Update: I just want to point out that the article mentions the other incumbents by name and position. I called the West Seattle Herald editor to ask if they were going to interview all those candidates and challengers. He said no, just the ones in West Seattle (which is fine).
I did point out to him that it was unfair to note the other incumbents and their position numbers and then not mention any challengers. He said he didn't see it that way. Well, I see it as free advertising for incumbents.
He should have put the names of everyone who is running if he was going to mention the incumbents.
It's interesting because either he or the reporter brought up Marty McLaren's concerns around Discovery Math. Here's what Steve said:
"It's not just about the textbook," countered Sundquist, who acknowledges that the scores are too low. "It's about the quality of instruction, and strategies principals and teachers are employing. I disagree with the notion that math is a trap door (to failure in school). John Boyd, longtime Chief Sealth principal has raised his math scores of his kids about 40 percent. That faculty has been significant supporters of Discovery Math. "
Well, as noted in another thread that Sealth stat is severely twisted. But, once again, Steve is happy to parrot any stat that staff members give him. That statement about "not the textbook" comes up later.
He goes on to talk about how great the math is going at Mercer and calls out McLaren.
"At Mercer Middle School on Beacon Hill, their MAP (Measure of Academic Progress) scores rose significantly this spring and they've been using a combination of the district's curriculum which Marty is objecting to, and to supplement that, a completely opposite kind of mathematics instruction called Saxon Math. It's not about 'one size fits all' and that if we simply switch to a different text book all our problems in mathematics instruction will go away.
He then goes onto talk about how Schmitz Park received a waiver to use Singapore math and there was one troubling statement that we should ALL remember for future use:
"Schmitz Park's faculty has a strong belief that they can be successful as a school with their kids using Singapore Math," he said. "They asked the School District to obtain a waver so instead of using the District text they could all use Singapore. the District granted the waver. I absolutely supported that. In fact, this year I was able to help convince the District to pay for those text books since that's their primary text books. They paid out of their discretionary income before. The District allows that as long as they deliver."
First things, first. In the comments section, I said this:
Steve talks about Mercer and Schmitz Park and their good math results. If we need a hybrid math, based on these results, why isn't that happening everywhere in the district? Has he advocated for this in other schools since Discovery Math seems to be no good on its own? Nope.
Also, Steve advocated for a school in his district to receive extra funding to buy extra textbooks? Wow, I thought we didn't have money to replace basic texts at some schools and the district has money to fund a second math textbook at one school? And how can other schools "deliver" if they aren't given waivers and extra textbooks? Primary or not, I'll lay odds they have the Discovery Math textbooks as well at Schmitz Park.
Our experience with Maria Goodloe-Johnson and our Chief Financial Officer and having to terminate them was terribly difficult for the Board and community,"
I'm not sure what that means. A hard decision? It shouldn't have been. Costly? Well, duh.
"We were surprised, saddened and disgusted by what we found when the state auditor revealed that whole situation," he said. "And when we conducted our own private investigation to determine where the fault lay and it was clear that the oversight that our CFO and Maria had on management had been inadequate.
But Steve, you knew in 2008, there were issues in the SBW. You could have read the Sutor Report and didn't. (Or rather in your own investigation, Patty Eakes took pains to NOT explain what each director knew and when he/she knew it. So I have to go with what the timeline shows which is that each and every director could have known of the Sutor Report and didn't take the interest to find out what it was and read it. And, there's the issue of Peter reading it and finding it "concerning" and yet, not telling other directors to read it.)
Also Sundquist waited 6 months to launch an investigation AFTER Potter was fired and AFTER the State Auditor had found the SBW program to be problematic. Why the wait?
He then says:
"From a governance perspective I feel really good that the Board responded aggressively to a difficult situation," he said. "I accept responsibility that it happened on my watch and I am really disappointed about that. Having said that, there are a number of things happening in the school system which are very positive, including improvements to the governance system which are a byproduct of these difficult state audits and this experience.
Responded aggressively? What else could you do, Steve with the press beating down the door to cover this situation? I said this in the comments:
The big question here is - what will you do differently going forward if you accept responsibility for your lack of oversight?
He claims the "difficult" audits are the reason they are overhauling the governance policies and that's not true. Brita Butler-Wall, former school director, stated in another thread that her Board had already started this work and yes, it was going on before the bad audits. I don't know why he counts this as a "byproduct" of the audits.
"In my three and a half years I have held over 50 community meetings twice a month,.."
I agree that Steve has probably had more community meetings than any director in recent history. And that's great but if the listening is not used to guide his decisions, well, then it's just polite listening. Does he use that input to guide his decisions? There's not a lot of evidence it has.