Friday, February 25, 2011

Best Coverage So Far

I recommend KING-5 tv for coverage of the financial crisis. I was on KIRO-tv briefly but KING 5 has a very good story with a timeline including the fact that the Superintendent minimized the Sutor report to the Board. If the Board had realized how strongly that report had been worded, they might have investigated sooner. (That said, couldn't one of them, out of curiosity, checked it out?) Steve Sundquist said:

"It obviously was a missed opportunity for the Superintendent to share with us the full gravity of the situation," said Sundquist.

I have to say the number of comments after all these new stories slamming the Board is really interesting. It seems like many people feel they should be accountable as well.

One woman on KIRO-tv said the Superintendent isn't God and can't be everywhere at once. I just wish that before people either condemn OR defend people that they get the full story. It's easy to say that she can't know every single thing that happens - that's true - but this is far deeper than an issue like that.

21 comments:

Glossing observer said...

What else has MGJ "glossed over"?

Seems to be plenty of glossing by DK, MGJ, Harmon and S. Enfield.

ConcernedSPSParent said...

Did anyone mention the Sutor report to the Board. They seem to be saying they were unaware of it?

The Glosser Observer said...

Concerned SPSParent,

The district withheld the Sutor report from the board.

Chris said...

That woman should read the Eakes report. Sure we can't expect MGJ to be God - but OMG she sure has one LOUSY memory...to the extent that someone shows her an email she sent and she says she can't remember sending it.

Chris said...

Eakes report: they all (MGJ, Kennedy, Stephens) point the finger at their underling. Now THAT's accountability!

Kathy said...

From Eakes report, MGJ and DK have poor memories. Perhaps the prosecuting attorney's report will help jog their collective memory.

Dora Taylor said...

I do believe that the supe's silence says everything.

I said to someone today that if that were me, I would have canceled my vacation and would be running around at the Stanford Center putting out fires and getting things straightened out.

As was pointed out to me, my ethics and sense of responsibility far exceeded that of our supe.

Maybe so, but one would think that if her sense of right and wrong didn't kick in then her obligation to being paid more than the governor would.

Instead she got lawyered up.

In the know said...

The timeline on channel 5 was well done (good visual). But the channel 5 reporter is saying that all $1.8 million went into Potter's private account. Based on what is out there, this is not correct (and also based on insider info). The rest is well done.

Paul said...

Not really sure where to post this but I was struck today by a paragraph in a Bob Herbert piece in the New York Times ("Absorbing the pain"):

“Among the many heartening things about the workers fighting back in Wisconsin, Ohio and elsewhere is the spotlight being thrown on the contemptuous attitude of the corporate elite and their handmaidens in government toward ordinary working Americans: police officers and firefighters, teachers, truck drivers, janitors, health care aides, and so on. These are the people who do the daily grunt work of America. How dare we treat them with contempt”

It struck me that if you added "parents" and "taxpayers" to that list, we see a similar culture at SPS.

Now MGJ (wherever she is) might roll her eyes and call the comparison "tacky" but the dots connected immediately.

How much are we ordinary folks gonna have to pay to cover for her now and how much will come right off the backs of the regular grunt workers who lose their jobs to protect the pet projects she has protected in the budget?

And while we are at it, can Ms. Butler-Wall please explain what the idea was behind EVEN BRINGING MGJ HERE IN THE FIRST PLACE?

Just another "program" that went bad huh? Tsk-tsk.

Eleuterio said...

Thanks for the nice words, but it ain't just me (or my students) There's a lot of good things happening in the classrooms all over Seattle.

Struggles too, but I like to point out that Washington State has over 200,000 children living below the federally-defined poverty level (a very generous 24,000 dollars a year for a family of 4 !) Anyone who thinks schools and teachers (or Teach for America :p ) alone can fix that scale of problem is just blowing hot air.

I would love to see a new Superintendent that knew how to build on our local successes.

bbwall said...

Hello all,

In my last year on the board, our Superintendent resigned and we launched a national search. We developed a timeline and hired a search firm (after a competitive process). The search firm queried the community about what they'd like in the next Superintendent, and the board unanimously decided on a list of criteria. The search firm then advertised the position and screened candidates. The 'semi-finalists' were all highly-qualified and brought to the school board for lengthy interviews (I believe there were 6). As I recall, they included people from several ethnic backgrounds. We chose the top two candidates and each made a presentation to the public. The board chose Dr. Goodloe-Johnson. I believe our process was fair, inclusive, and transparent. After a string of Seattle superintendents with no background in education (Stanford, Olchefske, Manhas), the public was clear that they wanted an educator at the helm. Hope this clarifies. Brita Butler-Wall

Orca Mom said...

The "transparent" community meeting I attended with the "search firm" was run by a former school board member by the name of Nielsen.

He had been meeting with Greg Nickels along with Frank Blethen trying to get the mayor to start appointing board members without elections according to what we read.

