I spoke with Tomiko Santos about this issue this morning. It was a concerning conversation because of several things she said:
1) She had been thinking about the idea for years as she has felt that her
district (and its schools) have not been respected by the school
I find this a very odd reason to upend an entire
district. One legislative region does not a district make (at least as I
2) She believes this will bring "equity" to her area.
I wasn't able to ask her what faith she has dividing the district up
is the way for that to happen.
I also would ask the question about
equity. Years ago, I very much thought things were not as
equitable throughout the district but I think things are much better. I
see the inequity not so much in what the district proves as what PTAs
do. (That said, RBHS has been at the bottom of the "to do" list for
waaay too long.)
3) The "emergency" clause was put in by
"technical" people. Well, I don't care who did it - there is no burning
reason to do this kind of massive overhaul. If they need the word "emergency" in there to put this bill forth, then something's wrong.
4) She made it sound
like there would be a process to the change almost as if
parents/communities would be involved but the bill proves zero guarantee
of that. So the sausage making will happen probably behind the scenes.
She said that most exceptions in the law for schools are for Seattle
and other legislators had questioned that. I'm not sure I get it.
6) She said it isn't class size that matters but school size. I can only
say that Seattle had many small schools just a decade or less ago and
they were not all beacons of success.
7) She feels it's important for communities to support the central administration. I would agree.
also told her this sounds a lot like a charter district coming. She
said no, she was against charters (and she has been consistent on this
I told her - it is a massive gamble and I'm not hearing real reasoning backed up with real data.
My belief is that this - along with the City's Pre-k, the mayoral appointment of school board directors - is a power play of the highest order by those who want to control the district and the discussion about public education in Seattle.
Does that discussion include parents, staff and communities? I guess not.