Thursday, September 05, 2013

Mann Taskforce Members Express Unhappiness at Meeting

 Update: Changed headline so as not to upset the more tender-minded readers.  The original title, though, was verbatim and was spoken by a Taskforce member to Superintendent Banda.

Charlie and I attended along with Joanna Cullen, a long-time Central resident and public education advocate.

I honestly hesitate to put this up but I am because pressure needs to come to bear to end this situation (at least at the Mann building - there are other real and valid issues that the Taskforce is completely right about).

(To note: there were at least 25 people in the room, most of whom I did not know and could not read their names from afar.  I apologize for those I can't name.)

Bottom line from the meeting:

To be clear - the district has said that the remaining groups in the Mann Building need to be out by Wednesday, September 18th. (This date is the one the district has to meet in order to get State dollars to help with the project. They will lose those dollars if they don't meet this date.)

It is clear to me that they will not leave peacefully. And, in fact, have expressed this both verbally and in writing, that they will not welcome Nova high school back (and, to my mind, have threatened the students and staff with hostility).
The issue - to me - is very complex and yet simple. These groups want to stay in the building to co-house with Nova.

Naturally, complicating the issue is the overall lack of progress in closing the achievement gap and the real issues around educating African-American children. On this point, of course they are right.

The frustration with a lack of progress and a real plan was palpable but the demands that it change within months seemed a hard nut to crack.

One issue that is unclear to me is what these programs are that are still in Mann, who they serve, who runs them and their education background, etc.  That needs to be clarified.

One issue that was never brought up was that this experiment DID happen before and it was called the African-American Academy.  It was designed by the community and got its own building.  It failed for any number of reasons but it certainly was created and given license to create its own program.

But the issue of the achievement gap and staying in the Mann building issue, in my mind, are two - different - things. 

From the meeting:
  • There were no less than 11 staff members there including two principals and the Superintendent.
  • It was repeated - over and over - by members of the taskforce that this was a complete crisis for learning for African-American students especially in the Central district.  (At one point, Pegi McEvoy gently pointed out that they had to consider the needs of all AA students throughout the district.)
  • Most of the group wants an advisory committee on the issue of the achievement gap for African-American students and the Superintendent agreed with them.
  • There were questions about being able to stay in the building during construction. That can't happen because it wasn't bid that way and there will be no electricity and movement of hazardous materials.
  • Does the redesign include the cultural legacy of the area? Mann is a City-landmarked building and, while the cultural influence of the area was discussed in the landmark document (apparently), it is not part of the remodel of the building. This made many of the group very unhappy and one person said it was "being planned for Mark (Principal Perry's) use."
  • Pegi McEvoy said that the Van Asselt building was not a plausible place to move the programs but the Columbia building might be. There was a call for a "guarantee for a location."
  • There was discussion about before/after school programs/summer programs at Mann and the district said it was possible but would need to see plans around any programs before saying yes.
  • The principal of the World School was there and I felt it got uncomfortable for her as most of the group did not know or understand her program which has some of the most at-risk and high-need students in our district.  (They also did not understand how much her program has gotten kicked around.)  She got put on the spot about the different percentages of groups in her program (but that's because it is the most fluid school in the district).  She was gracious but defended her program.  TT Minor is being renovated for their program and would not have room for any other program(s).
  • Oddly, there was no discussion about using MLK, Jr. building or even Lowell.  I didn't get that.
  •  There was some question about room when Meany is rebuilt but I didn't hear a clear answer to that one.
  • Thurgood Marshall and Madrona were also brought up as possibilities.
  • Jerry DeGrieck, from the City, was there to answer questions about using Garfield CC or the old Miller CC.  Mr. DeGrieck said there would be room for a once-a-week program but that the space would have to be shared with other programs.  He said that the Old Miller CC (by Meany) doesn't really have much space that could be used.  
  • It was stated by Wyking Garrett that this situation was viewed as either a bunch of squatters in a building doing who knows what or concerned community working around a state of emergency for African-American students.  
  • What is absolutely confusing to me is that this seems like a call for a school/programs just for African-American students that would segregate them from other students.
  • I was also confused when one woman, Julia, said that the World School had "institutional advocates" and African-American students did not.  I do not believe either statement is true.
  • There was talk about "trust issues" around what to do.  Many felt they were invited to the table but that the district should have come to "their" table and asked for help.
  •  Oddly, Julia, a Muslim woman (she herself brought this up), felt the district had "wronged" their community and wanted an apology.  Charlie and I looked at each other and I thought, "Good luck."  Not because she was necessarily wrong but because the district NEVER says it's wrong.  
  • The Superintendent mildly took issue with the challenge to the sincerity of the district's efforts.  He said he had gone out in the communities early on and added more meetings on, from the advice from Bernardo Ruiz, because people wanted to see him more.  He said he heard their pain, anger, frustration and disappointment.  He said they have to acknowledge that and own it. 
  • They are having another meeting (this was supposed to be the last one) next Thursday.  It is open to the public.
  •  Some participants asked about what are the specifics to help AA students in the district and while there is an overall strategy to close the achievement gap via the Strategic Plan AND specific school-by-school plans (some of which are helped by the City's Family and Education levy), Superintendent Banda had to admit there was no district-wide plan to close the achievement gap for African-American students.
    This did NOT go over well and one woman said that the district needed to put this on their website "like a warning on a bottle of poison."  She said the district should be asking the community to come and do this work and said, "We are paying you to destroy our children."  Harsh words.  
It seemed clear to me that the Mann building was being renovated solely for the Nova program.  But things got worse when that point got pressed out loud. (What was astonishing was a naive assumption that the district - who already made plans for the Nova program at that building - would completely change the plan to accommodate these other programs, to the point of changing the blueprints and adding a gym/auditorium even while the building now has landmark status.)
  Then, it got somewhat heated but really just much more uncomfortable. A couple of women said some things about white privilege (and I absolutely agree it exists but it is also not fair to perceive that everyone in the room was white - they were not).

Wyking Garrett and Julia were both measured and quiet in their words but there was no mistaking their meaning.

She said her father once said, "I don't know if I'm leading the parade or running from the mob." And she explained that once she tells her community, she had no idea of their reaction.

Another member said "well, tell the truth to go to battle or go to war."

One woman said, looking at Banda, "There will be blood on your hands."   The Superintendent seemed taken aback but said something to the effect that as adults we choose how to act.

Wyking said that "the contractor should be "aware" of the situation around this building. "
 He also said that it is the "way of the world" for people to be unhappy about news they don't like and his community might not be happy.

Analysis:
The Superintendent should have enforced the lease months ago and did not. He will now have to make a hard decision on whether to bring in the police or Sheriff's department to evict these people. I think it very likely that people will allow themselves to be dragged from the building.  You could hear it in what they said.

I am still baffled that the district is taking what some leasees want as some kind of mandate.  They surely won't do this for any other group that is leasing space in the district.  

This could be the worst mistake Banda could make so early in his superintendency. (I warned the Board last night this was a mistake. None of them attended the meeting.)

I think if the district does have the lease enforced it will be a lot of overt unpleasantness for one day but a lot of passive-aggressive behavior to come.

This is so sad because Nova, while a largely white school, is the ONE school that would accommodate any kind of learning desired. It's a project-based learning high school and if any student of color said, "I want to cast my learning around my ethnic background", the Nova staff would say, "Sure, how can we help?" And, the Nova principal, Mark Perry, is the MOST cool cat around. Nothing ruffles him but I feel for him and the truly terrible position he is in.

I don't know whose court the ball is in but I hope cooler heads prevail.

96 comments:

Patrick said...

Maybe they think this is the way to get concessions from the District, but if I were the District's real estate person it would be a way to never, ever get space leased from the District again under any circumstances. And vigorously enforce the no-subletting clause of every lease.

mirmac1 said...

OMG. Whereas I initially wanted to give this community as much voice and access as others in our district, I am perturbed by some individuals' comments.

Just some personal opinions here:

The frustration with a lack of progress and a real plan was palpable but the demands that it change within months seemed a hard nut to crack. Sounds like the history and current state of special education. We aren't threatening anyone bodily harm.

Mr. DeGrieck (from the Mayor's office) said there would be room for a once-a-week program but that the space would have to be shared with other programs. Did he mention the number of high-level meetings he's been at and arranged for the downtown school. I seem to recall he's all over that one.

Superintendent Banda had to admit there was no district-wide plan to close the achievement gap for African-American students. Even though this is the professed mission of Bill Gates' mouthpieces (yeah, that's you A4E/LEV/OSC), why aren't they focusing money and efforts on that? Instead of injecting their corporate paradigm into CBA negotiations, cockamamie evaluations schemes and Race to the Top destruction of public education. Because they are insincere in their rhetoric.

Wyking said that "the contractor should be "aware" of the situation around this building.. Having been there, been burned by that, I know that if some work is thrown their way (ala Potter), that will appease some.

This sounds like a precursor to charter attempts to take over buildings. And I'm not feelin' it.

Anonymous said...

I think Superintendent Banda has let this go on much too long. These two and their friends have no legal right to be in the building. Why have they not been evicted? It is so disappointing to hear that he has scheduled another meeting with them - what is the point? They can and should be evicted today.

