Thursday, March 24, 2011

For that reason alone, he does not deserve re-election

In an earlier thread, skeptical wrote about Director Sundquist:
Sundquist also opened the last, hardest, of this year's budget sessions by making a sweeping statement that staff's board recommendations should be baseline accepted as the starting point of discussion.

For that reason alone, he does not deserve re-election.
Which actions or statements by Board Directors make them un-deserving of re-election?

I'll provide the second one.

At the Board meeting of November 17, 2010, Director Martin-Morris scolded his Board colleagues for trying to verify a statement made by Dr. Enfield. He lectured them that they should just accept her statements as true and not insult her by verifying them. For that reason alone, he does not deserve re-election. The statement in question proved false, a fact he knew when chastizing his fellow Directors, but that didn't slow him down one bit.

23 comments:

KG said...

The board needs a better vetting process all together, instead of a big rubber stamp. Business as usual. Unethical business with that monster sized central admin.
Spending way more Central than any other District in the state. And for 2011-2012 they are shamefully headed for more of the same. To keep their monster headed admin. they are going to cut direct intervention that the elementary counselors provide. this should not be allowed to happen. Most of the Board are just a bunch of yes sirs or yes maams. No thinking involved. Vote them out!!!

Horrified said...

Sundquist made that statement while a criminal investigation was going on regarding Silas Potter.

At the time, the investigation was unknown to the public, but known to the board.

Sahila said...

Meier doesnt deserve re-election.... he completely threw Summit under the bus... and abandoned AS#1 to its fate also...

And I was told that he stated at a public event that Summit teachers had sex with their students...

Summit and AS#1 teachers were wondering how to handle that incident; I was present at some of the discussion... in the end, it wasnt taken further...

Jan said...

Sahila: I must confess. Meier has always been a complete cypher to me. For awhile, it seemed so obvious he was under the reform-ed thumb, and totally on their bandwagon. Now some (but obviously not you) seem to think there has been a change of heart. I am having a harder time seeing it in Meier than in either Debell or Carr. So, here is my question, or issue --
Were we to go on past performance (and maybe we should), not ONE of these four, not ONE, would deserve even a moment's consideration. Rubber stamping, failing to oversee, buying into ed reform, signing that ridiculous board governance thing that MGJ got them to sign -- where they agreed basically not to interfere with how she ran the district. It goes on and on.

BUT -- one thing that "came out" of the 2007 election is the peril to the District of new, clueless directors (especially when they are a majority of the board -- which they WILL be). I am not advocating that you change your position on Meier -- but we need to make sure whoever runs against him is better, out of the box, than he was (although the sex with students comment is pretty much decisive, if it happened, because if he had grounds for saying it, he had an obligation to report it to the police, and if he DID'NT have grounds for saying it -- it was an outrageous thing to say.
My criteria are:
1. Understands the job and is willing to oversee the Superintendent.
2. NOT enthusiastically and uncritically pro ed-reform (mild, I can handle -- but not the chanting acolytes.)
3. Data literate.
4. Willing to engage (not just pretend engage) with parents and Seattle citizens.
5. Willing to stand up to special interests even if (and maybe especially if) they show up with wads of cash in one hand and an agenda in the other.

Melissa Westbrook said...

The Board is more skeptical now. As Michael DeBell says, they got burned. (I'm glad they are skeptical but even with new staff, they should remain guarded.)

Every single Board member had the opportunity to question the Silas Potter issue. No one did. We still don't know why, even after the $35k check Potter tried to take for his company AND the July 2010 audit, it took until December for the Board to launch an investigation.

But for me, the road ahead is about what this district does. Those up for reelection seemed pretty on-board with what MGJ was doing and the ed reform direction she was following. I would need to know how they feel now. I would need to hear what has changed in their thinking on this issue.

As I said previously, I think there are sharks circling our district because it's a great time to try to muscle in. (It does bring a smile to my face because MGJ and Tom Payzant thought they could muscle into our district and I do believe they got schooled about the deep investment and commitment that our parents and our communities have to this district. We are not a district to be rolled.)

I would never vote for someone not qualifed to sit on the Board. But I will not vote in someone who will not make it clear that he or she is operating in terms of what is best for our district and not for a national ed reform agenda.

Anonymous said...

Sundquist does not deserve to be re-elected due to his sheer incompetence. West Seattle is is shambles thanks to him, kids bussed the far corners of the cluster in the name of capacity management, children in portables thanks to the Cooper Elementary Heist, which he (allegedly) engineered, People here actually recoil at the mere mention of his name. He is the Darth Vader of West Seattle.

Signed, Wedge from the Rebellion

Dora Taylor said...

First, anyone who runs for school board should understand the time that it takes to do the job right. The excuse always seems to be that the board members do not have enough time to understand the issues.

If that's the case, they should have at some point recommended that they have some sort of assistance or alternative means to have the time to understand the issues.

