Friday, October 25, 2013

Mann Building - Not Closed

I'm thinking it was a lot of smoke and mirrors on the part of BOTH the "tenants" and the district, these so-called negotiations. 

Because that building is wide open, being used in multiple areas, has advertised activities and classes and well, just doesn't look like a building that is shut down in preparation for being renovated.   I checked and I took photos.  Not closed by any stretch of the imagination.

I'm thinking it was a lot of smoke and mirrors on the part of BOTH the "tenants" and the district.

I've asked and asked the district staff about this and read various Facebook pages and webpages and my conclusion is that there is much more going on here than anyone wants to admit.  When you see people make an "enemies" list that includes the district, the City, and the contractor who is to do the renovation, it makes you wonder.

I have asked but have not seen any kind of temporary lease agreement (but now, it's onto public disclosure).  What seems to be the case - outwardly - is that the district is allowing whoever to stay in the building - probably for free - until the district finds them another space (I read Columbia Annex).

I'm done with asking the Superintendent, the staff and the Board about this.  Clearly, no one is in charge.

Note to Pinehurst; hunker down and refuse to leave.  It seems to work well for others.  

These facilities belong to ALL of us and the district needs to squeeze every penny they can out of every building that is rented or leased.   I believe when the district doesn't follow that, it is called "gifting of public funds."  

But I think the person to ask is the State Auditor.

81 comments:

Anonymous said...

Huh. This post finally prompted me to go check out More4Mann and the other sources you linked to. I think they may be on to something, and if the district and NOVA want to find creative ways to support their efforts, I'm OK with that. The district itself clearly isn't capable of bringing effective change from the top -- the least they can do then is welcome change from the bottom.

~Garfield Mom

Melissa Westbrook said...

You kind of miss the point.

I absolutely want a plan for African-American students for academics and disproportional discipline. I absolutely want the district to listen to those parents and community.

But no one gets to hold the district hostage. No one gets to hold up work for an existing school (Nova which in turns holds up Meany). No one gets to use facilities for free or without a clear plan or proposal.

I'm not buying it.

Patrick said...

Okay, but if Pinehurst refuses to leave, Jane Addams K-8 is certainly going to do the same, and the artists' community at Cedar Park, and who knows maybe the offices at Lake City Elementary.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, of course I'm being facetious but untl I understand all the subterfuge around Mann, why not?

Unknown said...

Squatters. There is no reason to put up with this. The Monday after Banda's photo op the "tennants" were threatening staff with machetes.
It is disgraceful.

joanna said...

Melissa, I hope you are wrong. Have you been by the building? Last Friday (a week ago) it appeared that the District was inside getting ready to do work. I could not tell if the portable on site was being used. Getting ready to do work is different from doing work and an enemies list might suggest that the District has taken it back.

joanna said...

true, the Umoja materials were still in the fence, but that was the only remnant of the organization that I observed then. I realize that I have not been on E. Cherry this week.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely want the district to listen to "those" parents and community.

The difference between this situation and Pinehurst is within the quotation marks that I put around Melissa's comment.

--enough already

seattle citizen said...

Enough already, I don't think Melissa meant "those" parents in the way you seem to suggest she did. I think she merely meant that group of parents....and Pinehurst is being dissolved, maybe, while the district has evidently "listened" to the community that wants to stay in Mann. The district should work with the Pinehurst community as hard as it has with the situation at Mann.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Joanna, did you read the comment? I went there last night and I went into the open building and I took photos. It is being used and it is not secured by the district.

And by "those" I meant ALL African-American parents.

No one finds this the least bit troubling? Interesting.

Anonymous said...

In recent days, I have seen lots of cars at the Mann building- including what appear to be work trucks.

Melissa, you say that there are advertised classes and activities. I see those listings, but I do not see children on site on any regular basis. I see adults and young adults organizing, but do not believe there is currently ongoing programming for children. Did you talk to anyone in the building? Any Africatown representatives?

I am concerned about the "enemies" list. Are you being literal? I read Julia Ismeal's late-summer letter letter as threatening and am worried about any continuing/growing hostility. This seems especially problematic for the Nova community.

QUAD

Melissa Westbrook said...

One, I saw a table full of literature about classes and activities. There may not have been children in the building when I was there but there was definitely activity.

Did I talk to anyone? No because I have already hear about the reception that Pegi McEvoy and security people received when they showed up. I'm not even sure who to contact.

Yes, I am being literal about the enemies list - it is a person who seems to be quite close to Mr. Garrett. I have passed this info onto the district.

Lynn said...

I find it troubling - but I don't think that's news to anyone. I would like to hear Superintendent Banda's excuse for allowing this. Is he taking all the necessary steps to evict them?

Anonymous said...

Yes, I understand there is activity. I just think it is very different from the activity ACIC originally said they are providing. I see adult workshops and seminars, which I am sure are valuable. However, that is different from having a slate of classes and activities that children are regularly participating in, and which must not be interrupted or displaced.


Is there a legal building use agreement now? Where is district risk management on this? It seems like there are so many potential liability issues. The "enemies" list seems counter productive or worse.


QUAD

Melissa Westbrook said...

If you would like to see this for yourself, I see this at one Facebook page:

"Stay calm. Continue to "WAKE UP, GOD DAMMIT!" Listening party tomorrow (Saturday; 10-26) at Horace MORE for MANN / Africatown. 5pm"

Now given that Pegi McEvoy and some security officers were harassed when they visited the building (I believe the term used to describe the security officers was "thugs"), I would watch out. You may not be entirely welcome.

Your Neighbor said...

Melissa you are correct. The buildings in this district belong to ALL of us; including black families and children and ALL marginalized and disenfranchised people groups in Seattle. We are here too and often we do not receive the same services that white families do.

It is unfortunate that black students and parents are not receiving all that they deserve from SPS. Though this is exactly why the DOJ investigated (and may still be investigating) SPS for disproportionality in suspension of black students, but I don’t see you posting regularly about this for public debate of SPS though it is newsworthy and beyond noteworthy given the work of the Africatown Innovation Center and More4Mann.

Truth is SPS has been underserving black students for years. Black parents are tired and worn out.

You are using your social media site to denigrate the work that is being done. When you post things about a SUPPOSED “enemies list” for which you are not supplying proof you are using your media outlet, status, privilege, and prestige to facially destroy M4M clout. That is a low belt move that lacks substantive argument and proof around the real issues. You are attempting to create an environment of character assassination instead of actually inciting people to substantive factual debate around the issues that can lead to a REAL solution for black children and families in SPS.

Real talk. When big institutions refuse to listen to you (and yet they (the institutions) are being investigated by the federal government) communities sometimes have to make their own way.

I don’t know what your ethnic background is, but maybe one day you will find yourself having to press for your child’s constitutional right to be educated. That said, I don’t know if you are parent. Nevertheless, if you find yourself in the same position black parents are in, I hope M4M leadership support you in your effort instead of chucking suspicion and unfounded claims in your face.

It is a frightening and desperate position to be in when you realize the powers that be are not listening to you and are not serving your CHILD well. It is even more frightening to realize you are without power, without leverage and are being bashed unfairly by people on social media who in no way have ever talked to you and DO NOT have all the facts.

Your sarcasm about the power of having a building and the district TRULY partnering with community groups to do the work for the district gets paid by both the state and federal government to do shows how incredibly detached you are from the struggle of marginalized and disenfranchised people’s in Seattle.

