Friday, January 21, 2011

Under the Category of Why?

So SPS:
  • Why is there no news and information on the News and Calendar page for 2011? Not one item. Also, no new SPS Schoolbeat e-newsletter since December 2, 2010? (Update: so on a hunch, I went and checked the new SPS website and lo and behold, there was calendar information for Jan. 2011. So now, until the old website is gone, we get to check TWO websites for information. I thought the link to the new one was just for observational/input, not that it would have information not available at the old one. It would be nice if the district had told people this.)
  • In the job description for the new communications director, there is mention of a "School Board communications point person." Who is that?
  • Why doesn't the job description for the new communications director mention something like "effectively communicating information and issues about SPS to the parents, community, voters and elected officials?" It seems odd that communicating with your "customers" (parents) and the people who fund you wouldn't be job one on the list.
  • Why was it said that there will be a committee to find the new head of communications and yet, even after asking a couple of times, no one can tell me how a parent or community member might apply for this committee?
  • Why is the date/time for the exit interview of the long-awaited audit of capital management not available anywhere on the district's website? Even Director Carr at last Wednesday's Board meeting found that puzzling. It's Monday, January 31st at 4 p.m. (slated to be in the Board conference room but I think it will be full and they will have to move it).
  • C'mon now, who is our TFA mystery date, I mean donor? It seems odd that if there is someone all lined up that you wouldn't tell us who. (Unless you are waiting to find out who the mystery date, I mean mystery university sponsor, for TFA is so you can bundle it into one press release.)
  • How come Dr. Goodloe-Johnson, in her statement in the TFA press release about coming to the Puget Sound area, says that "(TFA) will help us strengthen and deepen the hiring pool to ensure we can hire the best teachers to close the achievement gap at our low-performing schools...." when there is zero evidence that TFA teachers have helped close the achievement gap at ANY school they have served at?

Lastly,

Noel Treat is the fairly new General Counsel for the district. He is also the new Ethics officer.

Why didn't he think it necessary to disclose that:

(1) his wife's job is at a foundation that was co-founded by the Gates Foundation and is run on money from the Gates Foundation (partial) and
(2) that his brother-in-law is married to Sara Morris who heads the Alliance for Education?

While it might be that these two items don't come directly under the letter of the law/policy for public disclosure, the district has a close working relationship with both the Alliance and the Gates Foundation. That he has two close personal connections to these groups might have pointed to the public disclosure (rather than recusing himself any time he does work with either group).

I might have thought after the Dr. Goodloe-Johnson/NWEA issue that the administration and School Board might be extra careful to avoid the appearance of hiding information of this type but apparently not.

57 comments:

Lisa said...

Another why: Why is The Source unavailable the weekend before finals? I suppose it might just be a short-term glitch, but this is a particularly bad time for it to happen. The Source is where the study guides are located for many classes.

MAPsucks said...

Dam! And here I was, ready to give Noel the benefit of the doubt seeing as how he has to meet standards of legal ethics and professional responsibility for lawyers.

The others...huh, w'as that? I'm a doctor can't you see? Now bend over and cough.

Anonymous said...

WHY does the Special Education home page still say "Welcome to the 2010-2011 school Year," and WHY not a word anywhere about the enrollment process for kindergarten /1st grade age students with special needs, OR the locations of special education self contained classes? Is it a secret? should we guess?
(the enrollment deadline for families is 4 days from now.)

Casey

Sarah said...

When was Noel Treat hired?

Nice connection.

Guichon said...

Sorry, but your critique of Noel is off the mark. Have you called him and asked himi why? Or did you just pre-suppose that it was some sort of conspiracy?

For those of you that think he has violated some caveat of legal ehtics or professional responsibility, why don't you complain to the Bar Association? they can take action if there is any merit to your claims. I know why - 'cause your statements are bunk, and you are full of hot air.

seattle citizen said...

Guichon,
The issue of disclosure isn't about whether something already happened, or if there is some "conspiracy," it's an issue of disclosing....ahead of time!" any ties and connections that might be, become, or seem to be a conflict of interest in your present or future performance of your particular position.

