Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Pettigrew Files Bill to Allow School Board Appointments by Mayor

Well that didn't take long.  (Thanks to SCPTSA's Eden Mack for the tip on this bill.)  It's House bill 1497.

I'll go into details that I see as problematic (beginning with the why;I have a call out to the Representative's office.)  There is one interesting glaring issue that I didn't know about in the original RCW that I wonder about.  This bill is only four pages long; see if you can spot it.


79 comments:

Anonymous said...

Comment on the bill here:

https://app.leg.wa.gov/pbc/bill/1497

HP

Anonymous said...

This bill has been referred (but not officially) to the House Education Committee. What might be most effective at this point is to contact the chair of the committee, Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos (D-Seattle), and voice your concerns with her.

There is no requirement that she even provide a hearing on this bill and there is no requirement, even if she provides a hearing, for her to bring this bill up for a vote.

Another call/email might be made to the vice chair of the committee, Rep. Chris Reykdal (D-Olympia). I know him very well and I can almost guarantee you that he would be a receptive audience.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

We need to stop this bill, to be sure, but more important yet, we need to demonstrate, in as many ways as we can during the legislative process, that there is no need for it, and that its proponents not only can't articulate the need for it, but will lie when they try.

This will be necessary, even essential, because when this bill fails in Olympia, Gates is likely to finance an initiative to make it happen in Seattle, and he will have PR whores like Greer and Sinderman cooking up all kinds of phony rationales for it, and the lineup of the usual prestigious backers.

It will be the same kind of campaign they used to pass 1B. In hindsight, 1A should not have been on the ballot, because it gave the Gates camp an "alternative," which wasn't really an alternative, to run against.

Gates is playing the long game, and we have to prepare for it. We need to bring in every argument why independently elected school boards are the bulwarks of democracy. And we will have to let Ed Murray know, in no uncertain terms, that this issue will be a "third rail" for him that he had better not go near, if he wants to have a political future.

-- Ivan Weiss

Charlie Mas said...

This bill is a very bad idea.

There is nothing to be gained by this change. Nothing.

Moreover, it is anti-democratic. Why would it ever be better to have appointed school board directors rather than elected ones? There is simply no reason whatsoever.

I can't wait to hear about the benefits promised by this change. I can't think of any.

Anonymous said...

This bill is fine by me.

It doesn't have all members being appointed. It's 2 of 7.

It gets rid of 7 districts and brings it down to 5. Good. Better holistic look by board members at the district. The slivers are too narrow right now and divvied up weirdly anyway.

If the the board and the city work better together with a common governing body that benefits us all. The city-board relationship today seems really bad, so this could be better.

Not all change has Voldemort and a conspiracy behind it.

Contrary

Charlie Mas said...

If we don't trust the voters to select school board directors then how can we trust them to select legislators?

Anonymous said...

"Not all change has Voldemort and a conspiracy behind it."
--
This one does.

-- Ivan Weiss

Anonymous said...

I might be fine with an appointed school board if we had an elected superintendent. Somebody needs to be accountable to the voters.

Voter

Gads said...

"If we don't trust the voters to select school board directors then how can we trust them to select legislators?"

Charlie is absolutely correct.

All of this is very predictable. The thought of someone wanting to take away their voice is beyond reproach.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the memories signed -Seattle School Board

Follow themoney

Transparency Please said...

"Gates is likely to finance an initiative to make it happen in Seattle, and he will have PR whores like Greer and Sinderman cooking up all kinds of phony rationales for it, and the lineup of the usual prestigious backers."

Ivan is 100% correct. We'll see what happens with Pettigrew's bill, but, I'm confident, we'll see a Gates back referendum and he will fund signature collectors etc.

This has been very predictable and the city is using the Family and Education levy, and prek to set-up the infrastructure for city control.


Anonymous said...

Ivan, I thought you said this would NEVER happen? Where's your friend Frank Chopp stand?

Follow themoney

OpenYourEyes said...

Give me a break, Contrary.

This is nothing more than attempt to further the privatization movement. The city has used Family and Education dollars to partner with a charter school and I'm not talking about First Place, either.

There is plenty of slime within the walls of the Old city Hall.

The dollars flowing from the Gates Foundation will crush.

OpenYourEyes said...

Lastly, 2 out of 7 school board members is nearly 30% of our board.

Anonymous said...

Pettigrew is a long time supporter of charter schools.

Take away or significantly diminish the voice of the voters, and what will we get?

We will get what Pettigrew, the Mayor, and Gates want: charters, more testing, teacher bashing, etc.

I hope this bill dies a quiet death, but I do worry what Gates et al will try next via referendum.