Who was discussing Thurgood Marshall and Madrona? Those buildings are not available - there are no available buildings. Anyone who leases public property to Wyking Garrett or Julia Ismael in the future should lose their jobs.

I cannot understand how the district got themselves into the position of negotiating with them.

Lynn



Wyking said...

Melissa why didn't you simply speak to the people in the room as fellow human beings, parents, educators, citizens, advocates, taxpayers, etc. about their very valid concerns?

For the record, the statement made tonight was "There IS blood on your hands" (not will be) referencing the many young lives that have been lost and families/communities destroyed as a result of past and present polices and district practices. You have misquoted and mischaracterized this statement for whatever reason.

We all know that no one threatened bodily harm in any way. Nevertheless, far too many of our children are harmed and traumatized daily, psychologically and socio-emotionally in school buildings where they are supposed to be nurtured.

It’s not “achievement gap” it is a legacy of institutional racism - de jure and de facto apartheid that perpetuates a status quo of one group on top and other groups on the bottom.

If white children and families were experiencing the disregard and outcomes that black families have endured they would have turned this district upside down along time ago.

Lynn: believe me this is much bigger than any two individuals. There approximately 10,000 black students/families in this district. This is only a beginning, the tip of the iceberg.

And by the way who should lose their job based on the record of failure of our children?

mirmac: this is not about charters and when people are denied access and voice people do get desperate. Fortunately you have a group of very reasonable and intelligent representatives seeking a positive outcome.

It's interesting that there is no significant discussion at all about the CRISIS and STATE OF EMERGENCY regarding Black Children and the lack of any real plan by those paid and entrusted to impement such plans successfully? How can you allow this to be for your fellow neighbors?

A snap shot of the crisis:

Thurgood Marshall - 99% of white students at math proficiency vs. 26% of black students
Madrona - 20% of black elementary and 29% of black middle school students at proficiency.
Washington Middle School - 91% of white students vs. 33% of black students at proficiency
Garfield High School - 78% of white students at math proficiency vs. 35% of black students

This is the front end of the "school-to-prison-pipeline".

45 years ago, Seattle’s black community was addressing the exact same issues nearly verbatim. http://depts.washington.edu/civilr/news_blair.htm

The African American community has been more than gracious and exercised extreme patience in allowing the district and mainstream “progressive” Seattle every opportunity to demonstrate that our children’s education is a priority.

Please do not encourage the use of violence (people with guns and other instruments of violence) to resolve this issue as that is really a non-resolution to the critical issues at hand.

Anonymous said...

Just to contrast priority of concerns. Big article on King 5 about the possibilty of opening up John Marshall as a school next to I-5. Lots of scary possible health concerns from exhaust and diesel mentioned.

Nada, zip, zilch about the meeting last night. There isn't any coverage so far from the major news outlets this morning (i hope i'm wrong). Why is that? Only Melissa's report made it here. Melissa, please do a more in depth piece and talk to all the players?

The district needs to look long and hard at its practices. Even with the Feds over its shoulder, there doesn't seem to be the urgency this community is feeling. The mayor and city council speak only in grand plans and sweeping vagueness. There is nothing there.

Where is the pipeline to prison public health article? The high morbidity and mortality rates among AA? Where are all those distinguish UW professors' voices? The board members'?

What has led up to this situation today? Do you really think this is just about a lease contract?

long view

Melissa Westbrook said...

Wyking, I respected the rules of engagement for the Taskforce (unlike one person). I am a long-time activist in the district and I know the rules. Therefore, I was unable to speak up.

I would be happy to talk with you at anytime.

I stand by my statement that the wording (at least the second time it was said) was "there WILL be blood on your hands."

"We all know that no one threatened bodily harm in any way."

I didn't say that but your tone and messaging was fairly clear.

Are you saying that no one will be in the building on September 18th?

No one will prevent the district from doing the work on the building?

Can you give those assurances because that did not come across in your words or Julia's.

I absolutely understand about institutional racism. I grew up in such a community (it was Mexican-Americans, though, not African-Americans). But the district did not redline the city. The district is not involved with the gentrification of the Central District. (And, in fact, when some pushed for more "gentrification-tye" activities at Madrona K-8, the principal and the district said no.)

The district should do a lot better but they are NOT solely responsible for the larger society.

As for anyone losing their job, you should read this blog more often. We have often said, by name, people we believe have hurt the district and should have been discharged for not doing their jobs long ago. We stand with you on that point.

I said NOTHING about guns - YOU are saying that and it's wrong to even bring that up.

I am saying I expect civil disobedience on the 18th (as is anyone's right) but I also expect it to be unpleasant. I said NOTHING about violence.

Long View, of course this is not just about a lease contract. Clearly. I separated the issues in my thread.

But the district, and the Superintendent, will be making a huge mistake in allowing anyone to go around legal issues involving buildings. It sets a very bad precedent.

Anyone whose school is on the BEX list should understand that slowing down one project is going to cause a huge ripple affect.

Anonymous said...

I would love to see an article with a direct conversation between Mel/Charlie & the groups at Mann (and Nova). As someone else said, I really don't understand who anyone is, or what's happening because no one else seems to be covering the news at all.

(And, I respect that this blog is about activism and not news coverage, so the request is out of mission, but, otherwise, a lot of us will continue to have a bad taste in our mouths without understanding exactly what happened).

zb

Anonymous said...

The numbers are cited for schools with an APP cohort - kind of a skewed sample. As it turns out, the comprehensive high school with the highest 2012-13 EOC 1 pass rates for black students is none other than Garfield.

Garfield 45.4%
Ballard 41.2%
Chief Sealth 40.8%
Cleveland 33.7%
Franklin 35.3%
Ingraham 17.1%
Nathan Hale 29.3%
Rainier Beach 17.4%
Roosevelt 38.1%
West Seattle 26.8%

-numbers

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Eric B said...

Mr. Wykle, I appreciate that you posted in the comments. I hope that you're still reading them and can answer a few questions:

Why does the District owe you and your group(s) space in their building? These are school buildings being repurposed for school uses. The lease was terminated legally, and you weren't even on the original lease.

How can you demand guarantees of space with a straight face? Nobody else in the city gets a guarantee from their landlord that the landlord will find them space once the lease ends.

What tangible results have your program(s) shown for students? So far as I have seen reported, your argument is that the District owes your program(s) space because of the long history of institutional racism, leading to the achievement gap and the school to prison pipeline. How do your program(s) address those problems? What results have you seen?

I support your overall goal. I think the achievement gap is a crisis in Seattle schools that does not get enough attention. I think that far too much lip service has been paid, and not enough work that gets results. That has resulted in the waste of far too many young lives. But I just don't understand why you feel that these demands about this building are reasonable, particularly given the overcrowding crisis that currently exists in Seattle schools.

Chris S. said...

Wow, I'm hearing pretty clearly that the African-American community AND Superintendent Banda don't see the ed-reform activities of the last 5 years as even an ATTEMPT to close the achievement gap. I'm talking about the NSAP, standardization, testing, teacher evals, TFA, and all those initiatives I don't understand (TIF, etc.) If those weren't attempts to close the achievement gap, WHAT EXACTLY WERE THEY?

Of course these things were not effective and there are many who are not surprised by this. I am stunned to hear our leaders and potential beneficiaries discount it all as "nothing has been done."

I would gladly join these people camping on the lawn of the Gates foundation where maybe we can finally come up with some ideas that will work for kids. Banda and Nova are simply the wrong target.

Charlie Mas said...

Couple things.

1. My takeaway from the meeting was different from Melissa's. I'll try to write it and post it today. My impression was much more sympathetic to the advocates on the Task Force and much less concerned about threats. It is, however, much more critical of the District staff.

2. The anonymous comment made at 8:34am was deleted because it was unsigned. Please read the rules for comments before making one.

Anonymous said...

Wyking is going after the school district because its a soft target.

The African Am. Museum (use to be Colman) can make space for his project but they know Wyking, they won't touch him with a 10 foot pole.

First AME- MLK School has space but they know Wyking, they won't touch him with a 20 foot pole.

The Islamic School bldg. has space but they know Wyking, they are armed and ready with a 30 foot pole.

The only patsies and fools left are the school district. Your district has all out of brains and 10 foot poles for a long time. So congratulations you earned this.

Instead better to move that big white special program out of Garfield and make more room in there for more kids.

Fourty-Late

Anonymous said...

To say there is no plan, or that the plight of African American children in SPS is not, or has not, been "significantly discussed" is simply false. The Achievement Gap is constantly and chronically discussed in this district. Has the district done a good job of addressing it? No. Not by a long shot. In fact, things like school closures and Discovery Math have worsened it and further alienated the community, over the objection of many communities, black, white and all in-between.

The CRISIS of AA kids performance has been part of every plan and discussion in SPS as long as my kids have been in it, and as far back as I can remember. The subject is constantly talked about, but too often side-tracked, exploited, used by some groups for leverage, and is always a political sword, shield, and hot potato. To say otherwise is to deny the truth and reality.

It's a fair criticism to argue that solutions and improvements have been elusive, unsuccessful or paper-only/cheap-talk, manipulated statistics and deceitful. Much has to do with dollars not reaching the kids who need them the most - Mirmac's point (I think).

But it's tiresome to continue to hear false allegations thrown about at nameless, faceless groups, sharing no other common trait than being white, or non-black. The problem is multi-faceted and multi-sourced, including institutional racism, but also including families themselves not prioritizing and supporting the education of their own children as they should.