That Mr. Treat has these (rather close) connections to THE TWO main external players in Seattle Education is, in my opinion, a matter of some consequence. Whether he is legally beholden to disclose is not something I would know, but, in my opinion, he SHOULD disclose this. He is the district's lawyer, the district and boards' ethics officer, and he sits down, I'm sure, to occasional dinners with both his wife (indirectly banefited by Gates) and his brother-in-law's wife (director of the Alliance for Education).

I must say it appears unethical to not disclose these connections, and I wonder why he was hired in the first place, GIVEN these connections. He might be the finest lawyer, I am not impugning his craft, but why didn't the district (or the board....who actually hires the ethics officer?) see these connections and see that it appears unseemly, at best? Were there other, equally qualified lawyers available that weren't so "tainted"?

Lastly, it does smell. The coziness of the "edu-reform" crowd is already well documented. It's almost incestuous. And here our lawyer and ethics officer is close to two major players. Hmmm, indeed.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, I did check with the Board and had a reply from Mr. Treat. He felt he complied with the disclosure law/policy and that since the foundation his wife works for isn't really part of the Gates Foundation that it wasn't necessary.

I disagree.

I'm not spouting any conspiracy theory. I'm simply saying a district that has found itself on the wrong end of disclosure by the Superintendent AND the SAO called this out AND it led to the creation of whole new ethics policy and well, it might seem they might do everything possible to look as transparent as possible.

Mr. Treat is a gentleman and, to my meager knowledge of the bar, has done nothing wrong. But I do feel that having two personal associations with major entities that do work with the district should have been disclosed.

Guichon said...

Melissa,

I like your reasoned, rationale response.

As for seattle citizen, you are apparently judge, jury, and executioner. Typical Seattle liberal. As you so aptly stated, it is your opinion (misinformed as it is.)

Melissa Westbrook said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bird said...

So now, until the old website is gone, we get to check TWO websites for information. I thought the link to the new one was just for observational/input, not that it would have information not available at the old one. It would be nice if the district had told people this.

Yeah, I figured this out when the school lunch menu calendar stopped being updated (thet've since linked to the location from the old).

The old website/new website thing is impressively disorganized.

Tip to the district staff: You have to redirect users to the new website from every location. You can't just include a "preview" link on the homepage.

These days lots of people probably bypass your homepage entirely and head directly for the information they want by using an external Google search. These folks will never find your new website unless you provide redirection.

maureen said...

..."School Board communications point person." Who is that?

Wouldn't that be Erinn Bennett, the new 'Board Manager?'

seattle citizen said...

Guichon, what are you talking about? I'm merely stating my opinion (as you note) of the issue of disclosure as it pertains to Mr. Treat. Yes, in my opinion, there is a potential conflict of interest (or two.) "Executioner"? "Typical Seattle liberal"? Don't you think that's a little over the top?

Perhaps you see nothing to comment on regarding our counsel and ethics officer dining regularly with the head of the Alliance and a beneficiary of Gates largess, but I do. These are the two organizations most in league with, uh, helpful to Seattle Public Schools, and it just looks fishy. Is all.
Why so defensive, Guichon?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Maureen, if you read the description, it appears it wouldn't be the Board Office Manager. I was confused.

StopTfA said...

Actually Guichon I did complain. To the District Ethics Officer (some guy named Treat but no relation I'm sure).

Did you hear him testify regarding TFA? Then did you read the Ninth Circuit Court ruling? Then did you hear him testify again?

The next stage IS reporting him to the Bar. But wouldn't it be nice to just have someone do their ethical duty to provide the best advice available to those duly elected to represent us? Then at least SOMEONE is doing their job.

StopTfA said...

Guichon,

How is your opinion more informed? I'm not familiar with any of your other positions but you obviously have strong feelings about this. Do you know him from somewhere, or just give him the benefit of the doubt? Frankly, he's walked into a buzzsaw not of his own making. And I'm sure he's a big boy and can defend himself.

seattle citizen said...

