Saturday, February 04, 2012

The Times Still Doesn't Know How to Read

Oh, and now the fighting over charters really starts.  Neither bill about charters made it out of committee and some people are really steaming. 

Here's an AP story

Business groups have been pushing the bills, and moderate Democrats have signaled they want to see such reforms approved before considering new taxes. Tom accused McAuliffe of simply following the requests of teachers unions and failing to consider the impacts on students.

That seems a bit backwards.  Bring on more spending BEFORE you vote in the money to pay for it?

McAuliffe said she and Tom have been negotiating for weeks and have not been able to come to an agreement on this issue.

"I have told Senator Tom I will compromise on these bills," she said. "They have not moved one inch."

This is a deeply flawed bill.  I find it interesting that Senator Tom won't negotiate on it.

Tom said a heated discussion over the issue hosted by Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, D-Spokane, failed to resolve the disagreement Friday morning.

Brown said there isn't support within the Democratic caucus for the charter-school bill, but that Tom and Republican Sen. Steve Litzow said nothing would pass out of the committee unless Tom's charter-school and evaluation bills were approved without amendments.

"It's never going to work in the Senate to say 'my way or the highway,' " Brown said.
Brown said the teacher-evaluation bills, one sponsored by Tom and another supported by Gov. Chris Gregoire, are still on the table.


What's interesting are some of the comments especially in yet-another Times editorial on the subject.  Here's a few comments from the editorial:


"It is discouraging that two individuals could completely block the dialogue from happening," said Ramona Hattendorf, of the Washington state PTA. "The idea of having a good evaluation and discussing how it should be used is not radical."

Oh, you mean like when people in leadership use their power to push an agenda?  That kind of discouraging?


Colleagues, led by Republican Sens. Steve Litzow, R-Mercer Island, and Rodney Tom, D-Medina, refused to take a vote on any bill if McAuliffe refused to consider charters.

Well, okay but you'd have to explain to the rest of the Legislature how one issue would cause you to not do any other work.


But efforts to tie them (teacher evaluations)  to student growth measures — including test scores — have been rejected by the teachers union and the Democrats who do their bidding.

Unlike Republicans who do the bidding of wealthy outside interests.


Profiles in courage include Rep. Eric Pettigrew, a Democrat who shares Santos' South Seattle district, home to some of the Seattle Public Schools' neediest students. Pettigrew wrote a thoughtful bill authorizing 10 closely monitored charter schools a year. They would be run by nonprofits, focus on struggling students and could use unionized teachers. Nothing in that bill could lead anyone to think it privatized education.

This paragraph was a whopper. 

One, Pettigrew did NOT write this bill alone.  Senator Tom even said that to me. 

Two, there is no more "monitoring" of charters in this bill than most other charter laws.  Which, given national stats on charter school closures, means not as much as there should be. 

Three, obviously the Times do NOT read the bill because yes, charters could be run/managed by FOR-PROFITs and there is no guarantee ANY of the charters will definitely focus on struggling students.  So yes, if for-profit companies can come in via charters OR Transformation Zone schools, then it is privatization.


Students don't have time for drama. Adults must find areas of agreement and move toward politically doable solutions.

Right, the old "adult issues" diatribe.   I'm sorry but  that gets really old.  Also, "politically doable?"

32 comments:

seattle citizen said...

"Pettigrew did NOT write this bill alone. Senator Tom even said that to me."

Do we know the authors?

Melissa Westbrook said...

All I know is Tom said "a broad coalition" and did not elaborate.

seattle citizen said...

Are you sure he didn't say "the Broad Coalition"?

I'm sure ol' Eli's got a few....

Or maybe he meant, "a broad coalition of coalitions, alliances, leagues, and, of course, Stand For Children, the principal author"?

dw said...

Are you sure he didn't say "the Broad Coalition"?


Hahahaha! Thanks for the laugh today, I needed that.

Charlie Mas said...

The bill came from ALEC.

Chris S. said...

Charlie beat me to it!

And which two people is Ramona referring to?

Brian will hopefully do a News piece on this topic.

seattle citizen said...

Ah, of course it's ALEC, the same free-market Ed Reformers meeting this weekend down there in SC with legislators:
ALEC Education "Academy" Launches on Island Resort
(heck, EVERYbody is an "academy" these days, even Blackwater! I guess some Reforming privatizers can be one, too!)

And the ALEC who wrote their Report Card On American Education tha doesn't report on education at all, but merely purports to show how many states have done the Reforms ALEC wants...