No, I'm not blaming the victims. I'm saying it requires an all hands approach to educate kids and there's plenty of blame to go around for all the failures of certain kids to achieve in school. We can drown ourselves in inflammatory rhetoric casting aspersions at each other, or we can work together in an open, honest and sincere fashion to find solutions to these vexing and ongoing problems.

I'm not sure political stand-offs such as this help much or achieve much in the end, because such "occupy" tactics may draw attention, but rarely achieve their ultimate goals. But if the groups occupying the Mann building are delivering the goods to kids because the district hasn't or can't, then it sounds to me like we've got another tool in the toolbox that we could embrace and work with. Why not broker an arrangement with the MLK building, for example? Why not harness that drive and energy instead of dispersing it or suppressing it?

It sounds to me like these groups fear for their own survival if they leave the Mann building, which, on it's face is legitimate.

But it also seems to me we just can't let go of the paradigm that if one group is succeeding, it must be at the expense of another group. Classic, zero-sum thinking that allows government and politicians to throw bones in the form of concessions, and make hollow promises without ever solving the underlying problems. So can "we the people" talk about win-win solutions, or go for each others' throats?

Seems to me we need to take a step back here and drill down a bit deeper into the issues before jumping into one camp or another, dredging up all the same old arguments and labels to place on and throw at each other.

WSDWG

Rita Green said...

Melissa,

African American Academy was successful. Look at the data for those students compared to the data for the same student demographics in other SPS schools. The district wants us to believe that it was a failure.

It is much like African American Families sending their kids to North End schools thinking that they will receive a better education. The data shows quite the contrary. Students of Color bussed to the North end are performing worse than Students of Color in the South End.

The bottom line is: SPS is a systemic Racist Institution particularly towards African American Students and their families. Many district employees (including African American employees) display a lack of knowledge and unwillingness to learn what they need to do to reach our students and our community. Instead of listening and learning they want to do things their way. The District way obviously is NOT working so they need to listen to those of us who do know what will and does work when it comes to reaching the African American students and their families.

Your Nova comment in terms of properly serving African American students is also debatable. You and I have to get together so I can educate you on the differences in African Americans.

I am not fully aware of the Mann situation but from reading this post and the comments it appears to me that once again the District has failed to meet with and work out an amiable solution in a timely manner.


Rita, RBHS PTSA Pres.

Anonymous said...

Melissa's Blog has NO validity regarding the issues that stir the conviction of advocates of African American children who attend SPS's and a city that instigates their educational failure and social destruction.

It is clear that your blog dismisses the struggle our children face to be taught by too many white teachers who were spoon-fed racial animus and fear as children.

It is clear that your blog minimizes the perpetual recycled educational practices that are used to ACHIEVE the gap that gives some students a false sense of superiority, while teaching others they have natural deficits and they're the problem.

And it is sad that a so-called 'progressive' city and its school district wears the scorn and scar of bigotry against innocent children and youth in order to sustain the institution of white privilege as if it represents a meritocracy.

Why does the Seattle Public School District or even the majority culture in Seattle have to work so hard to maintain inequality in order to report white achievement, why does white dominance continues to refresh its racist institutions in order to harass, humiliate, punish and menace black children and youth in order to feel good about itself, why is this needed in order for white children to achieve in school or for white parents to say they care about their kids more than others?

Well inspite of all this effort only approx. 68% of American kids will graduate from high school this year and that Achievement Gap we talk about means nothing outside of the U.S., cause in a country that is 17th in education globally, it has failed every kid.

Melissa when we turn on our own kids, even those 'hated' black boys, eventually ALL our kids will suffer. Review the meth. statistic.

Melissa, you are mistaken if the scenario you outlined is the problem; you have only in this blog distracted us, by inferring a scenario of pending unrest, you have really missed the gravity of the racial problems we face as a city, state and even a nation.

The message of Mann truly went over your head.

Yes the we are frustrated and angry that our p-k babies get kicked out of schools, and our boys are expelled for less than a white thug, and our girls lose their self esteem under the tutelage of whiny white women, "gatekeepers to male dominance. But we also know we ALL should be concerned. For no child goes to school in a fishbowl and all our are suffering, some now other later.

The people standing at MANN understand inequality for some will not garner opportunity for others.

NOT ANY MORE!

mirmac1 said...

Amen WSDWG. Thanks for expressing my point better than me.

Anonymous said...

So, Not Any More!, is it your belief that the reason black children are struggling in SPS is because of a conspiracy among white people to screw them over for personal gain and achievement? In other words, a perfect zero-sum game where the only way one person can "win" is if somebody else "loses?"

That's what you seem to be saying, and I'm not saying you're right or wrong; I just want to be sure I'm not misinterpreting you.

If that is what you're saying, I think you're being too narrow and selective in your choice of causes and who to blame. I don't walk in your shoes; but neither do you walk in mine. We've all got our crosses to bear.

WSDWG

Anonymous said...

"The people standing at MANN understand inequality for some will not garner opportunity for others."

And, N.A.M., I don't deny that happens, a lot. It's just not fair to broad brush all parents or an entire city as part of the problem, when so many of us work hard everyday to create a fairer and more just society for all kids.

WSDWG


50 years later... said...

“While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities “unwise and untimely.”...

...“My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a single gain civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups tend to be more immoral than individuals.

We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct-action campaign that was “well timed” in the view of those who have not suffered...For years now I have heard the word “Wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This “Wait” has almost always meant “Never.” We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
LETTER FROM BIRMINGHAM JAIL
April 16, 1963

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
john said...

Not any more,
I'm sorry that you feel that the world is against you. But the degree of racial persecution that you imagine is in your imagination. I'm not saying that there is no racial bias in the world, but seriously.
The issue at hand is not the imagined injustices that you think should be addressed by Seattle public schools, but the illegal occupation of a building by a group that does not represent the entire community of African Americans, or the central district.
The squatters are holding up the process of Nova moving into Mann, which holds up the creation of Meany, which will help the overcrowding of Washington, which in turn will help the larger African American community in the entire central region. If you want to address the wrongs of the world, so be it, but please stop hurting the children that you are so concerned about.

Time Machine said...

May 13, 1958

The President
The White House
Washington, D.C.

My dear Mr. President:

I was sitting in the audience at the Summit Meeting of Negro Leaders yesterday when you said we must have patience. On hearing you say this, I felt like standing up and saying, 'Oh no! Not again.'

I respectfully remind you sir, that we have been the most patient of all people. When you said we must have self-respect, I wondered how we could have self-respect and remain patient considering the treatment accorded us through the years.

17 million Negroes cannot do as you suggest and wait for the hearts of men to change. We want to enjoy now the rights that we feel we are entitled to as Americans. This we cannot do unless we pursue aggressively goals which all other Americans achieved over 150 years ago.

As the chief executive of our nation, I respectfully suggest that you unwittingly crush the spirit of freedom in Negroes by constantly urging forbearance and give hope to those pro-segregation leaders like Governor Faubus who would take from us even those freedoms we now enjoy. Your own experience with Governor Faubus is proof enough that forbearance and not eventual integration is the goal the pro-segregation leaders seek.

In my view, an unequivocal statement backed up by action such as you demonstrated you could take last fall in dealing with Governor Faubus if it became necessary, would let it be known that America is determined to provide—in the near future—for Negroes—the freedoms we are entitled to under the constitution.

Respectfully yours,

(Signed)

Jackie Robinson

42

NO MORE! said...

TO WSDWG FROM NO MORE!

No I'm not saying "white people" are doing anything. Because as we are all should know "white people" have no power to do anything to anyone, and getting just as screwed as everyone else. But if you are a person in a position of real power used or invested to keep the powerful in power and that is NOT the generic white person, but I understand their need to believe that (what else do they have, healthcare), if you talking about the institutions that are used to harm and destoyed AMERICAN kids than I am saying YES!

Anonymous said...

Wyking,

This is mostly an economic issue. The district-wide math test results are:
3rd Grade MSP proficiency:
53.9% Low Income
86.8% Non Low Income

7th Grade MSP proficiency:
53.6 % Low Income
85.6% Non Low Income

Madrona's results:
3rd Grade MSP proficiency:
31.6% Low Income
70% Non Low Income

One of the largest factors affecting school success is pre-school language development. Children with larger vocabularies learn to read earlier. Children who become proficient readers earlier are able to transition to learning by reading earlier. The knowledge gap begins before kindergarten and grows larger every year.

Studies have shown that:

Children in professional households hear on average 1,500 more words per hour than children growing up in poverty. There is a gap of more than 32 million words by the age of four.

1st grade children from high SES backgrounds know twice as many words as their classmates from low SES backgrounds.

The highest performing second graders have vocabularies equivalent to the lowest performing high school seniors.

Seniors at the top of their class know four times as many words as their lower-performing classmates.

The problem is poverty. The problem is made worse if the poverty is long-term and if it is concentrated in a community.

What are the solutions? The current discussion on access to high quality preschool programs is certainly relevant. Parenting classes for new parents that emphasize the importance of talking to children have been shown to be effective.

What you can do for your community is advocate for these things. You need economic solutions.

You are an intelligent, educated person. The fact that you are disregarding these basic facts does not cause others to take you seriously.