The District has been asked time and time again to address the real issues, but has neglected to funnel any real resources towards the real needs. When they do funnel resources they hire partners that either exist outside of the community and/or are national organizations who may not be able to apply real contextual solutions to meet the needs of black students in Seattle. It is about time the district hear the voices of the people impacted by their policies and make some changes that are suggested by those actually impacted.

For those of you who are interested here are some articles describing the investigation by the DOJ and why programs like M4M and Africatown Innovation Center are needed in Seattle:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/07/us-usa-schools-seattle-idUSBRE9260KJ20130307
http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2013/03/06/are-seattle-schools-racist

Anonymous said...

Your Neighbor - if you posted here regularly, you would know that the bulk of your assumptions and assertions about Melissa are erroneous. YOU clearly do not have all the facts either, and are just as guilty of what you are accusing Melissa of.
But don't let that stop your ranting. It does nothing to further your cause.

Whatever

Melissa Westbrook said...

Your Neighbor,
I can prove everything I have printed. I didn't provide links yet because of the fairly sensitive nature of the issue. I'm not sure the people on the "enemies"list want that published.

"..your media outlet, status, privilege, and prestige to facially destroy M4M clout"

First of all, anyone can have a blog. It's not a media outlet per se. The "status" I have, I built through long years and hard word. I doubt if anyone would classify my work as having "prestige." I'm not sure what "facially destroy" means.

We have talked about disproportionality here - you might ask Dr. Carol Simmons who comments here often on those issues. I immediately Tweeted on the issue when the district got called out by the DOJ. This blog has - consistently and for years - supported RBHS and especially the efforts of staff and parents who are the real heroes of that school.

You clearly haven't read the blog and yet you feel it's fine to say we haven't tried.

I think the REAL solution is for the district to sit down with African-American parents and community members - from ALL regions of the city, not just one - and allow those parents and community members to explain what they think is missing and their input on what should be done. But that's not what is happening in this particular case.

You are confusing the achievement gap/discipline issues with the improper use of the Mann building that needs to be renovated for the Nova High School community.

I am a proud parent of two Seattle schools grads. But I don't have to explain my background or my children's backgrounds to have a valid opinion. That said, yes I have a varied background, both in heritage and where I was raised.

Again, I would talk with anyone but I really have no idea who is in charge at Mann to talk to. If you know, send me their e-mail.

Good for Goose said...

Melissa the More4Mann movement seems much aligned with what you support as "Education Spring" (Parents and community saying enough is enough) post (http://saveseattleschools.blogspot.com/2013/10/education-spring-is-already-here.html#more)...

"Exhibit A: the UPRISING against testing in Buffalo, New York (and I believe the COURAGEOUS ACTION by the Garfield High staff has triggered this "WE CAN CHANGE THIS" attitude that is spreading). "

"It's here and it's building. Parents, you CAN and MUST stand up for your children. Whether it is class size, too much testing, charter schools - stand up and be counted." (What about years of institutionalized racism and school-to-prison pipeline that has destroyed children, families and communities).

"When that doesn't work, we hear attempts to marginalize, as in this speech(your posts). Gandhi once said "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." We are now being actively fought."(by you and the White Citizens Council you have self appointed yourself to lead).

Your Neighbor said...

If you mention a list as denigrating as an “enemies” list, you should not mention it until you are able to make full disclosure. Other wise it looks like you are making ad hoc arguments for the sake of character assassination. That is simply an ethic of solid reporting.

A blog is in fact a media outlet in this century.

While anyone with internet access can have one, some get more play than others. Your blog is one that gets more play. As a semi-professional blogger please consider the manner in which your words help people form their opinions.

Re “facially destroy”:
You said in your last blog post, somewhere in the comments, that you entered the building and took pictures.

You could go during an activity time, PARTICIPATE and have a conversation. During that time you could also ask about the leadership, schedule a meeting and sit down with them. Much like you would with a staff member/administrator at your child’s school.

As a black community member and former teacher,
I think black parents have tried to sit down with the District. At school board meetings many of us feel ignored if we do not come with major multifaceted tactics. We are not able to simply follow the protocol and be heard.

I know the parents at RBHS who have made change in that school. They work round the clock to make it happen AND sometimes it’s not pretty.

They will tell you that they have to be more persistent and watch their “p” and “q” s more closely than white parents in the District so as to avoid being labeled “agitators.” This is a startling reality for black parents when advocating for their children.

Re: “Improper use”
This is a value judgment that is dictated by your perspective in the issue at hand.

NOVA is a school that could be placed anywhere in the District because it is all city draw. Mann is a historic building in an area of town that Seattle recognizes as a historically black neighborhood. Mann is a great place for a black student and family resource center!

There are other buildings that are equally as centrally located that could be used to serve NOVA and likely buildings in neighborhoods where a larger number of current NOVA students live. (The need for walkable schools is high and impacts school attendance for students; especially students in Title 1 schools.)

Re: Free Use
Why should community groups have to pay the district to help them remedy a problem, the opportunity gap and disproportionality of discipline, when these are issues that the district has failed to address and has in some instances created? Underserved communities should not have to pay to help the school district. The district already receives tons of funding and is poorly spending it all over the place!

Re: Our back grounds impacting our opinions

In this case they do.

A ton of the discussion related to Mann has inferred, if not overtly discussed the needs and opinions of black parents and families. How can you know those if black parents aren’t getting the chance to be FULLY heard?

If you are not a black parent, then your opinion regarding the education of black students needs to be secondary to the opinion of black parents and black community when discussing the inequality that exists in the school system as it pertains to black students (and families).

This is not to say that your opinion is not important, but instead to say that those impacted need space to speak first on this matter.

Lastly in regards to speaking to leadership at Mann:
You talk to the school district, so talk to M4M to develop a more balanced opinion.

You have mentioned some names of people on your blog that you know play large roles in the process. Their contact information is not secret, I suggest you contact them and sit down and talk. You may find that they are kind people who seek the same that you do for your children: EQUITABLE EDUCATION AND OPPORTUNITY.

Because we are all different and society is not equitable, sometimes people have to take different steps to achieve what is fair and equitable.

Anonymous said...

Your Neighbor,

There's available community space right in your own neighborhood. Why not ask FAME for space in the underused MLK building, or Garfield, or Colman? They have the space you are looking for.

Why are you focused on Mann when we have such terrible overcrowding in our schools? There simply isn't a place to move Nova (which has used the building for over 30 years), because we don't have enough space for every kid who need to go to school right now, much less next year or the year after. There is simply no room at the public school inn.

I get that you want to do good, and that you want to speak for the needs of black families. But I really don't get why you are so focused on the building at this time, when you have a sea of space around you, and the Mann building is desperately needed by its owner (SPS) to serve Seattle school children.

DK

Anonymous said...

Your Neighbor-
I don't believe that there are other centrally located buildings that are available to Nova. I remember hearing they asked. I know they draw students from every corner of the city. It's the capacity crunch that is driving the return of Nova to Mann- so I really don't think there are other viable options. -- Allyn

joanna said...

Don't jump to conclusions. The District may have let them hold a couple of weekend events there.

Stop The Hate said...

Melissa in your misguided attempt to marginalize and discredit this effort, you never mention the fact that a groundswell of accomplished black educators have mobilized in support of this effort (some of which are listed publicly online-see below)

Black parents, students, educators, administrators, advocates and allies from all over the city and state are at the table. Thousands of signatures have been collected. Do you have some black friends that have told you that their voice has been excluded?

It has been reported that in your effort to sabotage, you have even gone so far as trying to contact people on the list to question/discourage their support.

