Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Mayor's Final Youth and Families Forum

I finally managed to get to one of the Mayor's forums (did anyone else?). It was a very mixed bag.

This was in the gym at the Garfield Community Center. They had entertainment before it started which was fine except African drumming in a gym is really loud. Meanwhile, there were about 23 circles of chairs (about 14 per group). No one directed us to get into a group and we got closer and closer to the 7:00 pm start time. Seven comes and goes and the Mayor was there and I asked one of the deputy mayors "tick tock, when do we start?" He said yeah, okay. Then it was 7:15 and it finally starts. You'd think if you start late you (a) would keep the speakers to a minimum and (b) go the total hour and a half. Neither thing happened. So we finally get started about 7:30. The Mayor threw out some sobering stats: 40% of SPS students are F/RL, 53% failed the math WASL, 33% gap in 3rd grade students among different races, 40% of our students miss 10 or more days a year (a stat I had never heard before).

I had an interesting group; I was the only SPS parent. Lots of singles one who questioned why there are no schools or churches in downtown Seattle), a few single parents, the head of Rainier Scholars, some SU staff, our facilitator and our City Year scribe (who just couldn't keep up). Many people had worked with youth in various ways. The challenge was to ask us what we wanted to see in Seattle for youth and families in 5 years.

I think basically our group wanted to see better schools for all students, physical and mental health services for all youth, more family awareness in Seattle, more support for families in Seattle.

The challenges we suggested were money, a plethora of groups sometimes duplicating services/working at cross-purposes, lack of accountability across the board, racism in schools (teachers who work at struggling schools would never send their own kids there), a socioeconomic divide in Seattle and this sad stat: Seattle has the highest number of underage prostitutes in the country (and probably not by choice).

Our top picks for things to work on: lack of access to mental/physical health services for youth, kids not graduating on-time/not going on to high ed because of barriers, no accountability in SPS and violence and youth violence.

Our solutions:
  • support at the community/neighborhood level for families
  • accountability; define what we want as a City for youth and families and hold ourselves accountable for it
  • everyone - business, non-profits and other groups - working together to help youth and families
  • directory of services coordinated so we know what groups offer what services to avoid duplication or at least coordinated expansion of services and to figure out what is needed and fill that need, data-gathering for this purpose
  • helping to support teachers
We ended up with only an hour of discussion which, for what we were trying to cover, was not enough. But the staff didn't seem to think it important enough to start on time and I just think if enough people show up on-time, then do them the courtesy of getting started.

The gym was full and lively. From what I could see, many groups were talking about education and SPS at least part of the time. I would say from that forum that the Mayor will be hearing about Seattle's public education system.

I feel like it was more for people to vent but there were some solutions offered. I hope that the Mayor and his staff come out with some real trends on what is important and ideas for how to get there. It may look like a very different Families and Education levy this round depending on what they decide is important. I'd be interested to know if they will run it by the Superintendent and Board and who will make the final decision. I know there is a panel that the Mayor chose to decide.

40 comments:

seattle citizen said...

"40% of our students miss 10 or more days a year (a stat I had never heard before"

I wonder how many of these are excused. There are (too many) parent/guardians, I'm sure, who excuse their children for a) the slightest "malady"; b) to go skiing; c) to cover for unexcused absences.

And is this 40% across the board?1st graders, too? Yikes! That points to some sort of parental awareness, excused absence, etc.

"racism in schools (teachers who work at struggling schools would never send their own kids there)"

Whoa. Can you explain this statement, Melissa?

Oh, and once again, for the hundredth time, THANK YOU for going, for standing and delivering.

grousefinder said...

I wrote the Mayor yesterday about the dismal SPS Math (and everything else) performance. The response was mostly about what you were doing tonight (3/23) at YFF, but this quote from his office stands out:

"During the campaign, the mayor discussed the possibility of instituting mayoral control of the school district, and [sic] several other cities have done recently. This possibility is still on the table, though hopefully we will be successful at affecting change from the outside."

My oh my!

SolvayGirl1972 said...

