Failing-school letters to go out

August 19, 2014

School districts include retort

Because most Washington school districts don’t have 100 percent of their students passing state math and reading tests, the federal No Child Left Behind law says the districts must send letters to families explaining why.

But the districts don’t have to like it, and 28 school superintendents have jointly written a second letter they will send along with the first, explaining why they think their schools are doing much better than the No Child letters make it seem.

“Some of our state’s and districts’ most successful and highly recognized schools are now being labeled ‘failing’ by an antiquated law that most educators and elected officials — as well as the U.S. Department of Education — acknowledge isn’t working,” the cover letter states.

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Editorial — The kids are (probably) all right

August 19, 2014

Sometime soon, some area parents will get a pair of letters. One is a federally mandated notice informing them their child’s school is failing. The other, likely included in the same envelope, will tell them not to worry about what the first letter says — things are just fine.

The mixed message will undoubtedly confuse some.

Here we are: 2014 was the year that every child in America was supposed to be at grade level standard in math and reading, according to the federal No Child Left Behind law.

The idea was well-meaning, but obviously flawed. While pretty much everyone agrees the law needs revisions, revisions mean Congress needs to get involved. Since Congress can barely agree on the color of the sky, it’s unlikely to see revisions any time soon.

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Four candidates face off in 5th District primary

July 8, 2014

Voters will have four choices for state representative in the 5th Legislative District primary Aug. 5.

The two candidates who receive the most votes will run in the Nov. 4 general election.

Incumbent Republican Chad Magendanz will run again. He touts his expertise on educational issues and his willingness to reach across the aisle as reasons for residents to re-elect him.

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Editorial – Good luck, graduates; welcome to adulthood

June 17, 2014

Since kindergarten, you schlepped books to and from school. You were expected to learn the basics: reading, writing and arithmetic. You hopefully learned how to share, how to make friends, and how to become part of a social and cultural group.

Perhaps you were fortunate enough to delve into extracurricular activities like art, choir, playing an instrument, drama, sports, debate or yearbook staff. Most importantly, you hopefully learned to be an individual in a sea of sameness, as well as how to be a critical thinker.

For some, high school goes down as the best times of life — the camaraderie, close friendships, being part of a team.

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Ten years of advice at the speed of light

June 17, 2014

In keeping with the tradition of previous years, this is the condensed, edited commencement speech I heard from a student or adult at graduation that, in my opinion, stood out from the rest. Enjoy!

— Greg Farrar

 

Tom Haff, Faculty Speaker

Physics teacher

Issaquah High School

 

Hey, gang. This is going to be really hard for me, because they only gave me six minutes.

Let’s say that you stepped outside of Key Arena and you traveled close to the speed of light, like 99.99999 percent the speed of light, for those six minutes, and you came back still wearing your cap and gown. But the earth’s clock will have gone by for 10 years. I calculated those.

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To the Editor

May 27, 2014

 

The Issaquah Press

Thank you for a great  community newspaper

Thank you for publishing a newspaper that I have enjoyed reading for more than 40 years. This may be a bittersweet email, though, because after subscribing to The Issaquah Press for many years, I must tell you that I am not renewing my subscription.

I believe that The Press is still a great community newspaper — but I’m just not as active in Issaquah as I once was.

While I grew up in town and was a member of Issaquah Rotary for more than 20 years, my wife and I live in Seattle, and that’s where we’re more active.

So, best wishes on the continued publication of The Issaquah Press. I’m sure that I’ll check-in from time-to-time via the online version and when I’m out for various community events such as Salmon Days. Thank you for producing a great community newspaper.

Ed Bronsdon

Seattle

 

Teachers

If you think you can do   better, go ahead and try

I ( a teacher for many years who certainly didn’t do it for the money) recently heard an NPR news interview concerning preschool children being sent home due to behavior and not allowed to return to school. The reporter was upset that the school district — California was being skewered in this particular interview — was unwilling to serve these poor children.

Did she mention class size? Whether those teachers had any adult help with behavior issues? The kinds of behaviors that caused the children to be sent home? A need to provide districts with funding for additional personnel? Well, no.

This outsider went on to cite statistics regarding the high number of ethnic preschoolers being sent home in relation to the lower percentage of white preschoolers. Moreover, she suggested this discrepancy was due to racial bias on the part of the preschool teachers. What?

Does she personally know any preschool teachers, especially teachers biased against their nonwhite students? Did she look into a possible correlation between poverty and behavior issues? Whether poverty in the U.S. is more often found in nonwhite families? That many families are so stressed about their situation and are working so many hours to make ends meet that they have little time for teaching social skills? Well, no again.

I am sick to the bone of hearing about the failures of our teachers, our schools. Schools are now expected to provide before and after care, to feed, counsel, entertain students. Oh, and get great test scores out of them, as well. Teachers are grading papers in the evening, planning lessons on weekends, attending after-school events.

My wish? I wish every teacher would resign his/her job and leave the complainers to deal with the issues of educating children. The well needs to run dry!

Donna Manion

Issaquah

 

Letters to the Editor

December 31, 2013

School levies

Education — no better return on your investment

As we enter a new year, Issaquah School District voters have a unique investment opportunity.

On Feb. 11, the entire community will have the opportunity to vote yes on a three-part Issaquah district school-funding ballot, comprised of the following items:

  • Four-year Maintenance and Operations Levy in the following amounts: $44.5 million in 2015, $48 million in 2016, $51.5 million in 2017, and $54 million in 2018.
  •  One-year Transportation Levy in the amount of $1.7 million in 2015.
  • Four-year Critical Repairs/Technology levy in the following amounts: $11.4 million in 2015, $12.05 million in 2016, nearly $13.6 million in 2017, and nearly $14.9 million in 2018.

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Give feedback about Issaquah schools by Dec. 12

December 10, 2013

NEW — 6 a.m. Dec. 10, 2013

The Issaquah School District PTSA is looking for parents and community members to take an online survey and give their views of what they value most in schools.

The PTSA has conducted similar surveys prior to its last two rounds of teacher contract negotiations. District teachers are about to engage in a new round of negotiations for contracts that expire in 2014.

Input collected from the survey, along with information from last spring’s districtwide homework survey, will be presented in January to district administrators, school board members and teachers’ union representatives.

Find the survey, which closes at midnight Dec. 12, here.

State Rep. Tana Senn is ready to serve

September 24, 2013

Mercer Island City Councilwoman Tana Senn is the state’s newest lawmaker, having been appointed to fill the 41st District state representative seat vacated by Marcie Maxwell.

The Metropolitan King County Council appointed her Sept. 9. Senn was the top choice of local Democratic Party officials to fill the vacancy created by Maxwell’s decision to join Gov. Jay Inslee’s education staff.

Rep. Tana Senn

Rep. Tana Senn

Since her appointment, Senn, 42, has hit the ground running, meeting with 41st District mayors, and attending local events in the district that stretches from the northern parts of Renton to the southern parts of Sammamish, encompassing Mercer Island and Newcastle, and parts of Issaquah and Bellevue.

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Registration for Bellevue College’s retiree programs is now open

September 23, 2013

NEW — 6 a.m. Sept. 23, 2013

Bellevue College is now enrolling retirees for its fall quarter TELOS program.

Course topics range from art to technology, and courses are offered during the day, in the evenings and on weekends.

The TELOS program, operating since 1976, is designed to fit the lifestyle and interests of retirees, with a focus on learning and growth, not performance.

Classes begin Sept. 30. Learn more here.

 

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