Monday, October 20, 2014

Prop 1A and Prop 1B: Just Say No

I am urging voters to consider voting no to the first question on the preschool ballot measures in Seattle. Here's why.

Preschool, especially for disadvantaged children, is a good idea. No one is arguing that point.

But if the City and the unions truly wanted voters to say yes, there would have been ONE proposition. They had the opportunity to work together but choose to walk away from the table. That should give you pause about both sides.

What the City and the unions have given us with these two propositions is confusion and division when what we need is clarity and unity.

It's not like the City doesn’t already invest in preschool - 26% of the Families & Education levy (about $61M) is dedicated to it. Seattle Schools has over 35 federal and state funded preschool classrooms right now.

Also, as to this "we have to do this now," well just like every other levy, it can be brought back very quickly to the ballot.  It is not that the issue isn't urgent - it is - but it needs to be enacted in the most transparent and clear manner possible.   Neither of those is present in either measure.

I say that because Seattle is a generous city when it comes to education voting. But we can’t just say “it’s for the kids” and just check "yes." For every measure that comes to the ballot, we need to consider ALL the citizens of our city. That means people like seniors on a fixed income and those in lower-income brackets.

In short, there is no “free” preschool – it is paid for with taxes.

My opposition – of both 1A and 1B – stems from two main issues:
  • These are confusing and vague propositions.
  • My work has been in K-12 public education and as someone who knows Seattle Schools very well, I believe this will hurt our school district.
Let me give you specifics on each issue.

As to the confusion over these two propositions.
Where is the money for 1A? 
Who decides who gets into the schools run by 1B and what their programming will look like?

No one knows and yet those are just two of the vital questions left unanswered by these vague propositions. Why do we need to wait until AFTER one of them gets approved to find out?

Most importantly, there is this one central question:

1A is less about preschool and more about birth to age five caregivers having more oversight, better training and higher wages to create better conditions for children.

1B is about a structured preschool system throughout the city with oversight to ready 3-and 4-year olds for kindergarten.

Which will bring better outcomes for more of our littlest citizens and who really knows for certain? No one.

Then there is the partnering with SPS that 1B wants. Seattle Schools is THE linchpin to the City’s plan.
SPS has a severe space issue. The district has grown by 1,000 students a year for the last 3 years. The district installed 30 new portables just this summer. Many schools are looking to revamp all their space, even closets. There is literally no room at the inn.

I keep hearing, "The district doesn't have to do anything it doesn't want." Well, given the pressure that City officials (and likely others like people at the Gates Foundation) put on SPS staff just around the multi-city preschool trip, it's pretty unlikely that the City would take no for an answer.

From the City Council's resolution about partnering with SPS (bold mine):

Section 12. City of Seattle/Seattle School District No.1 Partnership Agreement. As the Seattle School participates in the Seattle Preschool Program, there shall be a Partnership Agreement(s) ("Partnership Agreement") developed by the City and the School District in which the roles and responsibilities of the City and the School District in implementing Preschool Services are established. The Partnership Agreement shall set forth the parties' roles and responsibilities for achieving the desired outcomes for Preschool Services. It shall outline how the City and the School District shall work collaboratively to the benefit of children in preschool. The Partnership Agreement shall cover items including, but not limited to, data sharing necessary to implement program evaluations and course corrections, standards for delivery of services, curriculum alignment and other proactive measures to ensure effective transitions from preschool to kindergarten and higher grades, and the sharing of facilities. The City cannot enter into the Partnership Agreement, or materially amend the Partnership Agreement, until the Partnership Agreement or the amendment, as the case may be, is approved by the City Council and the School District. Proceeds may be spent on School District programs or functions only in accordance with an effective Partnership Agreement.
That seems pretty firm on what needs to happen (according to the City Council). 

Additionally, the state mandate for SPS is K-12. As we all know from the state Supreme Court’s McCleary ruling, the Legislature isn’t even fully-funding K-12.

In fact, if 1B passes, the City’s preschools will fund a longer school day than the state-funded kindergartens in Seattle schools.
It’s hard to understand how the City can ask the district for space and resources that the district doesn’t have to give.

