Friday, September 11, 2009

Short Election Bit

From Publicola on the 36th Democrats endorsements:

"Some results from last night’s 36th District Democrats meeting where membership revisited a few of their primary election endorsements: City Council incumbent Nick Licata got the sole endorsement over challenger Jessie Israel (the district made no endorsement during the primary despite a board recommendation for Licata); City Council candidate Mike O’Brien got the sole endorsement over opponent Robert Rosencrantz (Bobby Forch got the sole endorsement during the primary); members overturned the board’s recommendation for a sole endorsement of school board incumbent Mary Bass over Kay Smith-Blum, opting instead for no endorsement in that race; and in the oddly competitive contest for County Assessor, Bob Rosenberger, a former appraiser in the assessor’s office, got the sole endorsement over current Port Commissioner Lloyd Hara—by one vote." (italics mine)

I wonder what that means. Does it mean they no longer believe in Mary and yet don't believe in Kay (still since they didn't endorse her in the first place)?

I have been searching for candidate forums. If you hear of one, please post it.


gavroche said...

Coffee & Questions with the Superintendent?

I'm not sure where to post this, but Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson is inviting families and SPS community members to ask her questions and share their thoughts at a series of coffee meetings in September, according to the new (somewhat awkwardly titled) "Superintendent's for Families e-News" she apparently sent out to SPS parents today.

This is probably an effort to correct her image as aloof and non-communicative with the community -- which came up as a criticism in her annual review.

This sounds like a good opportunity. And I think it would be safe to assume that it will be a Blackberry-free forum!

So what questions does everyone have for the Superintendent?

Please join me at one of the upcoming community coffee hours. During September, I will be holding a series of informal coffee hours to provide families and community members with an opportunity to discuss the issues that matter to you and your family. I look forward to hearing your questions, concerns, and points of view. Information about coffee hour dates and locations are available here.[]

(here's a garbled cut and paste of the PDF):
Community Coffee Hours with the Superintendent
Please join Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson at one of her upcoming
community coffee hours. During September, the Superintendent will be
holding a series of informal coffee hours to provide families and community
members with an opportunity to discuss the issues that matter to you and
your family. She looks forward to hearing your questions, concerns, and
points of view.
Date Time Location
Monday, 09/21/09 * 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Eckstein Middle School
3003 NE 75th Street
Seattle, WA 98115
Wednesday, 09/23/09 8:05 – 9:05 a.m. Washington Middle School
2101 S. Jackson Street
Seattle, WA 98144
Monday, 09/28/09* 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. Hamilton Middle School
4400 Interlake Avenue N
Seattle, WA 98103
Tuesday, 09/29/09 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. Aki Kurose Middle School
3928 S. Graham Street
Seattle, WA 98118
Tuesday, 09/29/09* 6:50 – 8:00 p.m. High Point Community Center
6920 34th Avenue SW
Seattle, WA 98126
* Interpretation services will be provided at these meetings

SPSMom said...

Do you want charter schools in SPS?

Teachermom said...

Do you really want special education teachers to have larger caseloads, or was that just a bargaining strategy?

Charlie Mas said...

If schools cannot alter the curriculum and cannot choose their own textbooks, then what autonomy can they earn through the performance management system? And if they cannot earn any meaningful autonomy, then what's the point?

Lisa said...

I was at the 36th district endorsement meeting, here's what happened to the best of my recollection - apologies for any inaccuracies!

On the Bass race: The Executive Board (who does the candidate interviews, etc) had recommended a sole endorsement of Mary Bass. However, an endorsement letter favoring Smith-Blum and written by Reuven Carlyle, Mary Lou Dickerson and Jeanne Kohl-Welles was distributed to all meeting attendees before voting began.

Both candidates were present, and individuals were permitted to speak in favor and and opposing the sole endorsement of Mary Bass. I believe that a simple majority was needed to pass this motion, as it was a motion proposed by the Executive Board. It failed, but it was close. If I recall correctly, there was then a motion from the floor to do a dual endorsement, but a motion on the floor requires perhaps a 2/3 vote (?) and that also failed.

There did seem to be strong support for Mary Bass, however, people seemed to like the idea of the International High School, also some wanted some new blood on the board... on the other side, there was also some concern about whether Smith-Blum supports charters and an argument that Mary should not be blamed for some of the board decisions, as she has been a lone voice against them sometimes.

