Sunday, May 30, 2010

Ballard Teachers Vote No Confidence in Superintendent

I had heard about this happening but was waiting to post it.

On Wednesday, the Ballard High School SEA had a straw vote of no confidence in Dr. Goodloe-Johnson's leadership. The count went as follows:
  • 35 voted no confidence
  • 1 against the vote of no confidence
  • 2 abstained
I would think that once this gets out among the general membership of the SEA that more votes may take place at other schools.

I have to applaud the teachers of Ballard for their courage to even get together and discuss a vote, no less taking one.

But there comes a time when people have to stand up and be counted. We did this with the two community surveys on the Superintendent and now the teachers are chiming in. In some ways, it is more serious that teachers are unhappy as they work for the district and yet don't have faith in the direction/leadership of the district. You don't get the best out of people who are not inspired, feel unheard and not supported.

Question is, will the Board listen?

80 comments:

seattle citizen said...

Regarding the MAP/NWEA conflict of interest:
NWEA files as a non-profit. They create and sell testing programs (most of their millions come from the licences for this software, see below)

Can someone tell me how this is a non-profit?

from NWEA's 990 form:
http://www.guidestar.org/
FinDocuments/2009/930/686/
2009-930686108-0575f76f-9.pdf

2008 calendar year 990 form:
Gross receipts of $54,608,138.00
335 employees
7 volunteers [?!]
Salaries, other compensations, benefits:
$28,171,551.00
CEO receives almost $400,000 in total payment per year. About ten employees receive upwards of $150,000 total per year.
42 employees are listed as making more than $100,000

Part VIII, Revenue:
Licensing [of product, their software]:
$48,734,483.00
Workshops and Consulting:$4,149,925.00
Service Revenue[?]:
$1,169,462.00
Investment income:
$507,376.00

Grants and other assistance to governments and other organizations:$19,500

Gross receipts, 2004-2008: $199,439,029.00

Lobbying expenses: $503,254.00

seattle citizen said...

That's some business, the non-profit NWEA. I wonder how someone gets their foot in that door...

Dora Taylor said...

There's nothing "non-profit" about charging SPS $4.3M for rights to use the MAP test for the next six years.

Dora Taylor said...

To see the "No-confidence motion: Whereas Dr. Goodloe-Johnson, superintendent of Seattle Public Schools, is an ineffective leader" that was sent to SEA by the Ballard High School staff on May 26, 2010, go to:

http://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/2010/05/30/no-confidence-motion-whereas-dr-goodloe-johnson-superintendent-of-seattle-public-schools-is-an-ineffective-leader/

Sahila said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sahila said...

MARCH & RALLY - SCHOOL BOARD MEETING JUNE 2nd...


Seattle parents, teachers, students and community members call on the Seattle School Board:

* not to renew Superintendent Marie Goodloe Johnson's contract;
* not to award her a pay rise and bonus, and
* to consider firing her with cause for incompetence.


In our view, Marie Goodloe Johnson has not been acting in the interests of our children, but has been implementing the corporatist education reform agenda of the Broad Foundation, of whose Academy she is a graduate and on whose Board she sits.

All sectors of the Seattle Public School community - Spec Ed, native ed, APP, ESL, alternative ed, general ed, low income and minority groups, teachers - have a long list of complaints regarding the Superintendent, her tenure and her failings.

Those complaints have been expressed, to no apparent avail, at numerous Board meetings, via lawsuits, the media, public surveys and just recently through a no confidence vote by Ballard High School teachers. (see here for details: http://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/category/dr-goodloe-johnson/)

This march and rally on WEDNESDAY, JUNE 2, hopes to make an impression on the Seattle School Board members, as they complete their annual evaluation of the Superintendent...

Details are:

* At 4.15PM, an initial group will gather at the JSCEE front lawn

* At 4:25 PM driver leaves with Marcher(s) to point A on Map, 1st Ave S and Edgar Martinez Way.

* March begins at 1st Ave S & Edgar Martinez Drive

* Walk south along 1st Ave S to S Lander St,

* Then east to JSCEE.


http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=1st+ave+s+and+edgar+martinez&daddr=3rd+and+lander&hl=en&geocode=FZIr1gId4FO1-CkjiTp0n2qQVDEo4ioQgzH0yQ%3BFY0C1gIdcGS1-CmrR0BaKECQVDFRflTag8UfRQ&gl=us&mra=ls&sll=47.590608,-122.334244&sspn=0.008654,0.022638&g=1st+ave+s+and+edgar+martinez&ie=UTF8&z=15

Options are to park at the staging point, or at JSCEE and catch a ride to the start of the march (a shuttle will ferry marchers to join in at various points enroute).

If other folks wish to march from other locations - GREAT. If some high school students wish to walk a longer route from a downtown location - AWESOME. Having people converge on the JSCEE from various directions will be very powerful and will also ensure we get the message out to more members of the public.

Bring your own signs.

* At 5:30PM, rally at JSCEE begins - will be a "meet and greet" gathering

* At 5:40PM, four 3-minute presentations.

* At 5:55PM, marchers will enter the Board Room in a silent, respectful manner with signs visible.


We are choosing to be SILENT during the Board meeting because many of us feel we have been talking to/at the Board until we are blue in the face, and they have not taken any notice of us, their constituents. We are hoping our pointed silence will make a more successful impression.

EMAIL DAN DEMPSEY FOR MORE INFORMATION: dempsey_dan@yahoo.com

dan dempsey said...

How can anyone have confidence in a superintendent of Seattle Public Schools that finds the following to be a formative assessment.

MAP/NWEA testing at grade two.

There is way too much that the Superintendent puts on the table that will not pass the straight face test.

Consider the idea that the student assignment plan is being implemented to save $$$ and in so doing will make every school a quality school ...... but never defining quality school.

The appeal of the Spector Math Decision is being done because it violates separation of powers.... Straight Face Test = Hilarious...
A...Exclude evidence
B...Violate RCW 28A 645.020 continually
C...In refusing an order that asks a decision be remade using all the evidence ... claim the court is over stepping its bounds. Naturally the Corporate 4 school directors elected in 2007 that spent close to $500,000 to get elected support the Superintendent in this appeal. They support her in everything.

The question in this city should NOT be "Who has no confidence and why?"

But rather "Does anyone have any reason for confidence?"

I know Seattle Times editorial staff has confidence but they have yet to express a single reason for that confidence.

Valid reasons should count in a rational society.

To improve a system requires the intelligent application of relevant data. --- W. Edwards Deming (1900-1993)

hschinske said...

Lots of nonprofits make tons of money and have highly-paid executives. Look at Group Health.

Helen Schinske

Dora Taylor said...

For our supe it's all about the money.

Big salary, big car allowance, both gained by the assistance of negotiations through Broad mediators, sitting on the Broad Board and NWEA's board.

I get the sense that this is just a job, a highly paid job, for our supe and when she can, when the next big opportunity comes along, she'll be on the next plane out of here.

There is no sense of commitment or genuine concern for our students or our communities.

hschinske said...

Does she get paid for being on the board of NWEA, anyone know? I tried to find out whether their board members got stipends and couldn't locate anything.

Helen Schinske

ConcernedSPSParent said...

There are many ways the super could
be rewarded for acting on behalf
of the Broad and NWEA. Who knows
what favors she has banked for the
future. I'm sure she will be well
rewarded for ignoring her conflict
of interest. I guess the Broad interns were not effected by the
district layoffs....I wonder why!

John J said...

