Friday, October 11, 2013

SE Growth Boundaries Open Thread

Let's hear your thoughts (I haven't read them yet.)


JvA said...

Mid Beacon Hill is still shut out of its Maple walk zone, forced to cross an I-5 feeder arterial to Van Asselt.

Georgetown was rezoned back into the Maple boundary.

Charlie Mas said...

Some real improvement over the first draft around Maple and Kimball.

Melissa Jonas said...

Definitely some improvement, especially for Hawthorne. Dearborn Park is still an option school, which seems to be causing a lot of the shuffle. Kimball grads will go to Washington MS. BHIS boundaries shifted a bit, but there's still an odd chunk of Beacon Hill being sent to Thurgood Marshall.

Overall, it's good to see that SPS paid some attention to the feedback. They shared a lot of data and made changes. They're inching towards transparency.

Even so, these changes need to go in front of the newly elected board. Current board members have few reasons to listen to voters. Let's make this a campaign issue and encourage the Directors who will remain to listen to their constituents.

SPS educated many of us; they can trust that we will share informed, reasonable opinions to help shape good policy for our kids. (Even those parents educated outside of Seattle might have some basic skills to solve problems.)

JvA said...

Does anyone understand why the roughly 4-square-block Mid Beacon Hill Maple walk zone (20th / Lucile / Beacon / Orcas) wasn't kept at Maple, while non-walk-zone Georgetown was? I'm trying to figure out why this small area in the walk zone would continue to be excluded, while all of non-walk-zone Georgetown was included. What could be the reasoning?

Charlie Mas said...

JvA, although Georgetown is not in the walk zone for Maple, if it is cut out of the Maple attendance area, it throws all of Georgetown into the Van Asselt attendance area. The Georgetown community strongly opposed the change.

JvA said...

Charlie --

Yes, I understand Georgetown parents opposed the change. I’ve befriended them after sitting right next to them at many meetings over the last weeks. I deeply admire their tenacity and cannot wait to work side by side with them through the coming years to help our children at Maple (mine will surely be grandfathered in).

But Mid Beacon Hill is in the walk zone for Maple, and Georgetown is not. Why did Georgetown get in, while we didn't?

Mid Beacon Hill parents who live in the walk zone for Maple have also opposed the change. We have written in (not as many times as Georgetown) to oppose the change, on the basis that it contradicts their project guiding principles of walkability and equity. I've testified at two of the community meetings, and the school board meeting, and have worked with different SE groups to oppose the change.

The Mid Beacon Hill area being shut out of the Maple walk zone (an area of 4 square blocks) is as racially, culturally, and linguistically diverse as it could possibly be, and it's difficult to organize a movement of immigrant families to oppose a change. Because I don't know Mandarin, I literally cannot speak with my next-door neighbors of 8 years. I know walkability is of paramount importance to my Filipino neighbors across the street, as they chose their grade school purely on the basis of proximity to home. (I'm not even sure they're aware what's happening to Dearborn Park. I'm not really sure what exactly is happening to Dearborn Park and when.) But we don’t have the critical mass of white families to fight this.

Has the district even translated any of the materials about these radical changes to Beacon Hill, let alone tried to distribute them? My daughter goes to Maple, so I know for a fact that there have been no handouts in her backpack about it. Is it up to me to try to explain to all the folks on my block (Tagalog, Japanese, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Eritrean...) what is going on?

Per district Policy No. 0030 (Ensuring Educational and Racial Equity), did they make any attempt at Racial Equity Analysis in terms of outreach about the changes? And I mean more than just providing a couple of interpreters at the Mercer meeting, which was scheduled first of all of them, literally two days after they posted "improved maps" of the affected areas.

I thought Mid Beacon Hill would make it in, based on their guiding principles for the project. I keep going back to these, and I don't understand how Georgetown (not in the walk zone) got in and we didn't:
• "Ground decisions in data."
• "Create boundaries that reflect equitable access to services and programs."
• "Maximize walkability."
• "Enable cost-effective transportation standards."
• "Maintain key features of New Student Assignment Plan."
• "Minimize disruptions by aligning new boundaries with current attendance area boundaries when feasible."
• "Be mindful of fiscal impact."
• "Be responsive to family input to the extent feasible."

Was the whole thing was just a popularity contest the whole time, of how many native English speakers write in and say they like their current school? Did the last principle -- how many highly engaged and informed, English-speaking parents who are able to come to meetings at 5:00 p.m. speak up -- outweigh all the others? (For what it's worth, I’m a mixed-race child of immigrant non-college-grad parents, one of whom was non-native-English-speaking.)

I know it's not very Seattle to talk about racial / cultural inequity, but I am really curious about what the heck just happened and why. I'm asking about it here because you guys seem to understand better than anyone the machinations of the district. Is there any way we can make the district pretend to care about equity? My kid just started kindergarten, so I'm new to this, and truly baffled.

JvA said...

This kind of helps explain why it's easier for Georgetown (not in the Maple walk zone) to get their voices heard above Mid Beacon Hill (in the Maple walk zone). They are a far more homogenous neighborhood, with a large white majority of 78%.

Mid Beacon Hill is far more mixed, with white, Chinese, Filipino, and Vietnamese each only comprising 17-26% of the population. There is no racial or linguistic majority at all. The majority of residents speak a language other than English.

As far as I can tell, the district didn't consider any such cultural or linguistic factors when assessing the input. I mean, it's obvious white / US born / English speaking populations speak up more often than other populations, right? It's obvious this is a farce, right?

Georgetown / Mid Beacon Hill Demographics

White: 78% GT, 26% MBH
Black: 5% GT, 6% MBH
Nat. Am: 1% GT, 0% MBH
Chinese: 0% GT, 20% MBH
Filipino: 4% GT, 21% MBH
Japanese: 0% GT, 3% MBH
Vietnamese: 0% GT, 17% MBH
Other Asian: 0% GT, 2% MBH

Hispanic (not a racial category): 22% GT, 4% MBH

Data from US Census Tracts Demographic-Economic Dataset, based on its American Community Survey (ACS) 2011 5-year estimates:

Anonymous said...

As a Wing Luke and T. Marshall parent, I would not send my APP child to Wing Luke. They have an amazing educational program but do not support self contained AL classrooms and are unlikely to if APP is forced in. This "option" should be taken off the table as Wing Luke's capacity is needed for neighborhood students.

SE Family

Charlie Mas said...

Wing Luke, when it is rebuilt, will have a capacity of 650. It's going to be huge and it will have room for multiple programs.

Lucas Walter said...

When I look at the current map for Thurgood Marshall the walkzone correctly ends at Rainier to the southwest:

But on page 10 of the walkzone has magically grown to include the expanded Thurgood Marshall boundary on the opposite side of Rainier. I attribute it to sloppiness biased towards the desire of the boundary planners to confirm their changes. It probably isn't the only error in there, it just happened to be in the area I was scrutinizing the most.

Anonymous said...

Read this post in the Rainier Valley Post neighborhood blog:

There is, at least an attempt by SE schools to gives ESL families a voice in all this.

Solvay Girl