For the record (for those new or semi-new to this blog), the blog was started by Beth Bakeman, an SPS parent who did not like how the first round of closures went. Beth, a thoughtful, smart cookie, fired up this blog at that time. Beth asked a number of people to be contributors and, interestingly, we don't all come from the same backgrounds or viewpoints. I can't speak for all the contributors but I am not really what you would consider "friends" with anyone who writes here and heck, I haven't even met some of them. So we are not friends preaching to the choir. Again, to her credit, Beth wanted to have well-rounded discussions so she reached out in all directions.
As I have said previously, I'm not interested in starting any new parent group but if you are looking for one, previous threads have discussed the ones available.
I never wanted to be part of a blog that was a rant and rave. Sure, we can have heated discussions but personal attacks or mouthing off incoherently is not what we want. This blog works best when we get parents/community members from all parts of this city sounding off. We're looking to share information, resources, experiences and find solutions/actions, etc. And, we are looking to base those discussions on valid information, research and documentation and not just wild conjecture or "I heard". That is where the integrity of this blog lies; the contributors are - mostly unless stating opinions - able to back up their information with facts/research.
Basically, we are looking for ways to improve public education in Seattle. We are looking for ways to understand our district and its governance, its direction, its flaws and strengths and to figure out how we can work to make it better (now for some it may be for their child and some may have a more global view - either is fine by me).
I think that, overall, we do a pretty good job. The Stranger, in their endorsement explanations, said this:
"This race came down to two qualified candidates: Betty Patu, a three-decade veteran teacher in Seattle schools, and Charlie Mas, wonkiest wonk of all school-district wonky-wonks. Mas, who maintains a creepily obsessive school-board blog, is clearly well-versed and interested in the überboring intricacies of school-board bureaucracy."
I'm sure Charlie would wear the title of education wonk proudly (and so would I but frankly I can think of a couple of people even worse than us - if you can believe that). And, I love how they call us " creepily obsessive" and speak of "uberboring intricacies of school-board bureaucracy" . Here's my partial reply at their website endorsement page:
"It would be great if the Stranger would quit thinking that School Board is soooooo dull. Hey! They help run the school district that thousands of Seattle residents send their kids to. Yeah, your child's education, so boring. You want to be smarty-pants and smart-ass about something, go for the mayoral candidates but with School Board, we're talking about the future of this city.
Charlie Mas isn't the only person writing for Save Seattle Schools. I do,too and if we're obsessive, again, it's about educating the children who will run our country (and pay for our Social Security, remember that?). We're the ones going to the meetings and actually reading the budgets and figuring out where your tax and levy dollars are going. So yeah, having someone like Charlie who knows this district inside and out just might be the ticket.
Both your School Board endorsements sound like you are more afraid of the candidates than endorsing them. The School Board isn't really the place to kick ass and take names. It's about defending and creating great public education."
So if this blog is "uber" anything, even obsessive about tracking the money or getting it right by sitting through hours of sometimes tedious meetings, so be it. As I said above, it's about children's lives and tax dollars and it doesn't get any more real than that.
Okay so to my point; anyone can visit here and post info or opinions. (I'm pretty sure there is a mechanism to cut anyone off if need be.) And, because you can post mostly anonymously, there a freedom and power to say what you want. Okay. And some of you say it multiple times. Okay. And I think some may even like to stir the pot. Okay.
But making the same point over and over without recognizing someone else's point(s) can get tedious. It can make people feel irritated and then that comes out in the tone of posts.
I would gently ask that everyone keep that in mind. I don't want to drive anyone away because they think this blog is lapsing (occasionally) into endless arguing. On the other hand, if you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen. I won't speak for all contributors but I am unlikely to make apologies for tough stances nor are am I likely to ever be passive about this district. I know that assertativeness, nay, aggression sometimes causes others discomfort or they find it unpleasant. Sorry, but there are unpleasant truths that need the light of day and if you find that off-putting, this is not the blog for you.
(But in our defense, I go out of my way to be sure to have threads that praise good things happening in our district - and there are plenty - as well as pass on informational links to national newstories or educational events.)
So, dear readers, please, let's keep it civil. If you don't have anything new to add to your point but to say it again and again, rethink that, okay? Post multiple times but please make sure you are adding to the discussion, not talking to yourself.