Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Stranger Endorses Peters, Blanford

The Stranger's endorsements for School Board were pretty much on point.  (The Times hasn't issued their endorsements for School Board but does have a sweet editorial about how expensive it is to go to weddings.  No, really, apparently that's the burning issue of the day.)

District No. 4
Sue Peters
As if you needed more proof that the Seattle School Board is a dystopian shithole, the board members, in a self-evaluation released this summer, anonymously described themselves like this: "The poster-child for a dysfunctional school board." "It's like Kabuki Theater." "A board like this will repel all people of quality."

Seriously, we didn't even have to make any of that shit up. Consequently, school board races are normally filled with wackos. But this year, the candidates were thoughtful, intelligent, and for some god-awful reason, engaged in the minutiae that makes up school board work.

Take Sue Peters, for instance. An education buff who started the group Parents Across America and edits the wonky Seattle Education blog, Peters opposes the corporate education reform agenda, including charter schools and Teach for America, and she's skeptical of the state-mandated Common Core curriculum soon to be rolled out in schools.

Opponent Suzanne Dale Estey is well-qualified, but despite saying she opposes privatizing public education with charter schools, she's in bed with the corporate education "reformers" behind charter schools. Most notably: Tania De Sa Campos, sponsor of last year's charter schools initiative, gave to Estey's campaign. Estey is also backed by problematic past board members who should have prevented the district from losing millions of dollars in a scandal a few years back. Specifically: She's been endorsed by retiring incumbent Michael DeBell and former school board member Peter Maier (they received a report about the risk of theft years ago and did nothing). We don't need another candidate perpetuating dysfunction. The other guy in the race, Dean McColgan, is a charter schools supporter who says he'd bring a "business background" to the board. Yech. Peters points out, rightly, that "the last time we had a board with business backgrounds... we ended up with a superintendent and CFO being fired."

Vote Peters.

District No. 5
Stephan Blanford
Stephan Blanford seems a little, well, bland (ha-ha, Stephan Blandford!), and he hedges on issues more often than we'd like. But he's more familiar with the district and its problems than opponent Olu Thomas, a parent and social worker. An education consultant who's worked with the district before, Blanford prioritizes early education funding and addressing the achievement gap. Thomas thinks we should move money from the capital to the operations budget (which isn't possible), was unfamiliar with Teach for America, and has a bit of an anti-teacher bent, which plays poorly for someone looking to help direct a school district. LaCrese Green, a tutor, didn't even show up to our endorsement meeting.

Vote Blanford. 

If you live or have friends/relatives in District IV, you might considering letting them know how you might vote if you lived there.  (It is apparent from fundraising notices that Michael DeBell has turned all his contacts over to Estey - he's practically her campaign manager.)  

Yes, I'm agreeing with The Stranger - Sue Peters is the best choice.

I will also point out what I believe could happen, depending on the final vote in November.

If Estey and Blanford win, there's a fairly solid majority vote (with Martin-Morris and Carr).  

If Peters wins, then there's a fairly solid majority vote (with Patu, Peaslee and McLaren), although I think Peters also goes her own way.

What is interesting is if Blanford and Peters win, you then have a "Supreme Court" kind of situation. 

McLaren has shown herself to listen AND change her mind.  She is kind of the Anthony Kennedy of the Board.  And, as well, despite Blanford's outward leanings, I sense a streak of independence and he may well surprise some people with his votes.

To my mind, it would be better to have people on the Board who don't have clear alliances and/or bents.   


19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Blanford has said he'd drop the lawsuit against 1240, and that he favored letting TFA into Seattle schools. I recognize that he has no credible opposition, but after listening to his rambling, incomprehensible answers to some pretty detailed questions, I see no reason to be in any way enthusiastic about this guy, nor any reason why he should be supported.

If this guy was Kay Smith-Blum's designated successor, it does not speak well of her. I know she has her fans here, but I have never been one of them.

Those of us who are opposed to corporate-driven "reform," and who favor stricter oversight of an entrenched SPS bureaucracy, have to face some cold facts. Other than the outstanding Sue Peters, we haven't done the job we should be doing in candidate recruitment, and that needs to change. We were fortunate that Peaslee and McLaren stepped up, and fortunate that they won, but we need to do better, because the other side is resourceful and adaptable.

-- Ivan Weiss

Melissa Westbrook said...

I note that Mr. Blanford did not answer our e-mails. If he clears the primary, we'll try again.

Charlie Mas said...

The Times did offer their endorsements on July 8: Suzanne Dale Estey and Stephan Blanford for Seattle School Board.

