Well, I got halfway through the KUOW show on school closures and thought "what a snoozefest". I'm sorry but Dr. Goodloe-Johnson repeats everything she's ever said before on a subject and man, can she stay on point.
And, for whatever reason, KUOW has decided more is better and they end up with very little outside voice (via phone or e-mail). They had Michael DeBell (in studio) with Jesse Hagopian (a teacher and activist), Dr. G-J (via phone) and another teacher (forgive me, I didn't get his name) from RBHS.
Michael answered questions about the upcoming enrollment period for students and said although the enrollment placements will be mailed out in early May, previously the district did have them go out in early May and it's not really much later now.
He was asked if the Board is guiding the process and he said, "we don't guide the process."
Steve Scher, the host, touched on the issue of Arbor Heights e-mails that came to light (plus the KUOW interview with PTA members) that indicate that AH felt the need to find a "sacrificial lamb". Michael said it had not been the Board or staff's intention to pit schools against each other.
Jesse said the closure of Viewlands seemed odd given the district's worry over lack of capacity in the North. Michael clarified that the lack of capacity is in the NE and QA/Magnolia.
Dr. Goodloe-Johnson explained that we would save money both on the capital side and operating side. She also mentioned revenues coming from more enrollment (they must be seeing a trend to feel hopeful about this) and also from "e-rate"? some kind of Special Ed that they get money for.
Michael said that in the last round of closures the directive was for 11 and only 7 got closed so "we're trying to finish the process". So does that mean 4?
There was discussion about why RBHS seems to be off the table. Dr. G-J said that the high school option is "extremely complicated" and a new assignment plan with predictability would help. She was asked if Center School might close this year and she said, "Everything is on the table." Michael said that he agrees with Dr. G-J about delaying any decisions on high schools. He said Center School is a good "alternative" school with arts connections and is centrally located which is good for a citywide draw. So Steve Scher asked why that didn't apply to Summit (but maybe because, he said, it is a K-12?). Michael said Summit had been in a difficult location for an all-city draw (as if they had a choice) and that it's a special case and there are "still options" such as co-locating them with RBHS or having them be K-8 at Meany.
Center School is NOT an alternative school and never has been. They are a non-traditional school (and Center asked to be assigned without the distance tiebreakerso they could draw more all-city). But Center is moving more and more towards being an alternative school (albeit using more traditional teaching than Nova).
KUOW managed to get ONE whole phone call in (no e-mails). A Cooper teacher asked, very clearly, how their students, mostly of color and low-income in a program that does better than other schools they may get dispersed to if Cooper closes, are being served by their building closing? You never heard such dancing around a question. (And I hate that no one hosting ever calls them on not answering the question.)
Michael said it was "troubling" that there is so much extra capacity across so many schools. The teacher asked how it was fair that none of the Cooper people went to the work sessions because they weren't on the original list. Dr. G-J's answer was totally in another direction; to wit, that this teacher (and others) could be part of the "design team" that would help manage the move and "duplicate" the good things at Cooper at other schools.
I'm going to stop here and say whaaaat? This teacher wants to know how her students are being better served by going to programs not doing as well as Cooper's and, as well, how their parents can fight back if they didn't even go to the work sessions and Dr. G-J asks the teacher to help design how good ideas from Cooper can migrate elsewhere? Gee, thanks for acknowledging that Cooper is doing pretty well but now, let's take it elsewhere. It almost sounds like the rationale for moving APP around so it gets spread out.
I thought that was took a lot of chutzpah on the part of the Superintendent to (1) not answer the question and (2) make it sound like a good thing to be on a design team for a closing program. (Sorry, but I HATE non-answers. If you think school closures are a good idea, then you need to squarely answer a question. I feel irritated because the CAC used the rationale that students were going to get good or better schools than they were at and I guess that's not the case this time around.)
They barely talked to Dick Lily, former school board member who writes for Crosscut.com who would have been a great person to talk to further.
A big disappointment in terms of getting any good answers or information.