Check out the appendices at the bottom of the "report card." Two are of interest, the last two. One tells us ALEC's legislative goals, overall (though I can't find a link to individual templates for creating law, such as might have been used here in WA). The other appendice tells us some of the "reform" organizations ALEC likes, including our own Washington Policy Center. Helps explain why the WPC brought that charter salesman from Louisiana up here the other day....

Anonymous said...

ALEC = Koch brothers = arch-conservative Republicans.

I get Litzow running with that crowd, but Rodney Tom? Embarrassment to the Democrat Party. But forget parties and go to ideals. ALEC is fundamentally against everything the public school system is built upon.

This charter push and specifically this bill stinks to high heaven.

-skeptical-

Charlie Mas said...

You think running with ALEC is bad for Rodney Tom, what do you think it means for Eric Pettigrew?

Michael H said...

@Melissa: "Unlike Republicans who do the bidding of wealthy outside interests."

That's total and complete bullshit - implying that only Republicans do that. As if the Democrats don't do the same thing.

Anonymous said...

Good lord. I had no idea it was ALEC behind the charter bill. Does Pettigrew have any idea what he has stepped in? ALEC is - no joke - the worst of the conservative movement. Yes the Koch brothers bankroll it. Yes it wants govt. privatized. Yes it wants to end public ed.

For you connect-the-dots types, ALEC makes Broad look like amateur hour. BAD news.

One excerpt from long article about ALEC: The Kochs’ mistrust of public education can be traced to their father, Fred, who ranted and raved that the National Education Association was a communist group and public-school books were filled with “communist propaganda,” paranoia that extended to all unions, President Eisenhower and the “pro-communist” Supreme Court. Such redbaiting might be ancient history if fifty years later David were not calling President Obama a “hard-core socialist” who is “scary.”

McAuliffe and Tomiko-Santos were hugely brave to stare down this super PAC. This is about more than charters. This is about democracy.

EdVoter

Sahila said...

@EdVoter.... its about democracy (and oligarchs) ....I've been saying that for 3+ years.... welcome tho the ranks of the paranoid conspiracy theorists!

Bubble test question:
How long do you think it will take for the others to accept this fact of life?
A: One year
B: Two years
C: When we're out fighting in the streets
D: Not in this lifetime

Sahila said...

More than you ever wanted to know about ALEC: ALEC Exposed

if you thought it would never happen here, you are wrong

and if you think there is nothing wrong with this, you are also wrong...

time to wake up, people..."something is rotten in the state of Denmark"...

Dora Taylor said...

I know that LEV had a hand in it. Kelly Munn with LEV proudly proclaimed on the LEV list serv in late December about the two "megabills". One of those bills was about establishing charter schools in our state.

See: http://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/2012/01/02/the-league-of-education-voters-charter-school-proposal-annotated/

Dora

Melissa Westbrook said...

Michael, I didn't say Dems didn't take money from people. I'm pointing out the silliness of the Times' argument because both sides do it.

As far as ALEC, yes, we are fighting some big people. Throw in KIPP, TFA, Broad, Gates and you have quite the crowd.

BUT as we are seeing time and time again, you can fight the giants. Ask B of A, ask the Komen Foundation, how badly the pushback was and how they hurt their brand with their actions.

The Internet is the best thing that ever happened for activists and the American public.

Anonymous said...

Two points:

1. I am a member of a PTSA, and Ramona Hattendorf does not represent me or my views.

2. I find the idea of tying test scores, which are influenced by important factors outside of a teacher's control, to teacher and principal evaluations to be deeply irrational.

DWE

Anonymous said...

Of course, this is already occurring in Seattle--using MAP scores as part of teacher evaluations.

--not only irrational but against NWEA's own statement for test use

Can you possibly imagine having your job linked to something like MAP? Can the proposed state evaluation system be any worse than what Seattle already uses?

--enough already

Anonymous said...

I don't get how the PTA has become so involved in this? Do they have a personal stake in the bills passing? And why charters and teacher eval? I just don't understand why the PTA is so upset over this. I guess I'm not getting it, because at my kids' PTA meetings, all we talk about is rasing money to cover music, art, buy library books, cover camp and fiedtrip scholarships, reading and math tutors, etc. None of this stuff made it on the Board to do/discussion list or even school wide PTA forum.

So where is this coming from?

-confused mom

Melissa Westbrook said...