Please Stop The Hate & Celebrate!!!



Africatown Education & Curriculum Advisory Committee
Marcia Tate Arunga M. Ed. (convenor)
Dr. Maxine Mimms
Dr. Joye Hardiman
Dr. Debra Sullivan
Dr. Tasleem Qaasim
Dr. Gary Davis
Dr. Andaiye Qaasim
Dr. Max Hunter
Pam Brides, M.Ed.
Shannon Smith, M.Ed.
Tehut Getahun, M.Ed.
Kristina Clark, M.Ed.
Pamela Lewis-Bridges, M.Ed.
James Norris, M.Psy
Tre Maxie, Exec. Dir - Powerful Schools

Goose Gander said...

Melissa,

Are you supporting the neighborhood/community desire for elementary school or the district's BEX IV levy supported decision to relocate World School (SBOC) from Meany to TT Minor?

http://www.centraldistrictnews.com/2013/10/neighborhood-group-still-wants-tt-minor-reopened-for-elementary-students/

-Who Goes There?

Your Neighbor said...

In regards to district space:
There are numerous closed buildings other than Mann that the Dostrict can use for Nova. Though I've read about potential PARTNERSHIPS with Nova in Mann. If that came to fruition it could be a way for Nova to continue to build on its commitment to a social justice focused education for Nova students.

Let's not forget though that the CD is an historically black neighborhood and Mann is an historical landmark. This would be an ideal place to establish the AIC.

A major issue of gentrification is loss iud adequate education for impacted people groups. A way to stop and slow the negative impacts of gentrification is to ensure the ed institutions in gentrified neighborhoods are safe places for potentially displaced people's.

Garfield has not in present history shown itself to be a safe place for black students and families. It is an extremely segregated school and I have heard it said that if the stats of black students in Garfield are pulle out from the aggregate that those students are "doing worse" that black students at other schools in the district.

The idea is to create some safe spaces for black families and students that do not conform to the historical issues and struggles of Seattle's past.

I agree there are spaces in our neighborhoods but those are not always "safe" spaces for ALL.

I would strongly direct folks to look to the list of educators (posted above) working on this project. Their expertise alone substantiates the quality work of the M4M movement.

Why not try something different? We have tried putting new programs in existng spaces. Usually these programs are not headed by people from the impacted community and are often limited in results. The community is offering a new solution to try. Why not try it? We are in an educational crisis for black students. Things really can't get much worse and will likely get better!

SUPER SLEUTH said...

MELISSA,

Since you are so on top of stewardship of district resources and also so concerned that black/all children get what they deserve and not mistreated in Seattle Schools, can you tell us where all the money that is supposed to help black students who are underachieving, in SpEd, suspended/expelled, etc. has been going??

Who are the beneficiaries of all these millions of dollars YET FAILING THESE CHILDREN AND FAMILIES YEAR AFTER YEAR????

How about you audit that and do an expose breaking news story!

Let's figure out who is accountable for those resources so we can redirect them where they will have real impact and save some lives.

Anonymous said...

"There are numerous closed buildings other than Mann that the Dostrict can use for Nova"

Wow. Name even one. The school district has NO free buildings, and is desperately trying to build new ones to ease serious overcrowding. This has been an ongoing issue for at least 3 years. I am actually shocked that a group that wants to help Seattle kids is not deeply aware of this.

"I agree there are spaces in our neighborhoods but those are not always "safe" spaces for ALL."

Colman is not safe? FAME's own buildings like MLK are not safe? What on earth are you talking about?

You are not making sense here.

DK

Melissa Westbrook said...

Good for the Goose, there is a BIG difference between civil disobedience and taking over a building. Promising to leave a building so that renovation work can get done. Intimidating district officials who come to talk to you.

Also, Goose, as I have pointed out - numerous times - it's a big mistake to assume you know a person's background just by their name or looking at them. You make just such a mistake with me.

Taking pictures in a building is not destroying anything unless there is something to hide. Is there?

I read the history of the Central district and was pleased and happy to see that it has historically been a very DIVERSE place that yes, blacks have lived in but also, for long periods of time, Jewish and Chinese.

Actually Nova could not be placed just anywhere. The transportation issues have to be considered in order for it to be viable. That it has been in that building for 20 years speaks to its place in the district.

"If you are not a black parent, then your opinion regarding the education of black students needs to be secondary to the opinion of black parents and black community when discussing the inequality that exists in the school system as it pertains to black students (and families)."

I have consistently said this. I defer to those who know best. That's why I have no real answers to many of the questions raised except to say that that I think cultural competency is key, more teachers of color would help (but because we are now demonizing our teachers, who would want to enter teaching?) and that answers need to come from parents on the front lines.

I do find it interesting that More4Mann advocates that Nova move across the street to the Islamic school building and yet, that as much as option for More4Mann as Nova.

I have never seen that list before nor have I seen a petition that has thousands of signatures. Let me know where that is located.

"It has been reported that in your effort to sabotage, you have even gone so far as trying to contact people on the list to question/discourage their support."

Never met or spoke or written about a single person on that list but Tre Maxie (who I believe I named when he was appointed to some district committee). Complete falsehood.

Goose, you're off-topic with the TT Minor/World School question. We can discuss that elsewhere.

I hear this issue of gentrification come up but that is not the district's fault. I have no idea what the district is supposed to do in terms of this issue.

Super Sleuth, I'm not really qualified to do audits but yes, I have pointed out, time after time, the money wasted and/or misused and/or misdirected in this district. Put "audit" into our blog search and see what you find.

The district doesn't not use its assets well and I believe that they may well find that out after this mayoral election. You may get your wish for a shock to the system.

Your Neighborhood said...

I can name two: Columbia annex and Van Asselt's old building.

In regards to Coleman. That building is not very accessible. It doesn't have very frequent operating hours due to the fact that there are housing hints above it and the tenants want their space to be quiet in the evenings. This makes providing both school day and in particular after school programming is challenging.

GooseGander said...

MELISSA,

You seem to see what you want to see and find what you want to find to spin things the way you want. That is clear why are you trying to act like your objective in anyway.

You say you have no answers and that you

"absolutely want a plan for African-American students for academics and disproportional discipline. I absolutely want the district to listen to those parents and community."l

...but YOU yourself refuse to listen to black parents and community. That's sad and you can't even see it.

You revealed that you are really out of touch with what the black communities needs are to make progress in education. You should just relax and be taught and stop being such a hater.

You heard what Tre Maxie said on the Seattle Channel about More4Mann, clear statement of support, do you not accept what he said or his expertise?

You said you support Rainier Beach, Rita Green the president of the PTSA supports the effort, do you ignore that too?

Do you need MLK or Jesus to come back and validate for you? Horace Mann himself?

And you say you want to see the best for black children. With friends like you we don't need "enemies".

You have no references presenting any alternative contrary to what M4M is pushing forward. Your best alternative...sit down and listen to black parents from the district...duh...who do you think we are...aliens?

You really do need to allow yourself to be educated but your dead set bias seems to be a huge obstacle at this point for you to get over.

TT Minor is no different the Horace Mann, they both were slated by the district through BEX IV to house programs that are currently housed in Meany (NOVA & World School).

In both situations the community group wants a different use.

This is not off topic it was a simple question, do you support the neighborhood/community or district pre-made decision?

Clearly you don't support the black community position on Mann. What is your position on TT Minor?

Step in to the light MELISSA...

Data said...

joanna,

It's clear you want to give them the benefit of the doubt. Here are some of the things they've posted online.