--Fedmomof2

Po3 said...

I think this is an initiative that should be brought to the voters.

Anonymous said...

Given the quality and performance of the board as I have watched it, Pettigrew's bill works for me.

Those of you defending the status quo mostly like the current board majority, right? The ones who just annointed a super without a search. Even the old 'bad boards' did a search.

My final personal straw was the way the Eckstein - JA split went down and the apparent lack of plans for where to put our high school students.

North of 85th



Melissa Westbrook said...

Some talking points:

• This is about undermining democratic control of the school district in order to impose policies the public opposes, including charter schools and standardized tests

• The City of Seattle has already given Levy money to a scandal-ridden charter school

• The City of Seattle already mandates the MAP test be given in exchange for schools receiving Levy funding

• In other cities, appointed school boards have caused disruption, divisiveness, and have failed to improve student learning

• In Chicago, hundreds rallied on MLK Day this week to demand a restoration of an elected school board: http://chicago.suntimes.com/news-chicago/7/71/304253/hundreds-call-elected-school-board-mlk-day-event

• Also in Chicago, the racial “achievement gap” has grown worse since the school board became appointed: http://ccsr.uchicago.edu/sites/default/files/publications/Trends_CPS_Full_Report.pdf

• In NYC, the appointed school board has been a vehicle to impose charter schools on existing public school facilities, driving out good schools and causing huge parental backlash

• Board members not elected by the voters will not feel accountable to the voters, and will be under no obligation to respond to parent concerns about school policies or practices.

There is NO city in the U.S. with mayoral control (partial or otherwise) that can point to any big gains or better management.

And not all discussion is a conspiracy theory, Contrary.

P03, maybe except it would be bought and paid for by Gates. I've been down that road. No thanks.

Transparency Please said...

North of 85th,

You make many valid points and those points are the reason for KEEPING an elected board...:)

The Board members who just anointed the supt without a search included two members of the old guard and three newer members. Four of these members are up for re-election this year, so Seattle voters will have the opportunity as soon as this fall to make adjustments to the Board.

I need to re-read the bill, but there may be language related to board members serving SIX years. IMO, SIX years is way too long. We've had an opportunity to watch incumbents. After four years, we can evaluate board member's performance.

Robert Cruickshank said...

North of 85th, if we have an appointed school board - in whole or in part - they WILL ignore you and your concerns. Just look at NYC or Chicago, where schools have been closed or converted to charters even in the face of widespread public opposition. The answer to the district's current problems is to replace all four incumbents up for re-election with candidates who are committed to public education and who will do what the public asks them to do.

Transparency Please said...

Director Peters and Director Patu did not support the manner in which Nyland was hired.

Some directors made the assertion that they had the right to appoint the superintendent without a lot of public input. Director Peters went on record and stated something to the effect of"..just because we have the right, doesn't make it right"

Don't clump all the directors into the same boat.

Anonymous said...

For the benefit of "followthemoney," who apparently lacks reading comprehension, I never said a bill would not be introduced. I said it would probably not even make it to the House floor. In the unlikely event that it does, then and only then can you say with any validity "I told you so."

It should go without saying that I will be making plenty of phone calls and writing plenty of emails to kill this dumb-ass bill.

-- Ivan Weiss

Melissa Westbrook said...

Transparency is right; there is some kind of tricky language around the length of terms and I think if it gets sussed out, the Seattle School Board terms would be 6 years.

Why isn't someone sponsoring a bill to pay the members of the boards of the three largest school districts in the state instead of this?

Anonymous said...

Spokane school board members are elected to 6 year terms. So the language in the bill may be crafted to cover Spokane in the event that its population grows by another 200,000 or so.

Thanks HP for the link to comment on the bill.

I hope it goes down in flames.

MC

Anonymous said...

How about we start out by paying our school board members? That'll allow more folks to run for school board and maybe bring in some folks who are highly qualified but couldn't otherwise afford the time to serve?

Let's do that before we hand over seats to appointees whose loyalty will not be with the students, the district or the families, but with the mayor.

-- JT

Eric B said...

The thing that bothers me most about this is that it ONLY applies to Seattle. Why? If having an appointed board member is important, why wouldn't they have one on 5-person boards throughout the rest of the state?

Also, it's terrible policy to have the mayor appoint the board. If the mayor takes over, the mayor needs to own it all.

As far as the six-year terms, it looks like Section 2 para. 1 forces board elections every two years in districts that already have 6-year terms. I don't believe that it changes any 4-year terms to 6-year, but I could be reading it wrong since I don't have all of the context and references handy.

Patrick said...