Julia wrote this to Superintendent Banda:

Should Nova Alternative School indeed relocate to the Horace Mann building under such strained circumstances, the potential for community building and partnership between the students, staff and teachers with the community would be, at best, strained; at worst, hostile. A move into this neighborhood community marred by disenfranchisement and racial inequity amplified by this disenfranchising process, Nova through no fault of their own, would inevitably not feel the warm welcome they truly deserve.

This is an attempt to intimidate the children who are enrolled at NOVA. It is disingenuous to suggest otherwise.

Lynn

Charlie's Advice... said...

Friday, May 27, 2011

A Goal Without a Plan:

I spoke to someone last night and it reminded me of one of my greatest frustrations with Seattle Public Schools.

I have been a school district activist for about 11 years. For all of that time the District's stated number one goal and priority has been to close the Academic Achievement Gap. Ask anyone in the district leadership what their primary goal or highest priority is and that will be named.

So where is the plan to achieve that goal? There is none. They have never made one.

What kind of organization - business, sports, government, non-profit, cultural, whatever - sets a goal, swears commitment to that goal, but never makes any kind of plan to achieve it? That's simply not credible.

If the District were ever to write a plan to close the Academic Achievement Gap, they would do it by bringing every student up to Standards. And the only reasonable way to do that would be to identify every student who was working below Standards and give them the support they need to reach Standards. Yet, astonishingly, Seattle Public Schools doesn't do that. Why not?

Why doesn't the community get in front of these people every day and demand that they develop and implement a plan to close the Academic Achievement Gap? If this is the District's highest priority, then why is it the first thing the District cuts from the budget? Summer school - cut. Elementary school counselors - cut. Interventions - never funded in the first place. Required interventions for struggling students - cut from the promotion/retention policy.

We don't have a district-wide assurance of early and effective interventions for students working below grade level. How can that be? What could possibly be a higher priority than that?

Calls for a specific plan to close the gap and calls for interventions needs a permanent spot at the top of the list of all of our demands.
Posted by Charlie Mas at 6:12 AM

Eric B said...

First of all, I have to apologize to Mr. Wyking for misspelling his name. I read to fast and didn't go back to check.

To NAM, I'm frankly baffled by you taking Melissa to task for not supporting AA achievement and reduction of the achievement gap. Have you not read this blog? Whether she was talking about math curricula, successes at Aki Kurose, differential punishment, safety at schools, academic changes, or really just about anything, this blog has always asked what the impact was to the achievement gap. Issues of equity are regularly discussed. I just don't understand why you would want to blow off your ally on the issues that you hold dear.

There are structural inequities in Seattle. sometimes, those inequities are increased by a particular policy decision. But to claim that anyone goes to their job thinking that their goal that day is to keep the black people down is ridiculous and frankly insulting. If you want to educate me, I'm all ears. As we tell our kids, I can't hear your problem if you start by blaming me and assuming bad intentions on my part.

mirmac1 said...

NAM and my buddy Rita,

I believe this matter goes well beyond the immediate issue of a lease. And the beef is totally legit.

I'm not feelin' the manner in which the ACIC is trying to achieve its goal. I would be totally supportive of this group and other education focused experts (and i don't mean OSC or LEV) in the neighborhood pursuing a grant from BMGF to establish a "Harlem Children's Zone" type program in an under-utilized building in the area. Not this one however.

I don't like the fact some groups (SpEd, ELL, AA) have less of voice than others (APP, STEM). It would make anyone get aggressive in their message. Still, the manner and timing and target of this particular initiative is wrong. The resources (space and money) just aren't there.

i think we have a less destructive superintendent in Banda than in his two predecessors (who perpetuated alot of this inequity). He's moved away from the right-wing politics of the Alliance (look at some of the give-backs in the CBA) but not far and fast enough for my taste. I'm hopeful something can be worked out to start balancing things in this district.

As to the tone of the blog, well it's Melissa and Charlie's blog so they can take any position they want. It still is a way to discuss these critical issues

Anonymous said...

Well said, Eric B.

And at risk of escalating the argument, it seems to me that if our students are taught at home and elsewhere to presume all the societal institutions are designed to oppress and subjugate them, versus enlighten and empower them, then it's really no mystery why certain groups are alienated from, don't buy into, and don't perform well within those institutions.

If I were a kid and heard all that caustic rhetoric at home, would I do my homework? I don't think so. Wouldn't that be licking the boots of, and being brainwashed by, my oppressors?

WSDWG

Melissa Westbrook said...

Rita, AAA did just as well on those scores as other schools with comparable populations, that is true. Should it have been closed? Also debatable.

But what was also the issue that there was a lot of infighting over the years among the very people who were creating and shapnig the program. I'm not sure there was a single year the entire new building (and yes, a new building was built specifically for AAA) was filled.

How could it be that a school created for African-American children and shaped by those adults did not succeed? I think the district, for all its faults, gave it the best shot it could.

Not any more, it is clear you don't read this blog often because we have consistently spoken out (and loudly) to advocate for ALL children in this district. We were loud in our unhappiness over the Trayvon Martin verdict. But frankly, I'm not going to defend the blog because I know what we've written and advocated.

I will also warn against name-calling as we don't allow this on the blog. You did it several times.

I will also point out that derailing BEX projects will hurt many of the children you want to help. Meany and Arbor Heights are the worst conditioned buildings in the district and both do/will serve many children of color. Their renovations would be directly affected by any slowdown in the schedule. And, as was pointed out by the Facilities person, the district will lose State capital dollars if they do not get going by Sept. 18th. Again, that hurts all schools that need capital upkeep.

I'm not asking anyone to wait. I thought the demand for a advisory committee - driven and lead by African-American parents and leaders - was right on point. I'm surprised it hasn't happened sooner. This is a very serious crisis and I would like to know - in specific and beyond cultural competency training - what this group would like to see done differently. There were no specifics discussed yesterday.

I also didn't hear any other factors that may be causes for this crisis brought up or discussed at the meeting. I was quite surprised about that.

Xaila Lewis said...

Wyking - thank you for your comments. As a parent of color, I have been fighting on behalf of my son for equity in education since he started kindergarten. While I have been advocating for him within the system, you are an activist fighting to change the system. Your work speaks for itself. I've seen you volunteer countless hours of your time to bring programs to our young black males in the South End and specifically at Rainier Beach High School. You believe in our young Brothers and Sisters and dedicate yourself to ensuring they develop marketable skills for life after graduation. We need more individuals to set rhetoric to the side, stand by our students and walk the talk when it comes to letting them know we have a vested interest in not letting them fail. You are truly appreciated.

Xaila

Melissa Westbrook said...

I am writing a follow-up to my long-ago thread on Arts Education in SPS. Good things are happening because of an influx of money coming from the City. More on this later but I do want to point this good news for the Central area from the City of Seattle Arts:

"Investment dollars will ensure that every student in the Central Pathway of Seattle Public Schools receives a minimum of two hours per week of arts education programming, as well as support the purchase of instruments and other art supplies for classrooms. The Central Pathway, which consists of schools in and around Seattle’s Central District, was chosen due to strong existing partnerships with community-based arts education organizations. The eventual goal of the program is to expand each year until all SPS students receive two hours per week of arts education programming by 2020."

Rita Green said...

Melissa, we can agree to disagree about AAA. Your question as to why the school was not full is a simple answer. "When the media continues to air negative stories and the District promotes negative success about aschool; parents and students flee. Much like what has happened to Rainier Beach for the past 10 years or more. Engaged parents know the truth that the data does not show.

Also, I have re-read my post and do not see that I called anyone a name. I simply spoke the truth in generalized terms.

I am not sure why you seem to be defensive bringing up the blog in regards to Trayvonn Martin. As I stated I do not know much about the Horace Mann issue. What I do know that this is just one of many issues where the District has failed to address. The Horace Mann folks are speaking out and it would be helpful for you to share your knowledge and thoughts as to how you think their needs can be addressed.

Kudos to Wyking and others who are leading the charge. I hope that an amiable solutionwill be reached that works for all parties invovled.

Rita


Rita

Melissa Westbrook said...

Rita, I was not saying you name-called. I had switch to reader Not Any More who did.

I'm not being defensive and I said I would not defend this blog. But anyone who read it even semi-regularly would see that we advocate for all students in all parts of the city.

I hope for a amicable solution but that is not what I thought I heard yesterday.

Again, I hope common sense and cooler heads prevail.

You'll notice that Wyking did not answer my direct questions. It would be good to have those answers.

Anonymous said...

more words equals more success in school. ok, i'll buy that, but that doesn't mean anything other that there is a correlation between those two things, not cause and effect.
it actually illustrates one of the hoops that are erected to gatekeep poor people.
in other words, being wordy is what gets you high marks in school and ipso facto poor people don't do well in school.
who decided being wordy was a positive characteristic and was required to get a good job?
it's a classic, maybe the classic, example of an economic and cultural class perpetuating itself by imposing barriers.

CowCrow

Eric B said...

@CowCrow, There's a big difference between being wordy and hearing lots of words. Being wordy is a terrible characteristic, and most LA teachers discourage it. Hearing lots of words is correlated with improved vocabulary and reading skills, which are extremely important.