Conspiracy? You decide -
Mr. Treat, on his disclosure form, lists under "financial interests" his spouse, Carol Rava Treat, as having an interest in the "Get Schooled Foundation," which is a product of the Gates Foundation. In fact, she is director of this organization. Remember that Ms. Treat spent eight years at the Gates Foundation, as lead Ed advisor, right before coming to SPS under mysterious circumstances, patry paid by the Broad Foundation (Before she left to lead Get Schooled):

http://saveseattleschools.blogspot.com/search/label/Broad%20Foundation

"Carol Treat who is the Executive Director of Strategic Planning and Alliances and was getting paid via the Alliance is now going to be paid, entirely, by the Broad Foundation. Why would they do that? Is she a Broad resident? Don't think so because they would only be funding half her salary as a Resident... Her salary? Carol Treat earns $144,994.01 annually; with benefits the total is $169,034. And, according to the job description, that's for 260 days of work."

seattle citizen said...

So Mr. Treat is married to someone who led the Ed Reform battle on behalf of Gates for eight years, joined SPS while getting paid by the Alliance, then paid partly by Broad while at SPS, now at Get Schooled, a Gates product.

And his brother in law is married to the head of the Alliance.

But I'm SURE they don't talk about "Reform" at the table, just as I'm equally sure there is no cronyism in moving people through the various "foundations" and SPS.

I need an aspirin now. WV suggests I visit Ailyrite store pronto

Anonymous said...

Lisa,

A lot of high schoolers are getting very stressed about not having access to their class pages the weekend they are studying for finals. Several of my child's teachers said they would be posting material about finals this weekend.

Taking the source down this weekend? What are they thinking!

NE parent

Anonymous said...

Casey! Welcome to special ed!

Meet the consulting teachers! Their main job is to HIDE PROGRAMS. Parents found them with when the green books went online a few years ago. But, now they don't have the "green" books any more. In fact, the consulting teachers have even hidden programs from themselves! Last year they assigned kids to schools and programs that don't even exist!

Then they tell you some or all of the following:

1) There ARE NO PROGRAMS.
2) Just write your IEP, the service will come to you like Santa Claus.

3) If there are programs, they are all the same, so it doesn't matter where they are.

4) You won't get to see the programs or pick them, we decide everything.

5) You'll be close to home. Meet your individual needs? Not important.

6) We can do everything for everybody everywhere, don't worry your pretty little head.

7) Don't call us, ever. Call the principal. We just assign people to the school and then we run.

8) It's going great. There are no problems!!!

Casey, your best bet is to find some other parents who know the ropes and go see what you need to look at. They can't assign you anywhere without an IEP, well, they are unlikely to. And you are in control of when that happens.

sped parent

Anonymous said...

For what its workth, I worked at King County while Noel Treat was there. He was known as one of the best attorneys in the Prosecutor's Office. He then went on to be Chief of Staff for the County Executive where he was very well regarded. He is smart, nice and above all very much an ethical and stand up guy.

Jim P.

Anonymous said...

The latest and best line of all SPS special education:

[We didn't cut special ed for next year. We fixed overstaffing problems.]

Here is the actual text, responding to the proposed cuts in anticipated needs for the many more students in ICS who have nothing else available, who will next year have even less:

"When we placed additional supports in schools during the 09-10 school year, we "over-staffed," that is, put more support in place in most cases than was called for " ... "So although in many schools the supports numerically stayed the same, in reality, those supports are still appropriate.".. (even though those "supports" now have to serve a whole batch of incoming students.

Is that what we've heard? It was really appropriate and over-staffed last year?

--incredulous

Lisa said...

NE Parent, I've been operating under the idea that The Source inconveniently broke this weekend. Do you know it was actually taken offline for maintenance or something? Either way it is pretty bad. My kid is stressing, and we at least have computer access at home. About half his teachers have study guides ONLY online. Most of the library branches are closed Sundays, so not having access on a Saturday could be a huge problem for some kids.

seattle citizen said...

Jim P., I know little about Mr. Treat, save for the times I've heard him speak at board meetings. From that, I tend to agree that he knows law, is articulate, and he "seems nice." (tho' I thought his stepping around the 9th court anti-unqualified ruling was...too biased in favor of his desired outcome, the outcome admin wanted: TFA legal, and here. It was a stretch)

He could be the nicest guy, with the most noble intentions, yet still be swayed, still be subject to the drives, ambitions, agendas of those around him.

I'm not saying he is some sort of ogre: I think he's a nice guy. I, as a citizen who pays his salary want him to be pure of taint and corruption.