Other issues:

- 1A has set up professional training to be done by the unions. Is that truly the best way?

- 1A has good things to say about 1B but 1B could not be more dismissive.  That may be politics but it does not bode well if 1A wins.

- While I believe there is money in the City's coffers for the work of 1A, I am troubled that it is not clear what is the mandate that must be funded if 1A wins.  (But I also don't believe - for a minute - the scare tactics of 1B is saying police and fire services would have to be cut.)

- As well, the City Council has just taken on the work of being the Metropolitan District for the Parks. Does the City Council really have the ability to take on two major endeavors at the same time? Doesn't the City have a lot on its plate already? One word: Bertha.

- Is it developmentally appropriate for preschoolers to be in what the City Council commissioned report called a “6-hour academic day?” While there is research that supports academic gains with preschool, there is also research suggesting that low-income students in longer preschool days suffer negative social effects.

- Prop 1B is top-heavy with administrators. The salaries for the teachers would be between $30k-60K while administrative salaries range from $100K-$200K. I think the money should be in the classroom with the kids.

On this point, the 1B leaders push back against me every time. They claim that the BERK report, the consultant report on a preschool system run by the City, has those dollar amounts but that those amounts did not make it to the City's Action Plan.  They say the City Council rejected them.

The Action Plan references the BERK report several times and in glowing terms.  Nowhere is there a statement that says, "Not all recommendations of the BERK report were accepted by the City Council."  When I have repeatedly asked for the date of the City Council meeting or committee meeting that this discussion took place and a vote was taken, I get crickets.

In short, there is no telling what will be implemented from the BERK report or not.

- The City seeks to create its own curriculum that would preclude already established programs like Montessori and Waldorf. There is no one-size-fits-all program for preschoolers and yet that is what the City would create.  

Their campaign materials say:

It is a carefully crafted plan, built on the science of what works to prepare kids for kindergarten and a life of learning. 

Again, the 1B campaign pushes back and says no, those types of programs could apply but would have to meet the City's curriculum.  That's not going to happen.

- For oversight, all the City’s proposition does is add just four new members to the existing Families&Education committee. Is that enough for a new citywide program?

Some final thoughts:

Beyond having two confusing ballot measures, you also have a confusing voting process.

The vote is in two parts. You can answer NO to the first question of approving either measure and just stop there.

What is interesting is that even if you vote NO to the first question, you can hedge your bets and STILL vote for either one. In that case, I would vote for 1A because I believe it will reach the most low-income children and that’s what I want my tax dollars to do.

The main thing to remember is that You do NOT have to vote for either measure.

We are generous folks in this city – we fund parks, libraries and yes, schools. But we ARE already funding preschool services - to the tune of $61M via the Families and Education levy. Seattle Schools has many preschools right in their school buildings. No one can say that “nothing” is being done about preschool in Seattle. It’s just not true.

I urge you to consider voting NO to both measures and send the City and the unions back to the table for ONE authentic proposition.


Greenwoody said...

Excellent points, all of them. I just want to add one note. You write that City officials claim that the desirable preschool programs like Montessori and Waldorf, likely excluded from getting 1B funds, "could apply but would have to meet the City's curriculum." What the City means by that is Montessori and Waldorf would have to radically change their programs away from play and experience-based learning to long days of academic drilling only in math and letters, and agree to use standardized tests to measure "outcomes." In short, for them to meet the City's curriculum means no longer being Montessori or Waldorf at all.

It would have been so much better if the City had said "hey, those programs are popular and effective, but low-income kids can't get in. Let's help subsidize them to participate!"

Melissa Westbrook said...

Greenwoody, exactly. If they are good enough for the middle class- and the sheer number of them seems to indicate that - then why not have an inclusion of programming?

I know it would be harder to measure outcomes but really, it's about control. And data.

It was funny because at the Horizon House event, Councilman Burgess spoke of his own young grandchildren. He didn't say that he hoped when they were old enough for preschool that he hoped the City's plan was enacted so he could encourage his daughters to send them there.

David said...

Great points, Melissa, especially about capacity and the many problems this will cause the district.

