Friday, October 07, 2011

Response on Program Placement Policy Violations

As readers may know, I have been contacting the Board about the district's violation of the program placement policy. The policy requires the superintendent to make an annual report to the Board on program placement decisions and requires the superintendent to make the program placement procedures available to the public. There was no report to the board that met the requirements of the policy and there are no procedures available to the public.

I finally have my answer from the district. It acknowledges the violation of the policy, but makes no apology and expresses no intention to comply with the policy in future. In short: "Yeah, we violated the policy. So what? Stop bugging us about it."

This is Susan Enfield's transparency.

This is Sherry Carr's culture of compliance.

This is Steve Sundquist's accountability.

This is Peter Maier's community engagement.

9 comments:

dan dempsey said...

Charlie,

You give me hope. You got an answer.

Dr. Carol Simmons and I have been unable to get answers.

Here is my latest try to get answers.

As I said in my 10-5-2011 testimony:
Why does it take $240 and a trip to superior court to get an answer?

Looking at the response you received, it is evident that these folks are very resistant to correct behavior.

Policies and the laws are hardly guides for the Central Administration or the Directors .... WOW instead of correct behavior ... let us hear all about the directors philosophizing on Government and Management duties --- Naval Gazing 101.

Reelect none of these folks this year... please.

Let us just face it ... decisions made have very little to do with the children ... the TfA decision is a prime example.

The "circumstances warrant" use of the achievement gap was de facto recommended by PESB executive director, Jennifer Wallace. Take a look on page 7 ... back in December of 2009..... What a Scam.

Friday December 11, 2009 ... PESB Executive Director Jennifer Wallace writes:

Let's try this - see if you can sign on to this statement ---
Because the WAC is relatively broad "circumstance warrant" - OSPI Cert doesn't have criteria that speaks to acceptable versus unacceptable "circumstances" - so as long as the district presents the rationale, you have no grounds for denial. True?
Also -- can either you or Debbie recall ever denying a conditional cert application based on rationale viewed as inadequate?


So that was in December of 2009 ... then in Nov 2010 the district enters into an agreement with TfA ... apparently believing that "circumstances warrant" can fly this around WAC 181-79A-231.

Now we have Holly Ferguson basing these TfA conditional certification applications on "circumstances warrant" ... THIS IS NOT A COINCIDENCE. Seems the appropriate C word might be conspiracy.

The Board refuses to answer the big question... Was a careful review of all options to TfA for closing the achievement gaps performed?

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PESB = Professional Educator Standards Board...

Seems pretty odd that the Executive Director of the PESB is busy promoting TfA for two years instead of being concerned with the legal regulation of conditional certificates under the WAC.

dan dempsey said...

Also in regard to Seattle and TfA community engagement.....

Having the vendor talk with various groups was considered community engagement.

So I should listen to the Auto salesman rather than getting in a group and reading consumers reports.

Charlie Mas said...

I think what finally triggered a response was my email to customer service. I made a complaint using the District's complaint process.

Carol Simmons said...

Congratulations Charlie,

I finally received an answer to the questions I had asked regarding TFA. I testified twice at the School Board meetings, asking for an answer and I also submitted my questions in an email correspondence to the School Board. Finally I emailed Director Smith-Blum directly. She responded stating that she had notified Erin and that if I did not receive an answer to let her know. I received an answer from Ms. Holly Ferguson the next day. Not a satisfactory one, but an answer.

This is a ridiculous process to go through.

Not A Lawyer said...

I am confused about what it means when the district violates policy and what recourse is available. Anyone know?

The Board is supposed to enforce policy. If it fails to do that, is the only recourse to vote them out? Or are there any other options?

Does failure to enforce policy expose the district to risk of court challenge? If, for example, a parent sues over unfavorable program placement, will failure to follow policy increase the likelihood of the court deciding against the district and forcing a change in program placement?

In short, what weight does board policy have and what are all the possible outcomes when policy is violated?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Not a lawyer, those are questions that go to the heart of this election and this district.

What power does the Board have and how are they able to exercise it? Every director seems to have a different idea (even as the Washington State Directors assn seems clear on it).

They live in absolute fea of being accused of "micromanaging" the Super or staff. It's a fear that Cheryl Chow put into them, that Don Nielson put into them, the Alliance, the Times.

I'm sorry but if basic policies - like program placement that affects all students - cannot be enforced by our elected officials, then we need people who will.

Charlie Mas said...

Back before the most recent policy revision there used to be a policy that said that the District's policies were not enforcable by a Court. You couldn't sue them for breaking their own policies. That's off the menu.