Confused Mom, that's a great question. I don't know why the issue of charters and teacher evaluation hasn't been brought forth to school PTSAs. It seems apparent that the Seattle Council is not working off the same playback as the Washington State PTSA. Again, why that is, I don't know.

I feel certain the Washington State PTSA is going to Olympia and telling them that members support all their planks when most members were not even told about them.

But come PTSA Focus Day at the Legislature (Feb. 20th), maybe you should let your legislator know that the Washington State PTSA does NOT speak for you.

Catherine said...

confused mom - I'm going to try to answer your question... The local PTSAs are upset because at the state level legislative level, where many local PTSA's cannot afford to send a representative, support for Charter Schools was pushed through. No debate, no analysis, no dissenting opinion was invited in. Most voters were from wealthy suburbs and there's some suspicion that thy we're there for this issue alone. What we've ended up with is a state PTSA saying their members voted on charter school support, when a very small group used some good timing, to vote on the issue in a legislative committee.

I'm sure Charlie and Melissa have some nuances to that story, but I think that covers the high points.

Anonymous said...

FWIW, when I emailed all the house and senate members in opposition to the charter and evaluation bills, I specifically said I am a long time dues paying PTSA member and that the WSPTA was NOT speaking for me when they advocated for these bills.

-PTSA member v. charters

joanna said...

thnx Melissa and all for this story and comments.

Cliff Mass Weather Blog said...

I wrote a blog about this issue. Found at:
http://cliffmass.blogspot.com/2012/02/improving-education-in-washington-state.html

...cliff mass

nancyb said...

I like Melissa's idea of voicing my opinion to my legislator on Feb 20, WSPTA Focus Day. Although, I have a slight discomfort detracting from the positive about PTA advocating for children. I wonder if Charter Schools will be a hot topic that day; the agenda doesn't list issues and it looks like its meant for kids.

http://www.wastatepta.org/meetings/focus_day/index.html - registration page says:
"Join us in Olympia on President’s Day, Monday, February 20, 2012 to advocate for kids – Every Child One Voice. We will march to the Capitol steps for our annual Legislative Focus Day rally. We encourage you to bring your kids, your neighbors, your friends, your co-workers and your fellow PTA members. Let our voices be heard – Every Child One Voice."

Bird said...

This charter school push makes me so angry.

Is there an organization that's working against this that I can donate money to?

I really want to see the legislators pushing for this garbage pay a price for their support of this, but there needs to be a coalition to fight this properly.

cascade said...

Rodney Tom is on KUOW this morning. 10 a.m. He is getting a lot of airtime. He is also not particularly impressive. He is overly broad and full of platitudes. Also very Business Business Private Sector focused.

I had not realized he was a former Republican now turned Democrat. His personal perspective is making a lot more sense.

cascade said...

He is also saying that his charter school bill is not dead and is hinting that he will tie it to getting the state budget passed. The KUOW host asked, do you have to then talk to the WEA, SEA etc. to get some sort of compromise to get it into law? Tom basically said no. He is talking wheeling and dealing with legislators.

My takeaway is massive backroom dealings and endruns being plotted.

Anonymous said...

TERRIFIC! Now we have businessmen and politicians forming educational policies. And that is suppose to reassure me and my kids? Right, these guys are all so successful, didn't see end of WAMU coming, housing collapse, bank failures coming? Hello, where are all the ST's guest editorials about the regulations and oversights to curtail and prevent such failures again. Anything? Maybe they should focus on fixing their own house first.

voter

Anonymous said...

If business and politicians really care about education and kid's welfare, thye would be working on ways to fund basic ed NOT spending more money we don't have on stuff we don't need right now. That goes for Ms. Ramona Hattendorf and the WA PTSA too (if you want a charter, start your own bake sale to fund it).

(irritated) voter

Ballard-ite said...

If one wanted to take the conspiracy theory side of this one step further - there was quite a bit of brouhaha recently about the Gates Foundation making a large donation to ALEC - circles within circles and all madly spinning...though to what ultimate end is definitely a matter of debate...

Charlie Mas said...

It makes perfect sense to me for ALEC to auction off their efforts to the highest bidder. That's the market at work.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Tom was a life-long Republican until a few years ago. That means he grew up at the right hand of Uncle Ronnie & Trickle Down theory. Too much to be undone in only a few years.

Tom's antics are a sharp stick in the eye to the urban districts he couldn't venture near without wetting his pants. Tell me again, Mr. Medina, that it's all about "the kids" and not "the money." Right.

WSDWG