"For our supe it's all about the money. Big salary, big car allowance"

I agree that MGJ's salary is very very high, but she is earning the going rate for large urban district Superintendents. As unreasonable as the salary is MGJ can't be blamed for it - she certainly didn't set the salary range of Sup's.

SPS paid a competitive salary and if it didn't go to MGJ it would have been offered to the next candidate.

MGJ has many faults, but this is not something that can be laid upon her shoulders.

Dora Taylor said...

If we pay our supe more than we pay our governor, then something's not right.

If you compare the salaries of other professionals in Seattle to those of, let's say, folks in Los Angeles, you'll find that professionals in LA get paid more.

I know this because I made the comparison before moving to Seattle from LA. I moved anyway only because I loved it here. Still do.

Her yearly bonus rates, car allowance, compensatory benefits and salary were negotiated.

Seattle-Ed2010 said...

Whether or not Supt. Goodloe-Johnson is paid by NWEA is potentially irrelevant.

The simple fact is, how is it possible for her, as a member of the board of directors of a private vendor (NWEA) that does multi-million-dollar business with her employer, the school district -- whose best interests she is supposed to be representing and managing -- to objectively and honestly assess the fiscal and academic value of that vendor's product (the MAP test) to the school district?

How likely is it that she will ever consider the possibility or admit that the MAP test is too costly, uses up too much precious resources (teacher and library time), does not align with what's actually being taught in the schools, produced useless data in the winter round of testing, is being administered too frequently (three times a year) and inappropriately to children who are too young, etc etc, when she is directly affiliated with the test vendor?

If the board had any sense of decency and good judgment, they would demand that Supt. Goodloe-Johnson step down from the board of NWEA immediately.

(And the Broad Foundation.)

This does not pass any kind of smell test.

--sp.

seattle citizen said...

Helen,
She does not get paid for working on NWEA Board, at least the 990 form does not show payment.

It's true that lots of non-profits have highly paid executives (tho' $400,000 seems a bit much...) NWEA is njot providing health care: They're selling their product, a testing system. I suppose they (or anyone) could make the argument that they're "doing good" by "helping out," but look it sure smells to me like any ol' company with a product to sell.
I mean, what good work do they do? All their income is from selling licenses, and they only made $19,000 in grants to government and other entities. Meanwhile, they took in almost 50 million selling licenses. How is this "non-profit"? I don't get it.

Regardless, it's still a conflict of interest for the Supe: She brought them 4.3 million dollars, she's on their board, who knows what sort of payback might occur in the future.

Seattle-Ed2010 said...

As for Goodloe-Johnson's salary, there is such a thing as conscientiously refusing a grossly over-generous salary, especially in times of fiscal crisis, and when you are demanding that others do without, and that is certainly what she has demanded of our children since she has been here.

Mayor Nickels, I believe it was, refused a pay raise because of the economic recession.

You can bet her salary was negotiated by the Broad Foundation for her and it may well be the "going rate." Is SPS getting their money's worth with her? Perhaps that's another question.

But who forced her to accept an additional 10 percent pay raise after only one year and when she knew she was going to cut so much from our kids later that year by RIFing their teachers, closing their schools, weakening their programs, and so much more because, she claimed, the district didn't have the money to pay for what our kids need?

And then there was that $5,280 "merit pay" bonus that she accepted the following year for meeting only 4 out of 20 goals.

Yes, I know, she claims she gave it to charity -- but only after public outrage made this an issue.

Which "charity," by the way -- Teach for America?

--sp.

seattle citizen said...

I hate to be all conspiracy0minded on all of this, but it just stinks: NWEA is growing at a massive rate, selling the standardized tests that the "reform" movement relies on. NWEA claims to be a non-profit; well, I'm sure the Broad Foundation makes the same claim and the Supe sits on THEIR board, too. It's all just too cozy: To privatize schools you need to have standardized tests; NWEA provides the tests, Broad seeds the districts and manipulates the populace through astro-turf organizations....
Way, way too cozy.
The Supe claimed to be a life-long educator back in '08: She taught two years, and has been climbing the corporate ladder of the edu-biz ever since. These cozy deals, which certainly come with quid-pro-quos, will help her climb higher, maybe into Dept of Ed with Arne, their to retire into a life of luxury most of us only dream of: Revolving door from their to Broad to Gates to Dept of Ed....heck, she'll be clearing a half-million yearly in five years.
Nice work if you can get it. Educators can't.

Bruce Taylor said...

Only two comments in this thread pertain to the Ballard teachers' vote of no confidence. I find that odd.

There are plenty of reasons for expressing no confidence in MGJ. Her acolytes and enablers will no doubt spin it as SEA posturing before the contract negotiation.

What's the answer to that? Please tell me. I need talking points.

Dora Taylor said...

Bruce Taylor (and no, we are not related)

I'm not sure what talking points you need, but we have several posts at:

http://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/category/dr-goodloe-johnson/

regarding our supe and the havoc that she has wreaked across our fair city.

Sahila said...

Bruce - easy answer...

Every single community within SPS has a long list of complaints about MGJ... teachers are not lone voices crying in the wilderness...

The group putting together the rally on June 2nd, (and perhaps another event on June 16th) is a loose coalition representing all of those interest groups... we run under the banners of Seattle Ed 2010 and the Seattle Shadow School Board...

Will you be joining us on June 2nd??? Who else can you bring along?

Meg said...

The district could - and probably will - try to dismiss the vote as posturing by the SEA. The last time a no confidence vote in a Superintendent went through appears (and I learned this through pretty quick google search, so don't take it as gospel) to have been Olchefske in 2003. The no confidence vote over Olchefske looks to have been by the entire SEA, but even so... it's not as if this is posturing that happens every time contract negotiations come up.

And from everything I've heard, Olchefske is not last the guy any SPS Supe want to be directly compared to.

Ballard is a highly performing school that has been less affected (less is different than not at all) by the churn the current Superintendent has created in the district. Board members shouldn't necessarily assume that Ballard's vote represents every school in the district, but a vote like this should cause each board member should start asking around their districts very, very seriously.

Whether it will? We'll see.

dan dempsey said...

Helen,

You can add KnowledgeWorks Foundation the Parent of the New Technology Network to the list of hyper-well-paid non-profits... especially for the directors.

John J said...

"If we pay our supe more than we pay our governor, then something's not right."

You are absolutely right. But it is not MGJ's fault. Don't blame her.

dan dempsey said...

Meg,

Come to the show HERE.

Give one of your great testimonies on 6-2-2010...... Then see if the Board gets it yet.

Bigger rallies may improve their comprehension.

Dan

gavroche said...

Blogger John J said...

"If we pay our supe more than we pay our governor, then something's not right."

You are absolutely right. But it is not MGJ's fault. Don't blame her.


Actually, I would argue that it's the so-called "Superintendent Academies" like the one the Broad Foundation created that demand and drive up supe salaries for these guns-for-hire supes they train, place, and shuffle around the country.

As a member of Broad's Board of Directors, that does implicate Goodloe-Johnson in this practice.

Honestly, to say the $264,000/year salary, the $20,000 annual retirement fund contribution, the $700/month car allowance, and the $5,280 bonus she gets are all "not her fault" is kind of ridiculous.

She and her people actively negotiated these deals, it's probably a point of pride for her to be paid so much, and she appears to have no compunction about being rewarded so handsomely while demanding austerity from the rest of us in the School District.

Nearly every single change/cutback she has imposed on our District in her three-year reign was done, she claimed, because of lack of funds -- she closed, merged, split in half schools, laid off teachers, made classes more crowded, stuffed kids into portables, canceled fresh lunches, eliminated counselors, cut back or eliminated transportation, cut librarians to half time, and so on and so on.

