Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Odds and Ends

  • Tonight's School Board meeting still has lots of speaker slots open.
  • From yesterday's Work Session on Strategic Plan Guiding Principles, a draft document.
It's a lot of the same stuff you'd find anywhere.  I'm not sure what specifics will come out of this document.

Don't like/believe:  Strengthen family engagement through transparent communications and continue to build partnerships with city, business and community leaders that support student achievement. 

Transparent?  As President DeBell has secret meetings (and I'd like to know if the other Board members know this) with Tim Burgess, I'm not sure about that transparency. 

And, check out how they want to "strengthen family engagement"?  See that word "parents" anywhere?  That word is not used a single time in this document.  That's where you stand in the Strategic Planning. 

Like: Implement an information and communication technology infrastructure and environment that
enhance teaching, learning and all aspects of student success while protecting our students, staff,
and their personal information.


Glad to see a directed concern over protecting student and staff personal information.
  • I did not find any document relating to the Work Session on Ethics but there was this one called Program Evaluation & Assessment Annual Report: Development of a Comprehensive Assessment System.  Interesting reading.  (I can't recall how or why I downloaded it but I did find it yesterday.)  
  • Tim Burgess is running for Mayor.  I will do what I did last time, readers.  I'll interview all the candidates (who are willing) and then let you know.  What I can say up-front is that clearly Councilman Burgess cares about public education and that's great.  But he pretty much sticks with the usual suspects especially the downtown crowd.  
He says this from his statement on why he is running:

I will listen to you. I will learn with you. I will lead to get things done for you.

Big words.  I can only say that his office is one of two council offices that I have found to be the least responsive.  Meaning, just answering a question or acknowledging a communication seems to be beyond his office.  Do I think that will get better if he is mayor?  That remains to be seen.

As for listening, I can only say that I tried, repeatedly, to talk to him about 1240 and the last thing he said to me, face-to-face was, "Melissa, I'm not talking about that now.  See you." 

And that was just to get his take on 1240.  If you can't ask an elected official for their stand (or even opinion) on an issue, I have to wonder what a candidate for higher office will do. 

16 comments:

Burgess won't get my vote said...

http://www.examiner.com/article/seattle-school-board-candidate-statements-dist-1-peter-maier


The Washington State Auditor charged the previous board with failure to over-see district operations. Despite a failing audit,Peter Maier extended MGJ's contract- costing tax-payers $0.3M in severence package.

Maier's lack of oversight caused the district enormous amounts of dollars. Yet, Burgess endorsed Maier.

Considering Burgess's involvement with the Family and Education Levy..don't you think he'd want competent school board members to oversee district finances?

Burgess is part of the Good Old Boys network. He won't get my vote.

Anonymous said...

I believe the use of the generic "family" rather than "parent" is a PC, easy-edit fix to cover all of the types of guardians responsible for the children that attend SPS. "Parent" means to most—mother/father (or mother/mother father/father). Many children are being "parented" by grandparents, aunts/uncles, older siblings...you get the picture.

Though I am no fan of most of what passes for communication from SPS, I cut them a break here.

Solvay Girl

Charlie Mas said...

I read that Strategic Plan Guiding Principles document.

Allow me to summarize:

I) Equitable opportunities for students. They can develop some strategies to pursue this goal, but I think we are more likely to get excuses about why they can't and we will lose some exceptionally good things. Will they switch to option school assignment for language immersion programs? No, but we'll get an excuse about why they can't. Will they provide some assurance of quality in advanced learning programs? No, but we'll get some excuse about why they can't. This is likely to result in an expansion of the "academic assurances" which killed some of our best programs in the name of standardization.


II) Community engagement means engagement with community leaders, not community members. That's just bad. They used to try to reach the hard-to-reach student families with translations and outreach. Now they just want a closer relationship with the Downtown Seattle Association.

III) Sure do hope the state starts to fund education. I don't see how this is a strategy.

IV) Meaningless HR blather. I'm always suspect when employers say that they want to encourage "individual responsibility for excellence". Part of me wants to believe that this means that they will grant their professional employees more autonomy, but I know that it really means that they will crack down hard on anyone that doesn't meet measurable goals on a day-to-day basis. I suppose I should be pleased that they pay lip service to the goal of building "positive relationships through honesty, respect and compassion" but I don't think we're going to see any specific concrete action on this. There is nothing I would like better than to have someone - anyone - in the district leadership say that Seattle Public Schools is going to start keeping their promises instead of breaking them.

mirmac1 said...