Even so, I think it is worth everyone seeing the opinions elsewhere. I think the Stranger's typically irreverent and blunt take should be considered, in particular. As they say, "You know who doesn't deserve to be punished for grown-ups' stupid political mistakes? Low-income kids."

Greenwoody said...

The Stranger didn't take a close or careful look at this. Their newsroom has been depleted lately and so they don't have the capacity to examine the details. Here's the problem: the preschools that 1B will fund won't be very good. Their focus on math and letters at the expense of all other subjects and play will mean that toddlers will lose interest in school and won't catch up to the kind of well-rounded education that middle-class kids in the north end receive. By getting this one right next year, we can provide those low-income kids with a good education, rather than giving them a bad education now simply because we feel we cannot wait 6-12 more months.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I will have another thread about some number of oddities/signals I have seen throughout the city about these measures. It may point to something bigger but Greenwoody gets to the heart of the issue:

what kind of preschool are we talking about?

1A - when I spoke to the issue of a 6 hour "academic day" for the 1B - also raised the issue about what parents who put their kids in this preschool do if they are parents who work outside the home?

Meaning, how do they get childcare after preschool is over?

1B kind of hemmed and hawed over this issue but it's a very real issue to those parents especially low-income parents.

mirmac1 said...

The City has stonewalled my requests for public records (namely emails) between Burgess, Holly Miller and friends (Cashel Toner, Clover Codd etc). They apparently have something to hide.

Transparency Please said...

An individual posted this on another thread:

"In the voters pamphlet, for the 1B description it says the "The City Council may amend the program as necessary" which is worrisome to me. I get it from a practical standpoint (they find out that xyz works better and need the flexibility to correct course) but that the City Council can just amend something that was voted on - it sets off a warning bell."

This issue REALLY needs to be explored. I will reread the voters guide when I get a chance.

Withholding Documents said...


How can documents be withheld?

Anonymous said...

Greenwoody sums up my opposition to 1B perfectly. The most important function of preschool is to engage children in learning, and teach them that school and learning is fun. My daughter loves school, and even begs us to do "just one more page of my homework" before dinner. I credit that love of school and learning to her preschool, where they had a great balance of play and learning.

I fear that schools that qualify for 1B subsidies will not have the flexibility to provide the right balance (which is different for different ages and different children).

I still haven't decided about 1A - as I mentioned in a previous thread, I was initially supportive because of the increased training and salaries for teachers (and assistants, who effectively act as teachers). But I am starting to be more concerned about the lack of a funding mechanism to support the "10% of income" mandate.

Perhaps sending both back to the drawing board is the right call, but I'm not sure yet.

-Montlake Dad

Anonymous said...

Can anyone tell me where the 'preschool' money from the Families and Education Levy goes? Does it support HeadStart? Special Education? Family support services? And do those programs have a positive or negative reputation?

In summary, are we supplementing or supplanting the levy money already being collected?


Anonymous said...

I am disappointed AT THE CITY for deploying preschool - a widely understood and accepted generalized 'common good' for children from low income backgrounds - in such a hair brained way so as to make it untenable.

The City wants to have its cake and eat it to. "let's have a universal preschool - well run/control it BUT SHOVE IT AT THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS TO HOUSE".

In case the City didn't notice, that can't work right now , because there is insufficient number of classrooms to simply meet the needs of K-12 students (hence the placement of 30 portables A YEAR FOR 5 YEARS!!!).

I am disappointed. I want to vote yes. But, I can't vote yes because this is wholly unworkable and will create more uncertainty a bigger problem than it actually may solve. I'm not sure which kids will get service, but I do know which kids I want to be prioritized for service.

- voting no

mirmac1 said...

Savvy Voter, I highly doubt it supplants preschool funding for young students with disabilities. Look at this "Early Learning Center" memo" that shows a big *blank* for SpEd in the City's model "Early Learning Center" pilot at Old Van Asselt.

As for K-12, the district says "those disabled kids have their own money", which like every other student is insufficient - but we're special I guess.... We're so special that two lonely SpEd PreKs are at an empty OVA without an onsite administrator, admin support, safety and security, or any play facility.

