(Update: It is with great sorrow that I pass on the news of the sudden death of Senator Scott White who was found dead in a hotel room while attending a leadership conference. There was no evidence of foul play and an autopsy will be performed to find the cause of death. Senator White, who had two small children, was a Seattle legislator - Laurelhurst, Northgate, Broadview, Wedgwood, Lake City and Greenwood - who cared deeply about public education. It is a loss to Seattle.)
The Seattle Times has come out with a story about the brouhaha at JSIS over the pledge of allegiance. The Times does not cover the issue the way we first head it with some parents believing that it is wrong to make undocumented students to recite the pledge. The Times covers the story as JSIS being a global school and that it is nationalistic to recite the pledge and so hurts the goals of the school.
It seems that many parents understand that any child can opt out and as long as that option is available, why is this an issue?
From the story:
In fact, the administration sent an email to all district principals reminding them of their legal responsibility regarding the pledge — the first such reminder issued during the school year "in recent memory," district spokeswoman Teresa Wippel said.
The district doesn't have the resources to enforce the policy on a day-to-day basis, Wippel said.
Clearly Ms. Wippel's statement is true and just as the parents don't see this as the biggest issue for public education, neither does the district. But in comes Steve Sundquist:
The School Board's policy is clear. State law is clear. And our job is to follow the state law and to follow our policy, so I'm firmly in the camp that says we need to be doing this," Sundquist said.
I can hear Charlie now "What?!?" Yes, I agree. THIS is the one School Board policy that Sundquist wants to uphold? Out of ALL the policies that the Board has not enforced, this is the one he thinks should be enforced?
This also brings up the issue of school governance. No one here commented on the recent SCPTSA meeting with Dr. Enfield on school governance so I don't know what was said there. But what IS school governance and notification?
For example, Ex. Director Marni Campbell said in the Times' article that the principal spent a month coordinating the implementation of the pledge. (Which begs the question, really? She had that much time to spend on this one issue that has - let's be honest - so little effect on student academic achievement?)
But the principal's communication was apparently with the BLT. What was the duty of the principal or BLT or PTA to communicate to parents that this was coming?
What is the duty of the district to tell principals to a notice in the parent newsletter that Board policies relating to their student are changing? That, for example, principals will decide what family vacations they will or will not excuse?
What is the district's policy on principal placement and the role of parents in helping to select their principal?
In short, what role do parents play in how their school runs?
The Times has received over 400 comments on this story and the majority are for the pledge and wonder about why this is even an issue.
Don Alexander, an education activist in the SE, used to always echo the part "and justice for ALL" quite loudly for the Board to hear at the end of the pledge at the Board meetings. That always made me smile as that is probably the most important part of the pledge.