Meanwhile, there she is, accepting pay raises and bonuses from our cash-strapped District (and perks like invitations to sit on boards like NWEA's).

It reeks of hypocrisy, feels like insensitivity, and indicates again that she is out of touch with the rest of us.

If she were doing a terrific job as SPS Supe maybe we might all begrudge her this nest-feathering less (maybe), but to get such a mediocre and arrogant performance for our money -- and it is our district/taxpayer money -- is appalling.

I bet we could get someone local to do the job for half the price and do it better.

John J said...
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John J said...
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John J said...
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John J said...
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John J said...
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John J said...

MGJ could go to any other large urban district and draw a salary competitive to what she is earning here at SPS.

Further, if she did leave SPS the district would have to offer a salary in the same range to recruit a new super.

That's the going rate.

Argue as you will, it's a fact, and though there are many things you can blame MGJ for this is not one of them.

gavroch what do you suppose MGJ should do with her contracted salary that our board legally obligated themselves to pay her? Should she voluntarily give half of her salary back to SPS? Three quarters of it? Give up her car? And if so, then why don't we all have to do that? Aren't all of our employers struggling in this economy? Aren't they all making cuts and having lay offs? The small non profit company that I work for has had to cut way back on the amount of scholarships they offer (they used to be unlimited). We're using old old computers, empty our trash, and clean our offices ourselves. No Christmas parties either (unless they are at one of our houses and potluck). Should I give up 50% of my salary to help them out?

The issue is with the grossly over inflated salaries of superintendents in general, not with MGJ's salary. Supply and demand drive the market, that's business 101. Are sups in high demand? Are they few and far between? I'd look at those factors instead of looking at the end of the food chain - the sup who accepted the salary offered to her.

And lets not forget that Raj Manhas and Joseph Olschefske drew close to the same salaries as MGJ. Olschefski started the process of dismantling our alt schools, and it was under his watch that a multi million dollar budget "mistake" resulted in a huge deficit, riff's, and the sale of precious district property. And as for Manhas..... it was under his watch that the school closure process began. It was he who made the first and second round of school closure proposals. He, with his equally large salary, dropped the closure ball in MGJ's lap, along with a huge budget deficit. And, it was during the time of that very budget deficit that our school board recruited MGJ, and OFFERED her the salary that she accepted.

Sahila said...

I want to know if other teachers at other schools will follow Ballard's lead.... I hope so...

I personally would like to see parents and teachers have rolling boycotts of all the schools early next year, until we get rid of MGJ... pity there's not much point in doing it this late in the year... ought to have got organising on that several months ago, for this time when the Supe's evaluation is due...

gavroche said...

John J -- I agree that the national trend of highly paid guns-for-hire Superintendents is out of whack.

Are they that rare a breed? I'm not so sure. But if they are, that shouldn't mean that School Districts should be extorted to overpay for under-accomplishment.

I also agree that the School Board is complicit. Shame on them.

But I do not agree that Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson passively accepted whatever the District offered her and had no say and no one negotiating on her behalf.

She is making a fair bit more than Manhas or Olschefske, by the way, and I don't know that they got the same add-ons she's getting.

I also stand by my statement that her bonuses and raises are tone-deaf and inappropriate during a severe fiscal crisis and when she is cutting so much from our kids because she claims our District has no funds.

She certainly could refuse bonuses, raises and yes, even have accepted a lower salary. Not that common, but not unheard of either. In fact, any kind of genuine "I feel your pain" type of gesture from Supt G-J to the SPS community might have gone a long way toward establishing some kind of connection between her and us.

Instead we got that "performance/merit pay" dog and pony show from her and the Board last year, which was a joke. In any other field she would have been penalized for MISSING 16 out of 20 "performance goals" -- not rewarded for only reaching 4.

Where is the accountability here (to use one of her and the District's favorite words)?

It is possible for even a corporate leader to make choices and sacrifices that demonstrate a connection to the community s/he is supposed to serve. Especially if s/he is asking sacrifice from everyone else.

But all of this would require a certain ethical inclination or empathy. It's not clear that our Superintendent possesses these qualities.

But perhaps this is all beside the point of this thread: Is the Superintendent doing a good job? Is she delivering "excellence"? Is she demonstrating accountability?

The fact that so many of us believe the answer is NO to all of the above, only makes her large salary and bonuses that much more egregious.

John J said...

"I also stand by my statement that her bonuses and raises are tone-deaf and inappropriate during a severe fiscal crisis"

And who exactly approved the inappropriate salary, bonuses, raises, and bene's?

The board, the board, the board and the board.

John J said...

"In any other field she would have been penalized for MISSING 16 out of 20 "performance goals" -- not rewarded for only reaching 4."

And who rewarded her instead of penalizing her?

The board again. All 7 of them.

I think your anger and irritation is somewhat misdirected.

gavroche said...

Speaking of past Superintendents and SPS history, this article from the Seattle Times archives (Oct. 15 2007, shortly after MGJ was hired), is quite interesting:

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2003950433_centralization15m.html
Seattle schools changing course

According to this, Goodloe-Johnson is effectively undoing what John Stanford did. What's more, it sounds like Stanford's decentralized model worked well for most schools, and also allowed for more options and autonomy.

Even Olchefske comes off sounding enlightened in this article, especially compared to MGJ. He acknowledged that the District has an array of kids with different needs and learning styles.

Seattle schools changing course

In the late 1990s, former Seattle schools Superintendent John Stanford envisioned a stripped-down central office that put schools in control...

By Emily Heffter

Seattle Times education reporter

In the late 1990s, former Seattle schools Superintendent John Stanford envisioned a stripped-down central office that put schools in control of their own destinies.Put in place over time, the plan allowed principals and teachers to make many decisions about personnel, budgets and curriculum. Stanford's model was aimed at providing a variety of program options for families, and it energized the community for a diverse selection of schools managed from the bottom up. But Stanford's decentralization bandwagon has been making a slow turnaround over the past couple of years. Under new Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson and the possibility of a new majority on the School Board, the district is heading in the other direction: toward a centralized, more uniform way of managing public schools in Seattle.

Among the changes under way:

Seattle schools Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson says that with a decentralized style of operations, "you have no quality control."

Seattle schools Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson says that with a decentralized style of operations, "you have no quality control."

• Starting with math this year, Seattle Public Schools is aligning its curriculum so that students are learning the same things in the same way across the district.

• The district is changing the way it doles out money to schools. Under the previous model, principals handled their own budgets, hiring teachers and support staff with the dollars they had.

Today, schools receive funding on a per-student basis; they get extra money for students who are in poverty or need bilingual or special-education services.

The new system will assign a certain number of staff members to each school depending on its size.


(continued)

gavroche said...

(continued from previous post)

• Families still will have their choice of a school, but a plan expected to be approved by the board next year will assign students to a school in their neighborhood unless they choose not to go there. That means every student in Seattle will be guaranteed a spot at a school near his or her home.

• Goodloe-Johnson and the district's academic staff have promised more accountability. That's already being felt in Southeast Seattle, where the district gave extra money to three struggling schools — and also stepped in to take a bigger role in choosing school principals and other staff, like academic coaches.

District leaders say the new model will help especially schools that face a lot of challenges: students in poverty and kids of color, who often lag academically behind other children; and students at schools where shrinking enrollment has made it hard to attract good teachers and programs. Many of those schools are in Seattle's South End.