From an email to K. Wyking Garrett from Superintendent Banda: In order for construction to begin, we require that you vacate the building by the close of business on Friday, Sept. 27, 2013, as we plan to turn the building over to the contractors on Sept. 28, 2013. If you sign an agreement to lease space from the District, we will be able to help you move from the Horace Mann building to your new location.

From the More 4 Mann website: As negotiations continue, More4Mann will continue to hold space in Horace Mann School until a definite long-term solution is produced in this struggle for justice.

Frommthe More4Mann twitter account:

October 16th:
Africatown Hours 9am-9pm everyday.
This isn't over. Keep the food, water and visitors coming!

October 17th:
Yep. We remain. Lol.

October 18th:
Listen to KOMOTV.con/scanner btwn 3am and 8am. If they move on us, ACT!
Still NO DEAL between Africatown and Seattle Public Schools. WE REMAIN at Horace Mann. 25th and E. Cherry.
lomotv.com/scanner. Will they come for us? Listen. Then act.

seattle citizen said...

Why can't Africa Town and other groups use the Martin Luther King elementary building? It was sold to FAME at a considerable discount so it could be used for just these sorts of activities. It sits mostly empty.
I really don't understand the necessity of using NOVA's long-time home, the Mann building, when there is plenty of space available less thsn a mile away.
NOVA is a public school in a public school building. Let it stay.

Data said...

Neighbor,

You make a lot of claims.

We are here too and often we do not receive the same services that white families do. What services are these?

It is unfortunate that black students and parents are not receiving all that they deserve from SPS. What do you feel they are entitled to receive that is being denied to them?

Truth is SPS has been underserving black students for years. What are other students receiving from the district that black students are not?

I think black parents have tried to sit down with the District. At school board meetings many of us feel ignored if we do not come with major multifaceted tactics. We are not able to simply follow the protocol and be heard. Do you think this is somehow different for anyone else?

They will tell you that they have to be more persistent and watch their “p” and “q” s more closely than white parents in the District so as to avoid being labeled “agitators.” This is a startling reality for black parents when advocating for their children. I'm pretty sure that if a group of white families "occupied" a school building and refused to leave, the response would be much more robust than being labeled agitators.

Mann is a great place for a black student and family resource center! It's a really great place for an option high school too! The district runs schools - not racially segregated family resource centers.

There are other buildings that are equally as centrally located that could be used to serve NOVA and likely buildings in neighborhoods where a larger number of current NOVA students live. This is nonsense and confirms that you have no idea what you are talking about.

Garfield has not in present history shown itself to be a safe place for black students and families. Unsafe physically? Emotionally? Are white and/or Asian students assaulting black students in Garfield's halls?

Melissa Westbrook said...

I have reached to some people named but those discussions are private for the time-being.

We also do not allow name-calling here but some may be new so one free pass.

Charlie is right; I think looking for direction from the district and/or the More4Mann group might be a good idea. I'll let you know if I hear of any updates.

seattle citizen said...

Data, my perception of Neighbor's use of the word "safe" is the Neighbor is using it to refer not to safe from physical violence, but rather safe from actions and attitudes that damage Blacks more than Whites snd others. Disproportional suspensiin, for exsmple, or the little acts of racism perpetuated occasionally by authorities at schools (admins, teachers...) Anyone grounded in the dominant culture occassionally does/says something racist - it's not that they "are racist" but, instead, they have swallowed dome racist ideas that float around and merely let them fall out of their mouths sometimes...we all do it, black, white, whomever....but it impacts Blacks more, as it has for 400 years.
Safety from all that is important.
Or safety from curriculum and lessons that perpetuate racist systems of belief.

At least, that's what I thought Neighbor was talku ng about regarding "safety" but that's just my opinii n.

joanna said...

It is true that I am wanting to be optimistic about the District. I want to give them a chance to show that this is not some type of smoke and mirrors act. After the selling of the lightning speed selling of the MLK building, promising a perfectly located neighborhood school building to the World School, and all this weird stuff at Mann, I probably should be less optimistic that the Superintendent, Board and staff care about this area. And, if they do not care about us, do they care about really implementing a great neighborhood programs anywhere. Privatization becomes popular when constant destabilization takes place and the parents and community try any desperate measure to get control again. I really am sick of allowing African American students to be constantly moving little experiments. Create great those great neighborhood schools where anyone would be feel good sending their child. Why do many minorities who can afford it go to Saint Therese and other such schools? They attend for a solid well-tested curriculum, where the students are not political footballs. (sorry for the cliche)

Anonymous said...

When are we going to stop blaming schools for the problems born out of systemic poverty? They should be occupying a room in City Hall, not a school building. SPS is funded to provide a basic education, and it's poorly funded to even do that. Title 1 funds supplement in low income schools but those dollars are highly controlled and schools are not allowed to do what they want/need with that money. Ask any teacher from a Title 1 school and they will tell you what their students need is affordable housing, transportation, healthcare, social support systems, free early childhood education and most importantly, a parent who is not ALWAYS in crisis. SPS will never be able to provide those things. Has SPS mistreated some members of its community over the years? Absolutely, but we must remember it's poverty that makes students more difficult to educate, and all groups that are more difficult to educate are poorly treated by SPS- in large part because they don't have the resources to provide adequate help. There are no magic wands in education- if kids come to school with all of the baggage of poverty, many, if not most, will experience failure. We must stop blaming teachers and schools for the symptoms of a sick community. Furthermore, a sick community does not entitle any group to a free school building. If they want more social programs for their community, they will need to seek out more funding and support from the city, state and federal government.
TS

Anonymous said...

I didn't miss your point at all, Melissa.

I agree in principle, a group can't just come in and take a school building, and the district can't just give away resources willy nilly. But I haven't seen any real information that demonstrates that that is what has happened or is happening. Lots of speculation, lots of interpretation, lots of "inside info," lots of hearsay, but so far we are pretty short on actual facts. I'm thinking I might go over to the Mann building myself this week, because I do want to know what's really going on and I don't think I'm getting a full picture just by reading here or elsewhere.

You say you want a plan, you want the district to listen. That's nice, but you can't pay the rent with nice. Is your wanting it or my wanting it or the whole city wanting it going to actually make it happen? Of course not. How well has "wanting" the district to do the right thing for any group worked out? If only they would do this, if only they would do that. Well, they haven't and they won't.

The district has shown repeatedly by their actions that they just aren't going to prioritize this. How many years have people been hammering them over the achievement gap, and how many years have they managed to do NOTHING about it? Who in their right minds would pin their urgent hopes on the pie-in-the-sky idea that the district is suddenly going to do the right thing when they have shown over and over again they really don't want to or aren't capable of doing so?

I don't believe there *is* any way to get the district to do the right thing using only their sanctioned methods of "engagement" -- if there were, you and I and the APP community and the SPED parents and Pinehurst and the Native American community and schools getting screwed by the growth boundaries would already be doing it. Instead, concrete things happen when the district gets sued (hello, why do you they came down hard on hazing at Garfield -- there's a family threatening to sue!), or gets too much bad press, or the state threatens their funding, or the federal government threatens their funding, or teachers refuse to give a mandated test.

If I were them, I too would be looking to take every non-violent action I could think of instead of putting my faith in other people's good intentions or the school district suddenly deciding to get their act together. I think they -- and many other groups who can't get a fair deal from the district -- are justified in a whole lot more civil disobedience, frankly. More power to them.
~Garfield Mom

Lynn said...

TS - thank you for stating what should be obvious to all of us - but apparently is not.

