Sunday, November 03, 2013

Staff Puts the Hard Decision on the Board about Mann Building

District staff have put the the Action Report for Intro/Action at Wednesday's Board meeting for the "Approval of lease of space to Africatown Center for Education & Innovation."

I have NEVER read such a disjointed and ridiculous Action Report  - with no less than six question marks.  There should never be question marks in an Action Report.  The staff either knows or doesn't know the information.  If they don't, then they have no business submitting such a report.

I suspect the issue is that they cannot get clear answers from Africatown leadership and/or staff can't get information they have requested to be provided to them.

There is a long and tortured history of what has been going on at the Mann Building (and I believe both sides would say it is not entirely accurate).    It is ridiculously long.

Here's what I believe from this Action Report and its woefully state.  Staff is worried about blowback from having to ask police to help escort the illegal tenants from the Mann Building.  It has been made pretty clear the tenants will not just walk out on their own accord.  There does NOT have to be any violence - civil disobedience never calls for that.

I believe the staff is pushing for the BOARD to have to make this tough decision and then say, well, the Board rejected our Action Report and so therefore we had to act to remove the tenants.  It was the Board's action.   That's one way to get past having to make hard decisions when you've made months of bad decisions.

Items of note:

 - Board Policy 6882 states that Board approval of a lease for less than the highest financial return "will be taken only (1) When the prospective tenant either: (a) would use the site exclusively or primarily (at least 50%) to provide services that directly support and substantially benefit Youth Education; or (b) is a governmental agency or nonprofit organization that provides community or social services in the community and neighborhood surrounding the school; and (2) where no alternative nearby location exists where such service can be provided." The School Board's decision shall take into account "the difference in financial return compared to the value of the financial support offered for K-12 education".  This is absolutely the key issue here and it comes into play later in the Report.  There has been no proof that "alternative nearby location(s) exist where such service can be provided."

- This action was discussed at the Operations Committee meeting on October 28th. The Committee reviewed the action and determined that the item should move forward to the entire board without a recommendation.  Just so you know, when a Committee moves something forward without a recommendation, red flags should go up. 

- To support community work and to utilize the closed Mann school, Seattle Public Schools had a lease with Peoples Family Life for the Mann building. Peoples Family Life had sublet a portion of their space to Seattle Amistad School and allowed other community organizations to use the building for their programming.  Yes, but they leave out that the district's own lease did NOT allow extra sub-lets, keys were made and given out without the district's permission or knowledge and the district didn't know how many groups were in there or what they were doing. 

-On October 15th, two leases were signed by AfricaTown Center for Education & Innovation (ACEI).  Really because I asked about this - to staff AND now via public disclosure - and got no answer from staff and public disclosure won't have info until December 19th.  I will refile for just these leases.  I am baffled by how this happened.

- At this time, the District does not control the building. Individuals associated with AfricaTown Center for Education & Innovation continue to occupy the Horace Mann building, and have chained the building from the inside. The District continues to provide heat and electricity to the building.  That should say it all.  

-Because of the delays in finalizing the lease agreements and the need for the district to have School Board approval, the added costs will need to be negotiated with the contractor. The estimated costs will be at least $1,000 per day and may be applicable beginning on September 18, 2013, the date the Board approved the contract. The negotiations with the contractor on fees will begin once full time work on the site begins.  AND  
The fiscal impact to this action will be approximately $1,120. This includes costs for readying and using both the Columbia Annex for 18 months and one portable at the Mann building for six months, less the lease revenue received from the AfricaTown Center for Education & Innovation (ACEI).

So this entire premise is costing the district money that it does not have to spare.

- Questions?  

The Board wants to see documentation about "benefits conferred" and the ACEI will give it on November 6th.  Sorry, that makes it too late for the Board to vote on this measure because since it's a public school district and tax dollars, this information has to be made available to taxpayers on Tuesday.   


Part II, 19 of the Mann Portable Lease language includes termination language and stipulations that occupants “will not do or permit to be done in or about the Premises anything which is illegal or unlawful”. Additional language will be added to both leases to the effect that “If tenant or any of its invitees, visitors or guests takes any action which interferes with the District’s construction renovation program at the Mann site, the lease will be terminated immediately.
Really?  Because that has already happened and yet the district has done nothing.


Provide assurance that the primary tenant is not associated with those individuals who are creating disturbances and threats to community members.  Again, if you have to write those words down in creating a lease for a public school building, then I'm out.


Have the occupants moved out? Why not? The occupants are waiting for a lease to be signed providing them with alternative space. The leader of ACEI has orally agreed to move out prior to the School Board meeting on November 6.  Yes, we've heard that before and so why is it true now?  The District has NO partnership with these groups, they violated the previous lease terms and they expect the district to wait on them until the district finds them space.   Again, no.


Should the ACEI and its member groups be debarred under Board Policy 6973?  Unfortunately, the policy does not apply to leases of property (but I'm thinking an amendment will soon be in the works). 


Has the tenant provided insurance certificates? No. Leases will not be signed by the District until insurance certificates are provided. Again, I'm confused - are there signed leases or not. 

What is the need for immediate introduction and action? The Africatown Center for Education & Innovation has been in control of the Mann building since August, even though they have no legal right to do so. Absent legal action or execution of these leases they are unlikely to leave the building. The District requires the building in order to renovate it for the NOVA program, which will occupy the building in September 2014. The daily cost of not having control of the building is in excess of $1,000. By approving this lease, and providing the associated benefits to the tenant, the District will recover use of the Mann building without taking legal action against the occupants.
So this tactic works.  And the district wants to work with people who act illegally against the district and the students it serves?

With respect to the requirement that at least 50% of the use by for activities in direct support and substantial benefit of youth education, documentation is available to demonstrate that at least some of the use of the Columbia Annex directly and substantially supports youth education (the Mann portable will be used for storage, staging and administrative meetings). ACEI has provided a list of youth programs that extend learning opportunities and supplemental programs that align to the common core, but has not provided information on the number of students served by such programs. 




The documentation does not indicate the number of students served either before or after August 15. This is a key element in evaluating their support of youth education, one that is required of the Nordic Heritage Museum at Webster School and the First AME Church at the former MLK School. Accordingly, it has not been established whether the proposed uses of the property meet the requirements of the Board policy.  

Again, if you don't have all the facts in hand, this shouldn't have seen the light of day.



With respect to the requirement that there be no other available location, in August the District’s property management department contacted possible locations in the vicinity of the Mann building and identified two possible locations about 10 blocks away. We do not know if they are still available. There has been no analysis of whether alternative locations exist in the area of the Columbia Annex. Accordingly, it has not been established whether these leases meet the “no other location” requirements of the Board policy. 

Again, if it doesn't meet Board policy, say no. 


There are several reasons why the leases should be approved, even though the documentation does not demonstrate compliance with Board policy 6882. There are potentially significant benefits to the District’s students from the services being provided. The net cost to the District is minimal, and is far outweighed by these potential benefits. The recovery of control of the Horace Mann building and elimination of the daily construction cost impact of over $1,000 are important additional factors supporting approval.



This recommendation is conditioned upon all persons vacating the Mann building and removing all locks and other impediments to the District retaking control of the building, and the District resuming control before the School Board meeting on November 6.
I honestly cannot believe the capitulation in these statements.  Doesn't meet Board policy, "potential" benefits (without any proof or documentation), costs to the district, doing something just to stop an illegal occupancy of a building.  

IX. ALTERNATIVES
1. Do not approve the lease, in which case the District will need to take legal action or request the police to forcibly remove the individuals occupying the Mann Building. This likely would have adverse impacts on the District’s relationships with the community.

Actually, I think those impacts are going to be minimal.  I think it will be a blip on the news.  That no major media have picked up on this should tell you that.  (The Times - ever Johnny-come-latelys to most education stories - had two different editorials on this and one that soft pedals the situation and one that says the groups must leave and the district needs to enforce this.)

The documentation of support document attached is not real documentation because (1) it does not state if the numbers for each activity are completely different students in each case or overlap and (2) includes activities that are not youth education.   