On Board position number 7 - Wilson Chin and Betty Patu were both present. The Executive Board had not made a recommendation on this race. There was a motion to do a sole endorsement of Chin (and speakers for and against) and again I think this would require a supermajority vote, and the tally came short of that required vote. I believe he had significant enough support in the room that the Patu supporters concluded that she would be unlikely to get a supermajority either.

There was then a motion from the floor to do a dual endorsement, again requiring a supermajority, and this also fell short, so there was no endorsement in this race.

I have to say that BOTH candidates in this race had very strong support in the room, but perhaps many people preferred no endorsement in the race to a dual endorsement. It was a bit strange in light of the dual endorsement offered in the other race.

Robert said...

I spoke with Kay Smith-Blum and she doesn't support charters.

I would love to know where Chin and Petu stand on this.

Lisa said...

Sorry, my mistake: the motion from the floor for a dual endorsement of Bass & Smith-Blum did NOT pass; the motion from the floor for a dual endorsement of Chin and Patu DID pass.

There seemed to be strong support for all four candidates in the room - I think it does send a confusing message to offer a dual endorsement in one race and no endorsements in the other race - but that is how the individual votes were tallied.

Sorry for the lack of clarity in my original post.

gavroche said...

Lisa said...On the Bass race: The Executive Board (who does the candidate interviews, etc) had recommended a sole endorsement of Mary Bass. However, an endorsement letter favoring Smith-Blum and written by Reuven Carlyle, Mary Lou Dickerson and Jeanne Kohl-Welles was distributed to all meeting attendees before voting began.

Is it normal for state legislators to get involved in School Board campaigns like this?

Does anyone know why Carlyle, Dickerson and Kohl-Welles support Smith-Blum?

Robert -- you say Kay told you she does not support charters. But Carlyle has indicated that he does, and I've heard and read that Kohl-Welles and Dickerson have supported them in the past.

If this is true, I find it troubling that three pro-privatizing (charter) state legislators have endorsed Smith-Blum. What kind of influence might they have on her? Because these are significant endorsements I should think. What's the quid? What's the quo?

Here's an article from IndyMedia from the last School Board election that connects the dots on a number of things & players, all of which are still relevant to this year's School Board race:

Why Should We Care About Public Schools?
Seattle, 30.10.2007

It's time to vote for public school board candidates. This year, more than ever, we are facing a critical battle between progressives and big business interests. Progressive candidates (Sally Soriano, Maria Ramirez and Darlene Flynn) want to deal with improving the quality of education, closing the "achievement gap" (seen by progressives as an issue of social justice relative to race and class), creating more inclusive and democratic decision-making processes, and strengthening public schools by involving community. Collective campaign funds reported by October 20, 2007: $74,641.

Their opponents; 'The Big-Business-Slate' (Steve Sundquist, Peter Maier, Sherry Carr) will serve the interests of those who are focused on privatization and corporatization of public education. Their campaign platforms sound similar to those of the progressive candidates. Collective campaign funds reported by October 20, 2007: $329,478.They talk about the achievement gap, about quality schools, and education reform; but their endorsement and donor lists sound like the who's who of privatizers; legislators, city mayor, investors, and business leaders and other private interests who have pushed for charter schools, private programs in our schools, appointed school boards, school closures and greater standardized testing.

Education promises big business: estimations in the 400-700 hundred million for the online curriculum market (Apex Learning), ….and professional development (Don Nielsen's Teach First) only one of many public education segments to which private businesses are selling. (from Puget Sound business Journal May 2007)

(continued on next post)

gavroche said...

(continued from previous post)

History and Background

Washington residents have rejected charter schools three times . Legislators know better than to keep fighting outright for them, but now the effort to privatize our education system is more covert. Efforts come from all directions, including pushing school board directors to force school consolidation and closures that disperse and crush community. School closures, limiting transportation and school choice serve to expand the marketplace for private schools and eliminate opposition to further commercialization.

Moving private programs into our public school buildings (public/private partnerships) with special contracts that guarantee program lifespan, location, student enrollment, professional staffing, and even building development means giving away our commonwealth to private interests. Those private programs profit from using our public district to develop marketing based on outcome measures, draining enrollment from nearby schools, and field testing program design for later profit. Their efforts may benefit kids directly served, but also result in increasing significant inequities within the district. Enrollment restrictions and exclusions often help to guarantee improved outcomes in the Private programs.

