Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tuesday Open Thread

What's on your mind?

29 comments:

Matt said...

In 2004, Josh Feit of the Stranger felt it necessary to write an article called the "Corporate Puppet".

The article titled "Corporate Puppet: is an article about Suzanne Dale Estey's involvement with Washington Mutula and the monorail project. Josh Feit calls Suzanne Dale Estey's character into question. Josh Feit writes:

"There are two reasons not to believe a single word Washington Mutual lobbyist Suzanne Estey says"

Here is the article: http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/SavageLove?oid=19760

Please check the PDC. You will see that Democrats for Educational Reform and Nick Hanauer have just contributed $30K to Estey's PAC, which is now funded at $96K.

You may also want to note that Democrats for Education Reform and Nick Hanauer heavily pushed and Funded I 1240; the initiative that will give our public schools to private entities and elimninate the voices of voters.

Does Estey plan on returning to her role as a corporate puppet? Should we believe Suzanne Dale Estey?


In 2004 Josh Feit called Suzanne Dale Estey's character into question and it seems history is repeating itself.

Estey claims not to support charters, but her backers, funders and history remain very concerning.

Also concerning is the fact that Estey told the 37th Dems that she did not know her top 5 contributors. Does anyone believe Estey didn't know that some of the wealthies individuals in our country contributed to her campaign?

Does anyone have a bridge for sale in Brooklyn?

Anonymous said...

DFER and Hanauer donated $30K?

Shocking! Someone call The Stranger to get the news spread widely. This is Corporate Education Reform buying itself a seat at the table.

Since Smith Blum flamed and folded no doubt because her business buddies clashed with her not corporate view of education, the charterites have been rubbing their hands. Now they've put their riches where their loud mouths are.

Also, Estey lobbied for the morally bankrupt WA Mu execs? Why did we not know this sooner?

DistrictWatcher

Anonymous said...

This article in the Weekly about plans for a charter school in Pioneer Square. It's pretty funny, actually:

http://www.seattleweekly.com/home/949345-129/charter-says-schools-williams-district-public

Melissa Westbrook said...

I have asked both Josh Feit (now at Publicola) and The Stranger why, if they printed this story in 2004, they haven't had much to say today. No answer.

Yes, there has never been a School Board candidate that had nearly $200k to support her campaign.

dw said...

Isn't this enough to get the general public up in arms about campaign reform? I mean funding limits, especially to local races. Limit PACs, etc.

I'm not hopeful, because we saw it before with Maier and Sundquist, but looks like Estey is taking it to a new level.

Come on, someone in the parent community must have the knowledge (and passion) to get this type of reform moving! Anyone??

Crownhill said...

Hmm... well there are certainly some interesting names on the PDC lists for Ms. Estey. And the database kinda belies the "grassroots" aspects a bit when you sort by employer - because then a picture of who is really behind who becomes clearer for both candidates. Fascinating.

Anonymous said...

Funny and thoughtful commentary on how TFA can't seem to get it right.

-TFA'd Out

Anonymous said...

My husband is auditing a weather class at UW taught by Cliff Mass. Science professor Mass has been an outspoken advocate for a better math curriculum in SPS and told my husband that improved math materials at selected Seattle public schools are far superior to the discovery, everyday math textbooks. He suggested donating to the Sue Peters campaign if people want this approach extended to more schools.

On another subject, the Wall Street Journal today has an article about problems with large school district investments in tablets. Students get around security passwords to find games and inappropriate content. Parents are unsure of liability of broken screens and lost devices. Billions of dollars will go to technology in schools and expectations of higher test scores may be misplaced.

It may be more important to study what kids are learning (curriculum), instead of how it is delivered (tablets).

S parent

Anonymous said...

Well one thing about the kerfuffle is it finally got my attention in the school board race.

I was able to look at the two candidates web sites and read about the funding behind Estey's candidacy, which I agree is shocking. I'm now soundly a Sue Peters supporter (and I wasn't paying much attention before). I like Peter's views, and her endorsements, on the whole and she matches my generally progressive views in favor of teachers, against educational reform that undermines the value of the human value of teacher labor (i.e. emphasis on tech, efficiency, metrics), and I've enjoyed Peters' blog articles.