But COS and their handmaidens at SPS would be more than happy to scab off limited funding for disadvantaged students to help pay those $$salaries$$

Melissa Westbrook said...

"I'm not sure which kids will get service, but I do know which kids I want to be prioritized for service."

A question that has been asked and never answered.

Savvy Voter, I don't know what the services are for preschool under the F&E but I got those numbers from their budget.

"And do those programs have a positive or negative reputation?

In summary, are we supplementing or supplanting the levy money already being collected?"

To the first question, I don't know. To the second question, probably supplementing to expand preschool services to actual preschools.

Anonymous said...

Mirmac and Melissa, I did not expect you to have answers, but thought I'd throw it out there to crowdsource an answer. I do support expanded safe and creative preschool classrooms for our city's kids, but I just can't vote for these measures until I understand whether what we currently have in town from national head start funding, state? federal? disability funding, and that big chunk of Millions of dollars from the Families and Education levy for preschool are helping kids. Or, if they are not effective, how lessons learned from the existing programs are shaping 1B.

I guess the city thinks drawing those comparisons are too wonky and won't positively move 1B forward? That's too bad, because for me at least, this lack of information means loss of a thumbs up vote. Our education needs are so huge in Seattle that I want our levy money to go to K12 absent some enlightenment about the city and SPS's current preschool offerings.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Savvy, you're saying it better than me.

This is a great point; where are we now, what is the City/district doing and how to gauge where we go from here?

The City can't think these too wonky; that's their jobs.

Anonymous said...

SPS just finished the BEXIV project planning and the Growth Boundaries planning, which is supposed to take us through 2020. As far as I know, neither of these bodies of work factored in additional preschool classrooms beyond those mandated by the state or feds, or those currently at schools like South Shore K-8.

If we had excess capacity, would SPS be gerrymandering boundaries to the point of ridiculousness and opening schools like Cedar Park with 8 portables added from day one, and a core built to support 10 classrooms, not 18?

The proponents of 1B have good intentions, but they are very out-of-touch with the realities of SPS capacity. That a plan was proposed with SPS providing ANY space is just preposterous. SPS can't come up with adequate space to house K-12 students.

Wouldn't it be lovely if 30 kids per Kindergarten classroom became standard, because the "extra" kindergarten classroom was used to house a preschool classroom? We'll have preschool for all, but high school in shifts?

Really hoping 1B bites the dust.

- North-end Mom

Melissa Westbrook said...

"We'll have preschool for all, but high school in shifts?"

Yup, and as I said in my thread, pass 1B and preschoolers in the City's program would have a longer funded day than kindergarteners in any state-funded classroom.

Transparency Please said...

We already have K classes of 26 students and space is an issue.

Anonymous said...

Here, here; let's go with the alternative plan to get the most effective intervention available to the children who need it the most. what is it again? And how long do poor kids have to wait?

Maple syrup

Anonymous said...

We started reading through the ballots as a family last weekend. 1A & 1B failed the 10 year old test (i.e. the ten your old couldn't understand the propositions, or what they had to do with each other, especially the comparison question, asking to prioritize between the two propositions/whatever they are). I couldn't explain them to him, either, at least coherently.

I am deeply ambivalent about the direct to voter process of government, which lends itself to confusion. My inclination is to vote against these props, but I'm troubled by the worry that a vote against them will be seen as a vote against childcare workers and preschools. I'll have to think hard about whether that's enough of a reason to vote for unfunded mandates and the knots they tie our government into. Probably not, but the circles aren't filled in yet.


Anonymous said...

We already provide free preschool programs for low income children and funding through the families and education levy. This "Preschool for all" started at the national level and is a pet project of the Obama administration. From my reading I think this will eventually replace the ECEAP program. It will be highly regulated, narrow, and data tracked for years. Contractors have a lot of requirements and lots of data to input. IMHO They need the Seattle Public Schools on board to fast track this expansion, lots of requirements that the district can only provide at first. Nothing like the 4 years of Co-op preschool that I attended with my child and that was a fabulous learning experience for both of us. Our Co-op was partnered with North Seattle Community College.

Lots of city preschool information here.

