Oh those kids at the Times! What a bunch of jokers. They have this wonderful and silly editorial today about how great Dr. Goodloe-Johnson is doing and guess what? It's all based on their opinion. Now, other peoples' opinions, those are suspect but the wise ones at the Times', well, they know all. I'm not even going to print their nonsense here but here's what I wrote in the comments section.
My name is Melissa Westbrook and I am both a long-time SPS parent and education activist in our City. I write for the education blog Save Seattle Schools. With no arrogance, I would say I know this district far better than the entire editorial board of the Times put together. So I feel confident in pointing out the errors both in thinking and in the Times' final judgment on Dr. Goodloe-Johnson and her tenure at SPS.
This editorial is full of half-truths and stretches of the imagination.
-First, Dr. Goodloe-Johnson IS the public face for the district and so she is the main "lighting rod" for what has occurred in our district.
-Second, "lesser leaders" DID indeed close schools so she doesn't get credit for that one. Point in fact, she closed schools and now is opening schools at a cost of at least $50M. The enrollment numbers for the 3 opening this fall? Pitifully low because she refused to give any of them a real focus such as Montessori or foreign language immersion. So where is the great thinking here?
-Then, "enrollment has risen". It's not because of her leadership - it's because of a baby boomlet that this district largely ignored until just last year. Also, note to Times, we're in an economic downtown so the thought is maybe the private schools could have lost students.
-The Board did NOT create the Strategic Plan; Dr. Goodloe-Johnson and her staff did and the Board approved it. We did have a 5-year plan previous to Dr. Goodloe-Johnson. She just reformed it and called it her Strategic Plan. From the Plan, "It is built on the
foundation of work accomplished by past School Boards, Superintendents and community
advisory groups." So yes, past Boards, not just this one, created the Plan.
-that "nonscientific survey by a group of parents"? It was by the respected parent group CPPS (Communities and Parents for Public Schools). It covered 37 different zip codes from throughout city. Even Dr. Goodloe-Johnson's most favorable responses were still, overall, negative.
-that the Superintendent is holding true to HER vision and parents and community members recognize that doesn't mean they approve of it.
The last two paragraphs of the editorial are somewhat shameful. The Times (and their coherts) may believe that Dr. Goodloe-Johnson is a courageous leader but ignoring public input, brushing off wide-spread parent concerns and generally being a bully is another way to look at it. What makes the Times' viewpoint more valid than the survey respondents? Our test scores are marginally better and not statistically (there's that science stuff again!) better.
The last sentence is laughable. Here's the thing that has been true in this district for years; parents like their schools and HATE the way this district is run. That more and more parents see their principals shifted around like pawns on a chessboard, see a student assignment plan that splits siblings from each other, see a curriculum alignment that will change alternative schools from the basic idea of them presenting the curriculum in their own way, and lastly see this district struggle to control its budget as it continues to curry favor with private foundations for its own purposes, no I wouldn't call many SPS parents "happy". I would call many of them exhausted.
There was an additional survey done in the last week for parents and community through our blog. It was tailored along the lines of exactly what the Board will be looking for when they evaluate the Superintendent. It, too, shows parents and community to be very unhappy with the Superintendent's work. Both surveys and their results are available at:
See you at the School Board elections in November of 2011.