I went to the coffee with Dr. Goodloe-Johnson at Hamilton yesterday. It was very strange. She would often totally ignore a person's question and give an answer to another question - sort of like a politician at a "debate", but then she would allow the person to follow up, in which they would ask their question again. This pattern would repeat until she would finally answer the question, but with some weak "it would depend on the individual case", "these things take time and we are working towards that" or "that hasn't been determined yet" sort of weasel answer.
There were a few questions and answers that I think merit notice.
1. A fellow noted that it is poorer students who change addresses most frequently and that the new SAP requires students to change schools if they move out of their current school's attendance area. He asked if that didn't put a disproportionate burden on poorer students by creating additional transitions for them and subject them to additional bullying (as the new kid in school). Under the current plan the students could remain at their current school even if they changed neighborhoods, and isn't that better for the student? Dr. Goodloe-Johnson pretended to not understand the question for a long time and then pretended to give the incorrect answer and then suggested that the student could request their old school on a space-available basis. It was a weak answer to what was a really insightful question.
2. A fellow raised some excellent points about the loss of the sibling preference, about how it was counter to the stated goals of the new plan (predictability, family involvement, etc.), and how it messed up the people who were planning ahead and playing by the current rules. He noted the references to the transition plan in the adopted policy and how the Board made it clear that transition was clearly outside their authority and the Superintendent's responsibility. She, instead, tried to kick it back to the Board, and then, when pressed, said that she would work closely with the Board when making those decisions. It was clear that she was trying to dissociate herself from the decisions in transition. That was one of the themes of the evening - she didn't want any blame for decisions to stick to her.
3. She was asked about capacity in the northeast and answered that it would be addressed with the levies, particularly BEX IV. When the woman asking the question said that no solution from BEX IV would actually be available for use until 2015, Dr. Goodloe-Johnson didn't bat an eye. Apparently that's soon enough for her. It was funny because she told this woman from John Rogers - where they don't have a PCP space - that her child's school will have to continue to be overcrowded. A few minutes later she was telling someone else that there might not be space available in her school of choice because the District will close off enrollement once the functional capacity - which includes an allowance for PCP space - has been reached.
4. I asked about accountability - we have heard all about it for two and a half years, could she cite some examples of accountability in action. She answered that accountability will come with the performance measurement system. So there hasn't been any accountability for the past two years? Apparently not. She said that these things take time. Without the performance management system in place no one will be held accountable for anything so no one has been accountable yet. How about that!