From the Mann lease AND the Columbia lease:


If tenant or any of its invitees, visitors or guests takes any action which interferes with the District’s construction renovation program at the Mann site, the lease will be terminated immediately.  Again, if you have to write this into any lease, you are leasing to the wrong tenants. 
I'm almost speechless but I am counting on the Board to do the right thing because it certainly looks like leadership from the staff side cannot be counted on.  Very disappointing.

91 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is not a staff issue. This is absolutely not a Board issue. This is a leadership issue (to be clear, bad leadership).

This is Mr. Banda's job, with Mr. English being his lead advisor on this. Why can't they act to follow the law? Why are they ducking?

Does Mr. Banda not understand the facts? Can Mr. English not explain it to him?

This is a simple real property governance issue. Mr. Banda is responsible for the stewardish of our public assets. Can't he do that? If he is ashamed of his performance in closing the achievement and opportunity gaps since he has been here, then he should say so. But, even assuming IF that is the case (and it may not be, he might think he is doing fine in that area), he still can't go giving away our property for free.

Mr. Banda, stop putting hard decisions on the Board. Own it. That what being a Superintendent is all about.

I am not a fan of anarchy. I am a fan of process borne out of clear policy and solid (and consistently and transparently) applied procedure.

-follow policy/procedure

Melissa Westbrook said...

Actually, to be fair, Mr. English is no longer the property manager but yes, he is giving legal advice on this issue.

Crownhill said...

wow. just...wow. This indeed is as "follow policy" says, a simple real property governance issues, cloaked in rhetoric. Strip away the rhetoric and there is a fairly easy answer.

wow. just wow...

Anonymous said...

the district needs to grow a pair, move the illegal tenants out, and start construction. Seriously. No rent. Haven't provided evidence of serving students. Illegally subletting. This is not going to bring the services they'd like to the CD.

-grow a pair

Lynn said...

How could Superintendent Banda submit this to the board and expect to keep his job? Has there been any indication that a single board member would support signing these leases?

We're expecting this same staff to fix our capacity crisis. Wonderful.

Anonymous said...

The board is the people and the people need to take a position. Good move Banda.

Rog

Anonymous said...

I have faith in the general CD community that they would not want a group such as this representing them. The fact that no one else will rent to them tells me they do not have wide community support, either.

I have no idea why the District is so afraid of calling the police and throwing out these clearly illegal tenants. If they are afraid of bad publicity, then they should be forging relationships with stable groups in the CD who are willing to act in good faith.

I refuse to believe that this group, More4Mann/ACIC/Africatown/ACEI or whatever they now call themselves, are the only ones that the District can find to work on improving youth educatation in the CD.

SMH

Ed Lambert said...




Melissa, first off, I am hoping that you will please have the journalistic integrity to not remove my comment. (I am not name calling, using foul language, and have clearly signed with my actual name - above and beyond your standard policies).

I am extremely disappointed in the biased manner in which you are covering this issue. There can be no argument that you are presenting a one-sided view to the community with the specific intention of inflaming your readership against the AIC.

I saw you at the AIC press conference at the Mann Building on Saturday. While I applaud you for attending, it is unfortunate that you left 30 minutes into the 90+ minute event. You missed statements from education professionals and several impromptu statements from parents involved with the AIC. It was the most moving testimony that I have ever heard and re-energized my support of this group.

I am not sure if you are fully aware of the magnitude of the real news story here. There is an actual civil rights FEDERAL INVESTIGATION happening of Seattle Schools. The District has publicly admitted that it has NO PLAN to improve educational outcomes for students of color. We live in a city with an incredible disparity between rich and poor, dominant and marginalized. Scholars such as Jonathan Kozol have written SPECIFICALLY about Seattle. Significant numbers of parents of color are at their wits end and some are taking matters into their own hands at the AIC.

This is the continuing struggle from Brown vs Board of Education, and it is the MOST IMPORTANT story that you will ever observe and comment on.

For the life of me, I cannot understand why you choose to obessess about ONE ASPECT of this multi-dimensional story. YES, the AIC is in the Mann Building with out a lease. Why is that one obvious fact so much more important to you than their MOTIVATION for being there?

Why do continue to slander the efforts of these families and community members? Why do you refuse to spend as much time telling THEIR story? You were taking notes on Saturday during your brief time there. Did nothing that they described merit mention on your blog?

Since you obviously knew about the press conference on Saturday, why did you not post any information about it so that your readers could gather information and make up their own minds?

Melissa, you should be deeply ashamed of your poor coverage of this issue. Your readers deserve better information upon which to make their decisions.

Simca said...

Rog has it right. The board has to make the call about forced removal. If the board feels they can go to their constituents in the CD and say " we are doing good things for your kids, we are reducing drop-out rates, raising graduation rates, raising scores, more grads in college, safer schools, teaching historically accurate and less(not even completely) euro-centric history; we are bringing previously under-served students up to the level of readiness their white counterparts achieve in the north-end, we have and continue to address uneven discipline and sped identification and we will continue to work towards parity in AL representation."
But they can't say those things and therefore these groups will be used to show the weakness of the board and the public at large in addressing those problems. Many who think the groups are full of racists and homophobes, based on Omar Johnson's invitation, nevertheless will see this as a way to force some action on the real issues. The board and the city and the population need to get a slap in the face and it's too bad M4M is the front person, because they are a bit offensive to many, but sometime you have to get down in the dirt to wrestle with pigs. Now, that's a metaphor, I'm not calling the board, or any citizens pigs.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Ed, we never delete comments that don't violate our policies.

I have explained about the so-called press conference. I'm not inflaming anything because the whole story does that by itself.

Charlie and I have said - over and over - that the district has CLEARLY done a very poor to almost criminal job with African-American students. But to equate one thing - that record - with not following a lease, paying rent, refusing to leave a building, etc. - is not the same thing. We will have to disagree on that point.

I have not slandered anyone and can back up my statements with evidence (especially with statements others have made against district staff). As well, the staff would NOT have put in protection clauses in both leases if they had not experienced issues before. Is the district also guilty of slander?

Actually, there is no decision for my readers to make except if they think this is a good use of district time/resources. . I have nothing to base whether these are good solutions or not because nothing has been given but verbal anecdotal stories. For me (and I suspect the Board) that is simply not enough.

Ed, you brushed off the issues of construction delays and Nova and World School and Meany as if the district could just snap their fingers and change the BEX schedule. They can't. These are issues that will create systemic problems for the entire district (the ripple effect) but mostly for students in the Central Area. How that is okay, I don't know.

Lynn said...

I just cannot believe that Superintendent Banda is considering giving the keys to two district properties to someone who has chained the Mann building from the inside. Might as well write off those buildings too.

How can he support after-school programs that are run by people who find a racist/homophobic speaker very inspiring in their work?

How can he think this is the best we can do for our poorest children, those who start school underprepared and are never able to catch up?

Anonymous said...

Simca,

The actual proverb is "Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty, and the pig enjoys it."

Good advice in this situation, actually.

SMH

Charlie Mas said...

I have been an education activist for over thirteen years. I have been a sharp critic of the District for all that time. Some people think that I make unreasonable demands of the District, the staff, and the Board, but I have never - not once in all of those thirteen years - asked the District to do anything that they didn't promise to do. All I ask is that people do their job and keep their promises.

Here we are again. The superintendent and his staff have failed to do their job. They admit it in this BAR. The admission comes on page three of one of the longest Board Action Reports that I have ever read.

"At this time, the District does not control the building."

Seattle Public Schools officials, who have the duty of securing district assets, have failed to do so. And they have failed spectacularly. They have failed daily over the course of several months.

Here is the crux of the problem, stated, finally, on page six of this absurdly long BAR:

"Do not approve the lease, in which case the District will need to take legal action or request
the police to forcibly remove the individuals occupying the Mann Building. This likely would
have adverse impacts on the District’s relationships with the community.
"

The superintendent, from the beginning, has approached the occupation of the Horace Mann building as a public relations problem. It is not a public relations problem. It is an academic problem and it is a property management problem.

