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Monday, December 08, 2014
No Surprise: The Times Likes Nyland
This morning the Times has an article about Superintendent Nyland. Here's what I said in the Times' comment section:
"The Seattle teachers union fully supports the idea of appointing him the district’s permanent superintendent." (quote from Times article)
All the teachers I know were never asked to vote. The BOARD of the SEA may support this but neither Knapp nor the Times can say the union membership does.
I agree with Charlie Mas. The Times, seemingly, does not trust the wisdom of the Board but Nyland makes a few "missteps" and all is forgiven?
Let's explain WHY those "missteps" are telling of a superintendent who will be less superintendent and more caretaker.
1) We are supposed to be getting a seasoned administrator. He is coming into the biggest district in the state, handling over $1B worth of taxpayer dollars. It doesn't dawn on him to ask questions when a $750K grant from the biggest foundation in the world is put before him? He hasn't read the Board policies on these grants? No one in SPS who is guiding him through his early days bothered to tell him?
Or was it just that the Gates Foundation wanted it done. (Easier to apologize than ask for permission.)
FYI, the district won't say who is the person really responsible for this error since Nyland isn't (he's the new guy as he likes to point out).
2) that data breach? NOT a misstep. Let's go thru that one:
- a guardian of a Special Ed student asked for his student's records, that's all. The DISTRICT sent the law firm a document with thousands of students' information, including address, disability, discipline, bus stop and other personal items. The law firm then sent it onto the guardian.
- the law firm did this TWICE over several days even as the guardian told the district it happened.
- the district fired the law firm but the questions remain: Who authorized the law firm to have all this personal data? Why did it get to the law firm twice?
- the district violated the student privacy law, FERPA. A law. When Nyland reported this to the federal Department of Education he said ALL families involved had been notified. But, at the Board meeting, he said they had been notified "electronically." All families have e-mail? No and so that would be false that ALL families have been notified.
That is a HUGE deal and for the Superintendent and the Board to sweep it under the table is wrong. But let's see what the feds say. Or the State Auditor.
And this is four months into the job and this is what accountability looks like under Nyland?
The Times also had an strange op-ed about charter schools. I say strange because it comes off somewhat as a campaign for charters when the election is over. But, if you were part of a group that was unhappy that not all the charter slots have been filled and/or you are worried that the law will be overturned, well then, maybe it makes sense.
The thrust of the op-ed is that charter schools ARE public schools. Yes, they are under the charter law. But the more important question is are they "common schools" under our state's constitution? T