Where the layoffs hit Ballard schools

Seattle Public Schools announced last week that it needed to lay off more than 150 teachers and staff to help adjust for an estimated $34 million budget shortfall. Today, we’ve learned from the school district that 21 total teachers and staff at Ballard-area schools have been let go.

Here’s the breakdown: Ballard High School was hardest hit with seven layoffs including teachers and a counselor. Whitman Middle School had six layoffs which also included teachers and a counselor. Adams Elementary had to dismiss three teachers while West Woodland and Salmon Bay each had two teachers let go. Whittier Elementary had one teacher cut. Neither North Beach Elementary or Loyal Heights Elementary had any staff members laid off, although as we wrote earlier this week, Loyal Heights will be getting a new principal.

Geeky Swedes

The founders of My Ballard

79 thoughts to “Where the layoffs hit Ballard schools”

  1. Unfortunately, the lay offs are based on seniority, not based onwho deserves it.

    My kids have been through all three of the those schools and all 3 have some fantastic teachers…

    All three of those schools also have teachers that are doing no more then collecting a pay check till they retire! I am not exaggerating here.
    My daughter had a teacher that, by the end of the year, she still didn't know any of the kids' names. She had the upper class men teach the lower class men. She did nothing.
    There was an other teacher in advanced math that had to have a tuter come in and teach her the material. When all the parents called a meeting with the principal and tutor to complain and have the teacher removed (because the students test scores spiraling downward) we were told by the tuter that “she's working hard and is getting it,… she just isn't able to get it across the the students”
    WHAT?! Isn't that what's called TEACHING?
    Isn't that an essential part of the job description? If she can't do it, she should be a gardener, or a plumber or something else!
    One of my kids had a elementary school teacher that didn't teach SCIENCE because, as the other parents said, “she doesn't LIKE science!
    It's criminal, but the all mighty teachers union will not allow any type of accountability or merit pay.
    Hey, teachers are employees like Doctors, Firemen, Policemen and well,…the rest of us. They should be paid on performance, not just the fact that they show up to work every day and if they suck (pardon my French, but my kids have had some pretty damaging teachers) then it shouldn't take an act of GOD to get them fired and not just moved to another school to be someone else's problem. I don't get automatic pay raises, or every holiday off, summers off, spring break, winter break, mid-winter break etc, etc, phew…it's so frustrating.
    I KNOW that SOME teachers are absolutely invaluable and deserve the highest respect and higher wages.
    But not EVERY teacher simply by virtue of the fact that they are teachers deserve our undying respect, admirations or ever increasing tax dollars..
    Ok…I'm done…
    At least for now

  2. that's why tenure should be done away with. i am all for the new basic education plan that would rid schools of teachers riding the wave to retirement. this is the future here and i'm sure these people were fantastic teachers at one point but they need to be held to the same standard and incoming excited teachers are today. it's too bad you're burned out. move one already!

  3. I get you. My dad was a teacher and he admits he hated it, every second of it. And it showed. But no teacher's union stopped him from getting the boot way back when. The union was more aware twenty years ago who should stay and who should go based on performance.
    And, btw, it seems my nephew is always having off days, late arrival, early dismissal, etc, for teacher related days. It's gotten a little silly.

  4. I hear this time and time again, from people who have been through the school system, and friends and family that are currently teachers : there are TOO many teachers that should have retired a LONG time ago.

    This makes me nervous as our son is about to start kindergarten.

  5. Are Doctors, Firemen, and Policemen paid on performance? Because I know some really awful versions of all three, yet they're still gainfully employed.

    and is it the teachers' fault that there are occasional early dismissal days for staff development? late-arrival is typically weather related. my kids don't seem to have that many 'off-days', unless it's memorial day you're complaining about.

  6. Just so everybody is clear on this, teachers only get paid for the days that they work. Summer is not paid vacation, it is unpaid time off. They do generally opt to collect a paycheck for all 12 months of the year, rather than just the time when they are working.