Other studies have shown that it's important that those words be spoken to the child directly, not just be heard from TV or radio. That in itself is not a hoop to gatekeep poor people, it's a fact of human brain development.

An economic system where the poor often have to work two or three jobs to put food on the table is a hoop that prevents children from having the contact with adults that increases their vocabulary. High quality preschool will almost certainly help in those cases. I am hopeful that the new city initiative in this area will be coming soon.

Anonymous said...

Dear Ms. Westbrook,

I found this blog post condescending in critical in a negative manner. That is, you write with a suspicious tone and serve up inflammatory and distancing statements.

For example, "It is clear to me that they will not leave peacefully." In short, if you stand with all families and parents, then why are you suspicious of these families and leaders and other them by describing them or us as "they" in a threatening manner? And then making it sound as though some violence is imminent. Finally, you challenging their credibility by question their background in education.

Personally, I have a PhD in education and teach at the UW and SPU. Until recently, I've taught in the School of Education but now work with pre-med students. My past involves working in public and independent schools including board work. More interestingly, as far as I can tell neither Mr. Mas or yourself have academic training in education. However, you've had a positive (and recognized) impact on the educational system in SPS.

Before you begin asking questions on the efficacy of this proposal, I think the onus is on you to begin to acknowledge how other communities, say Queen Anne, influence decisions shaping education in their area for the good. I'd do so with the recognition that we're talking about a group of students in crisis mode with less and less local black students matriculating to our state universities.

Secondly, you might do your own research on why the kind of interventions being prescribed. For all your advocacy for a generic student population, you seem more interested in creating scandal in regards to AA interventions and less about generating positive suggestions. Of course, some of the problems in the past are worthy of the kind of revelations that you bright to light. The current situation may not be unrelated to a group in the black community that took advantage of SPS.

Based on your past involvement, I know that you're an excellent researcher. Why don't you begn

Finally, I suggest that you read Sabina Vaughn's book about education in Seattle, Racism, Public Schooling, and the Entrenchment of White Supremacy: A Critical Race Ethnography . It will help you see why this intervention is important. Although it might not be something you'd support, I'd appreciate if you could read our diverse efforts with generosity.

I appreciate your work on behalf of all students and families. Yet, it's important to make distinctions between students and families (class, gender, race, sexual orientation, etc and so on)as well as between proposals (past and present).

Dr. Max Hunter
PhD (Educational Leadership), EdM (Teacher Education), AM (History of Science), MA (Bioethics)

Anonymous said...

Oh the comments on this thread so illustrate why middle-income families (of all colors) in the southend shun our neighborhood middle and high school.

The attitude that all "white" students are privileged equates to "ignore the white student as they don't need our help; they have parents who will make sure they succeed," is all too common among many of the schools' staffers. It may even be true, but it certainly does not make a family eager to have their child being taught by same staffers.

And CowCrow — really?! Now we're supposed to say that being "wordy" is not essential to success, that it keeps low-income people down? It's a parent's job to make sure their children succeed. That means taking your kid to the FREE library, tuning in Sesame Street rather than Dr. Phil, taking advantage of every free preschool event in the neighborhood...

Being wordy equals being able to read and understand what you read; being able to speak well means that you can communicate clearly. Those two qualities are essential in life whether you manage a restaurant or Microsoft. Let's not lower standards, let's find ways to get all kids what they need — universal preschool for ages 3 and up would be a huge start!

Southie

Anonymous said...

Apologies for the rushed off comment. I've tried to do some editing, but have my own work to accomplish:

Dear Ms. Westbrook,

I found this blog post condescending and critical in a negative manner. That is, you write with a suspicious tone and serve up inflammatory and distancing statements.

For example, "It is clear to me that they will not leave peacefully." In short, if you truly stand with all families and parents, then why are you suspicious of these families and leaders and other them by describing them or us as "they" in a threatening manner? And then making it sound as though some violence is imminent. Of course, some of the statements seemed vieled, but I don’t think your comments help the manner. Finally, you challenge their (our) credibility by questioning their (our)background in education.

Personally, I have a PhD in education and teach at the UW and SPU. Until recently, I've taught in the School of Education but now work with pre-med students. My past involves working in public and independent schools including board work. More interestingly, as far as I can tell neither Mr. Mas nor yourself have academic training in education. However, you've had a positive (and recognized) impact on the educational system in SPS.

Before you begin asking questions on the efficacy of this proposal, I think the onus is on you to begin to acknowledge how other communities, say Queen Anne, and influence decisions shaping education in their areas for the good. I'd do so with the recognition that we're talking about a group of students in crisis mode with less and less local black students matriculating to our state universities.

Secondly, you might do your own research on why the kind of holistic and identity-based interventions being prescribed are important. For all of your advocacy for a generic student population, you seem more interested in creating scandal in regards to AA interventions and less about generating positive suggestions. Of course, some of the problems in the past are worthy of the kind of revelations that you brought to light. The current situation may not be unrelated to a group in the black community that took advantage of SPS under Godloe-Johnson.

Based on your past involvement, I know that you're an excellent researcher. Why don't you begin doing a little more research about our children.

I’d suggest that you read Sabina Vaughn's book about education in Seattle, Racism, Public Schooling, and the Entrenchment of White Supremacy: A Critical Race Ethnography . It will help you see why this formative intervention is important. Although it might not be something you'd support, I'd appreciate if you could read our diverse efforts with generosity.

I appreciate your work on behalf of all students and families. Yet, it's important to make distinctions between students and families (class, gender, race, sexual orientation, etc and so on)as well as between proposals (past and present).

Dr. Max Hunter
PhD (Educational Leadership), EdM (Teacher Education), AM (History of Science), MA (Bioethics)

MORE FOR MANN said...

WHAT WOULD HORACE MANN SAY?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAnTmplQ_tw

ARTICLE 26 OF THE UNIVERSAL DECLARATION

(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stage
Biography
ARTICLE 26 OF THE UNIVERSAL DECLARATION

(1) Everyone has the right to education.

(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality

(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

Article 27.

(1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.

How can we realize these HUMAN RIGHTS without space?

Charlie Mas said...

I have now written my post about the meeting.

MORE FOR MANN said...

THE COMMUNITY WHO'S PROPERTY TAXES THAT PAY FOR SCHOOLS OWN THEM.

Property taxes of a surrounding neighborhood pays for schools.

What community has lived in this area surrounding Horace Mann for
the longest period of time?

Than who own's HORACE MANN?



Melissa Westbrook said...

Dr. Hunter, "they" is a pronoun I used to describe the group(s) in the Mann building currently. If you know another pronoun I should have used,let me know. There is nothing suspicious meant in using it.

I'm not challenging anyone's credibility in education. If the groups in the Mann building want to partner with the district, then it should be made clear what their programs are and who is directing them. Not an unreasonable request. If you know of any such documents, that would be helpful. I'm unclear if the district even has this information since they were unaware of some of the groups in the building.

I have no idea what you are talking about vis a vis Queen Anne and this topic. You'd have to clarify that for me.

Charlie and I have never claimed or stated we have education backgrounds.

I'm not trying to create any "scandal." I went to the meeting and took copious notes. I know capital and facilities issues well and I know what will happen if the BEX project line gets slowed down.

I actually have done research on reaching minority learners and there are many things that can be done/tried.

But see, if I advocate for these things, then, according to the people in that room, I'm out of line because it's not my community. I'm speaking out of turn. I don't know the African-American experience.

I have heard these criticisms (and, in fact, just today) and I'm wary of offering any such suggestions. I have, in general terms, talked about seeing new research but no, I'm not going to tell anyone who believes I have no standing in their community how they should be educating their children.

Some members of the taskforce said THEY had ideas and had gotten consultants so I would direct you to ask them for their ideas.

Melissa Westbrook said...

More for Mann, did you read the history of the area that was part of the City Landmarks for the Mann building? It sounds like Central was quite diverse for many decades. I just sat down and read the whole thing and it's clear to me that it was a wonderfully diverse area for much of its history. It actually had many more Japanese residents, over a long period of time, until many of them got interned during WWII.

Eric B said...

More For Mann, I'd be awfully careful about the "the people who pay taxes own the building and get to decide what to do with it" line. The fact is that property taxes across the entire city pay for the schools of the entire city. The downtown Seattle core (and other commercial businesses) pay a very large amount in property taxes for our schools. That's why Seattle's tax rate for schools is lower than just about any surrounding community.

If the downtown community's tax money was theirs to direct, do you think they would send any of that cash over the hill to the Central area?

I'm all in favor of the universal declaration of human rights, especially the sections you cited. Just for the sake of argument, how is using Mann for NOVA preventing free education, directed at developing the whole person, with parents choosing the manner of education? Seems to me that an option school with student-directed curricula and programs fills all of those requirements, doesn't it?

FREEDOM RIDER said...

SEATTLE paying a HIGH PRICE for a POOR QUALITY EDUCATION

It was a interesting morning....

1st day of THE SPS BOYCOTT
9/3/2013 8am MADRONA

You know usually when you do a BOYCOTT there are many
hostile entities, spitting, giving you the finger, cursing etc.

Most of the teachers and parents @ MADRONA had the same information that we have and more!

THE BLAME
The failure rate is no longer a closed hidden secret, the facts/statistics are public.