The proposed solution solves neither the academic problem nor the property management problem. There is nothing here that addresses the historic and continuing mis-education of African-American children. Nor is there anything here that restores control of the District's property to the District. I don't think this even resolves the little public relations trouble since the Africatown group's goal was not a lease. That problem will continue as long as the District refuses to adequately address the academic problem.

Now they have a worse problem. They have shown the occupying their buildings is without consequence and will, in fact, achieve favorable settlements for the occupiers. They have declared open season on their assets.

Charlie Mas said...

Now the Board has to do their job. Their job is to act as fiduciaries and stewards of the public assets. That obligation, that duty, does not allow them to approve this lease. It would be irresponsible for them to approve a lease which such a bad tenant. This is the worst possible tenant, one who refuses to vacate a property when they have no legal right to occupy it. While there is some feeble effort to dissociate the Africatown lease signers with the folks who made threats, this fact is clear and is clearly stated in the BAR:

"Individuals associated with AfricaTown Center for Education & Innovation continue to occupy the Horace Mann building, and have
chained the building from the inside.
"

That doesn't debar them from contracting with the District (this policy needs amendment), but it does make them, unquestionably, very bad tenants. The Board, in their role as fiduciaries, cannot approve this lease if they are going to fulfill their sworn duties as Board Directors.

Now, there are those who may acknowledge that approving the lease may be a failure as fiduciaries, but it is the right move to make in pursuit of higher purposes - education and community engagement.

Really? What evidence is there that either of those goals will be advanced by this lease? None. If there is some evidence of it, please show it. Right now there is no evidence - none - that community relations will be damaged by recovering control of the building. In fact, we have to weigh any such benefit against the impact caused by the success of this tactic.

Who will occupy a District building next? I don't see how the Native American community doesn't have the exact same set of complaints about mis-education, disproportionate referral to special education, disproportionate discipline, inequitable access to programs and services, and cultural incompetence. They are also losing a building - Wilson-Pacific.

What does this episode suggest to them? It clearly suggests that they can get whatever they want if they disrupt BEX IV by occupying Wilson-Pacific and there will be no negative consequences whatsoever.

And if the District treats them any more harshly they can add that to their list of complaints.

This is an extraordinarily bad precedent.

Anonymous said...

$1000 a day, since Sept. 18? Chained the doors from the inside? Turn off the electric now and take legal action. The consequences will be the public knows they have to negotiate within the bounds of the law. The District has acted so irresponsibly on this. These are public assets the District and the Board are responsible for overseeing.

double wow

Anonymous said...

Should there be a fire or other emergency, how are responders to provide aid when the doors are chained from the inside? This is so out of control. This goes beyond the District's responsibility to protect the building.

double wow

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

Double wow - the fire department will get in if it'd needed. The chaining is of the panic bars - pretty standard practice - in fact the district did this until recently in many buildings. My son went to Nova in the Mann building, and based on that, I am confident I could get in with a hammer, a saws all and my bolt cutters. I'd have to damage - or destroy only 1 door to get in there and free the entire building. It's very possible that with the addition of a ladder and rag, I could get in with only the hammer and the bolt cutters. The fire department - has real tools.

I find it fascinating - Ron English and the state maintained for years that the reduced rent policy - was against state law. Now that's coming up again?

Ed Lambert said...

Three points:

POINT #1: You HAVE previously deleted my comments on the AIC that follow your guidelines . This is documented here:

http://saveseattleschools.blogspot.com/2013/10/friday-open-thread_11.html

My comment was an invitation to attend an event at the Mann building on your "Friday Open Thread".

You stated:

Melissa Westbrook said...
Note: I took out the comments on the Mann Building. I do not support this effort and am not giving it space here unless I hear directly from the district or have my own report.
10/11/13, 3:34 PM


Other readers also saw this as unfair and biased and posted the following:


Anonymous said...
Melissa, I think that by taking out the comment about Mann, even though it met your rules about signatures and name-calling, you're acting like the editor of others blogs that THIS blog regularly calls out for not allowing comments from those who disagree. You print informational releases from all over the city that are sometimes not even related to education. But you took down Ed's because you don't like the group involved. I don't think you're being fair.

It's your blog, you can do what you want, but the best way for people to see what the Mann groups are doing is to go there in person, which Ed's comment invited people to do. Your deleting it helps prove their point about the differing treatment varied groups around Seattle.

Shaking head
10/11/13, 4:14 PM


POINT #2: Yes, I believe that you and the board are slandering the AIC by including language implying that they are creating disturbances and threatening neighbors. (FYI, I was personally confronted by a hostile and threatening 'neighbor' following my board testimony supporting the AIC.)

POINT #3: I have been in the Mann Building recently many times and have NEVER seen chains on doors. Melissa did you see this?

I feel that it is irresponsible of you to use your narrow focus to shift the burden of accountability from the District and onto the community.

Mary Griffin said...

Ed Lambert,

(WARNING--RANT) There absolutely should be outrage in Seattle over the treatment of black students. In addition, all though I think that some people on this blog get it, there should be more outrage on this blog about it.

Unfortunately, I don't believe that this blog has a lot of readers of color, or many readers who live in the CD or South End--but I am going to qualify that by saying that I have no research and that I am solely basing my thoughts on the fact that I get very little response to issues regarding civil rights. Civil rights? Meh! There is far more outrage over things that directly impact North East Schools like boundary decisions.

I can't tell you how many times I have made presentations over civil rights or disability rights (a legitimate offshoot of civil rights) and I just get administrators nodding their heads about the fact that every day across the city, federal laws get broken. It's like every day they have moms haranguing them about federal law. I might as well just spit in the wind.

Like many people who are frustrated, I have urges to do something outrageous, to go beyond meeting with the school board members, or testifying in front of them, or holding countless meetings year after year where nothing changes.

Unlike the black community in Seattle, I have only experienced this inertia of indifference for the last four years. I have no idea what it must be like to have experienced this for an entire lifetime, to be banging your head against a inert wall that refuses to adequately address issues so long until they become a festering sore.

But I can tell you this, there is a difference in communicating your message--by protesting, or taking over the Mann Building, and the implementation of change. I am not sure that the More4Mann or Africatown organizers have a legitimate stake to a building which needs to serve as a school for a large number of kids. I think the group needs to move out.

Having said that, I don't think the group needs to be silent, though. I think the group needs to get louder. I think the group needs to take action now to move the ball forward on the federal investigation and demand that the district put forth a voluntary resolution to the federal investigation of discipline dis proportionality and demand to be part of the solution. This is an area where the Africatown organizers can get traction, and unlike all the empty promises of the past, they can get the federal government to be the enforcer. It is a GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY.

Another area that I think is a golden opportunity is to get more involved with the high stakes testing revolt. Why is that the voice of education reform in Seattle is the combined choir of a dozen 50 year-old white women? Do they speak for the black community?

English Teacher said...

In her earlier article she included false statements about the speakers 'not being introduced', which would slant opinions against the District and Africatown. Each speaker was introduced, but Melissa did not stay for those introductions, but she did return home and without any firsthand knowledge she wrote that there were none. This clearly shows how one-sided her posts are.

Let's examine Melissa's current article carefully for fact vs: negative opinion;


Most of us know by now that in a large governmental organization, either the Executive has the power to make certain decisions or those decisions must be referred to the Board. Period. It is not a matter of who wants to make a decision, but more appropriately; what the policy says about how a decision is made, so all of this is just her personal negative opinions with no facts.


Let's dissect the structure of this policy;

" - Board Policy 6882 states ...

Under 1.) The policy requires that an organization meet a.) OR b.).

a.) requires at least 50% services to children, Africatown dedicates 100% of its services to children, so I guess they meet that one.

b.) requires a nonprofit OR social services;
Africatown includes both.

So to a careful reader, with an open mind, this Board Policy MAKES THE CASE that the District can lease to Africatown at less than the market value, so the staff is acting entirely properly here.