Anonymous said...

I like the comments Sue Peters has made about math. Along with McLaren and Peaslee, she would work to improve the math curriculum — a huge benefit to students. Vote Peters.

Tired of Tutoring

Melissa Westbrook said...

Charlie, I"m sorry I missed that. My error.

Melissa Westbrook said...

My error again; I did read those endorsements when they came out but they obviously didn't register.

seattle citizen said...

The cost of attending weddings HAS skyrocketed, and I believe that if we gather some data about this issue, evaluate the officiants, caterers, and facility managers, we might be able to come up with a metric that wedding guests can use to decide which weddings to attend. Competition will eliminate the weddings likely to be dull or serving lower quality food and beverages.
This expense really is the fault of those who put on these weddings, the above-mentioned contractors. If they can't marry our young people (and old) and make them stay married, then they should be fired. We should first reduce their pay, make them hungrier, make them more eager to retain their jobs and improve in them. Then we should make them do more weddings, maybe 40 at a time. This will teach them efficiency. We should let private think tanks design wedding scripts, designed to maximize longevity in marriages (using data pertaining to income, race, gender)by assigning each wedding participant a given, numeric value and measuring the expected marital outcomes based on that value.
Officiants and their ilk have been maintaining the status quo for too long. Their union fights wedding reform at every turn. We need to digitize, standardize, itemize and maximize the process so guests can most enjoy their canapés, champagne, and teary-eyed remembrances of those glorious days when love was young and fresh...

Patrick said...

Seattle Citizen :)

Anonymous said...

Maybe we could give the weddings a letter grade? That way if either of the parties remarries, folks will have some past info on which to base their RSVP decisions.

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

Wow, SC. Nailed it!!

Rimshot for HimsMom, too.

WSDWG

seattle citizen said...

Yeah, well, unfortunately for those who would reform weddings, "mawage [like education], that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam" is NOT something you can manipulate by plugging data into a machine.
Bwessedness is not measurable. Nor are dweams.

Disgusted said...

Suzanne Dale Estey for Seattle Schools, District 4 is endorsed by Eric Pettigrew. Pettigrew pushed charter legislation during the 2012legislative perios.

If it smells like a duck and walk likes a duck. Well, you know the rest.

Charlie Mas said...

Birds of a feather flock together.

Melissa Westbrook said...

In the interest of being fair, I'll ask this question (but I have no intention of actually finding out - no time to ask all these people) of most of Ms. Estey's supporters (especially those of the ed reform leanings) - Why ARE you supporting her? What do you think she will do on the Board that you believe needs to happen AND what kind of changes do you think she supports and will advocate for?

mirmac1 said...

"Why ARE you supporting her?"

I will lay bets it is because either: a) because DeBell seems like an okay guy, or; b) because (insert politically connected name here) endorses her.

I lose if it is because "I actually met her and understand just what the heck she stands for." (I still win if it is for the DeBell legacy).

Anonymous said...


http://crosscut.com/2013/07/18/education/115601/seattle-school-board-thankless-job-somebodys-gotta/

PSP

WS Parent said...

It seems like one of the points is "vote for Peters because Marty McClaren endorses her."

But, as a West Seattle Parent, that is exactly why I will NOT vote for Peters.

I don't want someone who will defer to or align with McClaren on all things West Seattle because, quite frankly, McClaren has been a huge disappointment to many of us in West Seattle.

She's inconsistent. Yeah, she "listens" and changes her mind frequently, but is that a good thing or a sign of someone who isn't critically thinking about the issues on their own?

McClaren has told me several times what she "thinks" WS wants, but when I challenge the assumptions, she will admit there has been NO community engagement on the issues. I'm well connected with many WS schools and feel that McClaren only parrots the voices of a select elite and is not seeking the input of the majority (including our diverse populations that don't have the luxury/privilege of attending meetings that is the endurance test of who gets what in SPS).

McClaren is over her head and won't be serving another term. I don't get the sense that she wants to be re-elected (from her and others who were originally her supporters).

Melissa Westbrook said...

I'll just say that all the candidates have endorsements. You'll have to decide if that matters to you.

WS Parent, I'm confused that one endorsement would make you say no to one candidate. If it were a group that you thought not worthy but one person?

Believe me, whoever gets elected will defer to McLaren. That's your challenge for the next election.

Anonymous said...

The stranger is a poor endorsement. I would never want my child to read. It is in grocery stores everywhere and contains material I would never want a child to read and so an endorsement means what?
Every candidate I can remember that has been endorsed by the stranger ends up losing. Please do not list this if you truly support Sue Peters.