Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Endorsement for School Board Elections 2011, Position 3

I am endorsing Michelle Buetow in this race.  The other candidates are Harium Martin-Morris and John Dunn.

I give my highest endorsement, out of all the races, to Michelle.  I give it to her because:
  • Michelle knows the district.  Her learning curve is going to be short for a new Board member.
  • Michelle's background in communications and marketing would be a big "add" for our Board.  Her guidance in this area could help not only create better public engagement but also reframe the district's image.
  • Michelle listens and she has a pretty good memory (for the mom of 2 small children).  I've been surprised at her recall and that's another bonus for a job loaded with detail. 
  • She's enthused.  I think sometimes candidates can get busy looking serious and/or passionate and Michelle is just plain enthused about getting in there and helping guide our district to be better
Lastly, I respect Michelle for having given this idea of running serious thought.  She has been out in the community talking to everyone (and I mean everyone) she can for months now.  She's made the effort to meet leaders and others and use that knowledge to shape her campaign.  It has given her campaign a sharpness you don't often see from challengers.

I didn't get the chance to interview John Dunn but he and I have seen each other off and on for years at Board meetings.   He's a qualified person and an honorable man and he knows this district. 

I did talk to Harium Martin-Morris.

On the upside, I like Harium's enthusiasm over focusing on the alternative school system.  He feels like these can be our starter schools of innovation that are already in place.  He was the one who put forth the idea for John Miner, principal at Thorton Creek, to be a liaison between alternative schools because of his long experience. 

In talking about creating opportunities for schools to try innovative ideas (for maybe one subject area), he mentioned the "paralysis of process" which I thought was a great phrase for getting bogged down. 

He said that he hoped people would look at some of his key votes - voting against the sale of MLK, Jr. to First AME and voting against school closures - to see that he has not always followed Board voting patterns. 

On the downside - he didn't have much to say about anything he would do differently as a Board member based on his first term.  That really discouraged me.  It's hard to believe that over his term and the number of challenges and crises in this district that it has not lead him to thinking about what (or how) he might do differently going forward.  In the end, that's why I can't vote for him.


It was an interesting interview because the whole time I kept thinking, "Well, here's the guy I voted for last time.  Where has he been? And is he going to be there if re-elected?"  He was energetic and enthused but when I asked him about what I perceived as some withdrawal and silence over the last year or so, he demurred and said no.  It makes me unsure about what Harium we would get if he were re-elected. 

20 comments:

Charlie Mas said...

Director Martin-Morris does not believe that the Board should ever question the veracity of statements made by the staff.

That is a structural barrier to his ever fulfilling the board's duty of governance, oversight, accountability, or representing the public. At any step a district staff person could tell him that the matter was closed and he would stop right there.

This view makes him unqualified to serve.

Dora Taylor said...

How fricking ridiculous for Harium to say that.

Why else does he think a school board exist?!

Dora Taylor said...

And yes, I also believe that Michelle is the way to go.

Dora

Carol Simmons said...

I have yet to meet Michelle Buetow. If she has been out in the community talking with everyone, I missed that opportunity. It was a shame that she did not appear at the Metropolitan Democratic Club endorsement meeting also, as I would have liked to hear what she had to say.

While Harium did vote against closing schools and voted to allow students to graduate with a D average, his positions about Family field trips and restoring the failure grade along with his support of the Broad foundation were disappointing.

I can say from first hand experience that John Dunn is not only an "honorable man who knows this District", he is an extremely intelligent, caring, competent and experienced educator who supports students, parents, teachers and community. I worked with John Dunn for many years at Nathan Hale High School and had the opportunity to observe him working with all students. John taught French and also Special Education. His students progressed and prospered. John would stand up to the Administration of the school and to the central office administrators to advocate for his students. He likewise did the same as President of the Teacher's union to advocate for teachers. John does what is right. We cannot continue to lose children to the streets. We cannot afford to wait any longer for school board members to learn on the job. John Dunn will bring to the Board excellence, experience and superior knowledge of how schools work. Please vote for John Dunn. Thank you.
Carol Simmons

Anonymous said...

Someone fill me in on how this works -- we each vote for our own district representatives (I think I was actually mistaken about what that is for me -- 3, and not 2). Then, we'll all vote in the general election? Who will choose from there?

If Harium get's >50% in the district 3 voting, will he face any opposition in the general election? Otherwise is it the top 2?

zb, confused

Dorothy Neville said...

ZB, even if Harium gets 90% of the vote in the primary, the second highest person will also move to the general election. The likelihood of that happening is low, though.