Now under 2.) the Policy states that the action is proper when there is no alternative location nearby. Well, go over to 23rd and Cherry, walk several blocks or 1/2 mile in any direction, and guess what;? You got it; there is NO ALTERNATIVE SITE or FACILITY anywhere NEARBY , "existing to provide such services.

A lesson in civics; Boards are specifically elected to provide diversity of opinions and to represent multiple points of view and it is not all that uncommon for a committee of those Boards to not come to a consensus on a particular action. There is a process for that, it is called a 'vote' of the full Board. I believe they are doing that, agin in proper accord with normal procedures.

It is my understanding that the District Board Members and staff have been in the building multiple times, so I don't see how there is a problem of control and I do not think that the District would turn off electricity on a building where programs relative to children are being developed. In fact, it is not at all uncommon for certain utilities to be left on even in abandoned buildings to preserve their infrastructure."

A lesson in construction contract management to those who evidently come to this blog for insight;

Public Owners cannot start ANY construction work, 'THE DAY THEY SIGN THE AGREEMENT". They are required to request and receive insurance documents, schedules, statements of work plans, and a host of other documents that generally take 1 to 2 months to be reviewed and accepted before actually starting real work. Then they receive what is called a Notice to Proceed, which gives the 'real' start date of work. So I would not know what dates any of these actions occurred, but I can guarantee that the Contractor would not have been able to start, 'the day the agreement was signed.' That is a statement from lack of knowledge or from intentional exaggeration.

I will come back to show the clear agenda of this blogger to incite and pit communities against each other. Some of us have 'real' work to do that actually improves the lives of others. So I've posted quickly this time, next time I will be more exact.

To be continued...

Melissa Westbrook said...

For the last time - I WAS there for the introductions. My point is that a REAL press conference has a handout so reporters have WRITTEN confirmations of spelling and title.

What about the closed Islamic school across the street that Africatown suggested that Nova moved to?

What about the MLK, Jr. Building?

(I'll note here that never have these questions been answered.)

Like Charlie, I have no agenda except a well-managed, well-run district that supports ALL student learning and supports the staff that provides it.

Melissa Westbrook said...

And fyi, shoot the messenger why don't you?

This is what is in the Action Report - I didn't make this up. I always report on the larger/ more important items on the agenda.

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

Back to the issue about board responsibility. People should read what Melissa wrote, or read the board agenda itself.

English Teacher and others, your comment that the "clear agenda of this blogger to incite and pit communities against each other. Some of us have 'real' work to do that actually improves the lives of others" goes beyond the pale.

It's a blog. The fact is that this occupation of Horace Mann is in itself, a divisive subject. She's just reporting on the school board agenda.

Mary Griffin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I'll ask again - is this group, with this language ("racial joy from the destruction of black children"- really?), the true face of the CD? I do not believe it is.

Are there other groups willing and able to step up and work on the problem without such illegal tactics and hateful language? For the sake of the children, I hope so.

SMH

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

So I have had to delete several comments because they were made anonymously. We have our guidelines right ABOVE the comment box. Give yourself a one-two word name and comment away. But no anonymous comments.

Crownhill said...

Once again - this is an matter of law not rhetoric. That the district has historically screwed up on multiple fronts (ethnic, SPED etc) is not debatable. But this one specific situation must be remedied by the authorities.

Charlie is spot on about the future ramifications of bowing to the demands of THIS particular group of leasees, who have not shown themselves to be trustworthy now by their actions. Why would I have any cause to believe they'd be trustworthy with public resources in the future? After all, isn't it really true that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior?

And please give the continual harping on Melissa a rest. She & Charlie are at least attempting to get the story out there. Your over-the-top and grossly misdirected rhetoric is doing your cause a grave disservice.

Anonymous said...
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Lynn said...

Is appears to me that this is the only discussion of the actions of the ACIC/ACEI/More4Mann groups occurring online. What does it tell you that the response is not generally supportive?

Where are the families of Gatzert, Leschi, Madrona, and T. Marshall who support your actions? How many of those families believe that their children are being abused by their teachers?

Anonymous said...

This list is not exhaustive and some of the facilities are outside of 1/2 mile radius but we are so close to downtown in Central Seattle and the #8 bus goes right to Seattle Center so access isn't an issue.

This does not address alternative perspectives on world history but most of the teen programs are FREE or scholarships are available.

Alternative Locations
Seattle Central Community College HS Programs (http://seattlecentral.edu/hsprogs/index.php)
Seattle Vocational Institute
- Bright Horizons Program (http://sviweb.sccd.ctc.edu/p_bright.htm)
Seattle Parks
- Garfield Community Center (http://www.seattle.gov/parks/centers/garfieldcc.htm)
- Miller Community Center (http://www.seattle.gov/parks/centers/miller.htm)
MLK FAME Center (http://www.mlkfame.com/)
Pratt Fine Arts Center
- Pratt Teens Program (http://www.pratt.org/classes/teen/)
Gage Academy
- Youth Programs (http://www.spl.org/using-the-library/get-help/homework-help)
Coyote Central (http://www.coyotecentral.org/)
Seattle Public Library Homework Help (http://www.spl.org/using-the-library/get-help/homework-help)
- Douglass-Truth or Downtown Branch
Velocity Dance Center
- Seattle Youth Dance Collective (http://velocitydancecenter.org/trainingresearc/sydc/)
The Beacon: Massive Monkeys Studio (http://www.massivemonkees.com/)
Meredith Matthews YMCA Teen Programming (http://www.seattleymca.org/Locations/MeredithMathews/Pages/Teens.aspx)
EMP Community Access Program (http://www.empmuseum.org/programs-plus-education/programs/community-access-program.aspx)
Seattle Art Museum Teen Programs (http://www.seattleartmuseum.org/Community/teen/teen.asp)
Richard Hugo House Teen Programs (https://hugohouse.org/content/teens)


Ann D.

Mary Griffin said...

Reposting for Anonymous at 10:07 (Anonymous, you need to give yourself a pseudonym or your remarks will be deleted.)

Here is the challenge,

we ask 10 black taxpayers in the Central District to come on this blog and state that the Mann building being reinnovated for a primarily white school that actually supports AFRICA TOWN'S black children and youth state "that the Mann building reinnovation for NOVA is more important than the Education Enrichment Services for Black Students who have been underserved by SPS for decades. And agree that the use of 2 classrooms in the ENTIRE building should not be used during reinnovation.

20 black taxpayers that all, declare yourself to the SP School District today on this influential blog in Seattle (sic)

and if you are a white taxpayers in the CD and more concerned about the reinnovation of the Mann building than the trajectory of Seattle Public Education declare yourself and why.

Because those who stand on higher ground are not afraid of the opposite opinion.

And if taxpayers from the CD respond we would like the right to respond back even though we have different opinions and are of darker hue.

Mary Griffin said...

@Anonymous at 10:07,

This blog is an alternative voice. It has no connection to SPS. If you want to make yourself heard to SPS, you will need to communicate through their channels.

Personally, I would love to hear what different people say. Please tell them, though, that they will need to give themselves a pseudonym like "mom4mann" or something like that, or their remarks will be deleted.

Anonymous said...

I contest the claim that NOVA is a program for white children. It is actually the best available opportunity for students in our city who are seeking alternative educational pathways via project-based or internship-based learning models.

This is exactly the sort of "lab" where students of any ethnic and economic background could come together, as long as they are prepared to work.

Want to learn how to become a hip hop producer instead of sitting in high school english class? You can do that through NOVA

Interested in starting your own fashion label? Yes, you can do that here too.

Want to travel to Costa Rica to do field work? I met a young man who did such a gig last year from NOVA

Want to challenge the establishment and history of oppression through restriction of eductional opportunities? NOVA is the school for you.

And if the instructors are too white for some (I have no idea) then I'm sure you can bring in your own mentor into your projects and studies to help support your work.

Ann D.

Charlie Mas said...

The decision to approve or reject the lease agreement is the Board's decision.

It is not my decision, nor Melissa's, Lynne Varner's, Jose Banda's, or anyone else's. It is the Board's decision.