Our discussion pointed to the fact that though the administrators make the decisions on policy and structure...pedagogy etc. to the tune of 100K plus.

the teachers are blamed for carrying out their job description.

The teachers....HARDWORKING teachers are handed directives
from shy faces in high places.

The teachers are not only blamed but endure a great deal of psychological stress from trying to implement something that might not work for everyone?

So what is the solution? SPECIAL EDUCATION? absolutely not...

THE SOLUTION
Those who are satisfied with the results should continue down the road they are traveling.

However for the dissatisfied BLACK PARENT/STUDENT, or a WHITE PARENT...WITH BLACK CHILDREN.

We need an immediate solution to a problem that if not fixed, permanently and perpetually keeps us in poverty.

So we are paying a HIGH PRICE for a POOR QUALITY EDUCATION and if you complain or contest to make it better you are labeled dysfunctional and turned over
to the MENTAL HEALTH SPECIALIST for observation?

NO ONE CAN EDUCATE US, BETTER THAN US. HORUS MANN...Teachers that LOVE Black children and respect Black Parents.

peace

erik tanen said...

We keep getting sidetracked by the argument that SPS should give over the building to AfricaTown, or peace now, or some coalition of groups that don't have a lease, so that all the wrongs of the past and present can be righted. Of course inequities should be addressed, but this is not the right solution, or the groups mentioned above, are not the right agents for this change. I live near them and know all about their community involvement (which is minimal at the best). I can not imagine that the school district would have let this go on because they are willing to squat and jump up and down.They do not represent the larger community in the least and could never pull off managing the kind of change that has been articulated in this blog. This building renovation needs ti move forward so that the overcapacity at Washington can be alleviated. If we are talking about AA kids, then relieving the capacity at Washington is paramount. Anything else is hurting all kids.
And to More For Mann,
I live in the community for along time and support Nova moving in.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Melissa Westbrook said...

Please read our posting rules. We do not allow anonymous comments. Give yourself a name or moniker so people can direct questions or comments to you.

I will echo somewhat of what Erik said. Slowing down/shutting down the BEX project timeline will hurt many children, including minority children in other parts of the city. I don't see the fairness in that, either.

FREEDOM RIDER said...

In response to Melissa Westbrook

I don't think our JAPANESE brother's and sisters would be opposed to US teaching our children all of the things SPS has failed to.

ARE YOU JAPANESE?

It is very strange that whenever we say want to TEACH OUR CHILDREN that all of these RED FLAGS arise and all of these false ideals and concepts are introduced to trivialize THE FACTS.

but the facts are still plain, the test scores are real.

80 mil in the BEX 4 and none to address the issue of BLACK CHILDREN FAILING in SPS.

What is your solution?

pro-NOVA neighbor said...

more for mann...
SPS doesn't give that sort of an education to anyone, regardless of race or class. It should, but it doesn't. I live in this neighborhood. I pay taxes. I want to send my kid to NOVA. You don't speak for the neighborhood.

pro-NOVA neighbor said...

I'll add that NOVA comes closer to giving that sort of education than any other high school in Seattle, maybe than any other school period. The irony is thick here.

It's not a 'white' school. Anyone in the city can go there, and people who live in the Garfield attendance area have first dibs. You want that sort of education? Send your kid to NOVA, the only school in the city that will let them define for themselves what they want to study and how to measure it.

MORE FOR MANN said...

Eric B said...
More For Mann, I'd be awfully careful about the "the people who pay taxes own the building and get to decide what to do with it" line.

DO YOU KNOW WHO SEATTLE'S ALLIANCE FOR EDUCATION IS?

A group of businesses who come together and give directives to SPS.

So that is already happening Eric.

What is not happening is THE COMMUNITY CONTROL/PARTNERSHIP that allows our community to determine the following:

ARTICLE 26 & 27

3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.


Article 27.

(1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.

A marriage between the PUBLIC and PRIVATE to raise the standard of education.

Where each community can determine what it needs for itself.

Would you oppose that?

This was Horace Mann's approach.
THE FATHER OF PUBLIC EDUCATION

peace

erik tanen said...

It sounds like you are advocating for charter schools. Fantastic, put a viable group of educators together and make a proposal to the district.

Anonymous said...

@Freedom Rider asks MW "ARE YOU JAPANESE?"

No, but this local restaurant owner is, and look what he says about such bigotry.

WSDWG

mirmac1 said...

Southie,

I don't appreciate the suggestion that the advocates for ACIC plopped their kids in front of the tube for Dr. Phil. That is uncalled for.

As for language and vocabulary, every region in this country talks and sounds different, is that wrong or inferior? Statements that kids from lower-income families (of which our government guarantees more everyday) are learning language from tv and radio, ...I reject that categorically.

These attitude are not too different from what my family experienced as working class and non-native speakers. I call BS!!

Many of those, who others think they adequately describe as those FRLs, want the same thing for their children as anyone else.

Our parents are why we can sit here and opine all day. I thank mine for pushing for my education, however they think works best. That may not include having a latte' and schmoozin' at Starbucks with DeBell.

Anonymous said...

Numbers, turns out that 100% of black 10th graders at Ballard HS pass reading HSPE, 85% pass writing, 95% pass science. Better than white students, and better than black students at Garfield. If you look at ALL math scores, not just EOC 1 1st year, for black BHS students 80% pass EOC 1 and 90% pass EOC 2. Better than Garfield. What does it mean? Move 'em to Ballard? Oh yeah. They already tried that! The whole idea that the segregated super white APP program really helps out the poor inferior neighborhood black kids, in a lot of well meaning remedial programs - doesn't hold water.

-Can Count2

CCM said...

Oh yeah -

Ballard is great at serving their 85 African American students - out of 1,620 total.

Way to go!

20% FRL, 11% Special Education, 1.7% Bilingual

Tough statistics to overcome.

-Yo Ballard

Eric B said...

@MFM, I course I don't oppose bringing the public and private together to improve education. That's why I'm the legislative/advocacy chair for two PTAs. That's why I'm on an SPS advisory committee. That's why my wife runs a school grounds care committee that's the envy of the District.

The way to make change happen isn't to go boycotting the school or shouting down everyone who disagrees with you or even asks what you want. Sure, you can picket if you want, pull your kids out. But it won't get you inside the school where it matters.

Look, I'm a child of middle class white privilege. So are my kids. I know that and I know that I don't know the challenges kids at Maple or Arbor Heights Elementaries face. I want to learn, and I'm happy to listen as long as you don't yell at me. If all you do is shout slogans, then I can't learn anything from you.

I think we have the same goals. I want ALL kids to succeed. I think it's criminal that Washington is #15 in prison spending and about #45 in education spending. That's shortsighted and wasteful of human lives.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Hunter, please take your Critical Race Theory back to your ivory tower and torture us no longer with your debunked attempt to stifle objective discussion. CRT has no role in finding cooperative solutions, as it does not allow for argument and viewpoints other than its own anti-white subjective narrative.

Academic freedom may protect your veiled hate speech but out here in the community we can call out your BS and censor you all we please.

--- skeptical

mirmac1 said...

WSDWG,

We think alot alike on many issues. However I distinguish the dust-up at Mashiko's (by an owner who's trying to shore up his Yelp! reviews) versus the issue of institutional racism and neglect.

You gotta be old like me to remember the Bakke lawsuit in the late 70's. This average guy's complaint that he couldn't get into Med School because of reverse discrimination went all the way to the Supreme Court. The decision was not clearcut by any stretch.

In general, what remedies should be in place for centuries long enslavement, abuse and discrimination? Enough until the majority are inconvenienced and denied their piece of pie? Enough until we feel uncomfortable? I am inclined to listen and be patient.

I believe this is not entitlement. This is survival. Perhaps not per ACIC's terms, but something else on the immediate horizon.

Charlie Mas said...

Wyking Garrett said a powerful thing last night.

He said that there are two frames at work here. One frame sees squatters trying to extort the District. The other frame sees a community taking action to educate their children. Both frames are true and both deserve respect.

These truths are not mutually exclusive. They co-exist. By showing respect for my truth - the frame I brought to the meeting - Mr. Garrett reminded me to show respect for his truth and the frame that he brought to the meeting.

It was a helpful reminder and lesson.

Yes, the Peace Center is a squatter. That's not in dispute. The school district has every legal right to call the sheriff and have them dragged out of the building by their ankles if necessary.

That's not in dispute.

Now that we have settled that question, can we move on the really important issue?

Anonymous said...

Well, I wonder if Melissa will delete this demeaning and hate-filled post: "CRT has no role in finding cooperative solutions, as it does not allow for argument and viewpoints other than its own anti-white subjective narrative.

Academic freedom may protect your veiled hate speech but out here in the community we can call out your BS and censor you all we please."

Personally, I don't teach CRT. It also turns out that Sabina is a Caucasian woman from Seattle. Her mother was associate dean of undergraduate education at the UW, so that might contradict this malicious statement. Finally, educators are trained in the ivory tower, and my expectation is that they will draw on literature from the academy to enrich their teaching practices.

MH

Melissa Westbrook said...

Agreed, Charlie, but as I said, I'm not advocating anything specific because I got the message, loud and clear, that I have no real frame of reference to state such nor am I an academic.

I'll leave that to others.

Charlie Mas said...

I am grateful to the person who found and re-posted this blog post.

A Goal without a Plan

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Charlie Mas said...