So, yes, in the primary, those living in the affected districts will each get a chance to vote in their district race. Then in the general, everyone in the city will be able to select from two candidates -- the top two vote getters from each primary.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Thanks for the clarification Dorothy...
So that means that since Betty Patu is my board rep, I won't get a say in any of the primaries :(
I don't know how much I like this system, as I believe all of the incumbents will make it into the general election.
SolvayGirl

Anonymous said...

As a District III voter, I'm casting my ballot for Michelle Buetow. She is the only candidate who will represent the kids, families, parents, and neighborhoods of District III. She has been in this race and around this city since March meeting people and talking about schools issues. She has the knowledge, the skills, and the character to hold district administration to a higher standard than the current do-nothing/say-nothing incumbents.

I am not a member of LEV or Stand or a millionaire, so Harium Martin-Morris does not speak for me. I am not a teacher or retired teacher, so Seattle Education Association candidate John Dunn will not speak for me.

Michelle is a caring mom, a hardworking activist, and a great community person, and is by far the best challenger in this election cycle. I'm voting for her in both August and November.

Anonymous said...

Someone on another thread mentioned that one of the challengers in one of the districts did not strongly support alt schools. I asked then if anyone knew which person this was, as that is important to me. Does anyone have any info on this? I wondered, from an answer Dunn gave on something, if it was him. I could have misinterpreted his answer though because now I am _looking_ for this! and i don't want to do that...

into alts

Anonymous said...

into alts -- I'm the one who posted the rumor, and now I'm rumor-mongering again, without evidence, in a district that I don't know anything about. Hopefully that disclaimer gives you enough grains of salt to make sure you check out info on your own.

The person I heard the *rumor* about is Joy Anderson. I don't know, however, whether that rumor is at all reliable, and it would be better to research the candidate (I'm no tin District 6). It might, for example, be a flip side of the brouhaha over Cooper, and the reassignment of the school to an alternative (i.e. the Cooper/Pathfinder transition). Mel mentions that Anderson considers Cooper to be an important issue.

I'm posting my clarified rumor, because I didn't want my rumor to tar all the candidates (but hope I've been clear enough to not have it arbitrarily tar Joy, either).
zb

Melissa Westbrook said...

To clarify, Ms. Anderson mentions her experience at Cooper a lot but I don't believe it would be her focus.

As I said in this thread, Harium is interested in alts so you might talk to him (as well as the rest of the candidates).

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the rumor clarification! i will take it for what it is and do my own research. it just had me listening extra suspiciously to everyone and i didn't want to take something they said the wrong way because of it!
into alts

Anonymous said...

harium is interested in alts, but unfortunately i am too disappointed in him and will not be voting for him.
into alts

Anonymous said...

(Sorry, I forgot to sign my earlier post--please delete it)

As a District III voter, I'm casting my ballot for Michelle Buetow. She is the only candidate who will represent the kids, families, parents, and neighborhoods of District III. She has been in this race and around this city since March meeting people and talking about schools issues. She has the knowledge, the skills, and the character to hold district administration to a higher standard than the current do-nothing/say-nothing incumbents.

I am not a member of LEV or Stand or a millionaire, so Harium Martin-Morris does not speak for me. I am not a teacher or retired teacher, so Seattle Education Association candidate John Dunn will not speak for me.

Michelle is a caring mom, a hardworking activist, and a great community person, and is by far the best challenger in this election cycle. I'm voting for her in both August and November.

--J.R.

Kathy said...

Michelle Buetow has my vote! I believe she will be an excellent director.

Removing Harium would change the focus away from funding ideology and administration over direct
student support.

I'm often deeply disturbed by the millions of dollars being spent on an Academic Warehouse, merit pay and other initiatives that have not proven to close the opportunity gap.

Meanwhile, the district eliminated funding for summer school, re-entry specialists, drug and alcohol specialists and elementary school counselors. Ridiculous.

I believe Michelle would provide a common sense approach.

Intro alts- Sharon Peaslee supports multiple pathways to student success.

Chris S. said...

I'm another alt school parent, and I am very comfortable with Michelle's support for alt schoools. Harium called himself an alt school advocate, but in reality he was a big disappointment in that regard, save for his nickel-and-dime advocacy for his kid's alma mater.

Joy Anderson has been critical of Pathfinder, which I attribute to their loss of the building to Pathfinder, and to the [relative/perceived] privilege of that program. [brackets indicate I'm not really in a position to assess the accuracy of that statement.]

SST said...
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SST said...

John Dunn taught at Hale for many years, which is the closest to an alt HS in SPS, besides NOVA. I'd think he'd be fairly supportive of innovative and alt schools.

Nick Esparza said...

ReEndorsement for School Board Elections 2011, Position 3