On one hand they can enter into a lease agreement with a group of people who have demonstrated (and continue to demonstrate) their willingness to seize control of District property or they can choose not to put those folks into our buildings. They can choose to enter into a lease agreement that would actually cost the District money rather than generate revenue, or they could choose not spend scarce education dollars this way.

On the other hand, they can regard this as a payment made to keep the peace. You know, extortion.

They could try to convince themselves that the Africatown Education and Innovation Center does worthwhile work helping to educate children. They can believe that in the absence of any evidence based on the good intentions of the people. You know, the same as they believe for advanced learning.

Anonymous said...
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mirmac1 said...

English Teacher I am receptive to the points you make however I take issue with your construction management lesson. While it is true that contractors must submit all necessary paperwork before a Notice to Proceed is issued, no contractor is expected to sit around indefinitely while an owner hashes things out with a third party. Even if the contract docs do not specify a specific NTP date, the contractor may claim added costs for stand by and limited bonding capacity to pursue work elsewhere.

Black parent said...

Social Economic Status of African American Students has no correlation to institutionalized abuse by school by teachers, principals, and others the only difference is that with the right resources Black parents typically WIN the war!

Franklin pierce said...

I am a Black taxpayer who does not support AfricaTown or Mann4Mann in there misguided effort. I live in the CD for 15 years and are familiar with the players. They do not have the ability to provide the educational tools to accomplish much more than some afterschool activities. It is ludicrous to think that they could ever use a buliding the size of Mann. They have a place, just not in Mann in the way that they want.
Further,
I have three kuds in school and am very familiar with the overcrowding at Washington and from my understanding the renovation of Meany will help a lot more kids than the Mann4Mann could ever hope to. They are only interested in creating drama where there does not need to be.

no teacher said...

mirmac

you're right, especially when the contract allows the contractor to do the work while the third party is in the building and there is no reason for the contractor to with

Anonymous said...

I'm a "white" CD resident/taxpayer (whatever that means--for those of us mixed race folk [not black] with mixed race kids).

I could get behind supporting these groups. However, I can't because of the LACK OF DATA. I want information--NOT political speak, name calling, discrediting other opinions, or smoke screens.

I want someone to give me a written document--just like you would for opening a charter school, business, etc. You need to have a mission statement, research-based teaching methods, teaching content (i.e. will students be taught to support tolerance and diversity in all realms--racial, sexual orientation, socioeconomic, etc?), audit plans (who will be evaluating your teachers and administration?), testing plans (how will you formally show that your students are any better off than in standard SPS schools?), financial trail (where are you getting your support?).

Otherwise, I can't support groups that just want me to trust that they have black childrens' best interests at heart.

--white CD taxpayer

Jon said...

Went by the building this weekend and walked around and yes the building was chained from the inside. I was confronted by two people who threatened me. Had to call the police as they followed me. When the cops showed up the two quickly left. I understand that they have outrage about how some African American kids are not getting the educational that they need, but they are not going to convince me. They are just thugs.

Anonymous said...

Folks, go read the story about the Coleman school

http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19931015&slug=1726249

Simply history repeating itself...

AnotherWhiteTaxpayer

communitymem said...

"Franklin pierce said...
I am a Black taxpayer who does not support AfricaTown or Mann4Mann in there misguided effort. I live in the CD for 15 years and are familiar with the players. They do not have the ability to provide the educational tools to accomplish much more than some afterschool activities. It is ludicrous to think that they could ever use a buliding the size of Mann. They have a place, just not in Mann in the way that they want.
Further,
I have three kuds in school and am very familiar with the overcrowding at Washington and from my understanding the renovation of Meany will help a lot more kids than the Mann4Mann could ever hope to. They are only interested in creating drama where there does not need to be. "

Thank you Franklin for your response: Now a little fact over blog fable:

The Africatown model for the educational enhancement for black students in the Mann building is in addition and afterschool services that specific guide black children and youth towards student success. It is based on research, course content, instructional methodology and assessment strategies by those who have been invested in changing the achievement trajectory of black children. The programs are supported by certified teachers, a large team of college professors, Ph.Ds. who provide their expertise and support pro bono. Once you come to visit and learn about this wonderful learning model for some of the most underserved student populations in Seattle and Washington State, you may want your own children to participate, and come to view it as a model for ALL children. We are in agreement that much more needs to be done than MANN AND MEANY. As for the drama, the black children who cry for help did not create this drama.

communitymem said...

"I'm a "white" CD resident/taxpayer (whatever that means--for those of us mixed race folk [not black] with mixed race kids).

I could get behind supporting these groups. However, I can't because of the LACK OF DATA. I want information--NOT political speak, name calling, discrediting other opinions, or smoke screens.

I want someone to give me a written document--just like you would for opening a charter school, business, etc. You need to have a mission statement, research-based teaching methods, teaching content (i.e. will students be taught to support tolerance and diversity in all realms--racial, sexual orientation, socioeconomic, etc?), audit plans (who will be evaluating your teachers and administration?), testing plans (how will you formally show that your students are any better off than in standard SPS schools?), financial trail (where are you getting your support?).

Otherwise, I can't support groups that just want me to trust that they have black childrens' best interests at heart."

Hi White CD taxpayer, we can understand your request. However taxpayers or not necessarily responsible to give other taxpayers information. But require to give the information to the public officials designated with responsibility.
But let us suggest this: if you are actually interested and would like to be more supportive come and learn more about the education model especially if you are raising black children. Thanks for your response.

mirmac1 said...

white CD taxpayer,

I wonder to what, if any, extent LEV (Southshore) FAME (MLK) preschool providers (various locations) prepared all that information. Perhaps they should have - more than they did. Otherwise how are they held accountable?

I simply don't want to hold one group to a higher standard than others. Does that mean we have to hold everyone to a low standard? I hope not. Not as far as our kids are concerned.

I believe civil disobediance has its rightful place in this imbalanced society.

There is a print hanging in Banda's office, with the visages of local civil rights leaders - once considered "criminals". I can't remember all four but I seem to recall seeing Roberta Maestas, Larry Gossett and Bernie Whitebear. I like that print and its prominence at JSCEE.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Communitymem, you said:

"It is based on research, course content, instructional methodology and assessment strategies by those who have been invested in changing the achievement trajectory of black children. The programs are supported by certified teachers, a large team of college professors, Ph.Ds. who provide their expertise and support pro bono."

Show us that data and strategies and where they have changed "the achievement trajectory of black children."

Also, do you know the name of the professor at the press conference on Saturday? I wrote down Shoreline college professor "Castle" but I can't find her there. I may gotten the name wrong but again, there was no press handout that included all the names and titles.

yourefired said...

Jon said...
"Went by the building this weekend and walked around and yes the building was chained from the inside. I was confronted by two people who threatened me. Had to call the police as they followed me. When the cops showed up the two quickly left. I understand that they have outrage about how some African American kids are not getting the educational that they need, but they are not going to convince me. They are just thugs."

JON, who you believed followed you have nothing to do with ACEI at the Mann building, so on behalf of the parents, children, educators, and community who are served , out of respect for them we have only one word to your posting

SILENCE

Rachel said...

Melissa,

I understand you attended the event at Africatown for 30 minutes. Thank you for your presence. I do wish you would have stayed for the entire presentation to hear the testimonies of the educators, parents and students with Africatown has been working. The testimonies were powerful.

Your entire blog post here addresses the “real property” issue, but neglects the “real people” issue.

In your response to Ed you say, “Charlie and I have said - over and over - that the district has CLEARLY done a very poor to almost criminal job with African-American students. But to equate one thing - that record - with not following a lease, paying rent, refusing to leave a building, etc. - is not the same thing.”

You are correct they are not same thing though one has the capacity to the eclipse the other in a society more focused on following the rules than doing what is right.

You say “the district has CLEARLY done a very poor to almost criminal job with African-American students.”

Yes, this is true. You have equated the manner in which the District has handled the education of black students to criminal activity and yet you insist that Africatown/black parents/black community follow the rules, policies and procedures of an organization who’s behavior you yourself characterize as “almost criminal.”