I know Gates is trying to run things around here, and I know the district has been in cahoots with Gates, its Alliance, and various other bodies. That Mr. Treat's spouse is ex-Gates, that his brother-in-law's spouse is Alliance...well, it worries me. I want him to represent the taxpayers, in addition to representing the district. He should be advising them on the law, not on which laws can be circumvented and how. I don't know that he does this, but the way he caefully skirted the 9th Court ruling made it seem he was all over getting TFA in, no matter the ethical questions raised.

Let's not forget that TFA is well funded by Broad (42 million, at least) and that his spouse was partly funded by Broad during part of her short time at SPS...hmmm.

maureen said...

FWIW, if you are interested in working for an organization that deals in Education Policy and/or Research, it's really difficult to find a job that doesn't depend in some way on Gates/Broad/Walton... That's who has jobs to offer.

seattle citizen said...

That speaks volumes, doesn't it Maureen? That the ed jobs are in the Big Three...

Of course, one could just become a teacher. Or an IA. Or a counselor...

Sarah said...

Diane Ravitch once wrote about everyone being employed by Bill Gates- it leaves no one to object to controversial reform initiatives.

Maria Goodloe Johnson sold MAP to the district without disclosure of her NWEA board position. As a result, we have a culture of distrust. Maria Goodloe Johnson ought to take responsibility for this!

Let's hope Mr. Treat is more ethical than his boss.

emeraldkity said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
maureen said...

SC, I can do policy analysis and I can teach adults. Teaching K-12 well is much too difficult for me.

emeraldkity said...

I am curious how much of a salary boost Mr Treat received from his most recent job
( chief of staff @ Seattle City light, which he began mid-May 2010- in Aug 2010 , he was announced in his current position), to his placement with SPS.

How long does he plan to be here, I wonder?

seattle citizen said...

I understand, Maureen. I wasn't very clear, and perhaps made an inappropriate reference to how one could teach instead of working for G/B/W...but some people want to teach older students, some people want to research...I was dismissive of these and I apologize. I just wish the ed business had not become such a big, and lucrative, private or "non-profit" enterprise, and people could teach or do research for the common good instead of for the desires and agendas of the well-healed few.

Anonymous said...

Incredulous re special ed "When we placed additional supports in schools during the 09-10 school year, we "over-staffed," that is, put more support in place in most cases than was called for " ... "So although in many schools the supports numerically stayed the same, in reality, those supports are still appropriate.".. :



Something isn't right here: by law, staffing has to follow from the services and accommodations that are specified in an IEP. There can't be an a priori determination of what sped support will or will not be available to support a child in the least restrictive environment.

Pre-MGJ it was business as usual for consulting teachers to use this line of thinking to browbeat parents into accepting more not less restrictive environments for our children. In the post MGJ days that mentality is supposed to be totally at odds with ICS. We have all heard over and over about ICS: services come to the students. I think you are probably misreading what is intended here, not that it is very clear anyway.

SPED parent

dan dempsey said...

Maureen excellent point about who controls much of what passes for institutions supposedly improving education. {Should we be listening to any of these institutions?}

We know that despite this MGJ view:

".. in her statement in the TFA press release about coming to the Puget Sound area, says that "(TFA) will help us strengthen and deepen the hiring pool to ensure we can hire the best teachers to close the achievement gap at our low-performing schools...."

MGJ has done ZERO to address the achievement gap. In fact she is taking her high school math recommendation into appeals court (Hearing March 2011) her recommendation that the Board adopted and the Superior Court rejected. In March 2009 the District headed to Appeals court ... the following scores are from Spring HSPE 2010.

Black Student HS math grade 10 pass rate = 12.5%

Cleveland HS Black student pass rate = 5.7%
RBHS = 3.9%

------------
MGJ is all about politics ... any concern about the achievement gap is only "photo op" material.

TfA is 100% politics. In Seattle schools, how can placing sub-qualified teachers into only low income schools close the achievement gap?

This makes as much sense as OSPI math manager Greta Bornemann's statement that "Discovering Math" might work, just before the Board voted 4-3 to adopt..

No one can be wondering why the RBHS PTSA would like Oki's idea of an RBHS principal directly responsible to an RBHS board of trustees. Clearly the JSCEE is a counterproductive force when it comes to SE education.......