  7. Be afraid, be very afraid.
    Only kidding.
    Don't be afraid, be informed. Network! Get to know other parents at the school. Especially the ones with older kids and ask them about their other kids' teachers and how they feel about them. Also network with the other parents in your kid's classes from now on. What you may think is just an isolated story from your child may be a consistent behavior on the teacher's part and there is no way to know unless you all talk about it. You can't “pick” your teachers but you can to some extent NOT get some teachers if you apply gentle, firm pressure.
    I had to be pretty stuborn with the priciple of the no sciecne teacher (it wasn't just that, the teacher also was known to have a mean sence of humor and a job perfomance of one who was waiting to retire) and finally when the pricnciple asked if i would pull my kid from the school if she was put in this class I said no, but that I happen to have the first day of school off of work and planned on planting myself out side the principals office till my kid was out of that class. She backed down.
    Seems harsh I know, and I was fortunate enough to happen to have that day off of work, but SOMEONE has to look out for my kids' best interests.

  8. Perhaps they are not paid on performance but they do go through performance reviews and they do not get tenure ….making it virtually impossible to fire them.

  9. I am well aware that the summer is unpaid time off unless they opt to teach summer school or get summer jobs.
    It's up to them,..
    not so much in this current high unemployment, recession economy,…
    but in general.

    I have know many teachers (including my brother) who work summers summer school one year, painting houses another year.
    A job that is part of the year shouldn't necessarily be waged at a full year wage. That would be like paying your part time staff a full time salary and that would just be silly.

  10. amen! what happen to the in after labor day weekend, off for thanksgiving, two weeks at christmas, 1 week for spring break and then out at memorial day?

  11. docs-should be! firemen-i've never interacted w/one that isn't relaxed and policemen-i give them the benefit of the doubt. YOU trying doing their job and put on a happy face. i'm not going to entirely excuse their behavior but who knows what kind of call they might have just responded from….

  12. Cops and firefighters don't get paid for performance, they get paid for seniority. That's pretty much the case with any government job.

    You are right, there are numerous teachers who should be canned. A big part of the problem has to do with how teachers are trained. Surprisingly, being knowledgeable on a subject and being able to teach seem to have little do with becoming a public school teacher. One of my grandparents was a professor at a major university and when he retired he offered to teach an economics class at the local high school as an unpaid volunteer. Their response? They told him he wasn't qualified to teach economics to high school seniors. Never mind he'd been teaching economics to 17/18 year old kids for over 40 years!

  13. I'm a teacher, and I know I shouldn't take these comments personally, but to be honest, these comments really sting. An article about teacher layoffs has turned into all-out teacher bashing. I often decline to share with people I'm a teacher, and this climate of public scorn is the reason.

    Washington State ranks 45th in the nation in per-pupil spending. The bottom FIVE! http://www.washingtonea.org/static_content/news

    Washington State ranks 46th in class size in the country. We have some of the most crowded classrooms in the nation!

    And our legislature continues to cut spending and increase class size. We should be ashamed.

    I recently heard several interviews with the governor of Michigan, who talked about how decimated their state budget has become. She continually emphasized in speeches and to the people of Michigan, that there were two untouchable programs that she would not even consider cutting: Education was one of them. I find that inspiring, to see a state so decimated continue to hold education as their number one priority. And I find it disheartening, to look at my state, and my profession, and the future of my daughter's public education.

    Our state does not prioritize education with financial resources. Isn't THAT where the focus of our discussion should be? As long as we continue to blame teachers, the system is going to remain broken.

    How about fixing our priorities first? And, when we have the financial resources to put new initiatives in place, address issues like merit-based pay systems. As it stands, there's no money out there to even implement merit-based systems or the like.

  14. Like any profession, if you're not doing your job, then you should be fired! There's a pretty clear-cut protocol for firing teachers, and I've seen it happen multiple times to colleagues over the years. If a bad teacher continues teaching, it's because the principal is not following the protocol. If it doesn't happen, it's because the administrator is not doing his or her job.