Seattle Public Schools has failed to educate all children well when they allow one group of children to be subjugated and disproportionately treated negatively. This tells the rest of the children that it is ok to run our organizations and systems in this manner further propelling racist institutions.

Our children are watching how we treat people both individually and systemically. The fact that we allow SPS to continue to run in this manner instills in our children the thought that it is “ok” to continue running the system in this manner.

Our students see when black children get in trouble more than white children. This becomes a part of our children’s pathology. (If you haven’t watched it, please look up the Clark Doll Test.)

You also said to Ed, “…you brushed off the issues of construction delays and Nova and World School and Meany as if the district could just snap their fingers and change the BEX schedule. They can't. These are issues that will create systemic problems for the entire district (the ripple effect) but mostly for students in the Central Area. How that is okay, I don't know.”

A petition was submitted by a NOVA teacher with over 150 signatures. This petition asked the District not to displace Africatown the way that they did NOVA, to grant a lease to Africatown and to move forward with a District partnership. NOVA being school goaled to teach social justice has an understanding of what is “really” going on here.

You want people to address the “real property” issue.

Yes, it is real. However, you yourself characterized the District’s behavior as “almost criminal.” How much more do you think this “almost criminal” behavior harms, irritates and frustrates black parents? We have asked for change repeatedly and our request have not been met. How do you expect us to interact with a district whose behavior towards our children has been “almost criminal”? The “real property” issue at this point is now far less important to us in light of our REAL children and the REAL criminal treatment of our children.

We have lost far more than $1,000/day waiting for the district to better educate black children. We have lost OUR children. What would you do for your child if the system was not working?

Lynn said...

mirmac,

From the BAR:

The documentation does not indicate the number of students served either before or after August 15. This is a key element in evaluating their support of youth education, one that is required of the Nordic Heritage Museum at Webster School and the First AME Church at the former MLK School. Accordingly, it has not been established whether the proposed uses of the property meet the requirements of the Board policy.

Jon said...

Yourefired,
I will never be silenced by anyone who wants to use violence or the threat of violence to put forward there views. I grew up in the Soviet Union where I had to experience real persecution and will never forget those years. The two people came out of the building and for you to tell me they are not involved with your group is untrue.
Of course I should not associate the mission of your group with the two people who threatened an old man, but from what my neighbors have said, my experience is not that off the mark. Maybe you should look at who is in your group and control them.
I will nevet be silenced.

mirmac1 said...

Lynn,

But FAME just threw something together, not up the the detail of the other community group vying for MLK. They had an inside track. And then they dropped the ball and failed to use the property per Board policy.

Furthermore, as we know, just because an entity (SPS) has a strategic plan yada yada doesn't guarantee results.

communitymem said...

Melissa said

"Show us that data and strategies and where they have changed "the achievement trajectory of black children."

Communitymem;
We believe some conclusions can be drawn from the achievement gap of children who are taught by their own community, from a historical perspective we can look at indian boarding schools; from a current perspective we can look at the school to prison state of emergency for african american students; from a future perspective the highest achieving students are populations that DO NOT relinquish their students to only white ethnocentric educational content and methods (i.e. japanese, chinese, and korean Americans).

But I gues the most important question is " when you say ""US" who are you referring to and why should we show you anything? Seriously, WHO ARE YOU? But a lady with a blog?

Melissa said:
"Also, do you know the name of the professor at the press conference on Saturday? I wrote down Shoreline college professor "Castle" but I can't find her there. I may gotten the name wrong but again, there was no press handout that included all the names and titles."

Communitymem:
The professor was very inspiring and opened about herself to all of us in her presentation, if you had really care about the children and youth who she spoke about you would know who she is. She clearly was not hiding from anyone. Some folks speak as if we are ONE community and all appreciated she was able to capture that.

Melissa Westbrook said...

And Community mem, with that reply, with no specifics or data, I rest my case. (Also, I never used the word "us.")

First of all, there are two of us so it's a man AND a lady with a blog. I know it bothers some that we are a man and a lady with this huge readership (and boy, between this issue and growth boundaries, our stats are rising). But we have worked very, very hard to get this blog to the point where it is today.

Second, Rachel, I was there AT the appointed time of 2 p.m., waited a half hour, stayed for half hour of the "press conference." Again, if people want to be thought of as professionals, then it has to be a professional press conference. I had one hour to attend it that day and I was there for one hour.

That no other major media even showed up should tell you something.

Charlie Mas said...

Communitymem, you're not even trying to answer any questions and you're not doing a very good job of bullying people into silence. Keep trying, though, it's amusing.

You get a perfectly reasonable question: What was the professor's name? and respond: If you cared, you would know. Ha ha ha. Hilarious. Apparently you don't care or know either. Or is it a secret?

yourefired is doing an even worse job of representing the AEIC.

"JON, who you believed followed you have nothing to do with ACEI at the Mann building"

Really? How do you know this, yourefired? Were you there? Do you know who these people were?

All these folks have is a lot of talk without any data or even documentation to support their claims. Their conbtinued refusal to provide any data or documentation after months and months of requests leads to the conclusion that there is only talk. And when asked, the answer is that they don't have to provide any answers to ordinary taxpayers.

Fine. Then don't expect any support from ordinary taxpayers and don't complain about opposition. If you don't take any steps to win support and you don't take any steps to address opposition, that's going to be the result.

Opposing the District's mis-education of African-American children is not synonymous with support for Africatown Education & Innovation Center. Efforts to equate them are doomed because they are not the same.

TechyMom said...

Honestly, I think that TT Minor as a neighborhood elementary school, with a social justice and experiential learning curricular focus, would do way more good than a few after-school programs. Get the kids out of their desks and doing stuff, the stuff that more affluent kids take for granted. I'm thinking something similar to TOPS or ORCA, but with neighborhood assignment, so local families don't have to know about applying to option schools. Actively recruit a more diverse teaching staff. A program like that would appeal to all the residents of the very diverse central district.

communitymem said...

Charlie Mas said,
Communitymem, you're not even trying to answer any questions and you're not doing a very good job of bullying people into silence. Keep trying, though, it's amusing.

Communitymem said,
I glad you are amused because there are many people all over this country that find nothing amusing about the educational abuse of black children or that one individual on this blog calling community members working for their children THUGS. But you can definitely protect his right to do it.


Charlie Mas said,
You get a perfectly reasonable question: What was the professor's name? and respond: If you cared, you would know. Ha ha ha. Hilarious. Apparently you don't care or know either. Or is it a secret?

Communitymem.
Charlie, are you O.K? calm down.

Charlie said,
yourefired is doing an even worse job of representing the AEIC.
"JON, who you believed followed you have nothing to do with ACEI at the Mann building"
Really? How do you know this, yourefired? Were you there? Do you know who these people were?
All these folks have is a lot of talk without any data or even documentation to support their claims. Their conbtinued refusal to provide any data or documentation after months and months of requests leads to the conclusion that there is only talk. And when asked, the answer is that they don't have to provide any answers to ordinary taxpayers

Communitymem
We think they said ordinary taxpayers don't have to tell ordinary taxpayers anything. Do you sit on the school board, are you the Sup., a VP, who are you?

Charile Said:
Fine. Then don't expect any support from ordinary taxpayers and don't complain about opposition. If you don't take any steps to win support and you don't take any steps to address opposition, that's going to be the result.

Communitymem
At this point do you really believe that if we shared information with YOU that you would actually care about our children and youth. ha, ha, ha, Hilarious...o.kguess we should calm down now.

Charlie said:
Opposing the District's mis-education of African-American children is not synonymous with support for Africatown Education & Innovation Center. Efforts to equate them are doomed because they are not the same.

Communitymem.
Guess what Charlie, that is your opinion and with all due respect you don't know what you are talking about and only talk from perspective that is ignorant on how to correct the mis-education of black children in Seattle. Until you can see how the mis-education of any child is the mis education of them all, YES WE ARE IN DISAGREEMENT. Take Care.

Jon said...

Communitymem,
If you think that following me and yelling at me because I was on public grounds Is not thuggery than you must support their actions.

Confrontation said...

Jon:

Please do not be silent.