The Stranger's reluctant endorsement of Pettigrew from 2012 is worth quoting:

“Eric Pettigrew, man, (bleep). Seriously (bleeeeep). The dude gets piery about charter schools — the Great White Whale that’s magically going to fix all our public school problems — but where’s that passion when it comes to closing tax loopholes, or creating a state income tax, or any other method for actually (bleeping) funding our public schools? Since his opponent is a nutty Ron Paul organizer, we’re holding our nose and voting for Pettigrew anyway. But (bleeeep).”

Melissa Westbrook said...

I wrote to Sharon Tomiko-Santos on this issue.

I also wrote to my legislators and Senator Pederson said he didn't agree with this idea BUT he felt some discussion of governance needed to happen.

I wrote back saying the discussion needs to be over allowing the Board not to be cowed by talk of "micro-management" if they are just enforcing their own policies. (Senior mgt KNOW the Board will do nothing, no matter how many policies are ignored.)

Also, how about paying the three biggest districts' board members?

I also heard an interesting idea - why not, instead of allowing the mayor to appoint two of them, two become at-large members?

cmj said...

SPS has a problem with leadership ignoring their constituents (parents) and ignoring their own policy. Of course, the solution would be to take even more power away from parents.

I don't have a high opinion of the current board. I don't care for most of the members. But making some members mayoral appointees is a terrible idea. Currently, board directors are elected directly by citizens and judged on their ability to run a district (and raise campaign funds, but let's ignore that). The mayor is judged on management of many different areas of government, so the mayor could still get reelected even after fumbling on education. Mayoral board appointees would also likely be appointed on basis of political ties rather than ability.

I like the idea of an elected superintendent or a superintendent who can be fired by a referendum. I think that major dysfunction isn't so much in the Board but in the senior management of SPS. The Board can fire the superintendent, but the Board can't fire anyone else. (Charlie, correct me if I'm wrong.)

I would love to see the Board members salaried. I can't imagine working full time and being a board member.

Anonymous said...

Now that the tunnel is a success, time for the mayor to turn that midas touch to education.

-NNNCr

Anonymous said...

Funny how earlier talk of this happening was dismissed as conspiracy theory. And here it is. Surprise, surprise.

CT

ConcernedSPSParent said...

As a district 2 parent I must say this is a hard call. Could anyone ignore complaints more than "Director" Carr?

Greenwoody said...

Yes, ConcernedSPSParent, there are people who could ignore those complaints more: people who are not directly elected by the voters. In cities with mayoral appointed boards, those members rarely ever meet with the public. The entire purpose of appointing board members is to shut the public and parents out completely.

That's not to defend Sherry Carr, who needs to be replaced in this year's election.

Anonymous said...

Sherry Carr will be replaced by the voters, unless the other candidate is someone like the one who ran against Blanford….which is why we ended up with Blanford.

On the other hand, Chicago Mayor Rahm loves his hand-picked school board and all their conflicts of interest:

http://michaelklonsky.blogspot.com/p/chicago-schools-ceo-choice-shows.html

http://chicago.suntimes.com/editorials-opinion/7/71/226051/school-board-member-step

http://chicago.suntimes.com/news-chicago/7/71/266470/emanuel-accuses-garcia-treating-education

http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/ward-room/Opinion-Rahm-and-Conflicts-of-Interest--See-No-Evil-Hear-No-Evil-287677261.html

http://www.catalyst-chicago.org/notebook/2014/09/08/66136/dirty-schools-norm-privatizing-custodians-principals


CT

Snark said...

"I also wrote to my legislators and Senator Pederson said he didn't agree with this idea BUT he felt some discussion of governance needed to happen."

Perhaps we should remind Pederson that the legislature is failing to fund education and has been for years, and they are at risk of being held in contempt of court.

THESE are the people that are pointing fingers.

Anonymous said...

Knew this intro of such a bill would happen. Some of the dems (Rep. Carlyle, for example) have been open about it. It was not a question of if, but when, when some dem would put this forward. And now the first salvo has been fired.

IT IS A BAD IDEA. IT IS DESTRUCTIVE AND CONDESCENDING.


"what is good for the goose, is good for the gander"

1. Does anyone else find it utterly hypocritical that an elected official would dare to say elected officials are not a good way of governing? How could Rep. Petticrew with a straight face suggests that the business of ___________ (fill in the blank, running a city, running a state, running a judiciary, running a school system) is too important to leave in the hands of the whimsically elected public office holders? What is so bad with democracy? If it is such a good idea to 'balance out' democracy by having 2/7th of a governing body appointed, then, how about the Governor appoint 2/7th of the State House and Senate?

and

2. Really, just Seattle? Again, how can he propose this? Just Seattle is the special snowflake that needs big brother to appoint Board Members (are we too stupid? too uninformed? too wrongheaded? compared to everyone else??) but the entire rest of the State's school children can be happily guided by elected officials? How does one speak out of both sides of one's mouth at the exact same time? Special!!

