Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Elections Results; 1B Passes, 1351 Barely Losing

Election Update:
1351 is still failing but has closed the gap by about 3,000 votes, 49.58% to No, 50.42%

end of update

1B passed handily.  I was surprised at the "handily" part but Seattle folks are a generous bunch.

I am going to be speaking at the Board meeting tonight and I may include a bit about what the passage of 1B will mean to SPS.  (I'd lay money a draft partnership agreement is coming very soon.)  But will agreement of that partnership come with a carrot or a stick?  I wonder if the money for the Federal Reserve building might materialize (via a group of businesses, maybe)?

I also think that the City will have to create a massive marketing campaign to get middle-class families into their programs.  One, the "high quality" of first-time programs may give some families pause but the City truly only has a couple of years to get this underway before they need to come back to voters and ask for even more money.  Two, when middle-class parents understand the massive database their 4-year olds will go into, I think many will say no.  Not an appealing thought to most parents.

A last note on 1B for now - an odd thing happened to me yesterday.  I got a phone call from a reporter asking about 1A and 1B.  I speak with this reporter semi-regularly when election issues around public education come up but this person had not called me once during this season.

I went thru my reasoning but the person pressed me about why I didn't like subsidizing preschool but I was okay with subsidizing childcare.  I demurred saying that was my personal opinion. I continued, saying that I had not pressed this as important during the campaign and didn't think it a central point, given that both sides were doing it (in some fashion).

It was a lot of "why do YOU" kind of questioning.  It dawned on me later that this was really the nth hour to be asking any questions on these measures and maybe it wasn't about 1A or 1B but about seeking ways to undermine my reasoning.

I do like when it gets interesting in my world.

As for 1351, it's 50.57% No and 49.43% Yes (a difference of 13,555 votes).  King County said yes and most counties reflected about a 55% no versus 45% yes vote.  But in several counties it was in the low 60's for no.  I wonder what worked and didn't work.

In any case, I think this indicates that the WEA is weakening.  That they (and other supporters) barely lost the charter initiative and now the class size initiative may be evidence.  One thing that is also worth considering is how unions went against each other over 1A versus 1B.  Union members don't have to vote in lockstep but to actually publicly go against each other seems striking.

We will also have to ponder what the takeover of the Senate will mean to federal policy on public education.  Many of those senators don't like Common Core but they do like vouchers.

And, of course, many of those now in the majority have not been very respectful or helpful to President Obama.  It's almost like they wanted to obstruct anything he was doing just to do that.  I think the country suffered from those actions.  That we have no Surgeon General during this massive discussion over Ebola is telling.

So Obama has few reasons to want to work with people who have treat him - and the country - so badly.  I'm looking for that veto pen to get a big workout.

In the end, we may see two more years of gridlock between the Congress and the President until the Big Show in 2016. 


Anonymous said...

On our new preschool program, it will be interesting to see what position the Board takes in defining what a "meaningful relationship" with the City is. Will the Board play a key role in this discussion or will District staff drive this and roll over the Board? I am unclear what the Board's role is likely to be in this discussion. And also unsure what the various Board members issues are? Any insights into how this is likely to go or how it should go with respect to the Board?


Melissa Westbrook said...

Fed Mom, Carr, Blanford and Martin-Morris were listed as supporters of 1B. Carr and M-M gave money to the campaign (as did formers DeBell, Maier and Sundquist).

Po3 said...

I think voters did not understand that this is a $58 million preschool that is only slated to go to fours before we are asked to re-up.

That is over $14 million a year: The cost per student is off the charts.

Also pretty sure voters are not aware that they will likely need to make room at their local schools for the kiddos.

I disagree w/ you Melisa on middle class families enrolling. I think more middle class families will access the program than low income families to take advantage of the sliding scale tuition.

Parents are going to have to be pretty savvy to figure out the data collection aspect as that will not be widely advertised.

I also think this is a huge step to mayoral control of the district. Something also lost on voters.

Good news: Is the city only has four years to prove that they are good stewards of the money. Steep hill.

Anonymous said...

Please ask the board/super to ask the city for (1) high school land, perhaps at the city's former Fort Lawton and (2) help with accommodating all the kids in Ballard and Roosevelt HS until the new schools can be opened - perhaps temporary football uprights and striping in two city parks (Sand Point for Roosevelt and the park behind Whitman MS for Ballard?) to allow temporary portables and avoid split schedules or year round school. The district is considering year round school or split schedules without ever even trying to figure out how to put portables on their two ultra-crowded HS properties, without ever asking the city for help - they're just proceeding in their own little tiny world without anyone consulting parents until, like everything else, it's too late to change.

If the city wants help for preschool - they need to help FIRST with high school. Please push the board to insist on that!

Signed: tired

Patrick said...

Looks like the Republicans will control the state senate. I don't expect much to happen with McCleary. Maybe they'll throw a small bone in order to say they've done something, and they'll redefine an ample education to be what they're already doing.