Sounds like you were in the building.

What was the nature of your visit to the building?

Were you seeking information about programs?

Were you confronted upon entry?

Why/How/Where were you confronted? By whom?

Are you saying you were assaulted? Did you file a police report?

Did the police investigate?

What did the suspects look like?

Where did they follow you?

Did the police make contact with the suspects when they arrived?

Did the suspects run away? Where did they go?

Melissa Westbrook said...

I'm sorry but this is getting off-topic. Please take any police issue elsewhere.

This thread is to talk about this situation.

lowell parent said...

Clearly this is passionate and heated on all sides and I know the supporters of Mann4Mann feel as if they are up against the wall, but as I have stated before, the delay of construction to the Mann building impacts all of the kids in the central region. This includes the Nova kids and all of the students who are in overcrowded Washington. These are African American, white, asian, latino, language learners. Its thousands of kids.
If Africatown was seriously advocating for African American kids then they would realize that they are having a negative impact on the entire community that they are advocating for.
Why are they so entrenched in the Mann building, it can house hundreds of kids, could they possibly fill it with students.
The process for the Mann/Meany renovation was started years ago and the process included many individuals from the central region. It is unfair to all of the kids to halt the process, because the Mann4Mann people all of a sudden want what they want, regardless of the kids that are negatively impacted by their actions.
Where were they six months ago,, where were they one year ago when there was community input.
The Mann building needs to be renovated so that Meany can be renovated so that Washington middle school will not be overwhelmed by capacity. The district needs to do its job and move forward with the renovation. If they can accommodate the Mann people some where else then great, but geeze, just do it. If the Mann people just want to make a political statement, then show them the door.

just asking said...

Exactly why does this group have to have the Mann building. It seems huge. Are they a large enough group to run an entire school and of they are can't they apply to be a charter school.

Lynn said...

just asking,

I believe they're planning to offer after-school, weekend and summer activities. They are not asking for the entire building. They want access to the Mann building after NOVA moves back in for these out of school hours programs.. It appears they were not confident that the district would allow them that access based on the criteria generally used in making decisions about community use of school buildings. I read (I think on the Stranger's website) that Wyking has also tried to access T.T. Minor for his programs. The police were called to remove people attempting to 'occupy' the Horace Mann building in November 2011.

Carol Simmons said...

I visited the Horace Mann building today. I was greeted warmly by a former student of mine from Garfield High School. He and a friend of his and I had a good conversation about many issues and memories of Garfield in the early nineties. He escorted me into the building where I had a lengthy and very friendly conversation with one of the Africa Town leaders. The first time I visited the Horace Mann Building was when Nova was housed there and Superintendent Stanford commented to me....."how do students learn anything if they sit on couches." At one time, Mr. Paul Patu had a significant South Pacific Island Program at Horace Mann. This Program was closed by the District. The African American Academy was closed by the District with misinformation about achievement scores. The Indian Heritage Program was closed by the District because of neglect by the District. There have been task Forces, and committees and goals and plans and mission statements and talk and sometimes finally parents and others just get fed up and sick and tired of seeing their children suffer.

Crownhill said...

I think I'm going back to my first reaction to this post... wow. just wow..

Oh and I think Lowell parent raises some very good points about "where were they" - not that I any faith that straight answers will be provided at this point.

Once again a disconnect between rhetoric and the law. I have written to the district asking them to comply with their fiduciary duties. I hope others will as well.

communitymem said...

Crowhill,

it is against the law to violate the Brown vs the Board of Education, it is also against the law to violate the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it is also against the law to violate IDEA, it is also against the law to violate Title 2 : Chapter 37. Discipline and Safe Schools

No one has violated the law at the Horace Mann Building since the last Seattle Public School Classroom was closed.

Now that is FACT and we are ready to prove it!

communitymem said...

According to the OSPI 2011 Technical Assisstance of the Duties of a School Board in Washington State the priortize first duty of a school board is STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT and without that their fiduciary duties become less important, as we now see with the vulture capitalists take over of public education.

Some us are still attempting to keep SPS in business by creating partnership model.

mirmac1 said...

Thank you Melissa for calling out Confrontation's confrontational questions. Please call out anyone using the word "thugs" to describe anyone they don't know who, in this case we understand, are black. I despise that word. If I wanted to read that kind of crap, I'd stick to the Seattle Times comments.

Frankly I feel the majority of blog posts in support of More4Mann have been more civil and more convincing than the "rule of law" type comments.

If we are to go by "rule of law" then the district and many others fall far short of the laws cited by communitymem.

Anonymous said...

You know in a weird way, community mem, you kinda make sense. At least about the profiteering in education. In this case I'm thinking MAP and EDM adoption. Now we have common core testing by Pearson. This district spent millions in MAP and EDM via a seemingly legal process. Yet the benefits are questionable. Pretty soon, the entire country will be handing billions to test makers along with our kids's personal info. All legal and disturbing, yet all ok. With the establishment stamp of approval.

50 years later as Carol Simmons and Mary Griffin have calmly posted, where are we really?

You should have come in flying the charter flag, wearing proper suits, and speaking in flowery academia. The establishment would have unlocked the doors for you. And throw in the red carpet too.

real world

Melissa Westbrook said...

"No one has violated the law at the Horace Mann Building since the last Seattle Public School Classroom was closed."

Well, the district says they have. The district has legal title to the building and can't get in. So that will be an interesting discussion.

Anonymous said...

Some laws are ok to violate. Others aren't. Rather confusing, but I guess it depends whose right is being violated. Whether you are too big to fail or ok to forget about.

real world

lowell parent said...

No one contests that SPS does a bad job educating some students, but the issue is; can this group provide the educational model or system that will accomplish the goals of overcoming the challenges that students face. I would love to hear from them what exactly they would do differently then is being done already by other groups.
Wanting to have change is different than doing it. They seem to want a larger role than prove it and stop talking abot it. They have been asked for information regarding their methods and who is involved yet they time and time again do not or cannit provide it. Why can't one of the many supporters on this blog provide an answer to who the professor was. Its a simple answer. I have seen many groups have good intentions, but not be able to follow through with a plan. They might have more support by the rule of law types believes that Mann4Mann group could accomplish there goals.

Jon said...

What should I call a man and woman that follow me down the street calling me names and threatening me.Stop hiding behind race as an excuse for violent behavior.

to Rachel said...

Rachel at 12:38

Thank you!

SEATTLE SCHOOL DISTRICT'S CHILDREN AND YOUTH

mirmac1 said...

"No one contests that SPS does a bad job educating some students, but the issue is; can this group provide the educational model or system that will accomplish the goals of overcoming the challenges that students face. I would love to hear from them what exactly they would do differently then is being done already by other groups.
Wanting to have change is different than doing it. They seem to want a larger role than prove it and stop talking abot it. They have been asked for information regarding their methods and who is involved yet they time and time again do not or cannit(sic) provide it"


lowell parent, I'm not sure if your child is a special education student, but I do know everything you say could be equally applied to the district with respect to special education students. SPS has been asked (required) by OSPI for information regarding their methods. You've read the progress, or lack thereof, in the newpaper. Frankly, sped parents aren't wholly satisfied by SPS' answers. But, y'know, parents' opinions don't matter for much.

Jon, I don't hide behind race. But I notice you sure as heck bring it up alot.

Anonymous said...

Melissa, is the Shoreline prof Tasleem Qaasim? (And for the life of me I can't see why communitymem won't answer even the simplest question here - perhaps because s/he just can't?).

CD Resident

Anonymous said...

Based on the discussions on this topic to date, I have little hope that we won't see the same accusations, finger-pointing, labeling, demonizing, and hyperbole 10 years from now, 20 years from now, and 30 years from now, between the same or similar communities and groups. On the one hand we hear "apartheid" and "separate, but equal," while on the other we hear, "only we know how to educate our own." The right path lies somewhere in between, but we are miles from it and getting further away each day. This situation cries out for reasonable, enlightened leadership, compromise, understanding and dare I say, education.

Instead we have yet another turf war, and as they say, in any war, the truth is always the first casualty. And so it goes.