I feel like I'm not an outlier on this website, but worried about the effect of the money on the election. I like Peters' positions, but she does project as a certain kind of north side progressive who may not gain sufficient exposure and traction among the people of the entire city (especially if business/more conservative folks oppose her).

My mother says her neighbor has an Estey sign. I was able fill in the grandparents that Estey is not the preferred candidate -- they were shocked by the money being spent and agree that big money education reform doesn't support SPS children.

zb

Anonymous said...

And, by my second paragraph -- the difficulty with traction -- I mean that her supporters are going to have to get out and do something to counteract the money.

I think that the idea that we are going to make the money going away with campaign reform isn't going to gain a lot of traction, and certainly not traction in time to do anything for this election. I'm truly worried about the money -- I think there are reasonable arguments that it can't actually sway presidential elections, but school board elections? I'm a frequent visitor of this board, and I still wasn't paying attention to this election. Blanketing the city with misleading fliers will have an effect and supporters need to reach out of our bubbles to talk about the candidate. Am trying to figure out how to do it myself; talking to my mom probably isn't enough, though it was something.

zb

Melissa Westbrook said...

DW, there are funding limits - $900 to the campaign per election (so primary and general for a total of $1800). Problem is, like for all other races, anyone can form a PAC and give as much as they like and that's exactly what's happening for Dale Estey.

That group is ALL ed reformers.

Let's see what they spend that money on. The positive campaign that Dale Estey says she wants versus the campaign the ed reformers think will win it.

mirmac1 said...

Remember, if you want a sign just contact the campaign at Sue's website and it will be delivered. : )

Anonymous said...

Horrid story of in person and online bullying in FL.

12-year-old committed suicide after being bullied. 14-year-old and 12-year-old charged with felonies for unrelenting harassment, including telling the bullied girl to "drink bleach and die".

The sheriff delivering felony charges has extremely harsh words for the parents of the 14-year-old. Apparently the parents claim their daughter's online account was hacked and that she did not post the hateful comments. The sheriff says the parents should have taken the accused electronic device and smashed it into 1000 pieces. Tells them "stop being your child's best friend. Be their best parents."

Sad, sad story worth a read and discussion with our own children.

EdVoter

Linh-Co said...

I just received a letter from Alliance for Education thanking me for my past donation to my child's school and then a full 2-page marketing fluff about the Seattle Teacher Residency (STR). The fluff piece ends with, "And right now, Marcy and I need you to pick up your pen - or go to your computer to log on to www.alliance4ed.org - and make a donation to the Alliance for Education. STR is just one of our innovative new solutions to old problems in public education, and we can't do this work without you. Sincerely, Sara Morris"

YUCK!!!

Anonymous said...

What, can't The Alliance rub the genie bottle er tap Hanauer and Matt Griffin and etc. and just bankroll the whole thing? If they're dropping $15K at a pop on school board races surely they can turn their pockets inside out for a worthy cause. Perhaps they're saving their Benjamins to fund charter staffing.

DistrictWatcher

mirmac1 said...

DistrictWatcher,

Are U kidding? The taxpayer must pay because it is for our own good! As opposed to buying seats on the school board for their own good....

Melissa Westbrook said...

Ed Voter, saw your item on cyberbullying on the news and just put it up. Important to hear about.

Sarah said...

I'm hearing that there is a telephone survey being conduced in relation to the mayors race and questions whether our mayor should hire a superintendent.

What is going on?

Anonymous said...

I was called yesterday afternoon by a polling agency. Some questions were about the Mayor's race and issues around it ex. transportation & infrastructure but the majority dealt with Seattle Public Schools. Specifically, a question asked if the respondent knew how Seattle Public Schools Superintendent is "appointed." Several choices were given along with the correct one. I let the questioner know that the Superintendent is hired by the School Board not appointed -there is a difference. The Seattle Superintendent is not part of the Mayor's cabinet. Other questions asked if you favored the Mayor appointing both the school board and superintendent. Or do you favor some elected board members and some mayoral appointees. Someone or organization is testing the waters for legislation to allow Mayoral take-overs of our schools.