The latest JSCEE act is using the NSAP to increase school separation and increase inequality between schools while eliminating option seats at some schools.

What state constitution? There is no protection for students in SE Seattle.

Anonymous said...

Lisa,

I do not know why the source is down. The 'source unavailable' screen says they are running updates.

It is causing huge anxiety in my house. Kids are contacting each other to see if anyone printed out any of the class notes, outlines, study guides, etc. No luck so far.

NE Parent

Anonymous said...

Right, other SPED parent. That's exactly what was posted from the district. You think it shouldn't be right, and it isn't right, but that is indeed the story. The real deal is that there was a funding cut. But, instead of saying it was a cut directly and completely to students, they said it was a "reduction in over-staffing". Talk about lipstick on pig. All other students had a significant percentage of their funding cuts done in central office. Not sped students.

Look at the union contracts. There are exact ratio's written for every program or type of service, EXACTLY THEY SAME AS THERE ALWAYS WAS. Now the brow-beating begins at the IEP time itself. Nobody will actually write the true needs into the IEP. If you need 1:1, or anything more than resource room, they simply won't put it in the IEP. They have unwritten policies against it. (also illegal) They say you must go to self-contained. You'd need to sue, go to due-process, prove your needs to a judge, lay out 30 grand or so for the privilege. And, for the services that do actually get written, they simply DON'T DO them. They've hired no staff to do the services. It isn't magic. How can you "do more students" with no more staff? The union says the ratio is 22:1. Period. That is not intensive services. And there's not more available, if your IEP says you need more. That's not bringing anything to students who need it. And if your school has less than a certain thresh-hold of students, your school gets a part time teacher. Even if 5 or 8 or 12 of those students have severe needs, like autism, or behavior disorder, or, or, or. Students are still disabled the whole day, even if there's no teacher in the building at all. Still a half time teacher for you. Sorry. The fact is, parents STILL get beaten into more restrictive placements if they have a lot of needs.

SPED parent, if you think students are students are less restrictively placed, then why are there more of these self-contained things popping up? Look at Eckstein. Brand-spanking new restrictive program, after years of truly serving students well. And people mostly get forced into them.

-sped parent too

maureen said...

SC, I didn't read you as being dismissive at all. My point is that teaching K-12 would be too difficult for me to do-I've thought about it, but I just don't think I have the patience for it. I'm deeply grateful that others do!

Jan said...

seattle citizen said (of Noel Treat):
"I, as a citizen who pays his salary want him to be pure of taint and corruption."

I agree with Jim. I have worked with Noel when he worked for King County, and found him smart and entirely above board. He HAS disclosed that his wife has a financial interest in Get Schooled. The brother-in-law thing is extremely tenuous. I suppose he could have mentioned it, but it is not unreasonable that he didn't, in my opinion.

The real issue here is not, I think, his failure to disclose. It is that MGJ has hired (yet again) someone whose natural sympathies might lie with ed reform. We hate it; she loves it -- and she wins. She is the "decider" - at least for now. And really, what did we expect? We KNOW she is totally enamoured of, in the pocket of, and as a Broad-placed Academy grad, beholden to ed reform and its financiers. Other than Noel's position on the 9th circuit opinion (which I found strained), I am not aware of anything that Noel has done yet that rises to the level of either taint OR corruption. This seems to me like a Democratic President hiring a democrat to run part of the White House legal staff. Noel has a great deal of work to do. He may prove a huge disappointment, or he may prove to be an asset to those of us hoping for better compliance with ethics. (And, if he tries to do the right thing, and the culture won't suffer it -- he may not be there long).

Melissa Westbrook said...

Ah but anyone reading that disclosure would NOT know that Get Schooled is a Gates off-shoot. He also didn't give his wife's name (most did give spouses names but not all). Anyone seeing her name would have said, "Right she used to work for the district as the head of Strategic Planning. For Dr. Goodloe-Johnson. And her salary was paid for, in total, by the Broad Foundation." That's where it gets murky.

Also, the brother-in-law thing not so tenuous to me as they all live in the same town and half of them (or have worked) work in ed-related fields.

seattle citizen said...

