Monday, May 28, 2012

Seattle Channel's Discussion on Banda

I participated in a discussion about our new superintendent, Jose Banda, on Seattle Channel's program, City Inside/Out.  

The panel included Chris Eide, ex-TFA teacher (now a sub), Lynne Varner of the Times, and Kim Mustafa, an SPS parent (who I believe is from the south end as that is w-here her children attend school).

Some interesting quotes:

Stephanie Jones of CPPS: "He needs to get to know the many communities in Seattle."

Mariellen Sereno, Independent Citizens Oversight Ctm in Anaheim: "I think he knows what it takes to be looking at that uphill battle and to be looking at those areas that really need attention."

Lynne Varner: He's an extremely good listener.   He reminds me of former Superintendent John Stanford.  Later on, she said in an editorial coming out that he needed to set clear boundaries "or he would not be their employee but their servant." 

Re: the School Board, Ms. Mustafa said that Banda sounded like a puppet and only said what they wanted to hear.


They did touch on charters.

Varner:  Voters are more open now to innovation and the status quo isn't working.  It's not a silver bullet but a solution and there are so many other solutions, we should try them all.  

Uh, because of time and cost and outcomes?  Maybe that's why we have to carefully pick and choose.

Varner:  Charter schools are not going to change education on Queen Anne but will in Eastern Washington and South Seattle and will affect education for thousands of kids in this state.  

I love how all those well-meaning people believe that charters are just for poor or minority kids.  First of all, that is not true throughout the country and ask New Jersey about the shock to their system when they discovered that anyone can open a charter anywhere.   Second, some charters have done well with minority students but very carefully try to make sure they get the most dedicated students (and parents).  It is an easier job when you get to control who is in the school.

14 comments:

seattle citizen said...

"Varner: Charter schools are not going to change education on Queen Anne but will in Eastern Washington and South Seattle and will affect education for thousands of kids in this state."

Hmm...so they are good enough for SOME communities but wealthier parts of town don't need them or won't touch them? I wonder if Ms Varner can explain why this is. Why WOULDN'T Queen Anne want a charter if they are so dang good?

seattle citizen said...

"Varner: Charter schools are not going to change education on Queen Anne but will in Eastern Washington and South Seattle and will affect education for thousands of kids in this state."

Hmm...so they are good enough for SOME communities but wealthier parts of town don't need them or won't touch them? I wonder if Ms Varner can explain why this is. Why WOULDN'T Queen Anne want a charter if they are so dang good?

Anonymous said...

Let them eat cake!

I would love to see charters in Issaquah. Let the feudal lords try them on for size before allotting them to the serfs.

Oompah

mirmac1 said...

Certainly, I will sign the initiative if it requires that ten charters be started in Issaquah and QA, for every one in Zillah.

Charlie Mas said...

Umm, how can anyone say anything about Mr. Banda already? The guy hasn't even started the job yet.

mirmac1 said...

Charlie, it's called a shot across the bow. Except that in their case, it's a shot in the foot.

Anonymous said...

Why is Chris Eide showing up on all these discussions? Can one with all of one year in Seattle Schools and then resign have something of any substance to contribute; or is it because he's got the backing of Gates money?

ken berry, SpEd IA VA@AAA

FWIW said...

Note to Eide: TfA has NOT closed the achievement gap. How many teachers belong to Teachers United?

Note to Varner: Queen Anne students flee public schools in middle school. Maybe Queen Anne would want charters

Not to Mistafa: You seem to have a lot of opinions about Banda. Have you had the opportunity to speak with him?

seattle citizen said...

I'm with FWIW on Chris Eide - How does this guy have the cojones to claim to be some sort of education guru, and leader of Teachers United, for heaven's sake, when he was only a teacher for a year? Shouldn't his organization be called "Ex-TFA Teach For Awhile Maybe a Year or Two United to Pontificate on Teaching"?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Citizen, I believe Mr. Eide has taught for several years, just not in Seattle. I myself was a bit startled to have him tell me how much he loved teaching and his students (this when he was at Mercer) and then, less than a year later, be gone.

FWIW said...

Make that- Note for Mistafa.

Anonymous said...

Not all Queen Anne parents flee Seattle schools at middle school. I was with a group of parents who helped start the Center School some years ago. It was created as an innovative arts high school at the Seattle Center and I believe it is now an all city option.

We were happy with it except for the math curriculum. If Banda can create a fundamentally sound math curriculum in Seattle schools it would be the best thing he could do. It might just stop everyone jabbering on about charters.

S parent from Queen Anne

Melissa Westbrook said...

QA, I would say if Banda cleaned up the math issue, many parents might consider not voting for charters (if math is truly the most frustrating issue for public school parents).

But could it be done fast enough to be felt by the election? Doubtful.

seattle citizen said...

My mistake, Melissa is correct. Mr. Eide was a TFAer for two years at some undisclosed location, then a math teacher at KIPP, had a short stint with TFA again "advising" new TFAers, then had a year at Mercer MS.
Amongst all that, he did research for the UW's CEL, for Harvard (Executive Leadership Program For Educators - Sounds scarily TFA-ish, what with their "leaders, not teachers" mantra), and as an intern with the MA Teachers Assoc. studying charters.