What should have happened, of course, is that the superintendent should have informed the Board that - for whatever reason - she would be unable to follow the policy. Then the Board should have voted to suspend the policy.

Instead, the superintendent just breaks the policy - hoping no one will notice. When it is noticed, the Board just sweeps it under the rug and everyone stays quiet about it.

It should have been done in an open and transparent way. The outcome would have been the same but they would have followed the correct procedures and they wouldn't have tried to float the ridiculous fiction that the policy was not violated - an action that cheapened and degraded us all.

dan dempsey said...

"Does failure to enforce policy expose the district to risk of court challenge?"

Sure violation of policy would help in constructing a case .... but as to a win/?/?/

Seems unlikely there is either enough interest or money to pursue such a legal challenge long enough to get a positive result.

The big exception was the "racial tie breaker" practice. As soon as the appeal was filed by Harry Correll the district stopped using the racial tie breaker and waited for the legal outcome, which came way later.

The District lost in every court but took this all the way to the US Supreme Court. No idea how much the district spent on this, but they eventually settled with Mr. Correll by paying him, the attorney for the successful appellants, in the neighborhood of $700,000.

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The closure of schools, performed by the district, is headed to Washington Appeals court on 11/3/2011.... This is still dragging on from the Closure of Cooper (the Sundquist inspired give away to Pathfinder, which overcrowded Northern West Seattle elementary schools) and four other schools. The district failed to comply with the law that requires a certified correct transcript of the evidence used to make the decision within 20 days of the filing of the appeal. The evidence was piecemeal provided over a huge length of time and never certified to be correct. The Superior Court did not care.

The district is claiming that any appeal at this point is moot because it is all water under the bridge.

Also on 11/3/2011 comes the Appeals Court appeal of the New Tech Network contract. This time not brought by the appellants but by their attorney, Scott Stafne. His point is that the court dismissed that case because he refused to proceed without the legally required "certified correct transcript of evidence". The law is clear "Such filings shall be certified to be correct."

Stafne argued it is not possible for him to represent clients in such an appeal case without a correct transcript.

Side note: Although the law in this case makes clear it is the Board's responsibility to provide the correct transcript within the 20 days. Four Directors maintained otherwise (in declarations during a recall sufficiency hearing). stating that it was delegated to staff and therefore not their responsibility.. (this is a crock, the Directors can'y delegate away their legal responsibility).

By the way it was CAO Enfield that submitted the transcript and failed to certify it as correct... the transcript contained a false copy of a memo sent to the Board on which the NTN Action Report was based. Dr. Enfield was the lead person in the production of the action report and yet she submitted a document masquerading as the original memo she used.

The Board in the interests of accountability I guess ... made Dr. Enfield the interim Superintendent .. go figure.
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Seems unlikely there is either enough interest or money to pursue such a legal challenge long enough to get a positive result.

It is darn near impossible to get the directors to do the right thing in so many areas.

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Jack W. has it correct. We are under the rule of "The Techno Duped".

So what has the $800,000 New Tech Network contract done for the district.... ?? "Techno Duped"

dan dempsey said...

Here is the macro view on Violations and Accountability ... from a friend of mine:

The reality is they don't have to give accountability to anything any more. You only think they should have to. While you, and the rest of us, weren't watching, the nebulous "they" stole our republic.

"They did this deliberately, quietly, patiently, and thoroughly over a period of fifty plus years. What your are experiencing is the result of this theft. We are no longer governed based on law. Oh, to be sure, there are still laws there but as you have discovered time and again, those laws are not being followed... and there are no consequences for operating outside the laws. Until the stolen goods are restored asking for accountability may be an exercise of futility.

Sorry, I have no answer. The problem lies in federal legislation. .....

The lawyer Jenni in reviewing federal law related to education uncovered some things that advocates and others have not noticed or brought up. Incredible findings. In one sentence the lawyer sums up the findings: "What we discovered is a transition to a tyrannical form of government."

Many of us have worked on addressing problems in math. From that, some have realized the math issues are only manifested symptoms of larger problems. Some do not want to see that and want to stay focused on treating the symptoms as if they are the cause. The problems are thoroughly embedded in our society's shift in thinking.

(Is there any thinking done at all.... I really think society lets others think for them.... or tell them what to think), the federal control grab, and a quest for global everything undermines our nation. The guiding principles the nation once had and held dear have vanished.


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The problem is clearly a lot bigger than the SPS Techno Dupe.

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The problems clearly go far beyond the Common Core State Standards national Techno Dupe and economic meltdown ... these are only symtoms of the disease.