I don't consider our Mayor to be any more capable of being in control of SPS than I do MG-J. Let the city take care of the District's property as Charlie has suggested, but let's try to get our school board to do its job before we hand over the keys to the mayor.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, that "teachers would never send their own kids to struggling schools" caught me by surprise as well. We had one person in our group who had a lot of what I felt was misinformation on education and SPS (the above and then she said you had to "apply and be accepted" at Cleveland). What I felt is that there are a lot of perceptions out there that keep getting passed around about SPS that are wrong or outdated.

I did tell the group that the district needs to market themselves more, let Seattle know the good things that happen in the district and to try to get more market share.

To that point of the Mayor and district control, all I can say is someone better take control pretty soon. Dr. G-J seems so myopically focused that she seems to miss parents AND the big picture. And the Board seems helpless/unwilling/unable to do anything. Maybe, maybe it's just too big a district. I've heard people say to divide it into quarters. I think that would be a bad idea but it almost seems like it has become too big a job for one person.

As I keep saying, if the district keeps making mistakes, the City and the Mayor and the City Council may have all the ammo they need to go to the Legislature. Money mistakes count for a lot so it may not even matter that a lot of us feel ignored. The Legislature probably doesn't care how we "feel" but boy they care about how the money is spent.

By the way, Director DeBell had asked who was responsible for the Native American funding issue and Harmon Duggan said the person who ran the program had left awhile back. DeBell just let it go. Well, there was someone supervising that person and she has been here for two years so she would be responsible. Her name is Kathy Thompson and she works directly under Dr. Enfield.

Charlie Mas said...

Classic unaccountable SPS response:
"Director DeBell had asked who was responsible for the Native American funding issue and Harmon Duggan said the person who ran the program had left awhile back."

What? She wasn't replaced? Her duties were just left undone? Wasn't her supervisor responsible for getting someone to do the work after she left?

If a third grade classroom teacher leaves the job isn't the principal responsible for getting someone else to teach those students?

The District accepted the money to administer the program but didn't actually administer the program? In that case they should return ALL of the money.

dan dempsey said...

all I can say is someone better take control pretty soon.

Someone has taken control, the problem is that person is unwilling to produce a quality product or allow others to have input into production of quality products.

Same four directors repeatedly frustrate the public's attempts to have quality product production started by backing MGJ no matter what.

This is a version of "Stockholm Syndrome" know as "Chow Syndrome".

Dr. G-J seems so myopically focused that she seems to miss parents AND the big picture.


NO that is not it.
MGJ is educationally clueless. Pick up a copy of Hattie's Visible Learning for "less than" half a hundred and give it to the "more than" 1/4 million Superintendent. This might be the beginning of... doing what works and the stopping of what does not work.

And the Board seems helpless/unwilling/unable to do anything.

NO make that majority of board is clueless, the clueless four.

Maybe, maybe it's just too big a district. I've heard people say to divide it into quarters.

Anything run on ideas this poor would fail no matter the size. Think corner Kool-Ade stand that sells muddy water and spits on customers. Then appeals public's lawsuit victory based on lousy product and poor service.

Yup the group of "Five" MGJ + Four is certainly intent on winning the hearts and minds of the public through High Spin Marketing as they have a defective product and poor service.

The teachers keep trying to do the job as the incompetent union wrangles with the incompetent "Upper" administration.

I think that would be a bad idea but it almost seems like it has become too big a job for one person.

It all depends on the one person. If the one person sees the solution to be greater centralized control .... well ...we are living through that horror right now.

Me.... I am still the small is Beautiful guy ('cause big and ugly is not working).

But the district does not need to be smaller. The reach of the centralized controllers must be reduced in size or close to eliminated. There are some very viable site-based models available ... that do have accountability built in. [clearly not the Olchevski model]

This is not that difficult to solve and way easier than attempting to live through this ongoing mess.

We shall see what the filing of the "Writ of Mandamus" in Olympia with the Supreme Court produces. It will be filed Friday 3-26-10.

Named are Seattle District #1, seven school directors, and at least one superior court judge ... so far. The district needs to follow the laws and the Judges need to hold the district accountable to the law. Thus far some Judges seem content to watch the district violate the law. Will the WA Supreme Court be a watcher also or on the side of accountability?