Jan, he didn't need to disclose brother-in-law's wife stuff, but it matters. He could have used his wife's name, as Melissa points out; it matters. Perhaps he IS a stand-up person (and personally I get the feeling he is) and will be a good lawyer for the district and ethics officer for the district and board.

The supt IS free to hire who she likes. As I noted earlier, I wish they had hired someone with ewer ties to the ed reform movement. Of course he might not be "tied" to that movement, but sheesh, he's pretty intimate with some of the prime reformers. His wife worked for Gates, and then was a paid employee of Broad while at SPS. He doesn't have to go beyond saying she works for GetSchooled (leads it, I believe); he didn't have to say that organization is a Gates creation...But it just adds to the level of distrust and the district could have chosen someone else.
From his resume, it appears that Mr. Treat is an able lawyer and politically savvy: Fine qualities, both, and he strikes me as a nice person. But he is close to people who are capital R Reformers, the supt knew it, and hired him because of it, I'm sure. I'm also sure that he did a lawyerly job in handling the TFA thing, after the 9th circuit judgement: He advised his client that, as per law, it was still okay to hire uncertified people. It probably was, legally (and now IS, due to a law change - I wonder if he knew that was coming, or if his wife or his brother-in-law's spouse lobbied for that change in the intimate circle of ed reformers, politicians, and urban power groups...) But he is also the ethics officer, and it just seems unethical. How can he wear both hats?

Noah said...

How come the results of the 1/19 meeting aren't posted yet? If I waited 3 days to get meeting minutes posted from am important voting meeting, I'd hear about it...

Anonymous said...

"I must say it appears unethical to not disclose these connections, and I wonder why he was hired in the first place, GIVEN these connections. He might be the finest lawyer, I am not impugning his craft, but why didn't the district (or the board....who actually hires the ethics officer?) see these connections and see that it appears unseemly, at best? Were there other, equally qualified lawyers available that weren't so "tainted"?"

Mr. Treat was hired EXACTLY because of his connections. There were other MORE qualified lawyers who applied for the job, including the Kent General Counsel. Mr. Treat had exactly ZERO school law experience. Watching his lame attempt to explain why the TFA case wasn't something the district should worry about was enough to convince me that he was hired for who he knew, not for what he knew.

Skeptical in Seattle

Seattle-Ed2010 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Seattle-Ed2010 said...

I'm inclined to agree with Skeptical. Treat's argument for the legality of sending unqualified TFA novices to teach predominantly minority kids in Seattle schools (when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals had deemed this illegal under "No Child Left Behind"), essentially amounted to: "Arne Duncan says it's okay so it's okay."

DeBell or Sundquist called Treat's silly explanation a"tour de force." It was in reality more of a "tour de farce."

I can't decide what's more enervating: the rubbish that is regularly presented to the board by SPS staff, or the fact that the board regularly accepts this rubbish on face value and often evens applauds it.

"Heckuva job, Treatie!"

--sue p.

Anonymous said...

Seattle Citizen - I tracked down that ninth circuit case and can understand why you might at first read as you appear to. However, it says each state decides who is fully certified. I then checked the SPI website. They have the official title I authority for the state I assume. Their official highly qualified manual says in several places that conditional certified teachers are counted as fully certfied by Washington. With that, it looks to this legal field person, that Mr. Treat got it right if he said the 9th case did not affect different for Wash. than it was for California.

Also, not sure you tracked this, but the decision was "en banc" as well. That means it was decided by a three judge panel. Those decisions are not even binding until adopted by the full 9th cirtucit panel (something like 10 judges) or it is sent back tot he trail court for an order. That nevers seems to have happened.

From everythign I know of him, you could not have done better for a government lawyer who can lawyer, manage people, and work in an uber-beauracracy.

Jim P.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Noah, are you talking about the Board meeting of the 19th?

seattle citizen said...

Jim P, if I'm not mistaken, the issue wasn't certification, but rather the "highly qualified" designation required by No Child Left Behind. All certified teachers are required to provide evidence to the feds (not the state) that they are "highly qualified" in their particular category(ies). This was at the heart of the 9th's ruling (en banc or not: yes, it wasn't the full 9th court, but I'm looking at the ethics of it here, which is also under Mr. Treat's purview). THEY said that cramming poor schools full of teachers who were not Highly Qualified, or were designated HQ by some round-about way that skirts the intent of the HQ rule, was an infringement on the civil rights of poor children. I agree. And the same situation pertains here: TFA was specifically "brought in" to staff Title One schools. Why should poor students in Seattle get people who have not gone through the regular process?

