened '17-19. Keep in mind that more granular analyses at the district level have found a clear relationship bet

"Culture Wars" as They Unfold Throughout the U.S.

 Not sure how much of the so-called "culture wars" have reached uber-woke Seattle but I do wonder from school to school if there have been issues.  Here's a good article from The Washington Post, complete with map of laws passed because of the arguing over what gets to be said or not said in schools.  Over the past three academic years, 25 states have passed 64 laws reshaping what students can learn and do at school. Over the past three academic years, legislators in 45 states proposed 283 laws that either sought: to restrict what teachers can say about race, racism and American history;  to change how instructors can teach about gender identity, sexuality and LGBTQ issues;  to boost parents’ rights over their children’s education;  to limit students’ access to school libraries and books;  to circumscribe the rights of transgender students;  and/or to promote what legislators defined as a “patriotic” education. Of these, 64 bills have been signed into law across

On Energy Sources and Use in Seattle Schools

I saw an article online from a media non-profit " telling stories of climate solutions and a just future," called Grist about U.S. schools and solar power.  According to the fourth edition of the “Brighter Future” report, released last week by the clean energy nonprofit Generation180 , the number of U.S. schools using solar power has more than doubled in the last seven years, reaching roughly 8,400 by the end of 2021. These so-called “solar schools” now account for nearly 1 in 10 public, independent, and charter K-12 schools and serve more than 6 million students nationwide. Since 2015, American schools’ total solar energy capacity has nearly tripled to 1,644 megawatts — enough to meet the electricity use of all the households in a city the size of Boston, Denver, or Washington, D.C. At the front of the pack is California; the Golden State has both the greatest number of solar schools and the most solar capacity. It’s in fourth place for the percentage of schools that have

Education News Roundup

Editor's note There are a couple of big stories that I want to give their own posts. One is about gender and students, the other is about COVID and vaccines for children. They are both going to be difficult conversations because we will be talking about the health - physical and mental - of children and their lives.  Look for that soon. From the Cato Institute - Public Schooling Battle Map . Pretty astonishing the volume of issues nationwide.  I do think the one case of the district that refused to take fundraising dollars from a high school satanic club is sad. From the New York Times - Health Panel Recommends Screening All Kids 8 and Up for Anxiety A panel of medical experts on Tuesday recommended for the first time that primary care doctors screen all children ages 8 to 18 for anxiety , new guidance that highlights the ongoing mental health crisis among American youth. In making its recommendations, the task force hopes to reduce the number of children whose mental health

Boys Are Not Keeping Up

 This story from The Spectator - Why Boys Fall Behind - has a plethora of fairly disturbing info/stats. Finland is a good place to look at gender gaps in education because it is such a high-performing nation (indeed, one could say that other countries suffer from a bout of Finn envy every time the Pisa results are published). But although Finnish students rank very high for overall performance on Pisa, there is a massive gender gap: 20 per cent of Finnish girls score at the highest reading levels in the test, compared to just 9 per cent of boys. The bottom line is that Finland’s internationally acclaimed educational performance is entirely explained by the stunning performance of Finnish girls.  Girls are about a year ahead of boys in terms of reading ability in OECD nations, in contrast to a wafer-thin and shrinking advantage for boys in maths. Boys are 50 per cent more likely than girls to fail at all three key school subjects: maths, reading, and science.   In the U.S, g