Monday, July 03, 2006

Mary Bass Proposal for School Closure

Mary Bass is very focused on the impact of school closures on her district.

Read "Bass Has Alternative Proposal For Seattle School Closures" in the Seattle Medium for details on what she is proposing.

I don't know enough about the proposal to know whether or not it has merit, but I appreciate that Mary is thinking creatively and considering options outside of the strict parameters imposed by the current school closure process.

From the School Board perspective, her proposal is probably unwelcome since they are trying to move to agreement, closing off options, rather than considering new ones.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Are you serious? All this wailing about community and keeping kids together and there's merit in taking a school apart and keeping it apart? Hard to figure that one out.

Mary is someone to respect and admire but lately, she's been something of an obstructionist who comes in at the last minute with her ideas. This time is no exception.

The APP community has been exceptional in its willingness to talk, be relocated, etc. But to divide them in half, give them no real community 1-5, lose the cohesion in the program (don't forget; they fall under Special Education because of where they test), all in the name of saving TT Minor? Where is the benefit to the APP kids? I'm not even an APP parent and I can see the real problem here. The Advanced Learning office has really tried a lot of ways to get more diversity into the program and one of the biggest barriers are principals in schools who do not want to "lose" their advanced students. The bright kids are out there, in all colors, but it's getting the info to the parents and having principals stop throwing up roadblocks.

Even ignoring the type of program, what alternative program would say, sure, break us in two so we can shore up another school?

Mary is playing to an audience and not really making an honest attempt at real solutions.

Beth Bakeman said...

I agree that splitting up Lowell sounds like a rotten idea. But I don't consider it "wailing" when we discuss the importance of keeping kids together.

When I said I didn't know enough about Mary's proposal to judge its merits, that is because the part reported in the paper (the Lowell split) is apparently only a small piece of her overall plan. I'd like to hear more about what she's thinking, although I agree that she should have presented her ideas in full a long time ago if she wanted them to be taken seriously.

Charlie Mas said...

Imagine that it was any other program than APP. Imagine that it was an autism inclusion program or a Montessori program, or an alternative program, and a member of the Board said "Let's have to go to one school for grades 1-3 and another school for grades 4 and 5".

The students would not feel part of the community at either school and the schools would not regard the APP students and families as part of their communities. The APP community would not invest their labor, their money, or their care in either school, and neither school would invest resources in APP.

For all of the wailing - and it has been wailing - about disrupting students by making them change buildings in a one-time event (along with all of their learning community), where is the outcry against a plan to make students change buildings every year by design? For all of the wailing about communities, where is the outcry against a plan to deprive these students of a community?

The reason there is no outcry is because it is happening to the APP students and families and everyone in the district hates them and wants to punish them.

Beth Bakeman said...

Oh, please, Charlie! There is no outcry agaist Mary's plan for three good reasons:

1) It's the Fourth of July holiday weekend and most people, except apparently you and me, are busy doing other things.

and

2) It is only one Board member's proposal -- not the CAC's, not the superintendent's, not the entire School Board's.

and

3) It was reported only in the Seattle Medium which has a circulation of 91,000 instead of in the Times or the PI which have a combined readership of approximately a million.

I have many friends with children at Lowell. While I certainly have questioned (and would be happy to debate) the wisdom of pulling the brightest kids out of district schools to place them together in one location, I would also be extremely vocal in opposition to any plan to split up the APP kids as Mary has proposed. And certainly hundreds of other parents would join in the outcry.

The superintedent's final recommendations are coming out tomorrow are will definitely not include this proposed split of the APP program. So let's save our energy for the real fights ahead.

Anonymous said...

I admit at times the APP community rubs me the wrong way- but I agree Mary is playing to a audience and dismissing the impact to families in an effort to keep buildings open.
If taken seriously, this suggestion seems designed to pushing whomever has recource to leave the district, to do so.
If the idea of consolidating buildings in order to direct more money into classrooms is valid- I am at a loss to see any money being saved by shuttling APP kids back and forth between schools, I know that some districts do divde school communities up in this way, but then it is the whole school that is K-3, not just the stepchildren.

Charlie Mas said...

Beth, you write that you would be extremely vocal in opposition to any plan to split up the APP kids as Mary has proposed, but review your original post and show me where I can find that vocal opposition.

Beth Bakeman said...

My original post doesn't contain that opposition. My brief post obviously wasn't clear enough.

I don't think anyone on the Board is going to take Mary's proposal seriously at this point. So while I think the APP split is a rotten idea, (and I promise if that ever got serious consideration, you would hear my voice), I wasn't overly concerned. Instead, I was intrigued by the fact that she had a comprehensive proposal. I just want to know more about what she is thinking, because we can often find kernels of good thinking in proposals that also contain faulty thinking.