I am betting some filing fees and legal fees on the latter. Hope I win. So we can all get a dose of some sanity and escape the TwiLight Zone of Education MGJ's Seattle.

By the way send at least $10 HERE.

Make your checks out to Scott E. Stafne .... Thus far $230 has been collected (this covers exactly one filing fee at the superior court level).

Here is your update of Marty's fund raising. $9,281.75

Someone needs to be thinking fund raisers. I can send you an account number at Wells Fargo to put those fund raiser dollars into for Attorney Scott E. Stafne.

You ain't seen nothin' dude 'til ya seen the writin' O' that "Writ of Mandamus".

Definite worth every penny if we can ever pay the bill. Filing on this Friday.

Go Scott Go.

dan dempsey said...

You can view the "Writ of Mandamus" HERE. It is at the bottom of the posting on the left hand side.

Central Mom said...

The Times' Lynne Varner has an "OpEd on this subject" this morning. I generally think Lynne does not have a detailed understanding of SPS. In this case, she has the big picture down pretty well.

hschinske said...

Do they mean ten days unexcused? Because ten days excused can't be that uncommon (or my kids are much sicklier beings than I thought).

Helen Schinske

seattle citizen said...

Central mom, see my comment (first) on this thread re excused absences - My point was (somehow) that parent/guardians, I believe, often enable these absences for a variety of reasons. The ones I gave were a) student not too sick but p/g just okays a stay-home; b) family trips; c) cover for kid's unexcused. I'd add to that that some students work very hard in jobs - p/gs might cover for that with excuses as kid is a major breadwinner for family.

So yes, many kids skip (as more will, as schools cut funding this spring for truancy because they are contracting to core classes and services)but many more are not in class because of other reasons.

Keepin'On said...

I think many people already know that this Mayor is not even capable of running the city of Seattle, let alone the school district. If you want to see the schools in even more trouble, hand over control to McGinn and his highly paid staff of former campaign Volunteers who are so far out of their depth it is unbelievable. Yeah, that's the solution.

seattle citizen said...

Melissa, the part that got me about the "racism in schools (teachers who work at struggling schools would never send their own kids there)" comment was the "racism." Teachers, as a whole, are probably some of the least-racist (or at least blatantly racist) people on earth. Whoever made that comment at the meeting was perpetuating hateful divisiveness.

But even the part about teachers not sending their kids to struggling schools....where's the evidence? Is this due to location? Conscious choice? A comment like that, with the "racism" part thrown in, serves no purpose, is a distraction, and seems malicious (on the part of whoever said it)

seattle citizen said...

I'm convinced that the major reasons kids actually skip, or cut out without one of the aforementioned "reasons," is a lack of hope. In one way or another, attendance, performance, "success," seems to be predicated on the idea that there is hope to get somewhere, hope to "rise," hope to change one's reality...I fear that for ten percent or so of our kids, they just don't see that hope.

Dora Taylor said...

These are my notes from the The Mayor’s Youth and Families’ Community Meeting which I attended Monday evening. This will be in two parts.

Notes From the Field: The Mayor’s Youth and Families’ Community Meeting
March 23, 2010
I walked into the gymnasium of the Garfield Community Center where it seemed like hundreds of people were either milling around or sitting in large circles waiting for something to happen. I had no idea what was going on or where to go. I checked out the formal entrance into the gymnasium and there were people at tables selling baked goods and providing information about other groups or events that had nothing to do with this forum.

OK, let’s try this again.

When I returned into the gymnasium someone walking by told me just to sit in one of the circles. First, I had to check this out. If I was going to sit with a group of people in a circle for a couple of hours and talk, I wanted it to be a good one.

I looked around and chose the most diverse group that I could find. Why? First, because that is what the Central District is and, I figured, it would make for an interesting conversation.

There were African Americans, Ethiopians, Hispanics and Caucasians (for lack of a better word) in the group that I chose.

I settled in, signed in and was ready to go. More time passed and I still couldn’t figure out what was going on and then finally folks got up to the mic and started to talk, and talk, and talk. OK, it wasn’t that bad but the mayor could have cut his spiel in half and still gotten his point across.

The mayor said the “We need to do better”, he gave us some data about the reduced lunch program, that there were huge gaps, more data on missed days of school and then after more than enough time, he gave the mic over to the next speaker.

