Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Seattle School Board Meeting - Wednesday, October 16th

A couple of quick updates:

- there are 25 people on the Public Testimony list; I see North Beach, Maple (6 people), Queen Anne Elementary, Montlake, Schmitz Park, Stevens, Fairmount Park and misc. "proposed growth boundaries."   There are 16 people on the waitlist.  I see a couple of different schools - B.F. Day, Madrona, High Point - and I would urge someone from Maple to cede a place to one of these people to allow as many schools as possible to speak.

- allow I note that there are "edits" to the attachments to the Growth Boundaries.  I took a quick look and one edit was to correct the date (they had October 6th instead of 16th) and a couple of corrections to the draft side.  I saw nothing major but check to see if you see any others.  They also shifted the maps to align with feeder patterns. 

If you are not planning to attend the Board meeting, do try to make the Maple Leaf Community Council Candidate and Issues Night which is also Wednesday evening.  It starts at 7 pm at Olympic View Elementary. 

Update: the candidates from District IV, Suzanne Dale Estey and Sue Peters, will be speaking from 7:10-7:20 at the Maple Leaf event.  There will also be discussions of all ballot measures and all Council positions.


Charlie Mas said...

I don't suppose anyone is going to tell the Board that they shouldn't be voting on this because it is an administrative and management matter and not a policy or governance matter.

Where is Lynne Varner to scold them for their micromanagement? Where are the staff people who want them to back off?

JvA said...

Melissa -- Hey, there. I coordinate the effort to get Mid Beacon Hill families to sign up to speak about the Maple boundaries. We are in the walk zone for Maple, and they want to start bussing us to another school.

At the last School Board meeting, it was just me who spoke out for Mid Beacon Hill. We are a 26% white / 21% Filipino / 20% Chinese / 17% community where the majority of residents aren't primary English speakers. It's hard to "get out the vote" across those linguistic boundaries, especially when the materials are only posted in English. And my child only just started kindergarten, so I don't have the personal connections in place yet to sound the alarm effectively.

At that meeting, many Georgetown residents also spoke on behalf of their 78% white, majority-English-speaking community. I was really impressed at the number of people they got to speak out on the issue, even though they are NOT in the Maple walk zone.

But I was surprised to find on Friday that the district let Georgetown (not in the walk zone) back in to Maple, while continuing to shut out the Mid Beacon Hill families in the walk zone.

I asked about why this happened in the SE boundaries thread. Charlie Mas suggested, "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."

I'm totally new to this (my little one just started kindergarten), but from what Charlie said and from what I can observe, it sounds like the district is responding primarily to volume of response on an issue, and not considering racial/linguistic equity, walkability, and their other stated objectives?

Anyway, this is all to say that I'm open to ceding spots, but would want to understand: how do we first ensure that the community of color in Mid Beacon Hill isn't shafted?

Since Monday, I've gotten Chinese and Vietnamese parents at Maple to attend the meeting, and white parents on the list are volunteering to cede their spots to them. (Trying to convince them to speak, to get more racial diversity at that microphone.)

Also, one person is planning to give testimony that shows data that suggests that this whole process has not drawn representational feedback from communities of color, which I really would love everyone to think about.

Anyway, if anyone can clue me in to how we can get the district to respond to our racial equity and walkability concerns without, as Charlie put it, "strongly oppos[ing]" the change, I'm totally willing to ask if one of my neighbors would cede their spot. But it sounds like that's what you need to do? I'm seriously open to any advice on this -- as I put it in the SE boundaries thread, I'm genuinely baffled by this process.

Melissa Westbrook said...

JvA, it sounds like you have done your homework and if you have a diverse number of voices, then by all means,stick with it. It is vital for the Board to hear from many parents and to encourage parents, across the board, to speak up.

I definitely would speak directly to the racial equity issue and ask - repeatedly - how this jives with the current walk-zones.

I will also note - but not say who - that someone in top leadership said to me, in answer to this question, "well,a lot of poor people find housing near freeways." I was so dumbfounded, I said nothing. (And it's hard to stump me.)

I mean this person is right in theory but does where you live mean you get the least favorable walk zones?

Anonymous said...

No Jane Addams k8 speakers? That is somewhat surprising. They are being moved and are going to rely on the District's promise that nothing will change the plan over the next 2 years? Too many moving parts, too much rising enrollment, too few seats already. But, nothing will change. That is surprising. (Maybe it is burn-out; that would not be surprising.)


Anonymous said...

Thanks for suggesting that people with multiple representatives on the testimony list cede their spot to people on the waitlist that are not represented. I don't recall hearing from B.F. Day or High Point parents (for example) very often at board meetings. Would be great to hear their voices.

- Talking Schools

JvA said...

We ceded one of our turns to the East African woman from High Point. She was speaking to our larger point of ensuring racial equity in this process. I mean, the materials haven't even been translated. I'm not gonna lie -- as an SPS newbie, I'm stunned at how this all works.

LN said...

Wow, JvA, I am in my bubble up here in NW Seattle, but I'll help how I can. If you send specifics from the boundary maps, I'll submit a survey on your behalf!

Keep up the good work. We have to fight non-stop with SPS, but your comments are so well-said that I'd like to help your cause.

JvA said...

LN -- We'd love for you to submit a survey on our behalf!


Choose Zone 36.

Say something like "Listen to voices of color on Mid Beacon Hill -- let kids keep walking to Maple."


Anonymous said...

Why isn't AFIC or the other Mann squatters saying anything about this issue? Is it only children of color from the central district that matter?


LN said...

Done, JvA!