Anonymous said...

I think most of the the arguments on this blog against 1B, while important, were to subtle and nuanced for voters to care about.

Instead it appears at a high level most parents think pre-school is a good idea and that just like k-12 that it should be part of public education.

Who cares about the battles between the district and the city for control; that kind of stuff happens everywhere. And the argument about no space is like arguing if we vote for trains there won't be any tracks; we trust its going to be taken care of. Finally, its hard to understand how the data reporting for pre-school is going to be no more onerous than it is for other grades.

For us pre-school was a choice which we thought would be good for our kids, although they could have stayed home with a parent. But we would have had no more concern sending them to a public pre-school than we have had in sending them to public schools in general.

I agree the details may not be perfect, but I would argue that the general idea does make sense. And I would predict that unless the program is grossly mismanaged, that it will be re-approved.

Signed: the bigger picture

Anonymous said...

Missed U of W professional development opportunity :

certificate available :

Online bachelors :


mirmac1 said...

I have only recently received public records from the City re: preschool. Took months and a lot of stonewalling.

Perhaps we will find out more about the City's plans...

Lynn said...

Can the district legally spend K-12 funding on preschool? For example, if a city preschool classroom is opened in Bailey Gatzert, can the BG principal be responsible for that program? His salary is paid with K-12 dollars.

mirmac1 said...

His salary is "partially" paid for with state funding.

But, actually, I wonder whether the O&M levy funds can be expended on preK....?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Lynn, there was some very vague language when the B-G idea for a preschool was floated. There was he will "oversee" the program, not run it.

I perceive that principals will have little say in ANY of it.

mirmac1 said...

The terms of the Gates bribeImeangrant, SPS will carry the cost of the BG classroom on its tab. That would be all O&M levy. The enrolled "students" do not qualify for state BEA. SPS would probably scab Headstart and ECEAP funds from students who qualify for the non-qualifying students.

They would just follow the same model of misdirecting Fed/state grants to serve purposes other than allowable under grant conditions.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Thanks Melissa for the info on the Board!


Anonymous said...

partial repost...

Preschool passed, and of the two 1b passed

I love my Stranger, but the reason preschool passed is because they endorsed it. They didn't really understand how messed up the implementation of this is (no focusing of resources on at-risk youth - instead, spreading the wealth to stable families whose kids do fine AND to a lots of educats at City Hall).

Oh well. Lots of truly good intentions on the part of our wonderfully generous civic-minded fellow citizens who are predominantly childless. Their generosity is what I'll focus on, not what a mess this will be.

BUT, here is my questions: if our District doesn't have homerooms, what compells our District to dutifully 'hand over' our precious resource, homerooms, to the City? Anything? Or, just our District's leaders own stupidity? I get making room for preschool in schools with communities that are largely comprised of students and families at risk (e.g. in K5s and K8 with HIGH F&RL populations, schools like Emerson or Northgate)is a good idea, but, beyond that, does Loyal Heights need to set aside a room for preschool? Does Schmitz Park?

The really, really sad part is that the community that needs the most support is one that likely won't be getting it.

Per the strategic plan metrics, there is one demographic 'group' that comes to Kindergarten woefully behind: Native American children. The alarming stats: 95% of Caucasian children come 'kindergarten ready', 20% of Native American children come 'kindergarten ready'. Heartbreaking. I wonder if the City of Seattle has a plan to mitigate this tragedy? Certainly our own District doesn't. Now that the City is focusing on preschool, could they please at least focus on the children who need it the most?

-election over

Melissa Westbrook said...

Election Over, there's one more issue about 1B.

Who gets in? WILL low-income kids get a bump to get in? And what about the notation in the City's "Action Plan" that kids in the neighborhood where the preschool class is located get first dibs (if your neighborhood doesn't have one, too bad.)

George said...

Tim Burgess sent an e-mail and stated that the city does not need space within SPS. Let' s hold his feet to the fire.

We're hearing stories that children must rush through lunch to accommodate capacity issues.

George said...

There was discussions about opening-up the Magnolia property. This is a small school. Any chance the district/city wants to use that site for prek? Of course, how many low income kids live on top of Magnolia hill?

Biggest Picture said...

"Instead it appears at a high level most parents think pre-school is a good idea and that just like k-12 that it should be part of public education.

Who cares about the battles between the district and the city for control"

The city's plan is a Cadillac preschool/ child care to be funded at $10k per child. It has been estimated costs will rise to $15K per child. This is a nonsustainable dream and we aren't fully paying for K-12.

Shall we also talk about the fact that the city is a completely different governing body than a school board? Shall we talk about the fact that Burgess supports mayoral control of education and Murray had previously drafted legislation for appointed school boards. I, for one, very much care about those that control our education system.

