Gee, a lot of local education news seems to be about specific individuals these days, like our own People magazine.
We have Representative Eric Pettigrew (D-37) making yet more news for placing $3 million for Seattle Schools into the state house budget. There are a number of interesting bits about this story. First there is the obvious conclusion that he (and his backers) hope this will save his political future in the 37th District. Kind of like a celebrity donating to charity to save his reputation after getting caught in a scandal. Second is the characterization of the funding as a "gift" by the Seattle Times. Later today I'm going to present my children with the "gift" of food, clothing and shelter. Third is the lack of interest in the similar state funding for small, rural high schools. Isn't that also a "gift"? Will this money for southeast Seattle schools restore Mr. Pettigrew to the good graces of his local party supporters? How will the District spend it? What accountability comes with this money? Stay tuned.
We also have our own version of The Bachelorette starring Dr. Enfield accepting the position of superintendent of Highline Schools. Lots of interesting celebrity-style gossip here as well. Why Highline instead of Bellevue? How did Highline steal her away from Bellevue? Was Bellevue too slow? Why will her husband now move to the area when the he didn't move here after she got the Seattle CAO job? How little confidence did she have in that job and why does she have confidence in this one? Will she introduce Highline to Teach for America, Discovery Math, Fidelity of Implementation expectations, and merit pay for teachers? Will Southwest Seattle families choose Highline schools in greater numbers - or fewer? Stay tuned!
Finally there is the story with real star power - the celebrity gossip around Nick Hanauer's famous tantrum and all of the responses to it from WEA President Mary Lindquist and others. You absolutely have to read the response from WWU professor Bill Lyne. It currently tops my list of "Things that I wish I had written". Of course, there are those who have sided with Mr. Hanauer, including Jon Bridge, Jabe Blumenthal, Paul Brainerd, the Seattle Times and all of the Gates Foundation finger puppet organizations. They remind me of the question "If you're so smart, how come you ain't rich?" and the traditional response: "If you're so rich, how come you ain't smart?". There are the 99% who think Mr. Hanauer has exposed himself as a thoughtless, childish, self-important, entitled prat, but who cares about them - they aren't celebrities. This story is getting a lot of oxygen right now because we have no use for celebrities who behave themselves. We want them to explode spectacularly like Charlie Sheen and Tom Cruise.
Is it me, or do these stories read more like celebrity gossip than anything else?