I had planned to post an account of the forum last night (and I will) but I feel the need to address the tone in this blog. (Note: this is me talking but I defer to Beth. She started this blog, I consider it her blog and I refer to it as her blog even if people say to me "your blog". She may have something to say on this subject.)
1. This is a blog and not a chat room. Personally, I feel there is a difference. A chat room is where you go in, remain anonymous (or even pretend to be someone else) and say whatever pops into your head on any topic. This is an education blog that relates to Seattle Public Schools. I'd like to think we'd do better than chat room smack-downs.
2. I love sarcasm (probably why I like the Daily Show). I do try with all my heart not to do it here because I know some don't like it.
3. I appreciate that people want to be positive.
I thought of this today reading about a young SU student who died in Chile in an accidental fall during a hike. There was this sentence in a PI article that struck me,
"A blog entry Michaela Farnum dashed off in April says much about her personality: "I love everything, per usual."
What a sweet young woman. It probably is easier at 20 to be positive and have a sunny outlook. It is tougher when you are older, have a job, children, work, etc and are worried about your child's education.
In terms of this blog, it's hard when you have tried for years to be positive, look for positive ways to interact with district staff and be ignored, misled or waited out. I think Charlie and I do try to acknowledge positive movement forward but to forget the past or forget that some of the same people who misled you in the past are still there is not possible for me. I keep my guard up and maybe it comes across in my writing.
I am always hoping for better. Early on, I really thought a lot of staff were just awful. But I have gotten to know some of them better and whether I like them or not, they are human beings doing a tough job, getting criticized from all sides. Just like the Board. But, that doesn't mean they can't be asked to be more clear in their communications, their methodology and give us meaningful outcomes.
4. The thing that really prompted me to write is this "elitist" rap. We all want the best for our kids and yet that is clearly not one and the same for all of us. That doesn't make you elitist or right. It makes you a parent.
I think Roy has tried (over and over) to explain that there may be ramifications to redrawing boundaries and just as long as everyone knows that, good. You won't be surprised if your area doesn't get exactly what you expected. You will understand that everyone might not be on-board with overcrowding schools. And that the middle or high school you might perceive to be "your" school, might not be at the end of the work being done on the student assignment plan.
5. The person who wrote:
"That's just me. Entitled and elitist, and proud of it!!!! elitist that I am."
That's a kind of "nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah" remark. We need to be more adult than that.
I have said before that because I am willing to sign my name to everything I write, I tend to take anonymous postings with a grain of salt. I mean, we've even asked people to make up a moniker (Princess Leia for all I care) just so if you make a point we know which Anonymous to reference. Somehow this isn't getting across. I do understand that teachers can't sign their names and whatever it is that stops the rest of you, so be it.
But I ask you, if you wouldn't say what you write out loud in public, say at a a Board meeting, don't post it. If you feel really upset about something, wait an hour and see how you feel. Then post. Several people have remarked about the tone of this blog and I just shrugged but now I'm beginning to see their point.
I talked to many candidates last night and mentioned the blog (thinking that the assignment discussions might be something they might want to read). At least 3 said, "Oh yeah, I read that blog." We can have these discussions. They are important. And people who are decision-makers are reading it.
Let's give them something good to read. Let's all try to be civil and find common ground.