    (Notice how principals get shuffled around every year? It's because there's too many bad ones and not enough good ones, so they try to even the playing field and make sure that one building doesn't get stuck with a bad apple for too long. I notice nobody every engages in all-out principal bashing though, they way they do to teachers.)

  15. I understand that these comments must sting. The negativity (at least on my part) is towards the few rotten apples, not all teachers and the system's inability to address the problem.
    From the inside looking out, what are your thoughts on merit-based pay and tenure?

  16. To add some further data:

    According to UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) elementary school teachers in the USA are the 5th highest paid in the world – topped only by South Korea, Japan, Switzerland and Portugal. Secondary school teachers in the USA are the 10th highest paid in the world (Switzerland, S. Korea and the Netherlands being the top 3). Despite having some of the best paid teachers in the world US students rank 35th in math, 29th in science, and 15th in literacy. According to the OECD the USA ranks only 14th in college graduation rates.

    I have little sympathy for the teachers union when they're among the highest paid in their field yet turn out such dismal results. How is other nations can pay their teachers less yet develop better students?

  17. I'm sure the comments hurt but teaching is no different than many other professions when it comes to being criticized. Just ask any cop, lawyer, construction worker, car mechanic, etc., etc., etc.

    Education is a lot like healthcare: the problem isn't that we don't spend enough money but rather what we spend the money on! We already pay our teachers more than many other nations just as we spend more on healthcare. Despite our higher investment we receive grossly inferior services, just as in healthcare.

    Personally, I can think of a very immediate way to free up some spending: cut team sports! Why do we finance school sports teams? Don't get me wrong, I think ***ALL*** kids should participate in sports of some kind. Beyond the huge problem of childhood obesity I think sports teach important lessons about teamwork. Problem is school sponsored sports programs are not open to all students – they're only open to those good enough in certain sports – but are paid for by all tax payers. If your child wants to play football or basketball they should do so through the YMCA or a similar organization. Team sports should definitely not be funded by the school. It's a huge waste of money that benefits only a tiny number of students.

  18. I'm more apt to blame poor parenting when it comes to bad grades. Do you help your teenager with their homework? Do you have rules in your house that require homework to be done before your teen is allowed to sit down with the tv, teh computer, or smartphone?

    Most don't. You want your teen to get good grades? Closely moniter ALL of their after/before school activity and set limits on freedoms. Pretty simple stuff.

  19. “It's a huge waste of money that benefits only a tiny number of students.”

    What like all the alt-schools, alt-lessons, alt-math we now pay for, so chronically lazy students from chronically lazy families can pretend something's being done for their kids?

    We pay for those, too, but unlike sports, they are not merit based.

    Private schools: the best bet in Seattle.

  20. I think that it needs to be done with very careful planning, and I think that before it's even put on the table, there need to be financial resources in place to see that it's done successfully.

    Right now, in the existing system, I don't think it would work, because the following holes exist in the system:
    – The principal or administrator is supposed to evaluate the teachers. BUT, we are so underfunded as it is, that evaluations often never happen or are based on too little information to have any merit. I didn't even receive an evaluation last year because my superior was too busy. This year, when I didn't get notice of an evaluation by our evaluation deadline (a week ago) I made a stink. Instead of an evaluation from my superior, I filled out a self-evaluation, which she signed. Bottom line here is that she has no idea how well I do my job, and has too little time to even address it. I find that really troubling.
    -The principal or administrator is not subject to the same evaluative system that teachers are subjected to, and that means you could have a really really under-qualified administrator evaluating a teacher.

    In the literature, there's a lot of discussion on how merit-based pay systems would work. I only discussed a system based on evaluations from the boss so far.

