Sunday, October 20, 2013

Seattle School Board Races: Views from Candidates and Others

Here's a link to the SE Chamber of Commerce event in early October.  Note: the lighting was harsh and does not flatter either candidate.  The video is also a little low. The first question seems to have gotten cut off - it was something to the effect of how many SE schools each candidate has visited.

Also, the City Inside/Out show had a panel interview about Seattle schools and the races.  The panel included Lynne Varner of the Times, President Kay Smith-Blum, Tre Maxie of Powerful Schools and Phil Gore, the head of Washington State School Directors Association (WSSDA).

Notable quotes from the City Inside/Out show:

- Smith-Blum noted that the Board evaluation NEVER said that the Board called itself "dysfunctional."  She said there were some trust issues but that they had voted 98% in unison or near unison.
- Mr. Gore chimed in that 4-3 votes can be a sign of problems but that the Seattle School Board's voting record doesn't show that happening much.
- Mr. Maxie talked about more community partnerships with the district and referenced Africatown which kind of surprised me given how little is known about the partnership.
- Varner said something that caught my attention.  She said that Blanchard was "neither for or against charter schools" and that "nothing should be off-limits."  But she complains in the Times that the Board doesn't have focus.  Confusing.  She also said the district should be able to hire "a great TFA teacher" without explaining that you have to be in partnership WITH TFA to hire any.
- it was something of a duel between Smith-Blum (who supports Sue Peters) and Varner (who supports Dale Estey).  I did note that Varner said Dale Estey did have the "temperament" to be on the Board.
- Mr. Gore contrasted the candidates saying Peters seemed to be connected to parents and Dale Estey to Olympia and corporations (but he made no judgments on which would be better).
- Mr. Gore also made a thoughtful statement about how Board directors are expected to represent voters while building a cohert/cohesive school system and how those two things don't always go together.
- Mr. Maxie said something quite curious about the capacity issues.  "The district has done a reasonable job on trying to project enrollment and adjust spaces accordingly."  I'm not sure if Mr. Maxie has missed much of the last couple of years in SPS but the district did just the opposite.

Also to note, I-1240 promoters, Lisa Macfarlane and Tim Ceis have both given in-kind contributions to the PAC, Great Seattle Schools, created for Dale Estey.  Mr. Ceis gave $2500 via his own group, CBE Strategic, and Ms. Macfarlane gave $1,450 individually.


Well, Blanford? said...

I find Varner's comments in relation to Blanford and charter schools concerning.

Mr. Gore is a breath of fresh air. I was wondering when someone would illuminate the fact that we live in a democracy and the school board is a self-governing board.

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