Guess you all got what you wanted but I wouldn't call it "inclusive" as it all took place behind closed doors.

THAT was your first mistake and we are still living with the last.

Bird said...

With all due respect, Brita, as a member of the public, I remember that process as being deeply flawed.

The candidates were whittled down to two, and then one of them withdrew, so we were just left with MGJ being presented to the public. No matter what the public said at that point, I have a hard time imagining the Board restarting the hiring process.

If you look at the reporting of Goodloe-Johnson in the Charleston papers, there were plenty of red flags about her. Primarily, she was cited in her Board evaluation as needing improvement in the areas of providing "complete and accurate" information to the school board. And she was reported as disagreeing with this part of her evaluation. Yikes!

Seriously, this was a big FAIL for the board's hiring process.

LA Teacher's Warehouse said...

Dear Brita Butler-Wall,

I have a great deal of respect for your views, but I must disagree with you about one thing. You described the semi-finalists as all "highly qualified." You are mistaken. Maria Goodloe-Johnson was not highly qualified. Every Board director should have carefully examined her record in Charleston. They should have noted the discontent with her leadership. They should have carefully examined "the data" from the state education department--data that revealed her claims about what she'd achieved in Charleston to be, at the very least, misleading. You should have understood her ties to the neo ed reform movement and its wealthy backers. You should have seen through the shameless self-promotional PR that she used to promote her career ambitions.

You failed in your most important responsibility as a Board director. You are responsible for the decision you made. I say that with a heavy heart and with an acute awareness of the fallibility of human judgment. I admire your intellect and your dedication to public education, but your mistake should be a cause for some soul-searching. I wish you well.

cascade said...

It appears that Don Nielson remains, or is trying to remain, quite the board kingmaker behind closed doors. He is all about the Business of Education. It would be a really good thing for this blog to get him on record as to what he thinks about this debacle and what he thinks next steps should be. Need to hear him publicly, because no doubt he'll be talking a lot privately.

Noam said...

Cascade

Bet he was at the same charter school party that Holly F. and MGJ attended at city hall a couple weeks ago.

More cronyism. Somebody ought to prank MGJ and call HER pretending to be Don N. and see what she would say now about their agenda.

Chris said...

Noam, I've totally been wondering about Holly F. Dirty? Clean? From what I've seen in a few C & I I'd be happy to see her gone but I understand she has a great deal of knowledge, some of it useful. I also think she's pretty smart, smart enough to appear "clean." But she's so high up and across so many departments, I just don't know. Actually she and CT have been so faithful they should get prime appointments from Eli B.

Michael H said...

There is a great link on the Seattle Times website to the supporting documents for the state auditor work. See Audit Documents. Intersting reading starting on page 38.

Lawtonfolks said...

Ms. Butler-Wall

I too wish you well as a person.

But, really?:

My observation was that you were really no different than the current board. You depended on staff and hangers-on from the corporate side (did someone use "handmaidens"?) to tell you how "fair" and "inclusive" the process was when it wasn't.

Like these now, you plugged your ears after your election and didn't start listening until it was too late for you or the others.

Really, thanks for nothing but good intentions. You got pranked big time and are still in denial.

Please don't expect the rest of us to forget.

Anonymous said...

Here's the scoop on Holly F. She was given work to do on board policies almost 3 years ago, by the board. She did not do a thing. Instead, she hired a consultant who also did nothing. The consultant was paid. Holly restarted this process again in 2010 right after she was promoted. She has don't nothing but tell others that she is not the one who writes polices. She does not even have an accounting for the work that she does. One moment she says she is in Olympia but she cannot account for her time there.
She is a highly paid beaurocrat who does nothing but dance in board meetings and kisses up to any one that looks like a winner.

Maureen said...

Anonymous, I'm reposting what you said (you need to sign with an alias here or you get deleted.)

Here's the scoop on Holly F. She was given work to do on board policies almost 3 years ago, by the board. She did not do a thing. Instead, she hired a consultant who also did nothing. The consultant was paid. Holly restarted this process again in 2010 right after she was promoted. She has don't nothing but tell others that she is not the one who writes polices. She does not even have an accounting for the work that she does. One moment she says she is in Olympia but she cannot account for her time there.
She is a highly paid beaurocrat who does nothing but dance in board meetings and kisses up to any one that looks like a winner.


I see her at a lot of meetings and she seems to get asked to do a lot of different things. I wonder if it might be time to have District employees start accounting for their time the way professionals who bill by the hour do? There also has to be a better accounting for contracts.

(Aside: I was at a transportation work session a few weeks ago where Don Kennedy said they had to hire a contractor (project manager?) to manage something to do with the new Transportaion Service Standards and the computer. This was so as not to jeoperdize the continued migration to the VAX (still?!). Betty Patu said, WHAT? Isn't there anyone here who could do that?! It was great, DK mumbled his way through an excuse, but she really gave him a talking to. I loved it! I wonder who got that contract?).