Check out expansion plan at #7

List of current free preschool programs provided :

I voted No because I worry about the data tracking and the fate of the other preschool offerings. 40+ years of Head start preschool has not delivered the gains as expected, they want a mix of incomes attending preschool now. Lets focus on improving K-12 with summer school, tutoring, counselors, and space for teachers and students. I agree with others about the escalating increases to property taxes for over the top entitlements. I am native born and about topped out.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Maple Syrup, again, I'll push back for a better plan.
There are preschools for low-income kids right now and right in Seattle schools.

The Families and Ed levy is providing preschool services...right now and over 7 years at $61M.

ZB, I have heard that statement a lot about a vote "against" preschool or the teachers/caregivers.

A no vote means get it right. No one - in any forum or endorsement meeting I have been to - has said "no preschool."

I think given the confusion of the ballot (and good on you for including your child), NO one would view a no vote as being against preschool.

It IS important work and important to get it right.

Anonymous said...

More on preschool and Headstart :

I think it helps to involve the parents as well as the kids. Parenting classes and wrap around services such as health and nutrition are also helpful.


Suzie said...

Gates just offered the district $750K to put the city's prek program into Bailey Gatzert. I'm hearing that there is already a good pre k in that school.

Does anyone know anything about this?

Anonymous said...

On the following Seattle City Council webpage
Seattle Preschool Program

There is a link labeled “May 2, 2014 Consultant Report” which brings you to the following .pdf file of over 200 pages.


[missing picture of table from report]


[missing picture of table from report]

-- there were over 20 jobs making over $100,000 a year on 1 of these tables - 4 jobs were in the 90's, and 1 job was in over 70k. Can you


Anonymous said...

There's an interesting article here on Head Start - gives some history and such. Although it is from 1993, not much has changed in so many ways.....


Melissa Westbrook said...

Suzie, see my thread on the School Board meeting part two.

There is no preschool at Bailey-Gatzert so it's a good idea. However, staff seems to be playing both sides as they say there isn't enough space for downtown kids but there is space for preschool (and all its space needs).

More on this to come.

Anonymous said...

As best I can tell, many schools are out of room. My kid has PT in the halls/cafeteria. I am not 100% against preschool, but think this measure is beyond incomplete. Before being willing to vote for it, I would like to understand a long term plan to capture all 3s and 4s (2000 3 and 4 year olds is around 1/4 of the kids that will go to K in those groups as best I can estimate), how they are planning to feed the kids during the day (especially important for low income kids), what kind of before/after/FULL TIME summer options will be available because 9:30-3:30 sure isn't a workday so it hardly "helps working parents) as one flyer we received states, what on earth they are planning to do with the kids in what is a very long "academic" day (ok by me if there is rest/lots of play time as there is in daycare and longer preschools, but not if it is academics), how they plan to measure kids and how the average cost per kid ends up being higher than the lower ratio, fairly high cost private (high quality) preschool programs we've seen around town in our searches.

NE parent

Anonymous said...

Is it true that Director Martin Morris wants to work for the City after(if) preschool passes? I've heard he has said something about this. Anyone with direct knowledge, not hearsay, please do enlighten me. Director Martin-Morris, please do speak directly to this. My apologies if it is utterly nonsensical - just what I have been told.

Director Martin Morris is one of two of the 7 Directors who has what I would classify as an actual job ( Director Carr is the other), so it is interesting to find out if he is looking to sashay into a government gig.


Anonymous said...

SO if I vote no because I don't want 1A or 1B do I just leave those votes blank on my ballot?

HenHouseWatcher? said...


It is absolutely ok to just vote NO.


If HMM is pushing for a job with the city's prek program. Should he be able to vote on issues that deal with Prek?

What about Blanford? Blanford's wife works for the city and he was involved with Educare. Educare is a prek in White
Center. The city's initiative is being modeled after Educare. It is also worth noting that there are Educare Charter centers.

Mission Creep said...

If I B passes, I fully expect central staff (Cashel Toner and possibly Tolley and Health) to work with the city to involve the city with SPS operations. This will be done with or without the board's knowledge.

I also feel that Carr, Martin Morris and Blandford will help further the city's effort.