    But… the climate and trend point to evaluating teacher performance based on test scores and performance of students. On the surface, that makes perfect sense! But if you look deeper, it's really troubling. It's like No Child Left Behind, but on a single teacher and single classroom level. I teach special ed, and if you've been paying attention to the news about WASL and portfolios etc. recently, you're probably very aware of the impossibility of applying test scores to student performance when you're dealing with special populations. Another issues with test-score based evaluations is that teachers who teach in lower socio-economic areas or classrooms will basically be punished, because all the data consistently puts middle-class kids on top when it comes to test scores. Teachers would be discouraged from teaching special ed, and discouraged from teaching in high-poverty schools.

    Because there's a lot of danger and potential pitfalls in one single method, I would hope for an evaluative system based on a combination of factors, which balance the way in which they weigh out:
    – student performance (pre- and post- test data)
    -peer or state-appointed evaluations based on portfolio submissions (so that a qualified body evaluates work submitted by a teacher in the form of lesson plans, work samples, etc.)
    -national board certification status
    -incentives to teach in poverty schools and hard-to-fill areas (technology, special ed, etc. in hard-to-fill regions)

    -anything else that makes sense that's just not coming to mind right now… (?)

    In order to implement such a system, it will take a lot of money. A LOT of money. You are talking about giving time off for teachers to put together resources to “prove” themselves, paid time and training for reviewers, time for assessment measures, etc. And without money and resources dedicated to that, it wouldn't work.

    It would be akin to implementing a complex system of evaluating sailors, while the boat is sinking rapidly into the ocean.

    The issue is important, I agree. But I think that putting most energy and time towards the one issue, in the midst of the crisis, is like believing you're going to get the sailors to stop the ship from sinking, even though there are holes all over the hull.

    (that's probably not the best analogy, but the best I can come up with right now.)

  21. Archibald, how dare you expect parents to be responsible! What we need is more alternative schools, one for each students' unique needs, be made available for every student in the system!

  22. I don't agree that all professions are subject to the same amount of criticism My husband is a computer programmer, but I never see a socially-accepted climate of open disgust for him and how he's overpaid and has too many benefits. (even though with far less education, he is paid far more than I am and has better insurance).

    Lawyers….I might have to agree with you on that one, though. ;)

  23. …and no one has yet to acknowledge that our state ranks at the bottom of the barrel in spending on education.

    Your legislators and your governor are breathing a sigh of relief. They'll keep chopping down the forest while you stand in a corner and argue over some trees.

  24. West Woodland Elementary ended up with three teachers let go. Parents at this school are doing what Coe and others have done and have organized a rally to support teachers (all teachers) on Tuesday, May 26 at 8:30am at the West Woodland Elementary playground. Please join us to make your voice heard. The process for dismissing teachers and refilling positions is backwards, and we need to change it. We have an opportunity to do so before the May 28 job fair for displaced teachers.

    While budget cuts necessitated these dismissals, we (I'm a parent) are asking the District to

    • Withhold the posting of a portion of open positions due to RIF (30-40%) and delaying the assignment of replacement teachers until the true effects of attrition and retirement are fully understood, until enrollment is closed, and until all RIF appeals have been settled.

    • Limit the number of open positions at the May 28th Job Fair to the actual number of displaced teachers. Do not offer more jobs than there are displaced applicants.

    • Prioritize the return of as many RIFd teachers as possible to their original jobs.

    • Reevaluate this policy of “over-RIFfing”, as it is extremely disruptive to teachers’ lives and families, as well as to students and community of each school.

    Please join us at West Woodland Elementary on the 26th at 8:30am. The school is located at 5601 4th Ave NW.

  25. Well the world needs janitors and burger flippers and trying to turn kids destined to be in those jobs into lawyers or **cough cough** 'social workers' is pretty much a waste of money.

    Time for vocational schools.

  26. AMJRAL,
    I too, am completely disgusted that education gets so little funding. Even in time of state deficit – there are things that should NOT be cut- education being one of them.