Garfield Mom - the achievement gap is, as TS pointed out, rooted in economics. Children who are raised in chaotic environments, who are hungry and whose caregivers are under constant stress, have been robbed of their ability to achieve in school. What is it you think the district could do to make up for that? And isn't that really a job for social services? In your mind, what does 'the district getting their act together look like'?

joanna said...

I do recognize that schools cannot be everything to everyone. The advantage of neighborhood assignment plans is suppose to be to give families accessible, predictable and stable school communities that allow them to bond as a community. But, when such a plan becomes a gerrymandered mess with little regard for neighborhood cohesion and accessibility for some is not considered as important as it is for others, and the plan puts certain neighborhoods with plenty of children to fill a school in the sure position where the assignment is going to change, especially in areas where there are available facilities, the District is not serving the children and families of the neighborhood.

Likely, living in poverty does leave people vulnerable to constant crisis, but the District should not contribute to the destabilization of their lives and that of their communities. Schools should contribute to a feeling of being a knowable, safe and stable space. Fear and anger are not good for anyone's brain.

It is a political reality that some know more how to engage and guarantee that stability or are empowered through connections. Even moving into a neighborhood where everyone knows the location of the school contributes to that feeling on knowing and eventually belonging. I will also say that the measures of achievement change so quickly these days, I often wonder how we hold anyone accountable. Extended day etc are fine, but you can't just keep teaching the same thing over and over during that day. Maybe if some children are not quite getting math, for instance, using tools, measuring and constructing something or a drafting class or even a game where they have to keep score will more likely engage their brain and let the math come alive to them, not just another tutoring session and drill that is specifically aimed at a test. Yes, practice is good. But, exercise and other activities engage and wake up our minds in many ways.

Back to the original question at hand. The use of a facility should be transparent to all and especially to the surrounding community. How to rent or lease a facility should be transparent. The methodology of measuring how a program is great should be transparent. Simple assertions or rumors do not provide the need for a transparent public process. Once that is in place then people can agree or disagree with certain decisions, but without that, we are not even sure if we disagree and what is the real point of the argument.

I believe that the eventual treatment of the children that were the original refugees from TT Minor when it closed was next to criminal. I do hope that those children and their families survived their ordeal, which was purposely hidden from public view, especially after APP left Lowell.

Lynn said...

joanna,
Have I missed something? Is More 4 Mann concerned about which school the children living near TT Minor attend? It appears that they are only concerned with maintaining control of the Horace Mann building.
Don't the students at World School - who have likely experienced greater trauma than any other residents of Seattle - need and deserve the security of a school of their own? Where can we find that school - if not in the Central District - where there are vacant school seats?

Anonymous said...

There is a consistent hypocrisy on this blog, where middle class and mostly white APP families are treated as victims by the moderators and readers. The biggest concerns expressed here, by far, are how APP and/or neighborhood assignment will affect "MY CHILD".

This district has been increasingly failing black families and other marginalized groups ever since MGJ's administration instituted the corporate model. Enfield, whom Charlie supported throughout her tenure, was furthering this model with steroids. Moving to neighborhood schools without planning how to avoid economic and racial segregation was Exhibit A. The Supreme Court's most conservative members encouraged integration, but SPS went directly back into assigning students by prior red-lined neighborhoods. Research is very clear--putting large numbers of children living in poverty into one school usually produces poor outcomes.

The increasing message of the district and its privileged constituents has loudly and clearly been--out of sight, out of mind! That the parents on this blog are so against even considering the sharing of PTA dollars with low income schools (like many other districts) is a clear example of this mentality: If it's not benefiting my child, it's not my problem.

There is only lip-service given on this blog about meeting the needs of all students in this district. It has been highly disturbing for Charlie and Melissa to have early supported NOVA exclusively (again portraying a relatively privileged population as victims) without addressing the underlying reasons for the Mann movement.

The treatment of black children in this district is so bad that the feds have stepped in. This is the real crisis here. Not to minimize your APP or neighborhood assignment--but get real!

It took this strong move to occupy Mann to get the attention of this district in such a pointed way. It's disgraceful that the blog administrators keep acting like they and their cohort are the victims here.

BTW, Lynn and others--just because outcomes correlate with socio-economic levels doesn't mean that these students should be cast to the side. There are specific improvements that can be made in this district that will increase student learning. Read the research.

Banda has a heart for the kids and families in this district--including the marginalized ones. Please quit acting like he's feckless because he didn't dismiss the Mann movement with the insensitivity portrayed on this blog.

--enough already

GooseGander said...

@enough-already: You are absolutely correct. Melissa and her accomplices Lynn & Joanna are so full of hypocrisy it is sad because this is what perpetuates the negative status quo. They feign concern for black children's plight, admit ignorance and then speak with authority of judge, jury and executioner.

I do not hear those who are so concerned about maintaining the BEX IV levy saying anything about that regarding TT Minor. Now it is "listen to the neighborhood parents (read white) and prioritize their needs."

When its black parents, students, community it was "we must stick to BEX IV Levy"..."my tax dollars"..."NOVA must go to Mann" etc.

HOW QUICKLY THINGS CHANGE!! (Now that white parents want TT Minor)

You point to rules until the rules/policies/laws don't benefit you. Then you feel entitled and ordained by the divine to change them (Manifest Destiny) while not respecting others right to the same??

Then they say "we shouldn't have "segregated" schools/programs for African Americans" yet are ok with all of the segregated schools and programs everywhere (blacks segreated in SpEd and lily white APP/Advanced Learning programs).

What about the segregation in Garfield, Washington, Thurgood Marshall? Segregated with APP kids coming from outside the neighborhood? Even worse after 100 million dollar renovation. Renovated for who?

They use anything to divert from the foundational issues around the fact that the black community wants to address the crisis of black children in Seattle Public Schools in the CENTRAL DISTRICT neighborhood and beyond.

This crisis has been going on way before Goodloe-Johnson & Enfield. Try more like SIX DECADES or realistically since Africans were brought to America they have never been afforded an equal education and access to resources of a level playing field.

Nevertheless there was progress made when there was no "illusion of inclusion" i.e. Reconstruction and Black Wall Street. Each time there was a negative response from whites not wanting to share the pie i.e. Black Codes, KKK, Unions, Tulsa Black Wall Street, Redlining, etc.

Still we pushed forward to change this country for the better for ALL.

It's clear that they do not feel that black parents have the same entitlement to resources that white parents/residents do.

@joanna even through your biases you have pointed out in your appeal for TT Minor.

"...give families accessible, predictable and stable school communities that allow them to bond as a community. But, when such a plan becomes a gerrymandered mess with little regard for neighborhood cohesion and accessibility for some is not considered as important as it is for others... the District is not serving the children and families of the neighborhood."

^^^ This is what we have lived with for the last 40 years. School busing (busting) started the destabilization of black community and prevented the healthy social bonding of children and families referenced above.

"I believe that the eventual treatment of the children that were the original refugees from TT Minor when it closed was next to criminal."

What has and is happening to black children and families in the district is absolutely criminal.

GooseGander said...


@TS/Lynn- Don't use "Poverty" as an excuse to not serve black children and families. If we can map the human genome and explore space, surely we can teach children regardless of their circumstances. If anything you should substitute "white supremacist biases, curriculum, policies and practices" for poverty since that is a big part of what created and perpetuates poverty for blacks in this country anyway.

In fact good education is one major part of the remedy to "poverty" however too many members of privileged groups perceive any accommodation to non-privileged groups as infringing on their interests/privileges. Either that or they are completely out of touch and indifferent.