Um, yeah. I'll say this again.

Un-signed anonymous posts will be deleted.

Anonymous said...

Melissa, it's unfortunate that you deleted my earlier post, though it was clearly a direct response to your comments on my post. It contained nothing that warranted deletion, though I forgot to add my name at the end.

In brief, your opening sentence suggest that your post is about the broader task force. You began: Yup, it got that incendiary at the Mann Building Taskforce meeting this afternoon. Hence, it was a task force meeting, but my read on your post is that it conflates the individuals present and absent, as well as the groups represent in monolithic (and negative terms).

The task force is a collective of individuals who have been asked to participate by Mr. Garret and the Superintendent. Hence, the term "they" is inadequate for me. If you've accessed threatening correspondence then you might want to focus on the authors of those communications. I don't know...maybe certain individuals might respond in a particular manner, but there is no "they" in that regards. I, personally, find offensive in being cast in these terms.

The task force is a diverse group of individuals with different interest in the process and outcomes. As an educator, I'm interested in educational outcomes through a broader educative approach. As a community development, I'm interested in the community health piece that is being promoted. As a reconcile focused leader, I'm interested in promoting a peaceable and collaborative process that transforms the relationship between certain sectors of the community and SPS.

Finally, as stated earlier, I truly do value your knowledge, skills, expertise, and energy. Yet, I am curious how is it that you feel entitled to vet this process and the participants?

MH

Charlie Mas said...

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Anonymous said...

@Mirmac1: It was more than shoring up reviews. The owner was objecting to the bigotry of customers thinking only Japanese should be making Sushi, and that anything less was inauthentic. That one of his best chefs is a white woman apparently wasn't authentic enough for some, and after years of overhearing such comments, the Japanese owner called BS on it.

The point is that no race or ethnicity owns sushi anymore, and the parallel is the same with education. We don't want segregation, but then some say "teaching our own" is necessary or the best way to teach kids who aren't thriving in our schools.

Cultural competency, more minority teachers, and a better curriculum are worthier goals and no group has a monopoly on the best way to reach them. The last thing we need is Balkanization. That's the point of the sushi chef reference.

And I winced at the Dr. Phil comment too, btw.

WSDWG

Wake Up God Dammit! said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
pro-NOVA neighbor said...

Mao? Really? That's who we should emulate? Because 20th century China was such a positive place to live? Wow.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I very clearly said who said what (a few names I could not discern but I did say what Mr. Garrett and Ms.Ismael said. I did not say the entire group agreed but that there were several people who said similar things was notable.

I can vet the process on the Taskforce selection simply because district and board policy was not followed. I don't have any unhappiness with WHO is on the taskforce (and I did not "vet" them at all in my piece) but the process was wrong.

As a member of the public, I was allowed to attend the meeting, as an education activist I am able to understand the nuances of the situation and as an education blogger, I wrote about it. That's all.

Melissa Westbrook said...

And again,

NO anonymous comments

You must have a two-word or shorter name.

Or

Your comment will be deleted.

These are our rules. You can waste your time posting incorrectly or follow them and be part of the discussion.

mirmac1 said...

And Melissa, I respect your knowledge of policy (and the history of disregard of policy). So your commentary in very informed in that respect.

Personally, I avoid nearly every taskforce like the plague. I view nearly every one as a fig leaf for central office apparatchiks.

That is not to say that I do not welcome bonafide engagement with neighbors, and effective action on their concerns.

Anonymous said...

And here I thought you two were genuinely humanitarians, but now I see that's not the case.

Pseudonyms are more important than sentiment.

Well, I wonder if Melissa will delete this demeaning and hate-filled post: "CRT has no role in finding cooperative solutions, as it does not allow for argument and viewpoints other than its own anti-white subjective narrative.

Academic freedom may protect your veiled hate speech but out here in the community we can call out your BS and censor you all we please."

Personally, I don't teach CRT. It also turns out that Sabina is a Caucasian woman from Seattle. Her mother was associate dean of undergraduate education at the UW, so that might contradict this malicious statement. Finally, educators are trained in the ivory tower, and my expectation is that they will draw on literature from the academy to enrich their teaching practices.

Juan Diego
PS-I'd like to recommend a book for you, Malice (Phronesis Series).

Anonymous said...

Sabina Vaught is a white woman who writes on racism and teaches at Tufts. Her mother was the associate dean of undergraduate education at the UW. A dear dear person.

So that might nullify your charges of racism as n approach to foreclose discussion. In fact, by using CRT she and others (not me) attempt to open up new horizons in the educational discourse.

Sceptical however would like to foreclose conversation by name calling and race baiting.

The term "ivory tower" is intriguing when used in discussions about education.

Our future educators are trained in the ivory tower and hopefully will draw on their academic knowledge, texts, and journals to enrich the pedagogy. Ivory tower is a dismissive term use to shut down conversation, Skeptical. By the way, which community do you represent?
Seattle is a mosaic, and most of us inhabit multiple communities. Including the trolls her lurk in the blogosphere.

Juan Diego

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Fortunately, CRT doesn't need Sabina to legitimize it. It's been legitimized and accepted by the academy, as well as embraced by academic presses and journals. CRT has generated a valid academic discourse.

I tend to think of it more as a theoretical framework than an ideology. Ideology might be read by some an a pejorative and dismissive term. Ideology connotes a uncritical worldview or common sense. CRT is not one's common sense, it's a analytic framework...it requires on to think more intentionally and to probe ideologies and structures of power and oppression.

I am sympathetic to the idea that it might be anti-white and oppressive. I truly am. Hate is not my thing. In my estimation, CRT is critical of white supremacy as an ideology, practice, and structure. White privilege as well.

For me, it's not enough to state that CRT is this or that. I need examples given with enough context to fully appreciate your criticisms or observations. More importantly, Sabina, a bright scholar recognized by the academy, has looked at issues of race in SPS to provide profound insights. This work shouldn't be dismissed out of hand.

Regards,

Juan Diego

Anonymous said...

Yo CCM!

Ballard black students are doing well. The claim was nobody can beat Garfield black students (Numbers made this claim) ... because all the really cool white APP students made them better than they could be otherwise. Really? Really???? We're still making excuses like that? ???? Just so some people can get the segregation they think they deserve?

Can Count

Anonymous said...

Can Count,

I don't think you read the comment you are SO excited about. The point was not that APP students improve test scores of Non-APP students. The point was that what Wyking refers to as the apartheid at Garfield is not harming Garfield's black students.

Lynn

Julia Ismael said...

Greetings Beloved Seattle,
I want to thank Ms Westbrook for her passion; it is always an honor for me to hear another person's truths. As my truth, I offer the following response, specifically to the perceived threat of violence.
Even with a most tormented imagination, I cannot fathom any possible positive outcome when violence is used in the same breath as children. The underlying concerns expressed throughout the post reflects perhaps a deeper ingrained fear rather than actual threat. As far as I understand, our legitimate ongoing relationship with the District has allowed the groups to remain in the building with full knowledge and consent, albeit under temporary terms. We champion this movement in reaction to the violence our black youth face daily in the streets, hopelessness caused by lack of belonging hopelessness often rooted in their educational experience. To imply that we would purposefully put our own children in harms way to achieve our grown up goals is diminishing to our humanity. In short, the blood on the hands references not our threat, but our reality: black children are literally dying and our urgent need is to stop the cycle. If we are unsuccessful, blood will continue to spill. And yes, that is a frightening reality, even more so to us who lose sons and daughters as a result of a broken system.
I wrote in an open letter: "Should Nova Alternative School indeed relocate to the Horace Mann building under such strained circumstances, the potential for community building and partnership between the students, staff and teachers with the community would be, at best, strained; at worst, hostile. A move into this neighborhood community marred by disenfranchisement and racial inequity amplified by this disenfranchising process, Nova through no fault of their own, would inevitably not feel the warm welcome THEY TRULY DESERVE." (emphasis mine today).
To rephrase in a way that might incite less fear in the reader: The pain in the African-American community, specifically in the Central District is real. Imagine someone fell overboard in the sea. As they struggle in the frigid waters, someone appears on the side of their boat with a lifesaver ring in their hand. Once thrown overboard towards the dying human and floats near to reach, it is quickly tugged back. This is repeated again and again, all the while the person nears death. Imagine if the person in the boat finally decides to not throw the lifesaver, winds the cord, puts the lifesaver on the wall, starts the engine and slowly sails away, waving goodbye with a slight smile. "Sorry, but I tried!" Now, how would the drowning person feel about the one in the boat? What could they do to express those feelings as the boat pulls away? Violently throw water at the boat sailing away into the sunset? Maybe curse? Or is it a wiser use of energy to find a way to survive. Look. I consider More 4 Mann the other boat, the one with "Emergency" written on the side; the boat that is racing towards the dying human. Violence by the drowning human is a ridiculous use of precious energy. Does this make more sense? Storytelling IS a pretty useful tradition (thank you all ancient cultures!).
I humbly ask you, beloved Seattle, why is this invoking such an acute state of fear? That we, as black educators, are not qualified? That we are violent? That we are driven solely by anger? That we are criminals? Regardless of the anti-racism models one may have studied (or not), we all understand what it feels like to be painted as something you are not, especially when own colors are beautiful.
Julia Ismael

joanna said...