MC

Anonymous said...

There was also a question asking the respondent to rate the current School Board's performance. This is not the exact wording but the choices were Good, Sorta Good, Sorta Bad, Bad.

MC

Melissa Westbrook said...

MC, interesting and it ties into what both candidates told me.

The district and the Board should really be paying attention.

dw said...

Melissa,

Yes, I know about the $900 limits (my wording above wasn't great), but I guess my point is that it's almost worthless because these guys can create PACs and make a mockery of the limits. They're literally thumbing their noses at the intent of the law.

As zb pointed out, it's an issue because in small races like this it's easy to completely overwhelm the fundraising efforts of a grassroots campaign, and there's a science to the strategies of how to use that money to optimally sway uneducated voters.

I think the best hope a candidate like Sue Peters has is for all of her supporters (that means YOU, not everyone else!) to make an effort right now, i.e. TODAY to call or email 3 friends that you think do not follow school district issues. Tell them why you support her, and then ask them to call or email 3 friends. It will be very, very difficult to win this election without reaching out to the non-education wonks.

mirmac1 said...

dw,

I agree. But I think the powerful and vested teachers (and their union) need to make the strongest effort.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Dw, I did that yesterday. If anyone wants my sample e-mail, write to me at
sss.westbrook@gmail.com.

I guarantee it's no hit piece, just some honest assessment.

I know the people I wrote to - about 25 friends, neighbors and colleagues - are people who talk far and wide.

mirmac1 said...

Here is the latest submission to OSPI of the Special Education Comprehensive Corrective Action Plan.

CCAP revised

Much improved. Whether it will actually translate into the necessary training and supports to SpEd and Gened teachers, and improved service delivery in classrooms - we have yet to see.

Charlie Mas said...

mirmac1, I read the plan and I see a lot of references to assigning ownership and responsibility.

What I don't see is much about what will happen if people fail in their duty. In fact, I don't see anything about that.

Is the problem that people didn't know they were responsible or that people didn't fulfill their responsibility?

mirmac1 said...

Charlie, as you might expect, it is both. There are many principals who either think they are above the law, or really have no flipping clue and think IEPs are negotiable or not really necessary. The lack of ownership and accountability extends up through the Executive Directors of Schools, who have their eyes on teacher and principal evals and the current Realpolitik. Some think it is their job to practice CYA for their principals. General Ed teachers think SpEd students aren't their responsibility, seeming to forget that they are "general education students first" as the law clearly states.

Oh, Oh said...

Keep an eye on DeBell. If Murray is elected, the 43rd will need someone to fill Murray's shoes and DeBell is a member of the 43rd.

mirmac1 said...

There are enough of DeBell's machinations in the ether that he should think twice.

Along those lines, I posted this on The Stranger thread about Jean Bryant's fishing expedition on behalf of her choice Suzanne Dale-Estey:

"As the parent who posted those gosh darn Enfield emails, I say they cast a public employee in a very bad light (thanks to the "sunshine" laws in our State). And the emails between her predecessor Goodloe-Johnson with a wanna-be district vendor NWEA about appointment to their board while she was "considering" using their MAP test? Oh SNAP!

NotVoting, your protests are lame. Bryant's request is clearly on the Public Records log well into the primary. She did not request a specific topic like "Teach for America" or NWEA MAP or Silas Potter, she asked for Peter's emails with her child's teacher between certain dates, and Peters with the discredited principal Rina Geoghagen between another range of dates. That's fishing.

As for FERPA, a now-gutted law poorly protecting educational records, it prohibits release of educational records with personally-identifiable information to anyone without a "legitimate educational interest". (I doubt Bryant's interest was educational in nature.) Redaction would be necessary, but given that the child's and parent's name are evident in the nature of the request itself, the records should be considered unredactable; case law calls for withholding the records.

The Public Records Act states a person's "right to privacy" is invaded or violated if disclosure 1) is not of legitimate concern to the public, and 2) would be highly offensive to a reasonable person. From the sounds of public reaction to Bryant's hijinks, there are many reasonable people out there.

Those spreading innuendo and defaming anyone's character is Bryant and her friends."