    And I can tell you right now where the state could cut some funding….my welfare neighbors, who have called an ambulance at least 6 times in the past two months to take the mom to the ER for her panic attacks. All paid for by you and me. (And we live within walking distance to the hospital…

  27. Very good response.
    I don't believe, however, that we shouldn't get some sort of evaluation system on the table to talk about at the same time as addressing the horrible financial issues.
    And YES it will take a lot of money to implement.
    Not sure about teachers needing “paid time off ” “to put together resources to 'prove' themselves” How much time are you thinking? Like a day? I can see that I suppose, as part of the “professional development” days?
    Then the assessment days can be “Professional assessment” days..seems reasonable to me.
    As for how to implement, I very much agree that the idea of only administrators' evaluations being the deciding factor is troubling. (Remember the principle at BHS before Brockmen? Who the h#*L hired him?) But a combination of student tests scores and evaluations from a couple of sources could work.Maybe a combination of peer and administration evaluations and test score assessment combined?
    As for the teachers in the lower social economic schools, they would be compared to the other teachers with in thier own schools or neighborhood, not the schools in the “upper class” neehgborhoods where the kids are well fed each day, not both parents work and they have more resorses in general. Apples to apples.
    When one of my kids entered BHS they said that in math, you could look around the room and tell who had Ms. Blah Blah ( a perticuler teacher in his Jr. High) and who didn't because all the ones from her class knew every thing.
    THAT is troubleing.
    I have 3 kids only two of whom were taught how to read or write in long hand, how does that work? I realize we are not education cookie cutter children, but some consistency and standards would be nice. The quality and substance of your education should not rest on the whims of the teacher you happen to get.
    In this day and age of computers it shouldn't be too teribly hard to intergrate evaluations from a variety of sorces and the student's tests scores to evalutate the teachers because lets' face it, once that classroom door is closed, there is no telling what is going on.
    What about the concept of tenure?

  28. Actually, there is very, very, very little money spent on team sports,,,at least in Seattle. The coach get maybe couple of thousand TOPS for a schools years worth of time and commitment. The money comes from parents and students fund raising, booster club (alumni and parent driven) NOT from tax payer money.

  29. schools are underfunded – but so is everything else, seemingly.

    maybe a “kid tax” is in order, in which parents pay a surcharge, if you will, for any children attending public schools….of course the public at large will still contribute via taxes in general.

  30. if you are looking for the lists of the teachers who were laid off you can call human resources at the Seattle Public Schools district office. According to Maria L. Goodloe Johnson in her statement at the May 20th School Board meeting, which you can watch online, these records are open to the public. Please contact the district and continue to do so until you get answers. If you don't get clear answers get the media on this topic pronto. The public has a right to know. Public education effects us all.

  31. Mike DeBell stated in a meeting that the “protocol” for firing teachers involves 40 hours of direct classroom observation. A full week of the principal's time, like s/he has nothing else to do . And even then, they need to defend that decision to the hostile teacher's union.

    Seattle School District fired only 8 teachers last year.

    And SPS pays teachers who are sidelined $2-3 million a year because it is so tough to fire them. And great teachers get not a penny more for their dedication and hard work.

    Parents should apply pressure to the legislature (which just passed a bill which strengthens the districts in dealing with the unions…a first baby-step) over intense lobbying against it by the WEA. So the legislature needs to be continually pressured.

    Also, blogs like this that inform people of the problem and raise public opinion against the union may cause them to moderate their stance. The union needs public support to pass their initiatives and agenda.

  32. Children get the education they want, regardless of teachers or schools or classroom size etc etc. etc.. The key is to give them a reason to desire education. Money is a poor motivator and the US system of education as a commodity proves that. We buy and sell education and that has failed miserably. The goal of education is to be an educated person not to get a grade or a good paying job or some sort of prestige. Once we can get back to that idea we will improve our schools.