Then more phrases like “We have to hold ourselves accountable”, “I believe change is possible” and “…Go to the people and learn from them”. OK, I’m really ready now.

Tim Burgess was introduced and then we got to the specifics of the evening’s plan.

It was explained that each group, which had around 11-14 people in them, would elect a delegate who would attend the Youth and Families’ Congress in June.

Dora Taylor said...

At that point the meeting was turned over to our facilitator and a person who would be taking notes on large sheets of paper. There was also someone recording the information in a notebook. We introduced ourselves, first name only, and got started.

The facilitator said that we would be discussing three things. “What should Seattle look like in five years”, “What is standing in our way” and “Solutions” or basically, how do we get to that vision.

There were many answers for each one of these categories and I will include as many as I can.

“What should Seattle look like in five years?” Job training so that parents can support their families; smaller class sizes (that was mine); a second chance program for people exiting prison; early learning education for all (I asked about the Head Start program but parents said that it was full, that there were not enough classes and teachers) and guaranteed higher education. There were other comments and I strained to hear everyone but the gymnasium space is the worst place to try and hear someone speak especially when there are so many people in a space speaking at once and I was not able to catch everything. It was very frustrating.

“What is standing in our way?” Lack of funding; uneven distribution of support and services; not enough funding for Head Start and not enough student enrichment programs. There was prioritizing at this point in terms of what was most important to everyone in the group. We had five red stickee circles that we could use to “vote” on our priorities by placing them next to an item on the list. The top three were: Not enough funding for Head Start, lack of funding for education and large class sizes.

And the “Solutions”: Smaller class sizes; having liaisons and/or advocates for newly arrived immigrants and their children who are in school; use of school buildings in the evenings for community activities; student based learning; more interpreters to help guide our new immigrants through the process of the public school system and more support for families when, for instance, their electricity is turned off or they need food. Wow.

I couldn’t have said it any better myself!

This information will go back to the Mayor’s office and his team and the conversation will continue at the Youth and Families’ Congress on June 5th.

It will be interesting to see what ultimately comes out of this effort.

Signing off for now.

blumhagn said...

When I went to the event at Northgate, it was also very full, but it started on time. There was a lot of griping about behavior in our group, which was mostly retired people. I was the only parent, and I brought our kids along as well.

On the absences front, the official guidelines for keeping elementary kids home are pretty loose. For example, if they're coughing, you're supposed to keep them home. If we did that, one of our kids would miss nearly a quarter of the year!

blumhagn said...

PS I was elected from my small group to be a delegate to the Youth and Families Congress in June--I'll give you an update after that.

Also, I don't know that you want to turn over maintenance to the City. The buildings will be neglected unless keeping them up is a clear priority from the top. I wouldn't necessarily worry about that in the current administration, but what about two down the line?

SPS may suck at maintaining buildings, but at least the District is nominally in control.

Eric

emeraldkity said...

I am just going to leave my impressions regarding absences.

Re: days with substitutes- & we have a lot of them-subs ( and teachers) make mistakes- they mark one child here- another not- transposing their names, or your child is quiet and not heard- any # of reasons.

If you don't check right away- you can't get the absence removed ( and if you even know about it)-if it is more than a couple days.

On the other hand we have kids skipping school, and when their parents are called, they say it is excused. That isn't doing anyone any favors.


I think attendance is very important for both students and teachers- my daughter has had teachers who NEVER miss class, or very rarely, and she had others who were gone for family trips, right after school started.

I think teachers shouldn't be going to school if they are sick- but if a student is ill, I would like to see more support for the school to accomodate their illness, get them the work they missed- or if they are too ill to finish it, to work with them to find an alternate project so that they don't lose credit.

I also don't think the Mayor needs to be in control- let the city manage the properties- perhaps if the Mayor can twist the arm of GJ so that somebody is accountable and promises are followed up on?

Maybe we need a bigger board? They represent a fairly dense population and have a lot to cover- I think it is appropriate that they represent segments of the city rather than special interest groups, but I also think they are well intentioned- and just have way more than they can manage-

I also find it interesting that while virtually all of the past board members were obviously interested enough in Seattle public education to hold directors seats, few continue that involvement after their term- although they may still be involved with children/youth concerns.