In regard to the city mismanaging the prek program, you may want to consider that the city will be combining staff from the Health and Human Service Department, which, I might add, recently had a horrible audit.

Biggest Picture said...

Lastly, I don't understand why we need THREE different levels of bureaucracy being involved in prek. We have the feds, state and now city government. Any wonder why the entire country is turning Republican?

Question said...

Bailey Gatzert is slated to get a prek which will be turned over to the city.

I don't know the area, but Bailey Gatzert is very low income. How many middle and upper middle families live in that area to create a mixed socioeconomic classroom?

Ragweed said...

@election over

I don't know if the city is playing any role in it, but Native American families can soon get pre-school through the program at Daybreak Start center, which will be opening in January through an ECEAP grant from the state.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Question, well, downtown parents could send their children there; it practically the closest school to downtown. But I suspect a 95% poverty rate may scare them off.

I think the unevenness of who signs up for the City's pre-k program will show up in outcomes for classrooms around the city.

Anonymous said...

Mellisa, I don't think that 1B passed because Seattle folks are generous. It passed because:

--the democratic party leadership actively rallied the party faithfuls behind it BECAUSE 1B gives the Mayor "skin in the game." They ARE pushing for the City to have more control over SPS, and this is their awesomely strategic toehold. The same people who have been starving our education system for decades while giving corporations and the uber wealthy huge tax breaks have taken over the narrative and are in control of our democratic party leadership (and LEV and the Alliance for Education). And all that money buys really skilled people and THE NARRATIVE (which shouldn't be confused with the truth).
--They lied to voters. Burgess kept repeating that "if you vote this in, and you make under $71k a year, your child will have access to free QUALITY preschool." They kept calling it "universal" and "preschool for all" even though it wasn't. They lied and it is a great sound bite.
--They rigged the ballot language from the very beginning.
--They have very skilled political consultants who worked the endorsements early on, and most importantly the Stranger endorsed it and told everyone that you will be helping that poor little black kid and you should be ashamed of yourself if you don't want to give up your latte a day. What, you you call yourself a liberal? It's for the kids! Never mind that the truth is that it will further damage our public schools by taking more resources away, and only serves a fraction of the kids who need it, and huge $$$ goes to administration, not the kids. Never mind that the City didn't actually involve SPS in the planning for this. Reality doesn't matter when you've got awesome lies and guilt trips to leverage.
--People don't realize that the democratic party leadership in Seattle are actually anti-democratic teacher and union bashers who are in the back pocket of uber wealthy conservatives who are actively fighting against funding education and think of our kids as little robots to be programmed. And it is hard to believe it until you see it in action. But we the people are tiny in comparison to the amount of money that has purchase our government over the past 10 years.
--People don't have the space for critical thinking anymore, and while 1B is bad legislation for so many reasons, the lies and guilt trip worked to get people who think they are liberal to vote for it.

Our system is corrupted. Even our democratic party leadership are pushing a republican agenda and it's all a f-ing superb marketing machine.

eyeswide opennow

mirmac1 said...

eyeswide opennow has nailed it. Seattle pols and school district are the billionaires' sandbox and we mere mortals are the cat turds.

Anonymous said...

Well put @eyeswide opennow. The same money that runs Repubs runs the Dems these days. We vote over the marginal differences between the parties, but it's Pepsi vs. Coke, not Pepsi vs. Water or even Sprite. One must dig deep to find any real differences, and even then, they are small and insignificant.

I love this, btw: "Tim Burgess sent an e-mail and stated that the city does not need space within SPS. Let' s hold his feet to the fire."

Could it be that Burgess is so confident that Charters will invade under Mayoral Control that he's talking about space that will no longer be under SPS's umbrella, perhaps? That's what I'd be looking at. Let the pillaging begin.


Anonymous said...

When a democratic governor gives away 9 billion in tax cuts to a multi-national corporation blackmailing us citizens, it's pretty clear that "democrats" as we once knew them, are dead and gone.

The only saving grace we have anymore is that each party's greed, stupidity and moral bankruptcy will eventually drive them off the cliff, and we'll see revolts like last Tuesday. Methinks 'twas a vote against, not in favor.


Transparency Please said...

I will add onto Eyes wideopen now, the city has created a plan to further divide community.

What!(?) You don't want to support poor prek children to give them a chance in life.

I also believe that the Preschool for "All" and "Universal" preschool message was originally put-out to brand the city's prek. Late in the election, the name of the campaign was called Quality Prek.

Lastly, Ed Murray was the guy in the legislature during the biggest cuts to education in history. He also failed to broker deals while having enormous power in Olympia. Yet, he is the FIRST to talk about schools failing.

Transparency Please said...

Melissa and I kept calling attention to the fact that 1B was of major importance to the city, but the campaipgn was funded at $150. Endorsements were obtained and procharter/TfA folks filled the campaign chest.

The city/campaign kept a lot of information out of the public eye regarding P20 etc.