The fact is that the reason there is even a "capacity crisis" is because white parents fled the district to adjacent districts and private schools to avoid being integrated with black students by mandatory school busing (a failure in itself). The district student population went from nearly a 100K students to less than 50,000 students.

Now that black families have/are being pushed out of Seattle with help of district (i.e. school closures). White parents are coming back to the promise of new programs and schools for them (i.e. Meany as new "Capitol Hill" middle school).

Meanwhile black students remain in a state of emergency and continue to be ignored while more levy dollars are passed to increase capacity of white controlled organizations providing nice jobs for mostly white women (the same ones failing to teach black children effectively in schools) in the name of helping black children.

joanna said...

Lynne, I think you may have misinterpreted my remarks. I am first and foremost advocating for transparency about what is really happening there. The public has been told that it is being readied for NOVA, so that is what should be happening. If there has been some change of direction we should have known long ago. If a new lease has been signed for any facility, we should the terms. 4Mann is a private group, not a public school, and very different from asking for a public neighborhood school to be opened there. Man is located in the walk zones for both Madrona and Leschi, and as far as I can tell is not a part of the discussion of walkable neighborhood schools. I am expressing frustration with the District rather than 4Mann, due to the fact that it is the business of the District to be clear and transparent and manage the facility. I may like or not like any private community group, but their right to advocate for something they want is their right. However, the District has a different responsibility that is to the taxpayer and the communities that surround their (our) facilities. And, yes it does seem like the District allows the oddest and least transparent deals to happen here in the Central District. We have neighborhood and community councils here; we have families. If the district wishes to do out reach they can easily find us. We read newspapers and blogs. We are taxpayers and deserve to be respected. It is very tiresome for these rather sudden plans to be made and hidden without consideration for the neighborhood or an open public process.

Anonymous said...

Goose,
I'm not using poverty as as an excuse, but as an explanation as to why the achievement gap exists in every community in America. Corporate reformers have spent the last 15 years trying to prove to that you can successfully educate poor children without addressing poverty, and yet there are still no real success stories. Why is that?? You can find a charter here or there claiming to be successful, but when you look more closely at their data (specifically attrition rates), it becomes clear they are skimming off the top or they provide millions in social services via private grants. It doesn't matter what region you study, or how far back you go, children living in poverty perform poorly in school. What educational services do you think SPS should be providing that they are not currently providing that will eliminate this gap? Where is the data to prove it will work?

I have worked in low income schools for over 10 years. It is not uncommon for my students to make over 1 to 2 year's growth in a single year, yet they are still labeled as "failing" come test time because they were that far behind at the starting gate (in kindergarten). It is also common for the success stories to move away. I usually have about 6 students who stay with me for an entire year, my classroom is a revolving door. It is also common to have a child in my class who is so strung out/overwhelmed he/she is rarely consciously present during the day. It feels abusive to make that child sit, focus and complete school work, yet that is what I must make happen. I must raise the standard even higher for such a child, no matter the circumstances.

My own child attends a school in North Seattle which is highly segregated and wealthy. To be honest, I have been appalled by her teachers, the complete lack of rigor, and the non-existent reading curriculum at her school. Yet, my child's school continues to score remarkably well year after year. I can assure you it's not because of better services or curriculum. Most children in my daughter's school have outside tutors or parents that spend a great deal of time supplementing each day, myself included. The quality of curriculum and rigor is leaps and bounds ahead at the school I work in, although the test scores will never show it.

Joanna,
I'm confused by your line of reasoning regarding segregation. IT was the SCOTUS decision of 2007 that prevented Seattle from using the racial tiebreaker, thus making SPS more segregated, not the other way around.

All students can learn when expectations are set high, but I also see first hand, that when my students come to school tired, stressed and hurting, it makes learning and teaching much much more difficult. Until we address poverty, we will never win this battle. Throwing money and resources at the school level to try and combat poverty, is akin to throwing money at our prison system, it's too late. We don't blame doctors when their low income patients are sick. Why do we insist on blaming teachers when their low income students have deficits??
TS

Atticas said...

Lily white APP
But schools can't fix poverty and poverty causes achievement gap don't blame schools or teachers
Blame who?
Who perpetuates poverty?
The poor?
The non-poor?
The rich?
Where do we start?
Lily white APP

Anonymous said...

Maybe, TS, and others, you all should read the Times article about White Center elementary. Enfield is quoted, "poverty is not a learning disability".
Seems like all you "must fix poverty first, where's the data?" folks need to find another excuse for failing to teach poor kids.
Geronimo

Melissa Westbrook said...

I don't think anyone is saying "fix poverty first" but what should happen is that we address that issue AND support those students in school.

We don't need data on poverty - we have it. We don't need data on what supports are need - we have it.

It takes the will and commitment to acknowledge both and act concurrently.

Anonymous said...

TS, not SCOTUS. SPS had already stopped with using racial tie breaker by that point. It's NSAP if you are looking for the reason for increasing segregation.

You last paragraph quite astonished me given prior sympathetic sounding comments. You think throwing money and resources at the school level is akin to throwing money at our prison system? Really? Perhaps it's the wording, but I would not be comfortable if you were working with my child, impoverished or not, if that is how you really feel.

If this reflects the feelings of the many here, I begin to understand more and more what people and their children are up against.

saddened

Anonymous said...

That's bogus Melissa. Concurrently means never because poverty won't be fixed in this city or country, ever. So, by your reasoning, educating the poor is impossible, since they're poor. How convenient.
Have you read the article? How did White Center do it?
Non-concurrent with poverty alleviation, that is.
And I agree that comparing paying for schools and prisons is not only weird and scary, it's downright lawful to hear from someone who teaches poor kids.

Geronimo

Anonymous said...

Geronimo,
I did read the article and it was inspiring, although after taking a closer look at the data, I saw that there are many schools in SPS with similar demographics that are doing even better than they are. Why don't they get written about in the Newspaper? But let's be honest, even with their improvements, they are still not reaching 40+% of their students. I ask why have their efforts not provided success for everyone? The answer lies in decades of data on poverty and why it does make teaching and learning more difficult. The schools alone cannot take children out of poverty.

As Melissa said, I'm not stating that things are fabulous in SPS. As I said above, the education my child is getting in her high achieving school in North Seattle is weak. The education I provide in South Seattle could be stronger. All I'm trying to say is that SPS can only achieve educational goals, and it is time we begin to fight back against the notion that generational poverty is not a factor. To state that poverty does not put a child at a disadvantage, is to ignore decades of educational research. I'm tired of seeing schools like White Center being held up as a success while 40% of their students are failing. Let's look at the big picture!!
TS

Melissa Westbrook said...

"educating the poor is impossible, since they're poor."

Never said that,never meant that but for those looking for the worst in everyone, sure.

One year's results? It could be a blip. That this principal took the reins and created change that didn't take a lot of money or charters or TFA but meant some new thinking is great.

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

It is the prevailing logic on this blog that poverty must be addressed before meaningful gains in educational levels in poor communities can be achieved. I think a review of this thread and many others will show that this is true.
Data correlating poverty and poor academic achievement does not mean that educational efforts alone cannot help kids get out of poverty as they reach adulthood.
Concurrent means at the same time, so if "they" are poor, ipso facto, they can't be educated.
I'm not saying you meant it, but you did say it.

Geronimo

Lynn said...

Can you explain how these kids are underserved? Not the test scores. What are teachers doing better or different in schools outside of the central district. Did you read TS' post above?