I feel if they weren't so burnt out, we would be better served by using their experience to deal with current & future issues.

Dora Taylor said...

One other thing that I would like to add about the Initiative's meeting is that the solutions that were listed by my group, if addressed, would begin to close the achievement gap that the mayor and everyone else is takling about.

You can have all of the tests in the world, but until we address these specific issues, there will be children failing and falling through the cracks.

Joan NE said...
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Joan NE said...
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wseadawg said...

I haven't read all the comments yet, but PUH-LEASE do not advocate for Mayoral Control, ever, anywhere, under any circumstances. Talk about ZERO transparency and influence! Talk about 4 years of hell! OMG!

Get Mayoral control out your heads right now.

FASTER!

Joan NE said...

wseadawg - If you think I am advocating for mayoral control, then you have grossly misunderstood me.

I am no fan of the Broad Foundation. I have seen what this organization has achieved in other districts that it controls - and I don't like at all what I see.

I am making PREDICTIONS about what will happen UNLESS parents and teachers get organized NOW and WORK TOGETHER on a smart opposition campaign.

Melissa's support for mayoral control worries me a lot because pundits will use her support as evidence that the community supports mayoral control - regardless of the fact that Melissa's personal opinions reveal nothing about the majority view in the community.

Here is what Melissa wrote earlier in this thread:

"To that point of the Mayor and district control, all I can say is someone better take control pretty soon. Dr. G-J seems so myopically focused that she seems to miss parents AND the big picture. And the Board seems helpless/unwilling/unable to do anything."

Melissa has taken strong offense in the past when I say she supports mayoral control, but how can we intrepret this statement of hers otherwise?

Besides getting rid of MGJ and making sure we don't get another reformer to replace her, these might be among the most critical areas for parent-SEA cooporation:

a)call for the Board to revoke High Stakes Testing policies, to put in its place a policy that calls for appropriate constructive uses of standardized assessments, and to hold the Superintendet accountable for honoring this policy.
b) call for the Board to revoke Superintendent's nearly unfettered power to close and reconstitute schools,
c) call for the Board to revoke Superintendent's nearly unfettered power to move principals at will, and give local school communities a very strong influence on principal placement.
d) work with SEA to come up with a professional teacher evaulation framework that includes parent assessments of teacher performance that is broadly pleasing to the teacher and parent community.
e) work with SEA to develop an enlightened, well-researched definition of Quality District and Quality School against which we can measure whether the District is headed in the right direction or not, and whether the District leadership is making GOOD choices. [The district's "2010 Quality Schools" statement is consistent with high stakes testing.]

f)form a work group to develop a research based, best-available science, genuine, constructive plan for reform of SPS, and that has the highest probability of enabling the District to fulfill the community-endorsed vision of Quality District, and for every school, the community-endorsed vision of Quality School, such that SPS' BEST TEACHERS will WANT to teach at high poverty schools!

h) work to elect to the Board individuals who will hold the Superintendent accountable for upholding every school Board policy, and especially will hold the District accountable for using the community-endorsed vision of Quality School to guide efforts to help schools AVOID the NCLB five-step "school improvement" ladder, for increasing its success rate at getting schools OFF the ladder. [It turns out that once a school gets on the ladder, it has a very low probability of getting off]

Unfortunately, of all the parents in this community who are aware of the harm that MGJ is doing, it appears to me that not more than a small handful want to do more than whine about what is happening, or put out fires at just their little school.

It doesn't accomplish much to put all the effort into attempting to put out little brush fires when the Arsonist is allowed to run free and continue to set more fires.

Chris said...

Well, thanks to grousefinder at the top of this thread, we can at least stop arguing about whether McGinn favors mayoral control.

That said, when he says "the district" does he mean the board? That I would object to, for several reasons. 1. Voting for board members being one of the very few ways in which parents can influence the district. 2. This board does whatever MGJ wants, so it's not clear that replacing them would change anything. 3. It's not clear legally that McGinn can do this in WA BUT it does appear that parents CAN, thru a recall campaign.