I agree with many on this blog that we have some woefully underperforming, unintelligent Board Directors (Dr. Blanford certainly comes to mind). I am not 'dissing' particular Directors just because I may not agree with them, what I find abhorrent is what I perceive to be a frequent lack of understanding (or even knowledge) of policy, and an unwillingness or inability to hold the Super (and by proxy, his staff) accountable. That is their job, most of them don't/won't do it (Director McLaren seems to forget she represents us to them, not them to us.) The clear exception to the poor or underperformance, in my opinion, is Director Peters: not because of any agreement with her particular votes, but because it is she who asks pertinent questions (yet rarely if ever gets answers). She understands what is going on and she does her homework. Director Carr is ferociously bright, but, caves to nonsensical 'splaining everytime and votes like a good girl. It is painful to watch.


The 'system' is suppose to have checks and balances. We need a professional staff to run the District, but then we need elected officials to ensure the people are represented and reflected in the educational 'sauce' that is fed to our children.

One approach to check/balance is to appoint a Board but have the Super elected. That would be much too unstable. In most systems, the experts are 'in charge', but they are overseen by a Board that is elected.

To get a better check and balance, paying the Board makes a lot of sense. Better quality people could be attracted to run.

Paying the Board would not guarantee better results, but, it might, and, I would be far more comfortable paying someone to do that thankless job rather than sitting back helplessly and watching some GIGANTIC political patronage swamp the decks of my kids' schools.

Petticrew is a hypocrite. I'll vote for a cheese sandwhich next time. And, Rep. Chopp is totally checked out. When was the last time he deemed to talk to the 'little people', the ones who live in his District and vote for him? He too seems to forget his job. His Speaker status seems to have elevated him to the ranks of the unapproachable.

-not optimistic

Anonymous said...

For point of reference on the bill and changing term of office, here is the current code. Generally, the parts of a bill that would change the law are underlined or stricken. The other parts (unless designated "new section")is stuff already in code:


"Any first-class school district having a board of directors of five members as provided in RCW 28A.343.300 and which elects directors for a term of six years under the provisions of RCW 29A.04.340 shall cause the office of at least one director and no more than two directors to be up for election at each regular school district election held hereafter and, except as provided in RCW 28A.343.670, any first-class school district having a board of directors of seven members as provided in RCW 28A.343.300 shall cause the office of two directors and no more than three directors to be up for election at each regular school district election held hereafter."

-RH

Anonymous said...

I don't necessarily agree with these points (I like voting) but arguments in favor of appointments that I have heard include:

1. It opens up a pool of candidates who might be willing to serve, but not run a campaign.

2. In theory,the candidate won't be "bought" by special interests

3. Since the candidate is, in theory, free from having to cater to voters they can focus more on the issues at hand. (ie appointees are LESS politically motivated and may stick around longer, provide more stability)

I don't know if any of these points has ever been studied/verified. And again, not necessarily supporting the bill, but being appointed doesn't make you biased. A lot of committees and boards have appointed members, and they volunteer their time honorably. Keep in mind, it is still a volunteer role. What, exactly would they be beholden to the mayor for -- giving up all their free time?

The state board of ed is a mix (but none directly voted on by the general public. They have governor appointees and reps elected by school board members.) Interestingly, the member who always stands up for parents and community voice and perspective, and who most challenges "group think," is Tre, an appointee. Sometimes having that person with a different perspective is valuable to governance. And sometimes you need to go and find (and appoint them). Or so the thinking goes.

What concerns me is the idea of Olympia telling Seattle what to do, and this seeming acceptance that there has to be a change in governance. Why? A key issue is the district's inability to communicate effectively and gain trust. At least, that's what the district's report card says. That's practice, not governance.

-RH

Anonymous said...