Other profiteers gain by using our public school system for marketing their curriculum design, teacher training products, consulting products, and contracted services. As the debacle in Iraq has shown us, contracting services that should be provided internally does not save money or provide more efficiency…but it does make some people wealthy.

Compare this sample list of legislator and business leaders who supported charter school legislation, who press for "private/pubic partnerships" who have products to sell to the district or who propose to contract services for the district. These are the supporters of the Big-Business-Slate:

Charter school legislators and supporters:
Frank Chopp, Jeane Kohl-Wells, Mary Lou Dickerson, Jim McIntire, Erik Poulsen, Helen Sommers, James Kelly

School closure demanding legislators:
Helen Sommers

Appointed school board proposing legislators and supporters:
Ed Murray, Greg Nickels, Venus Velazquez [NOTE: Velazquez is currently the Executive Director of CPPS (Communities and Parents for Public Schools) : -- gavroche]

Product selling contractors:
Don Nielsen (Teach First)

Business leaders and Investors:
James Kelly, Steve Mullin, Don Nielsen, Nicolas Hanauer (Venture Capitalist, Teach First Investor & $10,000 donor) John Stanton, Vulcan Inc, Boeing, Home Street Bank, Pemco, Steve Ballmer…..check the Public Disclosure Commission lists…

Private education program providers, proponents of "private/public parternships":
Trish Dziko, Al Sugiama

Failed board members and Olchefske supporters:
Barbara Schaad-Lamphere, Barbara Peterson, Steve Brown, Jan Kumasaka, Dick Lilly, Nancy Waldman, Don Nielsen, Seattle Times Editorial Board

Also endorsing are the commercial media. All of which are beholden to their commercial advertisers. Beyond endorsements, they have the power of the press to present, repeatedly, their own spin on public education and performance by school boards.


(continued on next post)

gavroche said...

(continued from previous post)

Remember that when Superintendent Olchefske was still in place, the Seattle Times supported him until the bitter end even though he had bungled the public schools budget, loosing by some estimates, much more than the 35 million dollars reported. They saw him as a "change agent" and didn't seem to mind that he was an MBA investor and couldn't manage money, or that he knew nothing about education. He was a change agent. He was privatizing our school system by introducing, private programs with special contracts into our buildings without public consent. The issue is only relevant now because his supporters are now fighting to replace the school board with one who will serve their interests.

If the Big-Business-Slate of candidates are elected, we will have more closures, privatization, corporatization, and a much smaller share of our common wealth- public education. They are heavily supported not only by endorsements but financially, with campaign donations totaling as much as $100,000.00 for Peter Maier-an attorney with no education background. These candidates will be expected to produce for their supporters.

Grassroots Endorsements:
CEASE (Citizens for Effective Administration of Seattle Education) endorse the progressive candidates:
Sally Soriano, Maria Ramirez, and Darlene Flynn.

These candidates have little money and few connections to the business world. They do have a laser focus on equity, quality education, and protecting public education from privatization.

Directors Sally Soriano and Darlene Flynn are the incumbents who angered the privatizers in their first months on the job by making a resolution against charter schools, by refusing to let the administration off the hook for continuing to allow our children to drink lead contaminated water, by refusing to allow district administration to continue its practice of sloppy money management, and by questioning the inappropriate school closures. They worked collaboratively with community members throughout their tenures.

Sally and Darlene worked with the rest of the board to resist establishment pressure to hire politician Norm Rice for superintendent and went forward with an appropriate national search that yielded a professional educator and experienced superintendent for Seattle. Both have extensive experience in public policy, large budget management and education.

Maria Ramirez has a degree in economics and 25 years of public service, has extensive experience planning budgets, overseeing government contracts, managing human resources and planning social services. She has volunteered extensively within the community at-large, with Seattle PTAs and PTSAs, and with several social justice initiatives at the King County Department of Community and Health Services.

Maria has been doing in real life what her opponent is proposing to do without experience, direct or indirect; work for all of our children and close the achievement gap.

Now the choice is ours. Do we protect public education from the encroachment of government and business interests as they push to privatize/corporatize it?

Do we support progressive education leaders as they work for our children and communities? Whose schools are these anyway? The business interests-the investor class- will be voting. The question is, will enough of the working people be voting to protect the public interests?

For additional information:


Melissa Westbrook said...

I forgot; I did call my legislator, Jamie Peterson, to ask why he endorsed Kay. His office said they would ask but that he had just adopted twins (!). I'm sure he's very busy but I would like to know about the endorsement.