As far as I'm concerned, many of us with full time jobs and children to raise were able to understand what was going on before these louts were.

These folks fell victim to money, political aspirations and promises that will now not be kept.

They all need to be voted out except for Patu who seems to have kept her personal strength of character.

StepJ said...

Martin-Morris:

To say upfront…I think Harium is an honest man and a person of integrity. Anything he is saying at current I believe that he believes.

His turning point seemed to be the closure of Cooper. At many a community meeting he stated how Cooper had done everything right. The District told them to raise test scores and improve student achievement and they did that.

They kept their end of the bargain and the District betrayed them and broke their promise.

The closure of Cooper seemed to be a huge turning point for Harium. I don’t know if he sought the favor of MGJ to gain more influence or what actually happened but it seems like an almost Stockholm syndrome change in Harium before and after Cooper.

I like Harium as a person, but do not agree with his priorities and current thoughts on the role of a Board Director. I’ll be voting for Michelle.

Carr and Maier:

I am not completely confident in their current change in direction. Unlike DeBell, they are both up for reelection so I am not assured their recent public posturing is due to a true epiphany or a desire to be re-elected. Carr has a tremendous political savvy. You have to, to rise to the heights of such a large organization as Boeing. She can read the tea leaves and present the public face needed.

I don’t know if Maier is just riding the current tide of public and media sentiment or if he truly has a desire to support us little folks the parents, vs. the big money players.

I really hope both of them will have an opponent for election so it will be a true contest and both can be more fully vetted.

Sundquist:
There are a lot of engaged and passionate people in West Seattle I have had the privilege to meet. Some are still in support of Sundquist. Some are wavering, and some have turned the corner as their children are bearing the brunt of lack of planning and burden at their local schools. I know if the passionate people I have met no longer accept words from Sundquist but require true action on behalf of his constituents he is toast.

Dora Taylor said...

Harium was in a meeting with several parents and teachers two years ago, me among them, and said that he would request a white paper from the then superintendent Goodloe-Johnson that would describe her affiliations with the Broad Foundation as a Board Director and how her decisions would not be affected by that position. He NEVER responded to any of us after that meeting whether he requested that paper or not. We never saw it.

His rambling about being African American and somehow how that had something to do with something in making his decision about firing Goodloe-Johnson was pathetic.

He was on-board with all of the ed reform edicts that Goodloe-Johnson sent down the pike particularly after his trip to DC when he met with Arne Duncan.

Harium might be a great guy but he is not an appropriate person to sit on the school board at this time. He has done his time and has proven to be ineffective at representing the rest of us.

Dora Taylor said...

Regarding Carr, I don't need someone who is "political savvy" representing my child. I need someone who understands what's going on, someone who has the TIME to understand what's going on in our schools. I don't give a cat's too-hoot how well she might be doing at Boeing, I only care about what she understands in terms of what she is about to vote on in a school board meeting and I hope that she knows more than I do.

Unfortunately, from the votes that I have seen, she has no idea what is going on or has only the concern of financial backers who will be paying for her next political campaign.

Dora Taylor said...

In terms of Sundquist, if someone ran against him who was authentic, he would be toast.

Anonymous said...

My experience with Sundquist was at a community chat where he sat there and claimed "we cut 85 jobs from central administration". He was trying to pull the wool over our eyes. Then he "listened" to people's comments, and later never responded to my email request.

He's a tool.

grumpy

Dora Taylor said...

In fact,

Sundquist, Maier, Carr, Harium and DeBell have all been tainted by the Broad through retreats, Broad book reading assignments, paid trips to DC and Denver and who knows what else.

I would suggest that anyone who has been tainted with that influence either needs to begin to show that they can begin to think for themselves or be thrown out in the upcoming elections.

And that means seriously reconsidering the re-segregation of our schools, Teach for America and MAP.

dan dempsey said...

Take a look at all of the 4-3 decisions.

To improve a system requires the intelligent application of relevant data.

The FOUR consistently tell fairy-tales and avoid the relevant data.

For this reason it would be pointless to have any of these four in office again. After 3.5 years of "leadership" nonsense from the crew ... elected by spending $480,000 to get elected in 2007, there is NO TIME left to correct for extremely poor dishonest decision making.

David said...

They may not deserve re-election, but, unless well qualified people run against them for school board, they will be re-elected. We need strong, well-funded, and eager candidates to be contesting all open seats in the next election.

Cranky said...

I'd never support anyone with the Broad-Gates style of ed. reform

Under MGJ, we were put through hell.

We saw first hand the influence of wealth and politics on our children's education.

Since MGJ's departure, I've been sleeping much better.


NEVER AGAIN!

Peon said...

Unless they have super strong opponents I will be supporting Carr and Meier. I think that there is a huge learning curve for board directors, and it seems that once they are up to speed and finally "get it", they are replaced with someone new, and the learning curve begins all over again. I think they have both made tremendous progress, and I think their "experience" will be very useful.