What specifically do you want elementary schools in the Central District to change? Not test scores - some change to teaching methods or school organization. If careful consultation, preparation and consideration went into this - you must have specific ideas. Share one with us.

Great Post said...

Anonymous said...
The issue of educational disparities is now front and center due to the bold actions of more 4 mann. Why are so many of you so profoundly blind to this?


None of you have a coherent argument, besides turning to the same district that angers you due to its policies and practices for a relief that will never come; and to lash out at your fellow citizens who you openly admit are under-served and discriminated against?

But, unlike you, they are taking a 'hands-on approach' to solving the problem. And, if you take the time to look, as I have (albeit at a distance), its a diverse group in age, gender, experience, religions, and politics.

Think deeply about this: do you actually think such a decision to take such bold actions was not made without careful consultation, preparation, and consideration, including an keen awareness of the very real possibility of a racialized backlash?

It is also crystal clear that none of you have a real sense of the actions of the district in regards to more 4 mann.

You say you want "accountability", from the district. Now is the time to demand it! And this requires real, un-biased investigation; which takes time and effort. None of you have taken the time or effort. This is self-evident.

If folks want to see an agreement between the district and more 4 mann, how come no one just goes over there and asks for it?

Is the internalized racism really that thick among this group? Have any of you ever talked to them about anything, ever? Is this a return to the self-imposed segregation of the 1980s and 90s', as it expressed itself at that time? How many remember the studies around that in high school-age children?

Why do you think some of them feel threatened? Racism isn't just about fear on the part of the racist, but also on the victims of oppression!

If this was the 1950's, how many of you would applaud Bull Conner's brutal police tactics vs. the black student protesters? Be honest.

I ask because some of the attitudes I see on display here on this thread are startling to see in the "color blind" 21st century!

-Bull Connor

Lynn said...

I can't understand the arguments about segregation here.

Don't bus APP kids into Central District schools because that causes segregation within the schools.

Don't use the NSAP because that causes segregation between the schools.

Don't move into the Central District because that's gentrification.

What exactly do you want? The district is very concerned when drawing boundaries and placing programs that segregation is not increased. Should they stop considering that and draw boundaries and place programs only considering transportation costs?

Should neighborhoods run their own schools? Choose the programs, teachers and administrators they want? What was the achievement gap before busing began in Seattle. You must have some information on that.

Anonymous said...

Thank you seattle citizen and enough already, the posts on here about the Mann building always make me feel tired and sad. Thank you for your courage, eloquence and fairness.

CCA

GooseGander said...

Wow Joanna...

You said..."4Mann is a private group..."

More 4 Mann is no more a private group than the families organizing around TT Minor.

As a broad coalition that has collected thousands of signatures, the More 4 Mann Coalition is actually much more public and inclusive than the TT Minor group.

There are parents of students who have been underserved and victimized in all central district schools and beyond involved with the More 4 Mann effort but it seems their voices do not count to you.

Once again you try to marginalize black parents, students, families, residents this time by using the term "private group" to say that we don't have equal claims as the white TT Minor group.

You said...

"However, the District has a different responsibility that is to the taxpayer and the communities that surround their (our) facilities....We have neighborhood and community councils here; we have families. If the district wishes to do out reach they can easily find us. We read newspapers and blogs. We are taxpayers and deserve to be respected."

"We", "our", "us", "families", "taxpayers" in this context sounds like code for "white people".

I didn't know the Central District had a Tea Party chapters.

It does seem white people are the only ones advocating that the predominately white NOVA program must be at Mann and displace black children and families. NOVA itself isn't even advocating for that.

Joanna said...

"The public has been told that it is being readied for NOVA, so that is what should be happening."

The public was also told that TT Minor is designated for World School but you don't want to accept that do you? You are publicly opposing and fighting for a change aren't you?

More 4 Mann movement has highlighted the plight of African American students in Seattle but it is also surfacing the racism that lies beneath the fake liberal progressive"we love all people equally" masks that are so common.

At least Bull Connor was open, honest and "transparent".

Anonymous said...

Great Post/Bull Connor-
You're making some very broad assumptions. You seem to believe that if people do not agree with you, or have any questions of the More 4 Mann group, they are rightly dismissed as uninvolved, pro status quo and racist. It's hard to have a productive conversation with someone who has drawn such conclusions.

If there is going to be meaningful progress on the immediate issue of use of the Mann building, and more importantly, equitable educational outcomes for students, we're going to have to stop the blanket statements. No one here is omnipotent. I'd like some transparency from ACIC and from SPS.

-What ACIC programs are currently being offered for school age children? How many children are served? Where do these children reside and attend school? Does ACIC have insurance? Perform background checks for staff/volunteers working w/ youth?

-Is there an operating or lease agreement between SPS and ACIC?

-Are there other options for a permanent home for Nova?

-What are the liability issues for having an open building, used w/o a formal agreement?

-Is there really a construction schedule for Mann? Is it on track?

-Who is paying the utilities?

-Does ACIC envision a school, or more of community center? How will it be funded? Any public/private partnerships in the works?

These are just some of my practical questions. Beyond these are the sociological, pedagogical and more questions. It's time for dialogue, not assumptions. --Allyn

Anonymous said...

Saddened,
I am so sorry I missed your post earlier. Thanks for allowing me to clarify. What I'm saying is that "only" throwing money at the schools system (or blaming the school system), without acknowledging and addressing the many social needs/injustices of the community, make closing the achievement gap impossible. Education is an incredibly important aspect of bringing children out of poverty, but we must do far more to make sure that children are coming to school ready and eager to learn. I can't express how heartbreaking it is to work on reading comprehension or math problem solving with a child who is clearly in crisis. No matter how much compassion and understanding I bring to my students, I can't give them what they really need too often. I will never stop trying.
TS

Lynn said...

GooseGander,

Where are these thousands of signatures? I found one petition on Change.org with 148 supporters.

Again, how are students underserved in the Central District?

Anonymous said...

Maybe More 4Mann should re-focus on fighting for Garfield, a $100 million dollar building rather than the broke down Mann building.

Jesse Hagopian has openly supported More 4 Mann and I'm sure many of the students, parents, alumni and community would join in the campaign for equity.

An uprising/major action there would surely bring more national attention to the issue and pressure on the district to do right by African American students and families. Imagine AA parents and students occupying that building with walkouts, sit-ins, teach-ins for justice. MLK would be proud!

-More4Garfield

joanna said...

It is true that a group of parents around TT Minor are openly fighting for the World School plan to be changed. I suppose one could speculate that perhaps writing all the letters and building a case that we publicly share based on numbers and facts and reaching out to public officials is less affective than showing up and taking a building over. First they are "openly" fighting for it. Secondly, they are fighting for a public school neighborhood school and have presented clear evidence about how many students could walk to and attend TT Minor. These students and families will otherwise be in a constant state of flux and the District will be spending unnecessary transportation dollars. They are not currently using any public property or resources, therefore there is no agreement to make public or lease to be paid. Hamlin Robinson has made plans for for moving when the lease there ends.

I am not complaining nearly as much about 4Mann as I am about the District's lack of transparency regarding when the 4Mann lease began, ended, and if there is a new one in place. It is up to the District to present a solid plan for any facility. If the plan for NOVA has changed, we should know at this point since the District would have missed out on considerable state funds for the Mann remodel. The TT Minor neighborhood group is using the districts own guiding principles for the growth boundaries project to be treated the same as any neighborhood for a neighborhood public school.