In other cities, mayoral control has meant the mayor removing the board, and in most cases the person in the mayor's seat has been friendly to Broad, Gates, etc. Our mayor is kind of a black box, although Mallahan got the union vote, which is not a good sign here. Has anyone checked the billionaires on his campaign contribution list?

If the mayor could and would "take over" by removing the superintendent, fine. But let me keep my vote.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Joan, with all due respect, you're an idiot. You do put inference, conjecture and nonsense into anything someone else writes that you don't agree with. Enough.

I have NEVER put myself out there as the "voice of the blog". Again, where's your proof? Right, there is none. I don't even call it "my" blog because it's Beth Bakeman's.

Again, you are "interpreting" what I say. I got the PI to print a retraction for making up something based on what I wrote in the voter's pamphlet for the levies. How about you?

You are making up statements about me and here's my official word:

I am NOT for mayoral control. Never said it, not once, not anywhere. I am trying to goad the Board in to doing their jobs so the Mayor DOESN'T have ammo to take over the schools.

Also, the members of the Seattle Council PTSA do not, would not and are not trying to "trick" anyone into anything. You MAY think that but don't say they are.

You really make this blog unpleasant with your constant and unwarranted attacks.

Keepin'On said...

Right on Melissa!

Joan, you have a tendency to make inflammatory statements about Melissa, when you are either deliberately misinterpreting her statements, or are just plain unable to appropriately interpret statements and intent from people's comments.

You also lose credibility by suggesting the Seattle Times and will support the Mayor and control of schools. I don't think you have a good take on how this Mayor is viewed by media, or city departments, or business. None of them respects this Mayor or thinks he can govern effectively. I do believe that they are just holding their collective breaths for the next four years in hopes he doesn't do anything too stupid.

And to suggest that the PTSA is some kind of secret cabal type organization in favor of charter schools....well I can't even respond to that.

Yikes!

Joan NE said...

Melissa, I am afraid you misread my statements. I am sorry for any angst this has caused you.

You write "I have NEVER put myself out there as the "voice of the blog". Again, where's your proof? Right, there is none. I don't even call it "my" blog because it's Beth Bakeman's."

Melissa, will you reread what I wrote?

Please notice that I wrote, "PUNDITS [my capitals] will use her support as evidence that the community supports mayoral control."

Thus, you can see that I did not say that you claim to be voice of the blog. PUNDITS are mistaken if they represent your opinion as the voice of the blog.

I totally agree that I was INTERPRETING you statement to mean that you support mayoral control. I wrote "how else are we to INTERPRET Melissa's statement?"

Will you please kindly tell me the correct interpretation of the statement to which I was referring:

""To that point of the Mayor and district control, all I can say is someone better take control pretty soon. Dr. G-J seems so myopically focused that she seems to miss parents AND the big picture. And the Board seems helpless/unwilling/unable to do anything."

Who would you have take control?

I ask others on this blog - is my interpretation so unreasonable?

Joan NE said...

I just read Keepin'On's comments. I just want you to know I do not deliberately misinterpret Melissa's comments.

Keepin' On, I sure hope you are right - that Mayor will find that there is no support - from the Times or from any quarter - for mayoral control.

I know one person so far thinks my interpretation of Melissa's comment is unreasonable. Anyone else?

Joan NE said...
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Chris said...

Well, you know, Melissa can bluff and Joan can speculate. I think Joan labeled her speculation better than Melissa labeled her bluff. But that would kind of blow the bluff, wouldn't it.

Even heated discussion is waaaay better than apathy, silence, and ignorance. You go, girls! Or, as they say these days, grrls. I didn't offend anybody there, did i?
Let's just hope it stays speculation and bluffing. Would be a sad reality indeed.

north seattle mom said...

I agree with Melissa, JoanNE, you are antagonistic and seem to take every opportunity to attack anyone that doesn't agree with you and then feign that you were misunderstood. You are misunderstood so often that at some point you should being to wonder about your understanding.

Joan NE said...

You know Melissa, that fact that I, and perhaps, others worry about how the press will interpret your comments could be seen as a compliment.

It's evidence that your words and your expressed opinions have a lot of impact.

Joan NE said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
seattle citizen said...