Interesting that at Banda's Monday event w/ members of the latino community, he stressed all the "family" stuff they're trying to do to fix us: Family University (at SU, no childcare available, Family Connectors, Family Symposia. "We" need to improve to attain equity for all, not them.

How about giving us a seat at the table, in place of city bureaucrats, "business leaders" etc,

I know, I'm a cynic.

mirmac1 said...

Two Sealth students hurt in hit and run. Seem to be okay but going to Harborview.

Good to see district/principal plans on communicating w/ families.

http://westseattleblog.com/2012/11/pedestrians-hit-near-chief-sealth#comments

Anonymous said...

I for one have watched Burgess's leadership of the Family and Education Levy, which he pushed, as did McGinn and the rest of the council. And good for them all.

But once the dollars came that way, have he and Holly Miller in the downtown office of education made even one plausible effort on community outreach regarding the spending of millions of dollars? If so, I'm not on that mailing list, and I do try to keep up with education.

Burgess as mayor gets a huge thumbs down from the education voter. All positioning, no doing, no outreach.

The fact that he lined up "democrat" Lisa Macfarlane as a baseline endorser, as reported online today, is another negative in my book. No wonder he did not want to take a stand on charters. Politics can be so slimey.

EdVoter

Anonymous said...

Here are the bigger name candidates I have read about so far possibly entering: Burgess, McGinn, Steinbruek, Levinson, Harrell, Sims, Murray.

Of those, McGinn and Burgess are no-gos for me. McGinn said he was all over schools and he has done nothing. I've always had the gut feeling that Burgess's involvement with the family and education stuff downtown was to advance his career versus a genuine interest in the subject. If it was a genuine interest he would spend time with actual teachers and students and not just business people and politicians.

I'll be looking at the other people in the lineup for their education stances. It is the issue that will decide my vote, so I hope you make good on your promise to do interviews with everybody early in the mayoral race.

SavvyVoter

mirmac1 said...

Damn straight EdVoter. I've seen emails where Burgess and Miller are scratching their heads: "Childhaven? Ever heard of them? Oh well, submit an RFP"

Again, these idiots get it upside down. They make strapped schools and non-profits compete with onerous grant proposals, while they hand out personal service contracts and goodies for their friends.

Mary Griffin said...
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Mary Griffin said...
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Mary Griffin said...
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Mary Griffin said...

Former state legislator Brendan Williams argues that 1240 should be overturned. He uses The Seattle Times argument that unfunded initiatives should be overturned, as they relentlessly crusaded against Initiative 1163, which would have mandated additional training for long-term in-home caregivers. Read the article here."

It is going to be quite a show said...

http://burgessformayor.com/endorsements/

It is going to be fun watching those that endorse Burgess. So far, the line-up includes Lisa McFarlane, Steve Sundquist, Jon Bridges and Michael Debell.

Anonymous said...

to 'it's going to be a show'

I wonder when DeBell's and Burgess's BFF J. Knapp is going to jump on board!

Dear other candidates - having the SEA endorsement means that you'll have hours and hours of your life wasted in meetings with leaders, and, if you're not a putz, you'll have activist teachers helping you out because that is what they do, regardless of SEA pronouncements.

If you're a putz, just say "bipartisan" and "compromise" a lot while your in those meetings, on the way to cash the fat checks from Stand On Children and the rest of the Gate$-Ill-Vain-ia astro turfs.

BestWishesToNonPutzes

Anonymous said...

durn type-0's!

I should have said

" if you're not a deformer putz, you'll MIGHT have activist teachers helping you out because that is what they do, regardless of SEA pronouncements. Since there are so few activist teachers, good luck.

If you're a deformer putz, just say "bipartisan" and "compromise" a lot while you're in those meetings,"

BestWishesToNonPutzesII

mirmac1 said...

I hope Brian Rosenthal asks Burgess what kind of "creative brainstorming" he did with his pal DeBell and BFF Enfield on DT School/Memorial Stadium/JSCEE. What do you think? Sell them all to Allen at $.10 on the dollar? Put Chihulys in them? Sell bonds then default on them? So many great ideas!