    Teacher pay seems reasonable to me. Neither too low or too high. Again psychology indicates that money is a poor motivator. Part of the teacher issue is that too many of us are taught we need to do what we love to be satisfied. That’s idiocy. Do what you are good at and you will get satisfaction. I have sent three kids through SPS and too many times I hear teachers tell me they went into teaching because they love kids or they just loved school. Balderdash. Both are a terrible reason to choose a career. I happen to love art and art galleries and museums but I am not very good at it. If I had pursued an art career I would be miserable and unsatisfied and spent a lifetime creating something mediocre. I am good at science so I became a scientist. I am very satisfied and have had great success and am a leader in my field. Work is not life and teaching is work not a life.

    I am sorry that anyone is getting laid off but there is only so much money in the system and it only goes so far. Yes there is waste but there will always be waste in everything we do. That’s human nature. Remember Mussolini made the trains run on time. Perfection means fascism and I have no desire for either.

  33. BTW one of the best teachers I came across told me he went into teaching because he HATED school and knew he could do better and he did just that. Made perfect sense. Again, do what you are good at.

  34. Perfection = fascism!

    I could not have said it better Maria!

    Now if only those engineers at Boeing would listen to you, could you imagine how much better off we would be?

  35. Some resources…
    Subscribe to the PTA e newsletter (info@seattlecouncilptsa.org) to keep informed of what's going on. Their website it… http://www.seattlecouncilptsa.org. They did a fantastic job of keeping us updated re: the It's Basic Funding Campaign and the many twists and turns along the way.

    CPPS of Seattle ( http://www.cppsofseattle.org) also has a great e newsletter to keep parents informed. They have posted an online petition in response to teacher layoffs: http://www.Supportgreatteachers.com

    This is not a PTA-sponsored petition, but it touches on issues that many PTA members and public school families care about.

    How to Make Schools Better

    A presentation by Marguerite Roza, with the University of Washington’s College of Education and the Center on Reinventing Public Education

    Tuesday, May 26, 7 p.m.
    Montlake Elementary School, 2409 22nd Ave. E.
    CPPS of Seattle community meeting

    Dr. Roza has made the case that in order to transform our nation’s public schools, we need to asses where the money goes and how it supports quality teachers, classrooms and schools.

  36. Actually perfection means achievement, success, accomplishment, challenges. Something losers and the lazy will never understand.

    Btw the Japanese make trains run on time, nothing fascist about it, just a healthy respect for hard work and perfection.

  37. I don't get why we still pay for “running start”. That is the program where if a student is capable he/she can get into community college early. SO much money goes into that program and in my opinion it isn't fair, not all students get to go (even though we all pay the same taxes). Maybe if we were able to teach out kids well in the first place they wouldn't need 2 years of community college to get into a 4 year.

    I also think that people who decide not to send there kids to public school shouldn't have to pay the same taxes. Maybe if you didn't have to pay for those taxes, you may be able to home school/private school your kids.

  38. Life isn't fair, get over it. Bring back vocational schools. Schooling kids who are destined for manual labor like they could all be Rhodes scholars is a waste of money.

  39. But following that logic…I never check out books from the library, so I shouldn't have to pay for library operations? I never drive on N. 87th Street, so why should I have to pay to maintain it?

    Students get into Running Start if they can pass the entry exam. When I was in Running Start — 17 years ago — I was also living on my own, working and paying taxes (although I couldn't vote — life isn't always fair, is it?).

    Because I got an education, I no longer live in the poverty I grew up in. I work at a great job and still pay plenty of taxes — taxes that take care of those library books, roads, schools and community centers. I donate time and money to local schools. It all works out for society and for the individual. What goes around, comes around.

    Which means that laying off these teachers and cutting education is going to really suck for all us, in about 20 years. Education needs to be a priority, in both government and in the home.

  40. Ok, life is not fair.
    You shouldn't have a kid you can't afford.
    Life is not fair.
    You have a kid and have to send it to a less then desirable public institution.
    Sorry, life is not fair.