And I agree with Skeptical - While Mr. Treat's explanation before the board that evening, saying that the 9th court (en banc) decision wouldn't apply because we in WA have decided that these "teachers" are HQ is a runaround: Legally defensible, perhaps, but heinously unethical, in my opinion. Let's restate: How is NOT an infringement uopn the civil rights of poor people to have less-qualified staff specifally targeted into their schools?

seattle citizen said...

Jim P, lastly, that the 9th courts' en banc decision is now moot due to a very rapid change in the law by a very fast-acting group of lawmakers back in DC speaks even more to the lack of ethics: Same question - why fair for poor to have less qualified staff; now Congress just changed the law instead of addressing the ethics of the issue. TFA, Broad, Gates et all must have very powerful lawmakers in thier speed dials, and the law makers are getting....what? out of being so quick to do TFA et al's bidding.
Sad, really. Students lose.

StopTfA said...

Jim P.

You're half-right. In fact, OSPI made the same mistake California's regulator did: accept the DOE's mis-interpretation of the "plain language" of NCLB. Washington state's statutes define what are "full State certificates" as opposed to limited certificates (WAC WAC 181-79A-231), the very ones the School Board will vote to secure for every novice TFA person. The fact that DeBelle and Sundquist said it was a tour de force shows their legal acumen.... And I expect, like DADT, Congress' blessing of beginners as highly qualified will be shown to be the blatant discrimination and naked corruption that it is.

StopTfA said...

Jim P., if you in fact read the ruling, you would have seen that the court looked to state law, not some patsy's reading of DOE's wish list.

seattle citizen said...

This whole discussion has me wondering:
Is it ethical for the district's lawyer to be its ethics officer?

How does that even work? Isn't that sort of like the old version of the Seattle Police review team, where it was all people affifilated the police or enforcement system? Isn't that like the fox guarding the hen house? "No problems here, it's a-ok!...dinner is served."

Anonymous said...

Yes, I see that the court looked to state law. The court said every state is free to decide who is highly qualified with respect to certification. In this state, SPI says conditional cert. is highly qualified. The case said it was up to the state. Our state has spoken to the issue different than CA.

Jim

StopTfA said...

ah No. Like California, our regulators looked to USDOE for interpretation of HQT instead of their own state laws. So if Spelling/Duncan read it wrong, it does not absolve our own state regulator Randy Dorn to follow state law. There are many places in the RCW and WAC that distinguish between "full State certification" and alternative, limited, whatever certification. So Treat blew it. His first test as legal adviser to our elected Board and he kow-towed to MGJ. It is obvious to many (but not all, obviously) that the Ninth court read NCLB right, so mistress Congress had to come to the rescue of its sugar daddies.

kprugman said...

For the most part, California has resisted alternative certification. SPS and Gregoire are out on a limb. Give them an axe and we'll see what falls under the tree. Someone better have a shovel ready.

Financial incentives for districts to consolidate themselves would go along way to reforming both curriculum and teacher certification. If only some districts could?

Charlie Mas said...

Why is it that, right there on the front page of the new web site they announce the next Budget Work Session on January 26, but there is no mention of it on the Events Calendar?

Why doesn't the Events Calendar mention the upcoming public meeting on the Transportation Plan?

Why doesn't the Events Calendar have any of the Board meetings on it?

Charlie Mas said...

Noah, the minutes of the meeting of the 19th won't be posted until they have been approved, which should happen at the next Board meeting, on February 2.

Chris said...

StopTFA is right. If there was no problem, why did congress have to barge in?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Chris, another good thread idea.

StopTfA said...

Seattle Citizen,

Having the GC and Ethics Officer be the same is okay, as long as the GC can prove his or her impartiality. In the case of ethics complaints against the GC, the District must go to an impartial third party. Speaking as a consultant, I'll say an "impartial" third party knows who signs the checks. Still, in a few ongoing ethics evaluations, the District has gone to outside counsel.