I've been off-line a bit but have kept up a bit. I am a bit astonished at the reception by the Times and LEV over Marty McLaren's victory over School Board President, Steve Sundquist.
The Times said that Steve got along with City Hall officials and legislators but didn't every mention that Steve received a vote of no-confidence from the teachers union. Maybe Steve should have worked on the relationships with parents and teachers.
They state that maybe Steve lost because of the things that happened over the last year (try 3 years). But then they go on to say but the other three got reelected "handily." (Apparently they haven't been keeping up on the numbers in the Maier/Peasless race.) And, they don't explain exactly why they think Sundquist lost until the end of their editorial.
It was the teachers union support. Then they go on to petulantly whine over the campaign contributions issue. A union contribution - which generally is a large group of people who work together on specific views/issues - is not like getting money from a small and select group of wealthy people, some of whom don't even live in Seattle.
Then the Times says something odd.
The teachers union's hard work on McLaren's behalf is confusing. Its parent organization, the National Education Association, touts innovative reforms in Seattle that were launched on Sundquist's watch — including new teacher evaluations and schools extending the learning day.
No explanation. Does that mean they believe the NEA is more progressive and the SEA supported someone they think will support their (less progressive) views? Who knows (and obviously, the Times could have made it clear but chose to be obtuse).
They end this way:
McLaren is a retired teacher. A new member joins the School Board. The focus remains on students and a better-run district.
Again, what is that?
Then, over at LEV, there's this from head Chris Korsmo in her "news roundup":
A little hiccup happened on the way to Seattle managing to keep its election-night act together. After passing the Families and Education Levy, and managing to re-elect three of the four incumbents running for school board, the Emerald City rudely cast out School Board President, Steve Sundquist. In an upset, Seattle elected a retired substitute math teacher – a result that has some casting about for answers and left to wonder, what happened? Teachers’ union contributions happened. And likely a whole lot of other stuff. But without the benefit of exit polling, we’ll likely never know, exactly.
Rudely? You mean it was rude to use the electorial process to elect the School Board?
"A retired substitute teacher." You mean Marty McLaren - someone who taught pre-school, co-created a program for homeless children, who taught middle and high school math as a full-time teacher and was a substitute (part of the time at South Lake High School, a reentry school for high-needs students). And, a former PTSA president.
There is no honor or substance in being a retired teacher?
And again, there's the singling out of the union. Boy, if they were that powerful, how come all the incumbents didn't flip? If they were that powerful, why did they agree to changes in their teacher evaluations?
No, we don't know exactly why some education voices in this city want to speak in bitter and unkind tones about these outcomes rather than acknowledging that Marty McLaren won this race by appealing to more voters than Steve Sundquist.
Maybe it's a little bit of fear that now the Board will be more balanced and nuanced and maybe, just maybe, the outcomes from every vote might not always be a foregone conclusion.
In a bit of irony, just as MGJ gets a job doing something in the state education system in Michigan, the Detroit School Board President was ousted by...a retired teacher. Must be something in the water.