I'm not sure what Melissa has said regarding mayoral control. I'm not sure how "the media" will use (or not) her words.

Melissa is a member of coalition that aims to have input into educational policy. Many of us are involved with other people who have the same aim (to influence policy; maybe different goals therein)

I can see why Joan could make a statement that Melissa might be guiding opinion, or that others might use her opinion: it's become a relatively powerful voice, due to her diligence and activity.

I would caution all of us to avoid speaking for whatever "group" as we voice our opinions to whoever. The fact that you're in a group is great: more power in numbers, even if I, personally, disagree with someone's opinion (or the goals of the group) But we DO know how easy it is to use the voice of one, or the voice of a few, and make claims about something. The media (or even the district) COULD use Melissa's words in their own nefarious ways. I'm sure Melissa is cogent of this.

I think the "outline" of plausible action that Joan illustrates is not so far fetched. While I try to maintain some perspective and try to believe that there ISN'T some grand plan to just change everything, all the signs point in that direction. Just because The Times, that bastion of neutral reporting, might not agree with McGinn on all points, they've certainly got their own agenda that might find strength in advocating for the Mayor to "take over." The Times has certainly jumped on the "teacher quality" bandwagon: I don't see many articles about budget cuts and their effect in the classroom, or the "quality" of all the other participants in a child's education lately...They HAVE drunk the Koolaide on TQ, and it's their latest hit.

As an aside, I collect books and recently found the report in 1905 of the Iowa Supt., describing how they are consolidating rural schools into county districts, using science and efficiency models (down to the size of student desks), making the cert process uniform...and dang it, some of those teachers are just laggards!
This tells me that a) the process of turning education into an assembly line is ongoing; now it's just ramped up; and b) it's always the teachers, never the larger issues of race, class, and systemic problems.

Joan NE said...

Melissa - I was skimming through the entire thread starting from the very top, when I came across a comment I had made, and which must be the comment that angered you so -- the one that had "voice of the blog" phrase in it.

I somehow forgot about this specific comment, and didn't understand why you were so angry.

Having found this comment I do now understand.

I am quite sorry. I wish I had not made that offensive comment - I didn't realize at the time I wrote it how offensive it was.

wseadawg said...

A little toxic in here tonight. Take a breather folks.

That said, I wish folks would move away from the "Mayoral Control" as a goad or a club to make the Board to their jobs. I think plain old voting at the ballot box, for better candidates next time around, is a far better solution, considering what we'd lose under MC. That model has almost completely disenfranchised parents in Chicago, D.C. and New York, and the games they've been playing their make MGJ & the Board's antics here in Seattle look like Child's play.

I want this Board to get the message that they will work with parents, or not, to their peril, and at risk of being tossed out on their butts in the next election.

The Gang of Four has taken BIG $ from a select few LEV folks, and that's who's agenda they are pushing. If the press would cover that story, we'd be having a serious discussion about real accountability, but nobody in the press seems to be willing to take that on, so we get hard working speculators amongst district parents.

Try to keep it respectful, clean and fair folks. Don't let your hard work be in vain. The last thing we need is parents fighting with parents. Thanks.

wsnorth said...

Very interesting thread. However, does anyone else see the "muddle" here? Maybe the city should stick to it's "business" and schools to theirs. Smaller class sizes, early learning, Head Start, and higher education, F/R lunch are really not things the city should normally "meddle" in, are they? If they really want to help, why don't they start by letting Hale (?) keep their greenhouse and save the district $600k?

Sully said...
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Sully said...

Joan, you do a whole lot of misinterpreting, and then apologizing. You attack, and then claim you mis understood. It's getting old, and it's time to stop it now.

Don't assume everyone is out to sink the ship, especially Melissa who is one of the most informed parents in this district, and onr of our strongest advocates.

I hope we can all agree that anyone who takes time out of their hectic lives to read and contribute to this blog is passionate about education. So, though our opinions may differ from time to time we need to keep it respectful. You can state your opinion, without attacking the opinion of others.

Joan please edit yourself.

AFishbone said...

Hi Melissa, this is Aaron, the facilitator from your Youth&Families group on Monday night. Can I get your email please? Mine is aaron.fishbone@seattle.gov. Thanks!