    The point that I was trying to make, was that we all pay the same taxes, it shouldn't be a pick and choose service. That is like saying if we had to have public health care and Joe got better care then Sally but they both paid the same amount into it. That wouldn't fly. Why is this any different?

  41. Yes, horrifying: low crime rates, clean safe streets, well educated work force, longest life expectancy in the world, healthy diet, low divorce rate.

    What a nightmare.

  42. But your point makes no sense because if we had public healthcare then Joe would not get better healthcare than Sally.

    Your kid will get the education he or she wants. All a private school does is isolate. It offers no better educational opportunities. Brilliant minds have come from backgrounds with no education at all. The only thing hard about Harvard is paying the tuition.

  43. Sounds like living in a giant corporation. Not my cup of tea thanks anyway. I think their lives only SEEM longer because they are such a bore.

  44. The district managed to fire 8 teachers? I'm impressed! I thought you pretty much had to shoot the Pope before you could get fired. My son had mostly very good to excellent teachers in the Seattle public schools, but the one bad teacher he had was doozy. I told a neighbor about the teacher. She forgot his name, but when she related my stories to another friend, that woman recognized the teacher from the description of his “teaching”, even though he taught her child eight years before – at a different school.

    He was the union rep for the school, wouldn't you know.

    If you relied on the same cop, firefighter or doctor almost every day for a year, you'd be just as critcal of a bad one. I don't know how those professions handle it, but it's much, much easier to push a bad Seattle teacher along to another school than get them fired, so that's what happens.

    I guess if teachers don't want to have their barrel spoiled by the occasional bad apple, they should change the union so that it enforces professional standards among the members.

  45. They have a very high suicide rate. Their kids live in a pressure cooker trying to pass tests to get onto the college-prep tarck. They study 80 hours a week for these tests.Parents send little kids to special classes all day Saturdays. Their parents make them feel that they will shame the families if they don't do well in their studies. Some kids kill themselves. Then when they get past the tests, there is nothing special about high school, it's not even that hard—just competitive to get in. For higher education, they all want to come here.

    They aren't taught to think independently or creatively…just to apply formulas and memorize. It's not a good system, either.

  46. Good to know that's the case in Seattle. Where I went to HS the football coach was by far the highest paid person at the school.

  47. No, you're wrong. Many of the nations that outrank the USA educate all of their children – not just those who are deemed worthy. Yes, some do segregate who gets educated and who doesn't but that also happens here in the USA!

    In fact some of them are far MORE equal than the USA because education is paid for almost entirely at a national level unlike the USA. Are you really naive enough to think that all students in the USA receive the same level of education? Do you really think that kids in poor neighborhoods receive the same education as kids in rich neighborhoods?? The USA is just as segregated in education as many other nations. If you doubt this compare the quality of schools between say Bellevue or Redmond and somewhere in Appalachia country or the slums of LA.

  48. Got anymore stereotypes you didn't learn from your friends at Nova? Yours are as bad as people who think American school kids are all ready to shoot their classmates.

  49. This is a bit off topic, but people have been mentioning Running Start, so here's my two cents. My good friend and neighbor teaches introductory writing classes at the community college level. Many of the classes she teaches are full of Running Start students. She claims that the majority of Running Start students are NOT qualified to take college level writing courses. She has to spend a huge chunk of time teaching them remedial writing skills that they shoould already have mastered before being allowed into Running Start. The high schools do very little in the way of screening these kids to make sure they are qualified to take college courses. Often the high schools are worried these kids will drop out so they steer them towards Running Start and then kids who are several grade levels behind in reading and writing are taking college level courses. NOT a good thing.

  50. Running start students take the exact same entrance exam taken by all entering freshman. If they don’t pass at college level they are not accepted into the program. I think your friend’s claims are bogus.