Melissa Westbrook said...

"Is it true that Director Martin Morris wants to work for the City after(if) preschool passes?"

I think that was an off-hand comment at a Work Session by him. That said, I predict the departure of several SPS staffers if this passes to go work for the City or the Gates Foundation.

Confuddled, this measure has two questions.

The first is "should either measure pass?" You can vote NO and stop there.

But, the way the law is written, you can vote no and then hedge your bets by voting for one or the other.

You don't have to and a solid no vote would send the message to governance and labor to go back to the table and bring forth a united, crystal-clear prop.

That's what kids and voters deserve.

Anonymous said...

Thanks everyone for clarifying. - Confuddled

Carolyn Leith said...

The Seattle King County branch of the NAACP supports Prop 1A

Anonymous said...

Suzie and Melissa,

There IS currently a preschool at Bailey-Gatzert that has been there for many years. Morning and afternoon sessions, in a small classroom, serving children with special needs along with some typically developing peers.

What would become of this preschool? Booted out to make room for a grant funded preschool?


Anonymous said...

Casey - they cannot get rid of developmental preschool (entirely) - they are required to provide services to 3-5 year olds who qualify under federal law. They could move the school (not all schools have a developmental preschool). The only thing that *might* be good to come out of the initiative would be that it would be much harder (hopefully impossible) for them to continue to only offer a meaningfully non-inclusive preschool program to special needs kids. Really all but the most impaired kids should be integrated into and supported in regular preschool programs. They can sort of get away with it since preschool isn't offered, but shouldn't be able to with "universal" preschool.

NE parent

Anonymous said...

The space at Gatzert is "ready" but not necessairly available. When the school opened, and for the first several years (back in the 90's) they had an AM and PM Head Start, an AM and PM SPED preschool, and a transitional KG. That, in addition to a full K-5 with at least 2 classrooms per grade level.

Was There

Melissa Westbrook said...

Casey, well, color me confused because this absolutely was not said at the Board meeting (and the principal said there wasn't one). I have to wonder why this wasn't mentioned.

Anonymous said...

Well, Melissa.....the children are oh, so small, and's special ed after all, and ....can't remember if we count comment. Sorry for the sarcasm, but it's exhausting.

It is actually listed under staff/faculty on the b-g website.


ConfusedOrLie? said...

Casey said:

"There IS currently a preschool at Bailey-Gatzert that has been there for many years. Morning and afternoon sessions, in a small classroom, serving children with special needs along with some typically developing peers."

I'm confused. I watched the board meeting and TWO individuals stood before the board and told the board that Bailey Gatzert does NOT have prek. Considering Bailey is a high poverty school I felt that comment was odd.

Was the board lied to -AGAIN!!

mirmac1 said...

Casey according to my records (supplied by the Sped Dept) there are two sessions of Sped PreK at BG. Imel apparently thinks they aren't "real" preschoolers. As for getting them kicked out? Heck Ya. They'll probably get bused to the failed "Early Learning Center" at Old Van Asselt, which will get re-sited after next school year. By that time all available preschool rooms will be Burgess'

Greeny said...

So, do I have this materially correct?

our state, including SPS, K-12 Basic Education continues underfunded, as the Legislature continues to F* our kids by playing chicken with the Supreme Court.

SPS has no room at the inn; schools with 4 & 5 classes of 25+ Kindergarteners; kids already housed in camps of portables on playgrounds for elementary years - and years(!); repurposing closet space for classes. Only one HS in the city with an open seat. We've taxed ourselves for BEX levies to build space, more levies in the works, and when all built out... we still won't fit every K-12er.

In Seattle, we already tax ourselves to subsidize preschool in the city; apparently 35 programs (low-income? FCfirstServe? developmental aid?) are currently housed in SPS facilities, but SPS apparently doesn't know where they are, much less how they are performing. Silence from Props 1A & 1B on that score too, but they want us to tax ourselves for...more?

"YES" votes will allow the fingers of the GatesFoundation and/or the Mayor's office, and/or both, into our school district. Name any entitiy - it's like letting the lobbyists a seat at the board table - whose priorities/focus wins?