"This is a public education system, not a business system, if you will, so there's advantages of schools that already have built-in support, community support," said School Board President Cheryl Chow. "So the schools that have a high-poverty enrollment, they're not going to have access to as many resources."

Learning left "to chance"


Whether school districts should unify curriculum and coordinate operations is subject to debate in education circles.
Goodloe-Johnson, who took over the Seattle district in July, pointed to research by the Council of Great City Schools that indicates urban districts that face issues similar to Seattle's (including Houston, Boston and Miami-Dade County) do better with aligned curriculum. That's one of her first priorities — something Chief Academic Officer Carla Santorno was working on before Goodloe-Johnson started.

"We've been all over the board, and everybody's been doing a lot of different things," Goodloe-Johnson said. "Well, that leaves student learning to chance."

The way the district is set up now, she added, "you have no quality control."

It's important for teachers to get the same training, students to work at approximately the same pace, and for the district to know what's going on in classrooms, she said.

But many educational experts argue the opposite, said Joseph Olchefske, who succeeded Stanford as superintendent and now works for a Washington, D.C., educational think tank. Since kids learn differently, it's impossible to prepare them for the same test unless you have a diverse group of schools to teach all of them, he said.

"Given the diversity of the student body around Seattle, given the Seattle tradition of local control and diverse options, this sort of goes against that," he said. "A set of diverse options was a good fit with both what I believe in education and also fitting with the tradition and culture [in Seattle]."


(continued)

gavroche said...

(final part of article)

But he said allowing schools to be diverse and do what they want has to pair with the district's willingness to step in and help underperforming schools.

To be sure, some Seattle schools thrived under a site-based system. Strong principals hired talented, experienced teachers, and involved parents helped build unique programs. School choice prompted schools to market themselves with videos and tours for kindergarten parents. As wait lists grew, parent groups at packed schools could raise money to hire more teachers, allowing schools to cap enrollment and lower class sizes.

Aiding struggling schools

Meanwhile, other schools struggled just to make ends meet, let alone offer special perks. Enrollment slumped, and with it, funding. More experienced teachers and principals often moved to other schools.

Roxhill Elementary principal Cathy Thompson said she felt the site-based system put the onus for success largely on principals. As former principal at Rainier View Elementary, which merged with Emerson Elementary this year and, like Roxhill, had a high percentage of students in poverty, Thompson had to seek grants to ensure she could afford special programs for her students.

Seattle should have stepped in sooner to help struggling schools, said Marguerite Roza, a research assistant professor in the University of Washington's Center on Reinventing Public Education at the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs.

"There are cases of schools that thrive with needier student populations all over the country," she said. "If decentralization were done really well here, then the district would help the schools on the South End compete."

The district is taking the first step this year with its Southeast Initiative, in which it's investing money in Aki Kurose Middle School and Cleveland and Rainier Beach high schools. District leaders count that as part of an effort to centralize control, but Roza said it could have happened in a decentralized system, too.

"I think that centralized leadership can be done really well, and you know what you get and what you don't get with it," she said. "I actually have some faith that this superintendent might do a really good job with that, but it's a definite change in direction."

Goodloe-Johnson said her plan for a more centralized system isn't absolute. Schools will get to earn the right to do what they want. If students are doing well with a particular curriculum, she said, there's no reason to change.

"If you're not broken, if you're doing well, if you're meeting the targets, you don't have to change," she said. "I don't want it to sound like a takeover, because it's not a takeover. It's about accountability and results."

Emily Heffter: 206-464-8246 or eheffter@seattletimes.com

gavroche said...

Blogger John J said...

"In any other field she would have been penalized for MISSING 16 out of 20 "performance goals" -- not rewarded for only reaching 4."

And who rewarded her instead of penalizing her?

The board again. All 7 of them.

I think your anger and irritation is somewhat misdirected.


Oh don't worry, I have plenty of grievances with the Board as well. You and I agree on that point.

However, this I find amusing:
I think your anger and irritation is somewhat misdirected.

It would appear the same could be said of you!

Why are you defending Goodloe-Johnson so much, by the way? Do you think she has done a good job? If so, this would be a good place to make that case, because her annual evaluation is the ostensible topic here.

Dora Taylor said...

I agree John J, why ARE you so focused on that one aspect of MGJ?

Her performance, like so many other CEO's these days, does not equal the amount of money that she is paid.

It's that simple.

Sahila said...

I'm hearing the same PR spin coming from John that I hear from the Super all the time, when she's done something that isn't working out too well, or finding favour with us mere plebs...

All of the material out of her office claims that the Board decided this and the Board decided that and she's merely enacting their wishes...

when we all know the Board is working with info coming from her staff, info that's cherry-picked to get the results she wants... when we all know her staff don't give the Board the information they asked for - "we'll get back to you on that" - and they never do produce it... and the Board is pushed into voting for stuff they have no real idea about...

SHAME ON THE BOARD for not standing up to her and for not insisting on hard, neutral data before voting on anything... but they've also all been manipulated by Broad... Broad on its own website says it helps its superintendents negotiate their salary and perk packages...

Dora Taylor said...

Meg, I don't think that the "no confidence" vote was an aberration.

From what I have been hearing, there is a lot of doubt, confusion and anger about what is going on in terms of the supe's actions.

One thing that is different from before is that there has been a well-orchestrated campaign by the Alliance and others to make the teachers feel that they would not be seen as team players if they didn't go along with the supe's and the RTTT agenda which is one in the same.

The Community Values' Statement, which was generated faux consensus, was waved in front of the noses of the teachers by the Alliance and the PTA shamelessly. That was never done during any other supe's time.

We used to treat teachers with respect and as professionals.

I see what the teachers at Ballard did as downright courageous when considering our supe and how spiteful she can be and I wouldn't be surprised if other teachers began to follow suit.

Dora Taylor said...

Sahila,

I think that GJ and the Broad know exactly how overworked the board is. This is the board member's second, part time, job and they have no staff to provide them with information that they need to make informed decisions. Instead what happens is that the supe, along with the Broad trained staff, is there to provide all of the "information" that the board directors need. We have Payzant who leads their retreats and even the supe's last evaluation, our Broad trained Brad who provides the board with all of the stats that they need, the CFO who is at the supe's beckon call and who she brought with her from Charleston and other assorted Broad trainees who are there to give our board members information to base their decisions on.

The Broad knows exactly how to manipulate and control. They did it in LA and New York and now they are doing it here.

For anyone who is not aware of what's gong on elsewhere, check out:

http://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com

and scroll down the right hand column. We have listed there states, the ones that I have been able to show so far, that have been affected, infected, by this type of strategy.

dan dempsey said...

Here is my major beef ....
incredible lack of performance and attempting to execute plans that will never work because they are not based on how children learn.


At a teacher's salary MGJ would be overpaid... there is NOT a reasonable plan in place. We waited about a year for her Strategic Plan and it is a hodge podge of non-sense.

Goodloe-Johnson said her plan for a more centralized system isn't absolute. Schools will get to earn the right to do what they want. If students are doing well with a particular curriculum, she said, there's no reason to change.

OK to lock schools into crap curriculum that is clearly the math plan .... if something works then you can toss it out.

This is utter crap when it comes to math and lots more. This district has incredibly lousy results in math for Black students regardless of what school they attend. Yet she selects a vertically aligned plan for high school math materials ... yes aligned with pathetic k-8 materials.

Anyone who thinks that $300,000/year is needed to get results this bad is very mistaken ... MGJ makes lots more than Manhas and when Santorno (who had as pathetic a grasp of learning) departed she was making around Manhas's salary.