Martin-Morris and Sundquist should go. Period. I don't believe their is any way for them to redeem themselves at this point, and their non performance is more harmful that their "experience" is beneficial.

KSB and DeBell are both fantastic and I'm glad they will both be remaining on the board.

Betty is coming around - and I believe that her heart is in the right place. I think she lacks experience, and still has a lot to learn, but I think she is working and growing. I think she is still somewhat limited in her vision and advocacy (south end, minority, struggling students) and does not always see, or advocate for the big picture (all the other children and schools in SPS). Still, I am glad that she is remaining on the board, and have high hopes for her.

Dorothy Neville said...

I agree with Peon completely. Yes, both Maier and Carr have been somewhat slow to learn, yes both have said and done things that seemed outrageous and voted in ways that were damaging, but I do believe both have grown and that growth makes them valuable.

Peter has struck me as a man who values integrity. He wants to act with integrity. And as such, he had a strong belief in other's integrity. So when the public would offer suggestions that staff was acting with less than complete honesty and integrity, his response was to dismiss the messenger as the one without integrity. Very blind. I do believe that his eyes are now open, opened in an extremely painful way. That, with the experience he's gained from being on the board, makes me inclined to be hopeful about him in the future. (Now Sahila's anecdote does shoot holes in my theory, so that just shows that there is no clean pigeonhole for anyone. I can certainly see why that could be enough reason to not vote for him.)

Sherry. What does she do for Boeing? Because when I first started paying attention to her, I was struck by how... non-smart... she seemed. Clueless or just flaky or something, not a leader. But she has gotten in her groove and asks pointed questions, pushes the discussion in fruitful ways that shows a much more complex grasp of issues than I would have thought.

Is this growth enough for people to support them? That's going to be a personal decision, isn't it? How much are you willing to overlook past sins, how much do you believe in real change, how much do you think that their experience will make them better board members or whether their past records are too damning? With both Carr and Maier, I can see reasonable people arguing either way. With Sundquist and Martin-Morris, the answer seems much clearer to me.

Either way, we need candidates in all the races. No one should run unopposed. There are strong arguments that every race should have at least three candidates to force a primary election that will keep the candidates and their issues in the public eye longer.

gregf said...

Being a Director is a thankless job that requires a huge commitment of time because they have no staff to help vette information. The community tries to raise red flags, but are often ignored because the information cannot be confirmed or doing anything about it is politically impossible.


We DO need smart, savy, independent Directors willing to stand up to SOME of the "lifers" in key District administration who feel no compunction about telling the truth to the Board.


Perhaps the City can step in to donate a few staff folks for the School Board?


There is a huge learning curve. We cannot afford to keep turning out experienced Directors unless they have truly ceased to perform. In my opinion, Director Carr has worked hard to step in where politically possible. With tenure, comes additional political capital. Let's get them some staff!

seattle citizen said...

I agree with Peon and Dorothy. Some of the directors are starting to get into their grooves and (as of March...let's see what October brings...) seem to be actually functioning as board members.

Directors Martin Morris and Sundquist, however, don't seem to be asking serious questions, showing a range of thinking. Unless something different happens, I'm not too confident in either of them.

But then the district just hired Strategies 360 to be its Communications lead (yes, they only hired a S360 employee, but still...) so all bets are off. Once again, I have to keep a sharp eye out for who is in bed with who.

I'm still waiting to hear what directors know about Gates/Broad/Alliance/S360/Burgess/SPS backroom deals, and what they think about them. THEN I can vote next November with the straight skinny.

S360 in Comm seat....ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Unless an opponent is a discovery institute cretinist, or a non stealth arne acolyte, I have had it with adults who've spent the last 30 years not rocking the boat in their leafy neighborhoods, passing upppper middle cla$$ conventional wisdom across the soccer sidelines.

To Peter & Sherry Rubber Stamp - I think you're playing Potemkin Public Interest, and Potter-gate is a great opportunity to pretend that things are changing while you just rename all the Arne Duncan lies.

An Arne By Any Other Name Will Still Stink.

Anonymous said...

Four Board directors spent three years mindlessly rubberstamping the fake reformist agenda of MGJ. Either they did it knowingly, in which case they're disqualified for another term. Or they did it unknowingly, in which case they're disqualified for another term.

Go the PDC and look at the top contributors to their 2007 campaigns. How many of them live in Seattle? And of those, how many actually sent their children to SPS? Why would so many rich people want to support the campaigns of Board directors of public schools they didn't send their children to?

I realize that the rich have political interests, too. They spend their money on various causes, and some of them spend them on public education for the express purpose of influencing what shape it takes in the future. It doesn't matter what their intentions are. The effects of their actions are to undermine public education as an institution--an institution that is essential to a democratic political culture.

Under no circumstances will I support the incumbents.

Dot

StepJ said...

Sherry is the CFO of the Dreamliner project.