In the thread about the Times editorial, I wrote something that I want to bring forward for discussion. I wrote that despite all of the talk around restoring or building public confidence in the District, I'm not sure what people mean when they say "confidence", but that I thought they meant "trust". I wrote about four types of trust that are missing:
1) People don't trust the District to provide their child with a quality education.
a) Large WASL failure rates for poor and minority students
b) No apparent plan for closing the academic achievement gap
c) A math curriculum that doesn't appear effective or coherent
d) Perceived lack of support for students working beyond Standards
2) People don't trust the District to protect their child's safety.
a) Inaction and stonewalling on water quality issues
b) Inaction and stonewalling on mold/air quality issues
c) Inaction and non-reporting on sexual assualt at Rainier Beach
d) Inaction on student behavior violations
3) People don't trust the District to speak the truth.
a) The constant stream of lies from the District staff - too numerous to list
i) How many statements have you heard, only to have them proven false later?
ii) If you're active in any community, have you heard more lies or truth?
b) The difficulty in getting people to talk to you in the first place
c) The corrupt processes
i) Program placement
ii) Student assignment, particularly waitlist order
iii) Budgets for schools - if schools have lots of money in their budgets, why don't they have resources in their buildings?
d) Decisions driven by political considerations instead of academic goals
4) People don't trust the District to fulfill commitments.
a) The multitude of unkept promises - too numerous to mention.
i) In my observation, many more promises are broken than kept. Not a single promise to the Advanced Learning community has been kept in six years.
ii) How many promises made to YOUR community have been kept?
b) The voiding of all commitments upon changes in personnel
c) The Ronco Goal Process - set it and forget it
d) The lack of action in action items - note how many District "action items" have non-action verbs such as "start to", "develop a plan for", "continue", "prepare", etc.
Moreover, I wrote that despite all of the talk about restoring or building confidence, I wasn't hearing people say:
1) What exactly they mean by confidence
2) How the confidence was lost
3) How the confidence can be restored
I wrote a bit on these topics, but that could have been me going off on my own. I'd really like to read what other folks think about the confidence issue. What do the Superintendent and the candidates mean when they speak of confidence? How was that confidence lost? How can we get it back?
The Superintendent's PowerPoint on the Entry Plan had this slide:
"Purpose: Increase Confidence in Seattle Public Schools
* Clarify and widely communicate expectations for accountability and improvement
* Analyze data from the entry plan; share outcomes and plans for improvement
* Introduction to staff and the Seattle community"
If these three things are achieved, will she be able to increase confidence in Seattle Public Schools?
Several board candidates have made increased confidence their goal. How have they defined confidence, how have they said they can build it?
Is there a confidence crisis? What do you all think?