Thursday, August 18, 2011

Want to Help School AND Make Your Kid a Star?

The Families and Education Levy campaign is creating a commercial on the steps of Garfield High School on Sunday, August 28th from noon to 1 p.m. and are seeking the participation of 100 kids, ages 5-18. 

Here's a link to the City's page on the levy and its activities since 1990.

This is a great opportunity to help create awareness and support for the F&E levy and let your kid be on tv.  I'm sure they'll want enthusiasm and bubbly types so if you have one of those at home, bring them.

Garfield is at 400 23rd Avenue and they will be meeting on the front steps.

No compensation but lots of fun.

Please e-mail Steven if you are interested and he will send the parent release form to download and sign (in case you have an older kid you just want to send out on their own).  He will also have them available at the shoot if you just want to show up. 

Steven Jones, Campaign Manager
FamiliesAndEd@gmail.com
(206) 552-9148


14 comments:

Sahila said...

this is BS and exploitation, especially when/how the money is used is never transparent....

from a discussion thread elsewhere (read from the bottom up to get the chronological order):

...Holly said a number of things at that meeting that I found...interesting. I suspect that what they are planning to fund this time round is being influenced by who the 'partners' are. My initial question about why the mayor had a secret meeting about charters was never adequately answered either. I really did not get the sense that people like us -- parents, community activists with no moneyed ties -- were invited to the table with this levy. They want our votes and money and blog support, it seems, but not our input.

.... Yup. Holly is nearly single handedly in charge of all F&EL decisions.

.... I have repeatedly questioned the rationale for what they fund and repeatedly asked why they don’t fund more effective strategies. She was so rude to me the last time I called that I was shocked. That is how they treat people who ask relevant questions or questions at all it seems.

... I think the levy folks know exactly who they're working with -- that's my concern.

In fact, when I arranged a meeting with the city's dept. of neighborhood person to discuss the mayor's quasi-secret Feb 4. meeting about charters (that included no school bd members or parents, but did include people from Gates and CRPE and probably the Alliance etc), the dept of neighb head Holly Miller changed the focus of the meeting to the levy .... and the senior policy analyst with her was a woman (Kacey Guin) whose previous job was at CRPE. (http://www.seattle.gov/directory/section.asp?ID=2672)

* (She seemed nice enough. Her husband is an SPS teacher. But she seemed to downplay the significance of Brad Bernatek false17 percent college ready number, which was the scandal of the moment back then, and I found this curious.)


.... A quick note about CRPE - it is directed by Paul T. Hill of the Hoover Institution, an extremely conservative pro-business think tank that also spawned economist Milton Friedman. Not sure if the levy folks understand who they're working with.

More info:

http://sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Center_on_Reinventing_Public_Education

Sahila said...

contd:

....I agree that there is sufficient cause for concern with the F&E Levy.
I followed the process pretty closely and have taken a good look at the history of the levy over 20 years. Pretty underwhelming results overall.

It was disappointing that the voice of parents was not welcome there. Public comments were prohibited at the committee meetings.

MAP test scores are embedded in the evaluation of outcomes, too, which IMO is a problem.

Families and education have to be joined at the hip. “Wrap Around Services” will not get the job done. That’s the bottom line. It’s ironic that both SPS and the city government keep building firewalls and obstacles to a productive collaboration of families and schools in the process of educating kids.

The district sees family involvement as “math night” or “curriculum night” instead of the serious work of sharing the education responsibilities.

The city thinks non-profits are the answer to education.

I don’t buy it.

.... Speaking of all this, has anyone here carefully studied the proposed Families & Ed Levy renewal? There is some wording in there that sounds reformy, and potentially sounds like plans to sign over some school and wraparound related services to outside/private enterprises. Now, some of these may be positive and genuine community partnerships, but I'm not sure that they all are.

I've been wondering if the levy has some funding & wording embedded in it that will lead to the creation of these "innovation" (charter-style) schools, with all the private, outside, unaccountable influences one gets with such arrangements and many charters.
In sum, is the levy going to be used to fund and empower an end-run around our states no-charter laws?

A troubling sign: Those who have been chosen to be on the Levy Oversight Committee have included people like former charter principal and CRPE 'researcher' Bree Dusseault (of the Martin Floe firing debacle), politically connected and agenda-driven people like LEV's pro-charter, pro-privatizing Chris Korsmo and TFA-connected and Muni League person Greg Wong, all as "citizen representatives" (!) (http://www.seattle.gov/neighborhoods/education/committees_archive.htm)

There is some good stuff in the levy, but also some eyebrow-raisers. Plus, the city is asking for twice as much as last time. Why?
http://www.seattle.gov/neighborhoods/education/edlevy.htm

Just saying said...

I picked up "measured results".

In the end, I think this will come back to bite them. We already had the guy from Washington Policy Center advocating against the levy due to lack of results.

Yet, I firmly believe kids benefit from counselors, health care etc., even if it can't be measured with the ridiculous MAP test.

None the less, I'll be sure to take a close look at wording.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Sahila, this levy is very transparent. They put out an annual report with a lot of detail (unlike the district). They pull projects if they don't see results.

This round they will fund direct interventions and college counseling at the neediest high schools. It's a great start. They also fund some summer school.

No, the results are stellar but they have sharpened their focus.

