Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Calm Before the Storm Or Not?

The district is going to close some schools and the number is somewhere between 3-9.

The last time this happened there was A LOT of talk and articles and discussion. Is there anything about the announcement of the preliminary list in either the Times or the PI today either as an article or editorial or op-ed? Nope. The last "education" article was about a couple of cheerleaders who took nude pictures of themselves, sent them out to someone(s) electronically and big surprise! the pictures got out to the entire school. Not much on education there.

Maybe they might discuss it on KUOW this week but their schedule isn't listed yet. Crosscuts, ditto, nothing (and they even have a former School Board member, Dick Lily, who writes for them).

The only place talking about it - true to form - is the great West Seattle blog which has information listed that we don't even have here (and I'll put it below). Those people, wisely, know that this process needs to be tracked because it is likely that most (or all) of the schools closed will be in the SW or SE.

What the West Seattle Blog reports is that:

1) the Board will be announcing the preliminary list at the Board workshop on Capacity issues on Tuesday at 6 p.m. It seems odd that this information is not part of the title of the workshop on the Board's calendar page. If you saw the name of this workshop you would assume it is about capacity issues in the NE/NW and not closures.

2) there will be two "workshops" about closures. Here is the info on these from the district:

The purpose of the community workshops is to consult with the public, present information and listen to concerns and ideas. A number of recent studies have urged Seattle Public Schools to balance its capacity, both in terms of overall excess capacity as well as geographic location. Interpreters will be present at the workshops in the following languages: Amharic, Cambodian, Chinese, Oromo, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Tigrigna and Vietnamese.

Dates, Times and Locations:

Thursday, December 4th, 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence, Auditorium
2445 – 3rd Avenue South, Seattle, Washington

Saturday, December 6th, 9:30 – 11:30 AM
Filipino Community Center, Main Ballroom
5740 Martin Luther King Way, Seattle, Washington

Ideas? About what? The Board has decided the criteria some of which no school could defend against namely, building condition and geography.

Actually, though, because these workshops are not the public hearings (those come later) that are required for each school, anyone can show up and pretty much say or ask anything. That works out well for me (note to the Board: yes, I'll be there...at both the workshops asking you some hard questions).

Again, not a peep from the district about staff reductions at the headquarters (even though that was on the Auditor's list) .

So maybe the newspapers and radio and others are just waiting for the "news" of who is on the list instead of maybe doing the journalistic thing of investigating how and why we got to this place. But I guess it's just easier to stick a microphone in the face of someone whose school is on the list and say, "How do you feel?" Why couldn't they do a story on the criteria which is already known? Why couldn't they point out that the district and Board are not doing (or even mentioning) all of the points in the Auditor's report about SPS?

Maybe we're, as parents and the general public, are so overwhelmed by the terrible daily news of our economy coupled with that end of the year rush of holidays and events that we don't have time to absorb and understand and contemplate what is happening or how it is happening. It works out well for the Board and staff to have a short timeframe in an extraordinary time during a busy holiday season. But it would be nice to see some news outlet doing something other than the obvious.

Update: this from Harium Martin-Morris' Director blog:

At the November 25th workshop, here's some information that will be released:

  • What type of school the Jane Addams building will be
  • Where the Summit program will be placed
  • Which buildings will be closed
  • Where, if any relocations will be.
And, keep in mind, there will be delays for ALL in terms of learning of assignments to schools for the school year 2009-2010 because of the closures. Meaning, instead of the end of March or early April, you are not likely to know what school your child is assigned to (if you are enrolling your child in a new school), until mid-May.

1 comment:

Charlie Mas said...

Finally! A little blurb about Summit in today's P-I. The story is mostly about how the community at Summit is beaten down by the District and resigned to their fate. It's really pathetic.