The going rate is ....... what a poor approach to thought. I have no idea what the going rate for failing autocratic ill-informed puppet dictators is ... but I would not buy one.

Look at what MGJ has for a track record..... from Charleston and what MGJ has proposed here.

The Board is entirely complicit by at least a 4-3 vote in all this mismanagement.

If you set the Superintendent salary to $150,000 / year and advertised for someone who wanted the job..... I believe you would get superior results.

I am all for decentralization and much greater accountability for principals and for giving principals much greater control over resources.

Right now we have
ZERO accountability .... poor results.. financial mismanagement ... a school board that rubber-stamps and makes decisions outside the law. A big number of appealed decisions are sitting in court waiting for judgment.

I would begin with firing the Superintendent with cause. Of course the current board would not approve such an effective and efficient plan thus 4 school directors need to be recalled first. November of 2011 is too far away, these folks need to be removed sooner than that.

Note: I would like a Board composed of DeBell, KSB, and Patu, I believe only 1 voted for the $5280 bonus. (I could be wrong on that). Anyway that board would be a vast improvement for 2011 over what we have now. Note a lot of 4-3 votes could have been 0-3 votes.

Yes you guess it
I have NO Confidence in the Superintendent and NO Confidence in 4 school directors.
If you vote for a contract that is not there, and appeal a Superior Court decision because you like excluding evidence.... time to go. 5 need to go.... Maria + 4.

It is most apparent that Sundquist and Maier are incapable of using evidence in decision-making. They either ignore evidence or fabricate stories when explaining why they vote the way they do. The NTN contract vote and the High School Math instructional materials were both real masterpieces from those two.

Previous performance means nothing to 4 board members when it comes to selection of anything .... as they buy fairy-tales.

dan dempsey said...

The Southeast Education Initiative ends August 2010...... so why did it not work?

Were there any metrics in place that the Superintendent used in evaluating its impact? {NO}

Did SEI have an annual evaluation? {NO}

Cleveland HS under UW guidance and NSF funding produced horrible results during its 3 year unmonitored experimental whole school project.
(Where was Art Mabbott in regard to a constructive analysis of this ongoing disaster? Most likely Cheer-leading as that is the requirement for employment in the MGJ administration and NSF/EHR project leadership.)

Now Cleveland is a failing school, one of 47 in the state (largely because of the 3 years of extremely poor math results (thanks UW) and an unfavorable demographic population mix) . The idea that increased funding makes southeast schools better and that professional development of teachers with "Supposed Best Practices" from UW is what is needed === monumental farce.

Yet the New Student Assignment Plan is founded on this flawed belief.

The New Performance Management Policy recently approved by the board is equally irrational.

Where is the evidence that the NSAP is anything but a different pipeline for Black Males to Prison?
==================
From Peyton Wolcott:

Dropouts: Texas audit, Father Greg

You name it in public ed, and somebody will figure out a way to game it; one scam here. Because one of my long-term goals is to derail the school-to-prison pipelines that our major urbans have become, here’s some welcome news from Texas Home School Coalition: TEA is going to audit Texas public school withdrawal records. On another front in another state Father Greg Boyle offers jobs and training at Homeboy Industries in LA; he's the only executive director I know with the moral courage to ride a bicycle through a hail of gunfire in a gang fight in the projects as a means of stopping it. Compare and contrast his $52K salary with Houston's Children at Risk‘s CEO, Bob Sanborn, who pays himself $142K annually.
================

The point I am making is that there are sound educational practices that have been shown to work (worldwide).... but they are not in use in Seattle;
nor will they be with MGJ's authoritarian direction ==> note Cleveland Option STEM using Project Based Learning from New Technology Network {another mindless ill researched slam dunk from the Superintendent and her {4-3} Board == Big Buck Boosters for the consumption of overpriced under valued Corporate Oligarchy products}

We are spending lots of dollars in ill advised ways largely because the Superintendent and her Board are so often devoid of common sense. {But great at cherry-picking from a large number of audits and reports they buy from consultants.}

The NSF division of Education and Human Resources has been an agency specializing in incredible wasting of funds in a variety of areas.

Cleveland was part of a $1 million grant to UW that covered 5 years.... with absolutely NO RETURN on INVESTMENT if improved academic achievement of students is among the criteria. (that is OK the UW/SPS PD3 collaboration continues on with more grant funding now that the initial 5 years has ended as RESULTS are NOT IMPORTANT). {Really what's 200k a year to the Feds anyway}

Look at what Seattle as a district has to show for Seattle's taxpayer INVESTMENT IN MGJ's leadership .... ==> Chaos

Unmonitored, Zero Accountability, Unchecked Chaos.....

dan dempsey said...


Watch MGJ's Board extend the chaos for an additional year by a vote of 4-3 on 6-16-2010 with the approval of an extension of MGJ's contract for additional year (through spring 2014) ....

This happens unless each of YOU start showing up to protest.


As for me I want MGJ fired with cause before the end of 2011.

dan dempsey said...

Given the courage of Ballard's Staff consider the following from Peyton Wolcott....

Where does change start?

Wily Florentine patriot Niccolo Machiavelli tells to look no farther than our own bathroom mirror: “A return to first principles in a republic is sometimes caused by the simple virtues of one man. His good example has such an influence that the good men strive to imitate him, and the wicked are ashamed to lead a life so contrary to his example.

Here is a thought on organizing for change....

Ever wonder how Martin Luther King kept his civil rights marchers in line during his lifetime, almost impossible to achieve with so many people? Here’s how.

again courtesy of the sage of Horseshoe Bay, TX
Peyton Wolcott

The Peyton is the lady who started the movement to put school district check registers on line for all to see........ Now there is a move for accountability.

Charlie Mas said...

I have read it a number of times, and several times among the comments of this post, but I have yet to have it demonstrated that Dr. Goodloe-Johnson's salary is commensurate with her peers - superintendents of like-sized urban districts. Why do we accept that statement as true?

What are the salaries of the superintendents of the Portland, Tacoma, and Anchorage school districts?

If $240,000 was the going rate in 2007, then why was Raj Manhas getting paid $175,000 that year?

According to this report on superintendent salary from the Council of Great City Schools,

"Average CGCS superintendent salaries appear to vary substantially according to the size of the district. The average salary for a CGCS superintendent with fewer than 50,000 students is $197,000. In a district with between 50,000 and 100,000 students the average salary is $226,000. In a district with between 100,000 and 200,000 students the average salary is $271,000. And in a district with 200,000 or more students the average salary is $286,000"

Our District has fewer than 50,000 students and our superintendent is paid $264,000. Her salary is NOT in line with what is being paid around the country. Her pay is very high relative to her peer group.

That's simply false.

Charlie Mas said...

The Anchorage superintendent is paid $165,000 per year. That district is comparable to ours.

See this story from the Anchorage Daily News.

dan dempsey said...

Charlie,

Thanks for the Anchorage paper link.
HERE is the School Board member Recall vote in Nome.

In Washington at least one incidence of misfeasance is required to get a recall petition via the elections office and a judge. Then 32,000 valid signatures are needed in Seattle for any of those elected in 2007.

Dan

John J said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John J said...

"Why are you defending Goodloe-Johnson so much, by the way? Do you think she has done a good job? "

Not at all. I think she had done a terrible job in SPS, and done some irreparable damage to our schools. I'm not defending her performance at all.

However I don't believe that MGJ's salary, her raises, her bonuses, and her car, are her fault. It is the board who offered the salary, and it is the board who entered into a legal contract with MGJ. If she had professionals negotiating on her behalf then the board should have sought a professional to represent them as well. Instead they did a poor job of negotiating on their own and are wasting precious dollars that should be going into the classroom.