WSDWG

Anonymous said...

In this case, WSDWG, the children are the first casualty.

A Turf War would be much less destructive and painful.

The families Mann is protesting about are watching another generation of their children go into the prison pipeline or, at best, never reach their potential.

For the other "side", it is mere property rights law.

--enough already

Melissa Westbrook said...

CD resident, you may be right. I thought I heard "Castle" and I'll bet I heard it wrong.

Enough already, good job just making it one thing or the other. Charlie has consistently said this is a very complex issue. No one should dismiss either side's concerns.

There could have been a middle ground but the choice seemed be to draw a line in the sand. That generally doesn't work and I don't think it will work here.

Nothing in this situation is "mere" - children will be affected, no matter the outcome.

Melissa Westbrook said...

CD Resident, mystery solved - I found a photo and it was Tasleem Qaasim.

Anonymous said...

Great, maybe Prof. Qaasim would be willing to share some specifics on the curriculum and its outcomes (and how they're being measured).

CD Resident

Anonymous said...

Melissa,

WSDWG's comment turned into sides, not me. My quotes around the word side made this clear.

Nice job calling me on something that I didn't do, and not calling someone who does it.

--enough already

Anonymous said...

Is the occupation of Mann a direct action? I'm trying to understand why the building is chained and occupied. Are kids allowed inside? If I'm a middle-aged white woman who is genuinely interested in what's going on, am I welcome? Seriously, will my color make me unwelcome? I hope the answer is no.

I've asked these questions before but didn't get answers:
1) Do the people occupying Mann want allies? Who gets in, who doesn't?
2) If the occupiers are doing this for kids, where are the kids?

I don’t know how to learn more if the building is chained. I can only speculate that this action continues because the participants have decided they have a lawful excuse to be there. There is legal precedence for lawful excuse if an occupation prevents further harm, but I don’t know if this location and it’s history wins protection for the occupiers.

Why is this school the only location for this action? I want to understand because in my experience, direct action can be contingent upon the place you occupy.

I grew up in a segregated mining town, 40 miles from Sonora state, Mexico. The only industry was copper. Hard, dangerous work, performed in over 100 F heat a lot of the time. The last strike started in 1983. The company that owned the town and the mine refused to bargain in good faith. Their goal was to bust the unions. (For anyone who hasn’t done this kind of work, you need unions to make a dangerous work place less dangerous.)

The picket line became a direct action when the strikers decided they must prevent strike breakers from entering the mine. One of the consequences of this strike was to weaken the lines of segregation imposed on the town. This was a town where union members worked 26 days on the job and 2 days off. Bosses worked a regular 5-day week. They didn’t pull a double in the pit.

For most union members, this toil meant that you had what you needed to raise your children. You gave them choices. You could send them away from the pit, off to college, to less dangerous jobs, to any place not divided into Mexican Town, Indian Town, and the rest of the town, subdivided by workers and bosses. My parents and the workers they stood with WERE that picket line. What they did was legal until the company decided to use DPS (think State Patrol) and local police to remove strikers by any means necessary.

My son went to the picket line everyday with his grandmother, along with other children and their parents, until DPS officers came to town and pointed machine guns at them. After that, my son stayed at home, but my parents were on that line every day for almost 2 years. One commenter here has posted that the occupation of Mann is a replay of the Colman School occupation, which lasted 8 years. In this case, though, the occupation of Mann, if I understand correctly, is about gaining a fair education for African American students, not just a building.

So, I have to ask, 3rd time’s a charm: where are the kids in all of this?

Westside

Ed Lambert said...


Westside: First off, thanks for your families solidarity at Clifton.

Second, my direct experience has been that the support of people of all races is welcomed at the AIC.

Regarding "where are the kids"? ....Unfortunately, the writers of this blog chose to not let anyone know about the press conference at the Mann Building ahead of time or to write anything about it. If you had been able to make it, you would have heard testimony from students and learned more details about the program. Additionally, in very informal and unscripted conversation, my partner had an extensive conversation with two very enthusiastic young people about the programming class they were taking at the AIC. I am hoping she will write up her very positive impression.

Again, I am asking that all of you please stop casting aspersions on a situation based on hearsay and blatantly biased coverage. There have been opportunities to learn more posted at more4mann.blogspot.com. If you are interested in supporting the AIC and not simply making their job harder through interrogation, I would think your involvement is welcome.

Regarding requests that the AIC be answerable to readers of this blog, I have stated repeatedly that the people who are actually ACCOUNTABLE for the poor job of educating students of color is the district. The AIC is doing the best they can as a desperate struggle because it is URGENT to do so. They have some great ideas and the most noble of intentions.

They deserve your support and not your derision.




Melissa:


"For the last time - I WAS there for the introductions. My point is that a REAL press conference has a handout so reporters have WRITTEN confirmations of spelling and title."


I am sorry that the AIC did not have the secret power structure decoder ring that told them that they needed to have a printout of properly spelled names. I did not know about that protocol either.

Like me, they may have thought having 90 minutes of thoughtful open dialogue was enough to merit coverage in your blog. Also, please forgive the AIC for the fact that a power outage set their schedule back 30 minutes and the windstorm may have kept some other reporters from the scene.

I would be very curious to know if you would have stayed at the meeting longer if it had been on a subject that seems to be of more interest to you personally such as APP.

To paraphrase Daily Show reporter, Aasif Mandvi, in recent interview that went viral: "You know that we can read what you are writing right now, right?"

Mary Griffin said...

Ed Lambert,

I'm not a journalist, but I am a former development director. I have taken at least a one hour class on how to write a press release which covered some basic points about press conferences. So that's my journalism background. But I think it goes to show something that perhaps points out something very basic that is causing friction here:the point of a press conference is to call attention to new information and make it easily accessible to the press so they can report it as news.

Unless a press conference is hastily called because of some kind of emergency, there is usually a "press kit" that at a minimum contains the names and backgrounds of the speaker(s) or the key players, as well as the key points of the press conference followed by the name and contact information for the organization's contact person and background on the organization.

Additionally, press conferences should be short, almost surgical. They should be rehearsed and stick the point. They should also be punctual.

The Africa Town Center people may be inexperienced in this regard, but that does not mean that it is unreasonable for Melissa to expect that such information is available at a press conference, that the press conference start on time and that it be over with quickly.

It is fairly unreasonable to invite anyone to whether they be a journalist or an unpaid blogger, to a press event that should last less than half an hour and then expect them to stick around for two hours. That is not a press conference.

I think we can say that some of the disagreement about this event boils down to differing understandings of what a press conference is and what it isn't.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Westside, you said this:

"I grew up in a segregated mining town, 40 miles from Sonora state, Mexico. The only industry was copper. Hard, dangerous work, performed in over 100 F heat a lot of the time."

Guess what? We have something in common as I grew up - right on the border of Mexico - in a copper smelting town. Several relatives were also in the union and also participated in strikes.

I like when someone gives their own experience instead of making assumptions about others. That helps us all understand each other.

Confrontation said...

Jon thank you for revealing yourself.

You must be the hostile white man with the pit bull who we were told came to the building and harassed the mother of a program participant as she was leaving the building.

It is clear now that your intent was to provoke some kind of conflict so you could call the police and make misleading reports to the district and public.

When she came in and reported what happened yes a man came out to investigate and make sure she was able to leave safely but you had left the property.

You then sent an email to school district/media saying you were followed "in the neighborhood" when in fact you came on the site with the intention of provoking a conflict and then tried to use your sexuality as leverage point to fear-monger and sensationalize telling outright lies. That is truly low.

Same one (or your friend) who came with the dog in the summer and harassed the children at the lemonade stand claiming you were afraid of the flags of Africa around the building?

You were not confronted (though you should be for harassment) nor did any police come. Next time the police should be called on you for harassing women and children. Stop the misinformation and please do not return seeking to provoke conflict.

And yes our women, children and community members will absolutely be protected from hostile white men with dogs.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I asked that this not be a discussion about police issues but clearly, some did not hear that request.

We will end the comments here.