I am not sure of the process for District approval of public alternative programs, that are open to Seattle Public School students and subject to annual reports along with all other schools. I have not heard any evidence that 4Mann is a group attempting to become an alternative public school, subject to all the rules and regulations of a school. So far, what I know points toward the fact that 4Mann is a private community group desiring to use Seattle School space and therefore, should be subject to the same rules as any community group and the agreements between the District and the school should be a matter of public record. This is the responsibility of the District.

Also for all of you who throw stones at Garfield, do some research and compare the achievement and rates of African American students graduating and going on to further their education there with the records of any other Seattle High School. Why do so many students of any ethnic or racial background choose to go to Garfield?

joanna said...

TS, I am trying to see any place that I mentioned segregation. I do not think I used or meant segregation. Just let me know exactly what assertion you believe I made.

joanna said...

TS, I think GooseGander brought segregation up in some of his/her responses to my statements about the "families" here. I did not bring it up. Mainly, this should be about the District taking responsibility for whatever is happening at Mann and stop the rumors. Just give us the facts. Likely a blogging conversation on segregation will not lead to a productive discussion. All I have to say is that I do not need a lecture on how the fact that all students can and do achieve. There are some very successful students from all backgrounds and there are those who struggle from all backgrounds. I am a big proponent of creating schools that anyone would want for their children and ensuring that the extra resources intervene when any child needs help. Yes, poverty, especially if it is prolonged can and often does take a toll on families, adults and children. Still many students from poverty are successful and I am sure that most are as talented as any student from well-off backgrounds. I am sometimes concerned that there is not enough focus on adults who need assistance, since they are an important part of any community where children live.
The families around TT Minor are still quite diverse, and yes, probably more are white than 10 years ago. Just four years ago the group trying to keep TT Minor opened was diverse, so I am not sure what the point is. There is no PTSA so they have to find each other. Just because the outcome was unjust last time, does not mean that it should continue to be unjust. Sometimes when unjust things have happened to me, members of my family or to friends, I know that I cannot change what happened, but I can certainly work to the best of my ability and power to make sure that it doesn't continue to happen. Sometimes that is the best we can do.

Anonymous said...

Joanna,

You are correct. The taxpayers need to know what agreements are being made by the District with regards to the public buildings in their care.

It also sounds like Melissa has been trying to get that information and has been stonewalled for months. Time to file for a public request for emails and documents. And call the State Auditor.

DK

Anonymous said...

Did anyone answer the question about why this More4Mann group can't use the MLK building that was leased to the First AME at a bargain rate? Wasn't the MLK school supposed to be used for the same purposes that More4Mann is lobbying for? I genuinely don't understand why the More4Mann group is focused on Mann rather than the MLK building, and I'd like to learn more.

Jane

Anonymous said...

Jane, I believe First AME has declined to work with to this particular group. Probably because they stopped paying rent in their current space and have not yet moved out.

Observer

Lynn said...

Jane,

The More 4 Mann group doesn't answer questions. In an effort to understand their goals and concerns, I'm listening to a talk on youtube by a speaker they hosted last Friday - Dr. Umar Johnson.

In the first five minutes, I've learned that the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 was a response to desegregation - a way for white supremacists to desegregate schools. Also, special education is the tool white people use to miseducate black boys. There are three components of miseducation:

1. To teach the black boy to hate himself.
2. To teach the black boy to love white people.
3. To effeminize and if possible homosexualize the black male.

I think it's possible the More 4 Mann group is aware that AME won't support this kind of teaching in the MLK building.

Anonymous said...

Would this be the same person, who states that he is a board certified school psychologist:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fxNDTGfnRQ&list=PLBC843F5AEABC6D42&index=4

He contends "special education has a unique history that grows out of the 1954 Brown vs Board of Education decision...White Supremacy had to come up with a new strategy to resegregate Black from White so 21 years later Special Education was born in 1975." He goes on to discuss the "5 stages of extermination that this society has developed to deal effectively with the black male." Furthermore, he claims "middle class white women" are the reason for black males dropping out of school and "homosexuality is being pushed as black population control."

Comment as you will.

-aghast

Lynn said...

Yes - that's him. No wonder they're not willing to answer questions about what they're up to.

Lynn said...

Wonder what the board thinks of the activity going on in the Mann building?

Anonymous said...

I'm am finding this hard to believe. Are you saying that there is a group of community members asking for public support of an anti-homosexual, anti-IDEA agenda? As a sped parent I am feeling much less sympathetic & much more defensive. I would like to hear some More4Mann group members comment on this.

-really?

WOW said...

Johnson seems to hate interracial relationships and is very anti-gay. If that is what M4M supports or even tolerates, I don't see how the NOVA principal or Banda can have anything to do with them. M4M really stepped in it inviting this guy to speak. I expect the district to disown them and the NOVA principal to cancel all agreements with them by week's end. If they are teaching black kids what Johnson espouses, it is clearly a violation of district regulations and Banda is risking his own job if he doesn't act forcefully and quickly. Johnson is very upfront about his views and they are very disturbing.

Lynn said...

really,

If you look at the More for Mann Facebook page, his picture and the event details are right there. There are many videos of his speeches available on youtube.

For more information on More for Mann supporters, you should check out the Facebook page Seattle Public School Boycott. Last week they announced 'The First White Woman Mafia Assault Against Black Children' of the school year. (An event involving the principal at Nathan Hale. ) A frequent poster is Andaiye Qaasim - she works for Chris Korsmo at the League of Education Voters.

Anonymous said...

More 4 Mann , Africatown, Umoja Peace Center or whatever the name they pick that day does not represent the Central Area or it residents - be they white or black. They are a small group that preaches hate and racial (black) superiority. No legitimate group wants to work with them or give them space. Watch any of the Farrakhan videos on you tube to get the point.

-Concerned in the Central Area.

Anonymous said...

This thread has degenerated. You are harming yourselves, this blog, APP -as many of you are known for its advocacy, this blog's school board candidate choice, and those who may be loosely associated with you.

This strategy to dig up and sensationalize this group is being compared to Bryant's attempt to dig up similar peccadillos to smear Peters with.

Be careful with your condemnation. It's not as if you have spared AME of your disdain either.

There are well respected teachers, principal, and PTSA members who are working with the group some of you are trying very hard to condem. There are some questionable people who are loosely associated with them. But we have similar problems within APP. We saw a smidgen of it publicly with Bryant and on FB. The ends justify the means mentality.There are also people within APP hierarchy who have strong views about FRL and other under represented groups. Some of these people we knew as fellow parents in local schools before their children enter APP. We know of their antagonism toward black elementary school principals (and I don't mean Greg King). The criticisms were petty, couched and veiled, but consistent. I have been at parties and gatherings where bigoted things are said, ignorant stereotypes repeated, and inappropriate jokes made. Should I think all of APP is full of people like these? No.


The persistent attempts to portray this group in the worst possible way is in turn becoming a Dorian Gray portrait of yourselves.

FYI: if you understand SPED history, there is more than an element of truth about SPED and the long unfortunate misuse of this program on black, ELL, and poor students.

reader

Melissa Westbrook said...

Reader, this blog didn't endorse any candidate - I did. There's a difference.

We haven't shown distain for First AME - we questioned their ability to purchase the MLK, Jr. building. (And we were right - they didn't have the funds and their proposal was not near as strong as the others. And, the building is underused.)

Your Dorian Gray reference mystifies me. Did we read the same book?

I think I will close comments now since I think everything has been said that needs to be said.