Sahila said "when we all know her staff don't give the Board the information they asked for - "we'll get back to you on that" - and they never do produce it... and the Board is pushed into voting for stuff they have no real idea about..."

Sorry Sahila. That is absolutely no excuse. The board is not "pushed" into voting. If they were an effective board they would tell staff that they don't have enough information to vote. They would request more research and data and they wouldn't move on until they got it. But to say they are pushed into voting with no real data, is giving the board a free pass. They don't deserve that. They are our representatives and should be held accountable for their actions.

Charlie. Anchorage is an extremely isolated city. The laws of supply and demand would rear their head in this situation too. My guess is the recruiting area and resulting pool of candidates in Anchorage is probably small in relation to other cities of the same size. This would give the employer a bit more negotiating power. But that is just my guess.

And lastly, if Charlie is right and we are paying MGJ 1/5 higher salary than other sups of the same size districts nationwide then one would have to find out why? Why would we pay her more than we should? The board used a high powered recruiting firm for the superintendent search, and still due to SPS's bad reputation only 3 candidates were identified. One of them, after being googled, withdrew. The second was offered a position in his home town (I believe) and withdrew also. In the end, and in the lone hour, the only candidate available was MGJ. Nobody else wanted the job. And the board couldn't start the expensive search all over again even if they wanted to due to the hiring cycle of superintendents. My guess is that the board felt desperate and felt that they had to make an offer that she would accept or we'd have no sup and a PR nightmare. Now whose fault is that?

Sahila said...

Ray & Associates - the firm that found us our beloved Superintendent:

from its website:http://rayassoc.com/profile.php

"We have enduring relationships with major organizations to include Urban Superintendents of America, the Council of Great City Schools, Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents, the Broad Urban Superintendents Academy and other women and minority organizations."

from its page on hiring 'non traditional candidates' - which completely links in with Broad's training of business and military personnel as superintendents at its Broad Academy -

"...in recent years, our firm has been asked to recruit non-traditional candidates for some of our client districts.

Reasons often stated for this are as follows:
* Accountability is a serious issue that calls for someone who can think as a chief executive with experience in identifying clear objectives and produce satisfactory results within budgetary parameters.
* Non-traditional leaders are less likely to hire underachievers and more likely to excise personnel who do not produce satisfactory results.
* Non-traditional leaders have a better working grasp of the application of resources.
* Non-traditional leaders are more data-driven. Traditional educators are often steeped in pedagogy and fail to embrace change until mandated.

We will recruit non-traditional candidates, if desired, and ensure their viability for the position they are seeking."

John J said...

And who chose to hire Ray and Associates?

The board, again.

charlestontoseattle said...

John, if we are diving back in history to the hiring of Maria Goodloe-Johnson, it is worth remembering that, at the time, she was considered a superstar superintendent, mostly because she was known nationally for remarkable improvements in test scores in her district of Charleston in South Carolina.

Of course, after she was hired and a few months after she moved to Seattle, it was discovered that these test score improvements never happened. As reported by the New York Times and Post and Courier, the test scores in Charleston were falsified:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/31/education/31charleston.html

http://www.postandcourier.com/news/2008/sep/10/school_under_scrutiny53611/

http://www.postandcourier.com/news/2008/jun/12/accomplished_principal_leave_charleston_44279/

http://www.postandcourier.com/news/2009/jul/15/test_score_investigation_ended89264/

Meg said...

I don't mean that Ballard is an aberration. When I pointed out that they are strongly performing, I meant that in many respects, the risks - to each faculty member and the school as a whole - of a vote like that may be higher than the benefits. That they took such a vote anyway speaks volumes. I strongly suspect that many other schools have faculties that feel the same. However, I still think that the feelings at other schools should be verified by board members, not assumed.

If the Superintendent was doing the job she's doing for free, would you be happy with her? I wouldn't. I think that her compensation, while worth discussing, is a secondary issue when compared to her performance. Does her cushy compensation package rub salt in the wound? Absolutely. But I think that the crux of the problem is not what she is paid, but the damage she is doing within the district.

Sahila said...

I request that this message to the Board be included in the record relating to any decisions the Board makes on the tenure of the Superintendent, school and programme changes, curriculum alignment, standardised testing, choice of text books and other teaching materials, and RIFing of teachers, AS PER RCW 28A 645.020


DIRECTORS -

Why do Finnish school children consistently score at the top of international tables for achievement in math and science, yet they don't start school until the age of seven and spend less hours in the classroom each week than their American counterparts?

The answers are quite simple and quite inexpensive and easy to implement...

I would ask you to watch these short videos as you ponder the current and future direction of public education in Seattle...

And I would ask that you have the courage, conviction, integrity and vision to begin doing what is best for our children, rather than what is deemed best for (and dictated by) the various corporatist education reform groups (Broad, Gates, Walton, Milken, Friedman Foundations et al) currently influencing the shape and direction of public education in this country.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/world_news_america/8601207.stm

http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html

http://www.ted.com/talks/sir_ken_robinson_bring_on_the_revolution.html

If I can be of any assistance as you begin working to do what is best for our children, please feel free to call on me. I have extensive experience in research, training, change management, project management and communications.

The Seattle School District also has within its broader community a large number of well qualified, highly invested people to assist you in the process of creating a better educational experience for our children. I am speaking of the parents who are your constituents. I would urge the Board to draw on and use that expertise and that goodwill.

Sahila ChangeBringer
member, Seattle Shadow School Board

John J said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John J said...

Here is an interesting and telling article with opinions and observations of the school board, activists, and community organisations at the time of MGJ's recruitment.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.
com/html/localnews/2003664904_
supe13m0.html

Of note:

"DeBell acknowledged the board hadd concerns that Goodloe-Johnson was stiff and chilly during a closed-door community meeting at district headquarters"

"In Seattle, our process sometimes gets in the way. I think we have someone who is going to make real change in Seattle. She gets things done," Irene Stewart said."

"Goodloe-Johnson has run the 43,000-student Charleston district since 2003 and is known for her sometimes controversial efforts to turn around failing schools. She is installing a districtwide curriculum and has implemented thrice-yearly student testing to gauge principals' progress."

"Although Goodloe-Johnson replaced about 40 percent of the principals in four years as the head of the Charleston district, the head of Seattle's principals union was not concerned."

"Wendy Kimball, president of the Seattle Education Association, praised Goodloe-Johnson's energy, focus and her honesty about the fact that working with strong unions will be new to her."

"James Kelly, president of the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle, agreed the superintendent search seemed rushed"

"When Thornton dropped out, Melissa Westbrook, a member of the school-closure advisory committee and parent of a Roosevelt High School student, believed the board should have put the search on hold." and "Westbrook said she didn't know enough about Goodloe-Johnson. "I feel uneasy," she said, "because I don't understand what she's going to do."

All of the red flags were there. The process was rushed. And yet, the school board offered MGJ the job and the salary she asked for anyway.

Sahila said...

The Superintendent's exit interview with the Post & Courier in Charleston, 2007

http://www.postandcourier.com/news/2007/jun/14/pointed_words_good_feelings/


"Q: What's your favorite memory from the past four years?

A: I have a lot of favorite memories. My favorite memories are always being with kids and when kids want to show me something or talk to me or they're real excited about something they learned. One of my favorite memories was this year when we got the MAP (Measures of Academic Progress test) results, and two years ago when we got good results on student improvement. That's what we work hard for, so those are always good memories.

Q: What's your biggest accomplishment?