I don't agree with the City asking for more. I wish they hadn't but they felt they needed to be doing more (like summer school and direct interventions).

I feel confident this is not any end run to charters.

If we lose this levy, every single health center in every single comprehensive high school will close down. It's the only health care some teens ever get.

A lot of early education work will stop.

Please, read the levy. The annual reports are on-line. But the Mayor and his staff are serious about seeing results and have really ruffled some feathers in pulling projects.

Jan said...

Sahila -- well, nuts. Every time I think it might be safe to maybe exhale and assume that something that looks and sounds benign IS actually benign, you come along with your vegetable peeler (or maybe, in your case, it is a BS peeler), scrape off the skin -- and damned if there isn't ed reform gunk growing under there. Thanks again for posting comments that will make me start digging again. I would really hate to have to oppose the F & E Levy -- this is starting to make me feel like a tea partier (vote NO on everything -- and starve that gummint beast). But I am getting to be beyond sick of sneaky, behind the scenes "deals" that are whitewashed for public view.

A child's education belongs to the child -- and is primarily the responsibility (and prerogative) of his/her parents -- until the child is old enough to take responsibility for it. We have historically let the state "run" it on the grounds that it is more cost effective (and socially beneficial) to do so -- and because in the past, parents couldn't easily get access to the content (not the case anymore). We (or at least I) did NOT give the government the ability to cut me out of all decision-making, turn schools into high stakes testing factories with scripted lesson plans and flash in the pan teachers who are constantly looking over their shoulders (or cheating on the tests) so they don't get fired, while huge amounts of the taxes paid to educate the kids are shunted off to big for-profit businesses who make, administer and score the tests, "train" the Potemkin teachers, and force feed us expensive, bad curriculum, with annual consumables costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Jan said...

Melissa -- the link in the post goes to a page that is levy related. But -- responding to your appropriate request for people to read this thing -- is there an easy place to go to read all of the levy stuff -- the report, etc. Also, is this like school levies, where they can say whatever they want to get levy funds, but have no legal obligation to actually spend the levy dollars as advertised (I am remembering all those "textbooks" that were supposed to have been purchased with the last levy dollars, but weren't).

With Melissa This Time said...

Those health centers are the only reason one of my daughter's friends didn't kill herself in high school and another isn't a (very unprepared) teenage mother. The counseling is the only reason some of them even CONSIDERED college, and god knows early interventions are needed for many kids.

I agree with Melissa-this isn't a levy to oppose. Sahila is advocating leaving many teens among others to crap lives that could be avoided with this levy. I oppose THAT. Sometimes the sky is falling cry just isn't true.

Jan said...

With Melissa -- I don't disagree. And I assume that you and Melissa are correct that continued maintenance of the health centers is funded -- but where is that stated? How do I connect the dots?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Take the time to explore the levy campaign link. There's lots of information there to help you see what this levy is about.

Also, I'm adding the City's link for info since 1990.

Anonymous said...

As long as we're on the subject, there is an independent committee formed to support the Levy. It is called Families Yes, and it has raised, as of now, $199,095.00. (This is all available on the PDC website for nerds who like this stuff.)

Needless to say, the contributors list consists largely of our wealthy political elite.

My favorite part is the expenditures. They've already managed to spend $71,595.38. On what, prey tell? The biggest expenses are for polling and consulting. That's it.

So what the heck is going on here? When we see this kind of money being spent on consulting and polling for a practically non-existent campaign, shouldn't we be asking questions?

DWE

Melissa Westbrook said...

I'm absolutely saying you should ask questions.

Maybe the campaign isn't doing as much as you think they should but I know Steven is working very hard.

I will remind you that a lot of powerful people do back good things because (1) it's the right thing to do (2) they know the district isn't getting this work done and (3) it attracts other people.

Again, read the levy links and see what we give up if the levy loses. This levy has many more direct services to students and schools than most other levies.

Anonymous said...

Melissa,

The levy may be a very good thing--certainly the Mayor made a good case for it at the 36th. And many of the contributors to Families Yes may have the purest of motives. But I do wonder when an independent committee for a school levy has already spent $70K on mostly consulting and polling.

Come on--isn't that a little weird?

DWE

Dorothy Neville said...

DWE, when I dug into PDC and found out how much money has been spent on school levies I was similarly shocked. Yes, perhaps before the rule was changed to a simple majority, but after that, there is no reason at all to spend so much money on school levies when they pass so easily. Yet spending went up instead of down. It is weird.

I am conflicted with who is on the citizen advisory committee, people such as Bree Dusseault and Greg Wong.

Anonymous said...

Well, what is the recent track record so far?

1 - Mayor McGinn promised a two-week response time to submited questions at the Mayor/Enfield town hall in June. I'm still waiting.

2 - The City continues to allow the police to be used as "palace guards" in the schools, harrassing, etc. people with no legal basis and no due process.

3 - The City continues to allow over-crowding in classrooms even though it's a clear safety/fire issue.

4 - The new City sponsored whistleblower line does not enforce anthing. And won't investigate Bree Dusseault (now I know why).

5 - The District is spending tax payer voted book money on other stuff. As Enfield said recently, 'There nothing illegal about that."

I would be happy to support a levy for better schools if someone would just tell me how to trust the "players".

-JC.