Thursday, March 14, 2013

For Mayor - Not Ron Sims

He said that on KUOW earlier this week. 

I did finally listen to the interview because I had been told he talked a lot about Seattle public education.  I found his remarks kind of all over the place and frankly, I'm glad he's not running. 

His main theme seemed to be that mayors should bring change.  And, for Seattle, that would be in public education.  When the host pushed back saying that a mayor like that would hear from the Superintendent and School Board, he said "mayors lead and organize."  

Some of what he said:
  • he gave a shout-out to Garfield teachers for standing up against MAP.  
  • he said (repeatedly) that all schools should be "international" schools and we should have a K-12 system of them.  Now, did he define what that meant (and did the host ask)?  No.  I believe, based on his remarks, that he meant all students should learn a second language.  Great Ron, with what money?  I mean we can all talk about what we believe is needed or what we would like but the rub is the money.
  • he said if he were Mayor, he would be on a campaign for "world-class" schools in order to attract business.  (This theme of linkage of schools to business carried on throughout the interview.)
  • he said a mayor should give an "expectation" of what the schools will look and feel like.  
  • he would redevelop both Rainier Beach High (making it an international high school) and the neighborhood.  
  • he noted Mayor Bloomberg of NYC, Rahm Emanual of Chicago and several other mayors as good ones.  Most of those took over their cities' school systems.  (Sadly the host either didn't know this or didn't think to ask if that was what Sims' was advocating but given Sims' remarks, I'd think so).
But, at the end of the interview, he said he's not running.  That he spent so much of the time talking about education and circling back to it makes me wonder if he wasn't sending a message out to the OTHER candidates (from someone who polled really well when he isn't even a candidate).  


10 comments:

suep. said...

I don't think Sims' current polling has much to do with his positions on education. In fact, I doubt many of us knew his positions until this interview. And if he holds up Mayor for Life Because I Can Afford It Bloomberg and Rahm Corporate Ed Reform Emanuel as his role models, then I'm quite sure his poll numbers would go down as more people knew about his support of such questionable 'leadership' and his apparently business-skewed views on public education. (Though he's right about opposing the MAP test.)

Eric B said...

Universal foreign language learning is pretty easy from a policy perspective. "All" it takes is another hour or so of class time from K-12. I'd love that, so my kids don't have to choose between art/music and foreign language in middle and high school. Funding for that extra hour? I'm not holding my breath.

mirmac1 said...
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mirmac1 said...
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Melissa Westbrook said...

We'll have Open Thread tomorrow so keep those for then.

mirmac1 said...

OK. Thanks for posting the SE ED announcement.

joanna said...

Don't believe political people when they say they are not going to run and then talk about what they would do if they did.

Jack Whelan said...

Every politician presents him or herself as an agent for change, but we're living in a time when almost everything we hear from mainstream politicians about the kind of changes they want to effect in education are terribly wrongheaded and destructive. The reason is simple: Politicians want to succeed, and they don't think they can without the help of people who have a lot of money.

And I'm trying, but I can't think of one influential wealthy or political elite who is working in education who has it right or even kind of right. Maybe Jerry Brown in CA. So when the consensus about reform is so universally and consistently wrong among the wealthy and powerful, it's like a cult, and the politicians realize that they have to join it if they want to be taken seriously and to succeed. Why would they take anybody else seriously. I mean seriously.

These people need an intervention, but there's no one powerful enough on the scene today give it. A broad-based, energized people's movement might be one way to do it, because certainly listening to sensible counterarguments from anti-reformers has no effect. Ambitious politicians who gravitate to the cult of wealth and power instinctively, unconsciously understand the language of wealth and power. The language of good sense is not nearly as appealing.

So in the meanwhile those of us who have no interest in joining that cult do what we can do, which really amounts to little more than boarding up the windows and waiting for the storm to pass. And once it passes, for eventually it will, people of good sense can come out into the open to clean up the mess and to start rebuilding.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Bravo, Jack. I agree.

I honestly think in 10 years a lot of ed reform will have collapsed under its own weight and we will look around and say, "Why did we do this?" And start to rebuild.

Anonymous said...

Jack Whelan,
Well said.

Bloomberg, Emanuel? If we're talking about wrecking schools, don't leave out Godzilla as a role model.

-nonamenocredit