Everyone, of every ethnic background wants to attend a school with a stable and ongoing record of student success, be it Ballard or Garfield or any other high school. It is the model that is most likely to offer great opportunities and choices.

Julia Ismael said...

Our goal, and I take liberty speaking for you as well Ms. Westbrook, is to feel welcome, a sense of belonging and needed in your community however you may define it. I must take a moment to be perfectly clear: More 4 Mann has never made any attempt to define ourselves as the sole representative of the African-American community. We are not a monolith. African-Americans are as diverse politically, emotionally, professionally, an in every conceivable way within our skin color as whites. That said, we are by no means responsible for the actions or motivations of others, just as you do not represent the entire white sector of Seattle (including those prone to violence). Because of our dedication to the safety of our children, it would be a great disservice to our objectives at More 4 Mann to incite or otherwise condone violence of any sort. By the tone of the post, our interaction with the District looks like a terrorist negotiation! LOL.
It may also be noted that there are several items of mis-information, or inaccurate "factual" statements in the post. Let us all be reminded that the views expressed in Ms. Westbrook's blog post are based on a personal narrative and represent merely a snapshot of our ongoing conversations with the District and other stakeholders over the last several months. I would invite Ms. Westbrook for some tea, I'll bring the cupcakes (what's your favorite flavor?), and we can share more accurate information. The door is always open, all you need to do is knock (literally!).
Lastly, I personally have ties to NOVA and respect their approach to education. Their program adds immense value to the District. Dr. Mark Perry, NOVA Principal, I consider an educational ally - we do not compete while we all race towards success for all our children. More 4 Mann's position is not one of competition, but rather collaboration. Both NOVA and M4M hold huge pieces to the puzzle; ours is, without apology, laser focused on the successful education of African-American students, or to follow my analogy in a previous post,the drowning ones.
I appreciate the forum and opportunity to respond with my own truths.
With regards,
Julia Ismael

mirmac1 said...

" The point was that what Wyking refers to as the apartheid at Garfield is not harming Garfield's black students."

How would you know that Lynn? Do you know them and their life experience in school? Are you their parent? Ever had a counselor come up to you and say "maybe Cecilia should set her sights lower than an ivy league." Good thing my mom rejected that low bar.

Do the tests scores really measure quality of life or how people are treated?

Julia, thank you for your eloquence and welcoming invite to Melissa. I bet she will take you up on that. I think that, after the heat of the moment, she would readily rethink her initial impression - and her curious mind would want to find out more.

I look forward to hearing more exchange of ideas, preferably ones that do not appear, at least at the surface, as threatening.

Anonymous said...

Lynne, lots of people said apartheid in S. Africa wasn't harming blacks there. Lots of people in south said black students shouldn't go to school with white ones because - well, they just weren't ready. They have different needs. Sort like all the things people say now when they support APP apartheid. You know, "it's the cohort" (eg. the white one) Now, it's not because they're black (that wouldn't be cool to say) it's because they're poor and have "low vocabularies". Why do we use tests like CogAT, which produce uneven racial results? Why not find a test which has an unbiased spread of results? Do we really just think white people are a whole lot smarter as indicated by the CogAT? Eg. One entire standard deviation smarter? Continued reliance on tests that are known to produce biased results simply means we believe in white supremacy.

Can Count

Melissa Westbrook said...

Ms Ismael, I said nothing about violence in my post.

I didn't say anyone at the meeting said that.

No one said that and yet I find it troubling that you and Mr. Garrett both bring it up in your comments. What I said is that I believe there is the distinct possibility that the building will not be cleared by the 18th.

So let's go over the words that you and Mr. Garrett have introduced into this discussion that no one else did:
violence, hostile, guns, terrorist, criminal.
The words you two wrote, not mine.

When someone says that children in a school might meet with a "hostile" reaction, I do worry. That's not a situation any child should be put into.

I tell my readers all the time - words have meaning.

I merely asked about the programs in the building and who was running them (since the district does not seem to know since they were not informed how many programs/people were in the building). It's not an unreasonable question.

I also took careful and copious notes so do let me know what I misspoke about. I certain added my own take but the basic reporting was solid.

The reason Charlie and I did not attend ALL the taskforce meetings is that there was no announcement about forming it, there was no way to apply and no notice of the meetings. So, I would certainly have come to get a better context but, for some reason, it was not publicized.

I did hear anger yesterday and some of it was absolutely righteous and no one has said that shouldn't be.

But I will gently point at that it is puzzling that those who don't want to be judged are quick to judge others. One woman said, as she looked around the room, something to the effect "you people had things handed to you". She doesn't know everyone in the room or their backgrounds but she made the assumption. (I always find it amusing that people always say I'm white.)

Does she know that the Superintendent's father was a migrant worker? He probably had some struggles of his own. I myself grew up right on the Arizona/Mexico border. Those of us who grew up in states with Native Americans and Mexican-Americans know that experience. Is it the same experience that African-Americans have had? No, but trying to understand from our life experience should get a little credit.

I'll ask you what I asked Wyking (but he didn't answer):

-will Mann be vacated on or by September 18th?

Certainly we can meet and talk at some point.

Anonymous said...

Can Count,

79.7% of our black students (compared to 12.2% of our white students) receive free and reduced price meals. What does that mean for the CogAT?

StudyFindsPovertyAffectsBrainPower

Don't you think the key to increasing educational success for black students is going to be economic change? It seems to me our discussions would be more productive if we spent some time talking about solutions. If you're enjoying the current conversation though - do go on.

Lynn


Jet City mom said...

Parents make the difference.
Not color, not income, not teachers, and certainly not administrators.
But its not PC to point out that out, even though kids from Yemen, Senegal & Eritrea are graduating with honors while those whose grandparents lived next door to my mom on Yesler are struggling.

What can we do to educate the parents of the importance of their role?

Anonymous said...

veiled threats could be construed fro the 'hostile" quote, but it is also easy to see such a comment as a sincere and concerned warning. parents are fired up in the south end, exactly as intended by the SAP. just like the north has always had, there is now a stable, local base of parents to mobilize. i say bloody good for M4M. I think all this scary people stuff is just that-stuff.
now as far as that banner or headline or whatever it's called about Blood on hands.
OMG that is very sensational. Rupert Murdoch sensational. speaking of whom, mr murdoch seemed to do quite well with not apparently an exensive vocabulary. he was however quite white from land down under where white criminals, exiled from their own land, subjugated the native dark skinned people, thrust them into poverty and despair where they remain.
anyways, Julia is a refreshingly well spoken addition to the conversation, unlike myself. CRT, having never heard of it, was very interesting, if a bit abstract and intellectual for me. The frame idea- i have my frame of an event and you have yours. that and the rejection of many long held beliefs surrounding the civil rights movement. e.g. the white power structure wanted the civil rights to succeed in order to curry favor with 3rd world counties during the clod war.
kind of like the power structure today has black man in D.C. doing the job of president and we have mr Banda continuing with gradualism. those who want faster change like the M4M folks are scaring liberal whites. but as Julia's story (another feature of CRT i read on Wikipedia) illustrate, black folk have been waiting a long,long time to get out the hole that slavery put them in and people keep saying try this or its your own fault and all the while people, like most people just want to survive and get what they can for their kids out of the system just like the northend parents want as much as they can get for their kids.
i mean, try to be empathetic. imagine you were poor and worried about gang violence, your child's schoolmates going to prison at all, much less at rates of whatever we have here. we northenders worry about cars and kidgrabbers, not prison, gangs and drivebys.
Julia on the other hand may appreciate that gender oppression, agism, discrimination and stigma against mentally and physically different people is a common form of oppression among all of us.

CowCrow

Jet City mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jet City mom said...

You must not live in the northend cowcrow, you dont think Mellissa Fernandez counts? ( she was killed in a driveby outside ballard high school)
Or the students who have been beaten by thugs at Golden Gardens ( more than one incident)
The 14th st locos gang doesnt mean anything to you?
The MS-13's?
Your provincialism is showing.

Charlie Mas said...

CowCrow is right. That "Blood on your hands" language is sensational.

Please remember that Melissa didn't say it. That was said by a member of the Task Force. Melissa is reporting it. It wasn't even said in a moment of high emotion. The woman told Mr. Banda that he had blood on his hands. Mr. Garret reminded her that Mr. Banda was relatively new to the district, so she corrected herself and told Mr. Banda that he WILL have blood on his hands.

She meant the blood of Central Area African-American children whose lives are destroyed through their miseducation. She didn't mean as a threat of violence but in an effort to make Mr. Banda feel guilty.

Melissa Westbrook said...

">..as a sincere and concerned warning."

It's "sincere" to warn people that community members may be hostile to children coming to a school in their area? I think we have very different ideas of sincerity.

Since some seem so offended by the words spoken - not by me - and spoken twice by one MEMBER of the taskforce (who also told the Superintendent the district was "destroying" AA children, sure I'll change it.

I didn't say she meant violence; I said the language used at the meeting indicates to me no forward motion in the discussion and yes, I believe it will be difficult to get the final groups to leave Mann. I hope I'm proven wrong.

It does not change that it happened and that some at the table nodded right along.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I am ending comments on this thread.

I note that neither Mr. Garrett or Ms. Ismael answered the question of will the remaining groups leave Mann on the 18th.