If GF wants to get into PreK, GREAT! Why do they need SPS, anyway? They can find their own spaces, set up their educational experiment, test as they want, tout their results. GatesAcademies,following in Maria Montessori footsteps expanded to all!

I'm voting "No/No" - a "go back to the drawing board" message and come up with a comprehensive Pre-K plan. Not a trial balloon - a plan, harnessing available resources and opportunities. Our least advantaged deserve better; we voters deserve better.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I just sent an e-mail to the Board about this issue of preschool at Bailey-Gatzert. Maybe they can find a clear explanation.

I just don't understand why - at a public meeting - where the discussion is around preschool, how multiple SPS staff did not mention on that exists?

Catherine said...

I'm a No... if I could vote No three times I would. But, I will vote yes for 1A as 1B has got to be defeated. 1A doesn't put a massive administrative architecture in place; 1A applies across most if not all educational philosophies and practices, lifts and supports training for all preschool educators. Don't get me wrong, I think its got plenty of flaws, but lesser of the evils.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Catherine, you made me smile.

When I'm out on the stump and I'm explaining how to vote, I say,

"Even if you vote NO, you may also vote yes to either plan. Either the one you like best or the lesser of two evils. Take your pick."

Voting NO said...

"YES" votes will allow the fingers of the GatesFoundation and/or the Mayor's office, and/or both, into our school district."

I am in complete agreement, Greeny.

It is also interesting to note that The Godfather or Preschool (Burgess) and Murray have nothing good to say about SPS, but they must contract with SPS because the district provides the best outcomes.

The city will only allow 2 of 16 seats on the oversight committee. The city wants oversight, but does not want to implement the plan. If the city wants so much to say about prek--they should run their own program.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Voting No, I am unsure what this means:

"The city will only allow 2 of 16 seats on the oversight committee."

1B says - at their own webpage - that there will be an "oversight committee" - as if it was a new one.

It isn't. They add 4 more to the Families and Ed levy which really leaves the 4 new people in a very small minority.

But I suspect that is by design.

Vote NO 1B said...

1B is now funded at $877K. The business community REALLY wants this to pass:

It is also interesting to note that Microsoft and the cloud is in the news. Recently, Murray spoke at Microsoft as part of an effort to expand prek and we know that the city's proposal is intended to study these preschool children for the next 20 years.

We're looking at taxpayer research and using toddlers to do so. Microsoft, of course, stands to profit.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, yes, that is part of being in a City preschool - your child now becomes part of the state's P-20 year old database.

It's funny because over at Publicola someone said that the City does explain what "high quality" means and appreciate that attention to detail.

But boy are there a lot of assessments and data gathering.

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

Teadrinker, you are completely wrong. You have no idea who reads my blog but I have a pretty good idea because I have met many of them in person.

I myself have olive skin - the result of being one-quarter Mexican. I grew up right on the border of Mexico and Arizona so I know (and love) Mexican culture fairly well.

It's a bad idea to assume you know people that you don't know.

Catherine said...

Make no mistake, the reason the city wants - no - desperately needs SSD involved, is because the SSD gives it's preschool programs all sorts of exemptions and exclusions from regulations (costs) that other preschools must adhere to.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Catherine, I checked into that and public buildings do have to meet the same requirements.

However, consider having to work with multiple building owners versus one? Getting a deal on leasing/renting (or maybe free) versus having to pay differing rates with various owners?

Of course, they need SPS.

Roberta said...

Melissa, what's you're take on El Centro De La Raza endorsing 1B?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Roberta, I think that El Centro is a lot like other groups that advocate for a specific group of students/people in that they want to believe they will see better (and are made promises).

But I can tell you that many groups give their support during elections - to either campaigns or candidates - only to be disappointed in the end.

I don't mean it to sound like they are puppets; they aren't. But sometimes people are so desperate for services and support, they believe what they hear. They WANT to believe what they hear.

I hear from several minority leaders that they do not appreciate the "trust us" and know-it-all attitude of many white leaders. Almost as if all the powers that be want is the minority stamp of approval and NOT input, ideas and guidance on what would work for those communities.