  51. Seattle Vocational Institute has a great Running Start program called “Bright Future”. Most, but not all, kids who go into it are not on 4-year college track. Many are behind in credits. Through the program, 90% finish high school and about 70% complete a vocational program that helps them go on to make $12-$20 per hour right out of high school.

    Why aren't there more programs like that?


  52. She's just telling it like it is. She feels like most of the kids in her classes are not prepared to be taking college level courses. Maybe the entrance exam is unreliable? I think if anyone has the right to make such a claim it would be the person teaching them. BTW, this is at Highline CC.

  53. I think the lack of basic grammar, spelling and punctuation in these blog posts says a lot about the effectiveness of our education system. This is the stuff I learned in grade school way back in the '60s. Basic literacy among adults is becoming obsolete so if you're trying to get a education these days, you're screwed.

    No problem though. Go ahead and lay off our educators and dismantle our public education system. India and China are just dying to kick our butts on the world economic stage.

  54. Don't blame teachers if your kids can't learn…or won't learn. My generation was taught primarily by a bunch of grey haired maiden ladies and we managed.

  55. It’s the same exam any kid takes so I guess all college kids cannot cut it? If that is what your friend says then that may well be the truth but don’t say it’s Running Start kids in particular. The high schools simply don’t have a great deal of say as to who gets accepted into Running Start. Read the instructions for those who want to enter. They must take the test on their own. If they pass THEN they have to get an ok from their high school teachers.

  56. I learned it from a young woman we befriended through the UW's FIUTs program. A person who spent got her entire education up to college in Japan. Now she's a sophomore at the U, so this info is fresh.

  57. I am having a hard time digesting some of these comments. Teachers have to jump through so many hoops just to get their own class room. While many of you do not believe it is a full-time job, try teaching your little brat for 6 hours a day, then multiple that by 150 students. I hear all of the arguments that teachers should be paid on performance, not even in a perfect world would that make sense. Let's not take into account the mandates of state law, district and school policy. These downward spirals of performance start in the home with parents, like you, not holding their children accountable. If you would teach your kids, (I know foreign concept-requires unplugging electronic devices) how to respect their elders, achieve on their own, work toward a goal and be self-motivated, the educational world would be a lot simpler for all involved. No, that's too much effort on your part. You've grown up in a society of reckless entitlement where it's always someone else's fault. Your kid is failing English? The teacher must be too blame, right?! Oh, keeping on little Stevie or queenie Kimmie took much effort on your part to get their butts in gear-blame the educator! Give me a break! If you want to start docking someone's paycheck for lack of performance, look to your own pocket!

  58. Private school is the way to do my friends. =]

    Anway, has there been no new news in the Ballard neighborhood in the past 3 days?!?!

  59. Government is like water. It always takes the easiest route…layoff by seniority, not ability. Save a penny now, even if it costs a dollar tomorrow. Waste as much as possible in order to get the same for next year. Government is welfare for the incompetent. A government system could never survive the private sector. It's a great system for people who never learned to work for a living (administrators).

  60. Teachers are paid for the days they work. We are unemployed in the summer. Teachers NEVER EVER get a paid vacation….no matter how many years we teach. And we can't choose WHEN we want to go on vacation. School districts withhold money from our monthly checks during the school year and return it to us in the summer months…that way we can't collect unemployment. (When I first started teaching, teachers got unemployment in the summer.)

    I agree that teachers who aren't doing their jobs should be fired, but please, don't talk about all the days off!!! I've taught for 36 years and still love teaching….being an academic coach. My husband says I have a nine month affair every year because I spend so much time at school, with kids, communicating with parents, setting up centers, etc. And I spend oodles of money to make my classroom a comfortable, exciting place to learn. Teaching get in the blood!

    Again, I've never had a paid vacation. No teacher that I know of ever has had a paid vacation. And my evenings grading papers, improving units, emailing parents, and my summers taking classes are all unpaid. So…..please don't continue the misconception that teachers have paid holidays and vacations.

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