A: I think instituting the Charleston Plan for Excellence, the standardized curriculum, the standardized benchmark assessment system, teacher coaches in classrooms, revamping special education ...

Q: What's your biggest?

A: Well maybe it's establishing the strategic plan because all of those accomplishments come with the establishment of the strategic plan that's working.

Q: What's your biggest failure?

A: I don't think I have any failures. I think I have lessons. And one of the biggest lessons is that in the reconstitution of Brentwood and Rivers, if we had planned that for a year, I think we would've had less issues of transition and change because people didn't want to change, so that just made it negative. And every time an issue came up about space or the gym or something someone didn't like, it was just a continual ongoing target. I think if there had been more time taken to plan and execute, maybe, I hope, it would've been less of a negative transition. Maybe not. I don't know. I think you still have things you don't expect. If we would've had a little bit more time, hopefully it would've been smoother. ... And the other piece is, we just needed to do something. It was just so bad that what we did, even with the negativity, was better than what we had. But I just think having more time to plan would've been better.

Q: If you could do one thing differently in the four years you've been superintendent, what would you do?

A: I think that planning and execution piece.

Q: What's something unresolved that you're leaving here that you'd like to see finished?

A: How the Rivers building will be used.

Q: What do you think overall of the media treatment of you during the past four years?

A: I think they've been good. And at times when they stepped out of line, I just let them know and dealt with it and it was done. So that was good.

Q: What do you hope your legacy will be here?

A: That I cared about all kids. That I created a very strong foundation that after I leave, that foundation will stick. And the system will continue to move forward.

Q: Maya, your daughter, would be ready for kindergarten in about three years. If you could've sent her to any Charleston County school, which one would you send her to?

A: I don't know. I have a whole list. I really believe in Montessori, but I also believe in Ashley River Creative Arts because that's the education I had — music, art, academics — and so Ashley River is a great school for that. Buist is also a great school. And Oakland is the school she would go to based on where we live. Those are the schools that were on my list to choose from, and I really didn't know. I would've been happy with any of those."


Guess she hasn't improved much on planning and execution in three years...

Dora Taylor said...

I'm not sure why my comment about the supe where I stated that it's all about the money with her was misconstrued.

Of course I am acutely aware of how the supe's actions have adversely affected our students. That is reflected in the posts regarding the supe that I have written and can be seen in total at: http://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/category/dr-goodloe-johnson/

Director DeBell is closely associated with Ballard High School so it will be interesting to see how this action by the staff is reflected in his evaluation of the supe.

As for the other directors, one hopes that they have taken the time to listen to all sides of the issues that face the schools they represent in their districts.

We shall see.

Dora Taylor said...

John J, in a former life one of my responsibilities as Director of Operations in an architectural firm was to hire staff, from CAD drafters to admin to designers and all senior positions.

My percentage of good hires was about 99%. That's a great average and could be attributed to luck, the market and my sense about people. That 1%, though, was tough for me to deal with.

First, I had to realize that their skill level was not what I understood it to be or that their character was not what I thought it was initially. Seeing that I had made a mistake was tough for me. Letting someone go meant to me that I had made an error in some way.

Looking at it from the board's perspective, maybe, and I'm just throwing this out there, it's hard for them to realize and accept the fact that they made a mistake. Maybe they felt pressured or rushed. Maybe they didn't take the time to do the research and find out more than the glossy resume had shown.

Maybe some feel that they made a mistake and just don't want to face it.

Meg said...

Dora- if I misconstrued, I'm sorry. On gray mornings like this, it feels like there's not enough coffee in the world to jump-start my brain. And I probably sound more strident than I really feel.

Sahila said...

PART ONE:

I request that this message to the Board be included in the record relating to the Board's evaluation of Superintendent Maria Goodloe Johnson and to any subsequent decisions made by the Board as to her retention, renewal (if any) of her contract, pay rises and bonuses awarded (if any), AS PER RCW 28A 645.020

DIRECTORS...

I would draw your attention to the Superintendent's exit interview with the Post & Courier in Charleston, 2007

You can read the full interview here
http://www.postandcourier.com/news/2007/jun/14/pointed_words_good_feelings/ , but I have extracted some relevant paragraphs...


"Q: What's your favorite memory from the past four years?

A: I have a lot of favorite memories. My favorite memories are always being with kids and when kids want to show me something or talk to me or they're real excited about something they learned. One of my favorite memories was this year when we got the MAP (Measures of Academic Progress test) results, and two years ago when we got good results on student improvement. That's what we work hard for, so those are always good memories.

Q: What's your biggest accomplishment?

A: I think instituting the Charleston Plan for Excellence, the standardized curriculum, the standardized benchmark assessment system, teacher coaches in classrooms, revamping special education ...

Q: What's your biggest?

A: Well maybe it's establishing the strategic plan because all of those accomplishments come with the establishment of the strategic plan that's working.

Q: What's your biggest failure?

A: I don't think I have any failures. I think I have lessons. And one of the biggest lessons is that in the reconstitution of Brentwood and Rivers, if we had planned that for a year, I think we would've had less issues of transition and change because people didn't want to change, so that just made it negative. And every time an issue came up about space or the gym or something someone didn't like, it was just a continual ongoing target. I think if there had been more time taken to plan and execute, maybe, I hope, it would've been less of a negative transition. Maybe not. I don't know. I think you still have things you don't expect. If we would've had a little bit more time, hopefully it would've been smoother. ... And the other piece is, we just needed to do something. It was just so bad that what we did, even with the negativity, was better than what we had. But I just think having more time to plan would've been better.

Q: If you could do one thing differently in the four years you've been superintendent, what would you do?

A: I think that planning and execution piece.

Q: What's something unresolved that you're leaving here that you'd like to see finished?

A: How the Rivers building will be used.

Q: What do you think overall of the media treatment of you during the past four years?

A: I think they've been good. And at times when they stepped out of line, I just let them know and dealt with it and it was done. So that was good. (it is interesting to note that KUOW education reporter Phyliss Fletcher told me that Maria Goodloe Johnson had contacted her employers and asked to have her fired. And a Microsoft employee (SPS parent) critical of the Superintendent also was threatened with termination after contact from the Superintendent with his managers)

Q: What do you hope your legacy will be here?

A: That I cared about all kids. That I created a very strong foundation that after I leave, that foundation will stick. And the system will continue to move forward.

Sahila said...

PART TWO:

Q: Maya, your daughter, would be ready for kindergarten in about three years. If you could've sent her to any Charleston County school, which one would you send her to?

A: I don't know. I have a whole list. I really believe in Montessori, but I also believe in Ashley River Creative Arts because that's the education I had — music, art, academics— and so Ashley River is a great school for that. Buist is also a great school. And Oakland is the school she would go to based on where we live. Those are the schools that were on my list to choose from, and I really didn't know. I would've been happy with any of those."


I don't believe the SPS community thinks the Superintendent has improved her planning and execution skills in the last three years.

And she certainly has not made stronger academic (Spectrum, ALO, APP), Montessori, art and music programmes available to more Seattle children, although it is interesting to note her own child is very well served at South Shore, with its additional private funding every year.

And those wonderful Charleston test results turned out to be bogus:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/31/education/31charleston.html

http://www.postandcourier.com/news/2008/sep/10/school_under_scrutiny53611/

http://www.postandcourier.com/news/2008/jun/12/accomplished_principal_leave_charleston_44279/

http://www.postandcourier.com/news/2009/jul/15/test_score_investigation_ended89264/

Directors, do you still want to renew the Superintendent's contract, give her a pay-rise and a bonus? Most of your constituents do not. We, in fact, want you to fire her, with cause, for incompetence.

Sahila ChangeBringer
member, Seattle Shadow School Board
tel: 206 679 1738

John J said...

Sahila thanks for digging up the exit interview. How telling is that. Wow.

Dora, most of the board members that used poor judgement in hiring MGJ are gone now.....Mary Bass, Irene Steward, Darlene Flynn, Cheryl Chow.....

There is no reason this board shouldn't right the wrong.

Melissa Westbrook said...

"The Community Values' Statement, which was generated faux consensus, was waved in front of the noses of the teachers by the Alliance and the PTA shamelessly."

No, it was generated by those groups AND their membership. Sorry, you don't like the groups but that is the truth. And no, we have no shame is saying that parents and community have a right to give input to the teacher contract negotiations.

The Alliance was NOT part of the Community Values Statement and never did sign on preferring to listen to all the Seattle Organizers had to say and THEN creating their own "faux" group.

"Does her cushy compensation package rub salt in the wound? Absolutely. But I think that the crux of the problem is not what she is paid, but the damage she is doing within the district."

I agree totally with this statement.

My hope is that the Board will just do an annual review and say nothing about renewing her contract or ending it. Just what did she get done this year, how well and what is the atmosphere of the district both for those who work in it and those who have children in it. Frankly, I don't care what the Times thinks because if you have a motivated and inspired workforce and parents who believe in their public schools, all good things will follow.

emeraldkity said...

Haven't read through the comments but wanted to address the first question-
Can someone tell me how this is a non-profit?

If a company puts profits into the business including salaries- instead of to share/stockholders, it can apply to be a non-proft.

seattle citizen said...

emeraldcity, thanks. I'm a bit unclear as to how companies get this non-profit status, and it concerns me that a company that has generated 200 million in sales (almost exclusively sales of its "product," licenses for standardized tests) can claim to be a non-profit, which carries with it the connotation of someone benefiting the community.
Harium (over on his blog)basically dismissed by comments about conflict of interest by saying it was a non-profit.

So I guess I understand now: I can start a company, claim to be doing the good work, pay myself handsomely (and another 42 people over 100k per year), sell, sell, sell and as long as I don't actually make a profit and keep it, I can do this forever.

Such a deal.

In this case, it all hinges on the tests, and whether they are "helping the community." Many would argue they would not. Who audits these claims, the claim that setting up testing systems, charging for the licenses and for "trainers" or whatever, is a benefit to the community?

I would like their non-profit status pulled. It's predicated on a lie.

Either way, tho', the Supe should give up her seat on NWEA board. She should have a couple of years ago (I note that she used MAP in Charleston, too....was she on the NWEA board at that time, I wonder...

Sahila said...

the question of non-profits is a vexing one...

I know a chain of three daycare centres (two in seattle and one in lynwood) owned by the same person, set up as a non-profit... but the profits go into his back pocked as his salary/directorship fees etc... not back into the daycare or offering scholarships or in really good staff benefits...

I think you will find the same happens with all those so-called 'non profit' charter schools...

its a weakness in the law that people exploit...

hschinske said...

The College Board is also a nonprofit. Their executives make a lot more: see http://taxdollars.freedomblogging.com/2009/09/02/exec-at-nonprofit-that-runs-sat-test-makes-nearly-1-million/34473/

I'm not saying it's right, only that it seems a bit naive to suppose that "nonprofit" necessarily means anything like "for charity" or "for the public benefit" any longer.

Helen Schinske

John J said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rosie said...

Organizations that are not for profit don't have shareholders. Some of them are also tax exempt. To qualify as tax exempt you must meet one of the categories set up by the IRS. Some people use the term 501(c)(3)s, that's just the most common category. Most people use "not for profit" and "tax exempt" interchangeably, but they're very different. You can be one but not the other.

There is no requirement that either sort of organization has to pay below prevailing wages for any category of talent. CEOs in tax exempt organizations can earn $60,000 or 6,000,000 -- it depends on the type of talent needed, and what the person negotiates. Just like the CEOs of for profits have wildly varying compensation.

Some tax exempt organizations have obligations to demonstrate a "community benefit". Sen. Waxman has been putting tax exempt entities through their paces on this front in the past few years.

Lori said...

SC wrote "I'm a bit unclear as to how companies get this non-profit status....I can start a company, claim to be doing the good work, pay myself handsomely (and another 42 people over 100k per year), sell, sell, sell and as long as I don't actually make a profit and keep it, I can do this forever."

No, there are specific IRS rules, summarized here:

http://www.irs.gov/charities/charitable/article/0,,id=96099,00.html

Key points: To be tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, an organization must be organized and operated exclusively for exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3), and none of its earnings may inure to any private shareholder or individual. In addition, it may not be an action organization, i.e., it may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities and it may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates....Section 501(c)(3) organizations are restricted in how much political and legislative (lobbying) activities they may conduct.

Exempt purposes are elsewhere by the IRS as: The exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3) are charitable, religious, educational, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering national or international amateur sports competition, and preventing cruelty to children or animals. The term charitable is used in its generally accepted legal sense and includes relief of the poor, the distressed, or the underprivileged; advancement of religion; advancement of education or science; erecting or maintaining public buildings, monuments, or works; lessening the burdens of government; lessening neighborhood tensions; eliminating prejudice and discrimination; defending human and civil rights secured by law; and combating community deterioration and juvenile delinquency.

If you study the NWEAs Form 990, you'll find a section that deals with maintaining 501c3 status, including what percent of revenue goes to lobbying, what percent of revenue is from donations, and so on. We may not like it, but that's the way the tax code works. NWEA is a non-profit organization in the eyes of the IRS.

Josh Hayes said...

Dora says, in response to John J.:

"Maybe some feel that they made a mistake and just don't want to face it."

I think Dora's onto something here, John -- I am irresistably reminded of "The Music Man" in this whole imbroglio --

No, really! Stay with me here!

Just as the city fathers were taken in by Harold Hill, wanting to believe in simple, straight-forward solutions to complex problems, the Board of yesteryear fell under the spell of Dr. G-J and her mind-set (I will not dignify it with the term "philosophy").

The analogy falls apart in the end, though, because unlike the parents of River City, we're not willing to accept blatant incompetence simply because our kids are made to stand up and make noise. Or are we?

And in the end, isn't it Dr. Hill's fault that the kids can't play the instruments he said he'd make them play? Even though the town fathers were dopes?

Rosie said...

Thanks, Lori for the IRS regs on tax exempt status. But again, that's different than being a not-for-profit. They're two different concepts. Yeah, I know, maybe you're thinking that only us lawyers care about such stuff, but it is an important distinction.

Not for profit means no shareholders. Nothing more. So the "profits" aren't distributed out in dividends or anything like that. They can be spent anyway the entity wants. Some not-for-profits use the term "margin" instead of "profit" to help underscore their not-for-profit status, but both are the same thing. That is, the amount of income left over after the expenses have been paid.

hschinske said...

NWEA is tax-exempt as well as nonprofit.

Helen Schinske

seattle citizen said...

So NWEA's 200 million in gross receipts are not taxed, by Oregon or by the feds. I'm so glad that we citizens are spared the work of collecting millions in tax dollars so this group can continue to do the good work of standardizing education.

dan dempsey said...

Has the Ballard No Confidence vote been released to the media?

I have only found it in Blog Land

karen said...

please contact me today re today's march and rally. I am a reporter for KIRO TV 206 718-9614
Karen O'Leary
thanks!