This is a reflection of a larger issue and that is a disengagement of voters to both vote and in turn those who do be active and engaged voters. As a person who lives in the Pettigrew district who has finally rid ourselves of Kline not because people actually looked into his history, etc but because that nasty man retired. Pettigrew much like Santo-Tomas and many many many if not most are just re-elected as a matter of course. We could apply this to any number of elected offices.. personally my favorite is Judges, Sherriff's and Prosecuting Attorneys. Do you actually know what they do or more importantly not do on their job? Are there performance evaluations that list success and failure? Do we have any transparency with regards to those whom we supposedly elect to serve? PACS, the money obfuscation and the utter lack of adequate media investigation and in turn reporting on the varying individuals who are supposedly elected to represent the good of many seem to serve the interests of the few, the few that have the checks not the balance in hand. Funny we may not outnumber them in donations yet in actual votes we do and we don't vote in any collective and in turn bargaining manner. Add this to Murray's need to play like the big boys in big cities do. Had a bad feeling about that idiot did not vote for him, did not vote for Pettigrew and yet I still vote.

- Why bother

Anonymous said...

Again, this is a done deal. Remember Safco Field. It was built in spite of the voters.

SPS was given plenty of time to fix its glaring issues. SPS is under Federal and State audits, the DOJ and FBI are currently looking into several issues.

Don't be surprised by what's about to happen. I told you many months ago long before any of this was news that the decision was made 2.5 years ago.

Did you think I just made up the whole story?

Follow themoney

Anonymous said...

If this weren't such a serious issue, much of this discussion would be laughable. I could probably spend the rest of his week pulling quotations from the authors and readers of the blog about how this current board ignored the voice of voters/parents, refused/neglected to enforce its own policies, refused/neglected to hold senior district staff accountable for serious violations of district policies and practices, etc. Now you're trying to make the argument that an elected board is accountable to the public and that they are the voice of parents? What a joke.

Let's remember that for every Sue Peters elected by the public we get a Stephan Branford. The "public" doesn't have a good track record when it comes to electing quality board members. And comparing the election of school board members to the election of state legislators is not apples to apples. There are only 7 board members and one or two bad board members can do some serious damage. One or two bad legislators can do a lot less, if any damage to such a large body.

An argument can be made that locally-elected school boards are outdated. Education was local when communities were not as transient as they are today. Now education is global and one community's needs are not exceedingly different than the next, especially when many students will graduate and move somewhere else.

With all that said, I still don't see how an appointed board will be any better than our elected one. There's certainly no evidence that appointed boards function better than elected ones.

My point is not to advocate for this bill but rather to be careful what you say in opposing it. Some of these arguments can get you laughed out of the room and can actually hurt your advocacy.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

You're not special. We all have discussed, many times on this blog, that this was a very real possibility, and who was likely to support it. It's not anything close to a "done deal." As for the stadium, it had far more popular support than THIS stupid bill, floated by THIS stupid Representative -- with NO co-sponsors, I might add -- has. In the words of one of my State Representatives: "I oppose it. And it's going nowhere."

-- Ivan Weiss

Greenwoody said...

"An argument can be made that locally-elected school boards are outdated."

So is democracy itself outdated? Should we just have our City Councils, legislators, and members of Congress appointed?

Why did all those people die to protect our democracy? What a waste.

Transparency Please said...

". Now you're trying to make the argument that an elected board is accountable to the public and that they are the voice of parents? What a joke.

Let's remember that for every Sue Peters elected by the public we get a Stephan Branford. The "public" doesn't have a good track record when it comes to electing quality board members. And comparing the election of school board members to the election of state legislators is not apples to apples. There are only 7 board members and one or two bad board members can do some serious damage. One or two bad legislators can do a lot less, if any damage to such a large body."

Swk, There are times you make sense, but, forgive me, you are being absolutely foolish.

Two does not seem like a big number, but we're talking about nearly 30% of the board. Shall we appoint 30% of our legislature? How about 30% of the city council? We're looking at percentages, swk.

Voting members out of office is the manner in which to keep elected accountable. Let's face it, whether the school board, city or state....some of these people are dangerous.

Shall we talk about the fact that Murray supported BERTHA and there was a campaign funded by the construction company? Shall we talk about the fact that Murray used victims of violence as pawns to get elected? Why would you think this guy is a competent or decent?



Anonymous said...

Oh I see you like to pick and choose when the voters voice should be enforced and when it's over-ridden.

On September 19, 1995, King County voters reject subsidy taxes to build a new stadium for the Seattle Mariners Baseball Club. The promise of a new stadium is a bid to keep the Mariners from being sold. After the vote, team owners threaten to sell the team if a new stadium is not approved. The State Legislature then approves new taxes for a stadium, which is completed in 1999.

There is strong support outside of SPS employees for drastic changes in SPS administration.

The public perception is that no one is performing their jobs and SPS can't change or is unwilling to change.

My money is on Mayoral control and it looks like Mr. Gates is going to fund it...lets call it Safco field II. Watch it happen, Chop Chop!

Follow themoney

Transparency Please said...

I'm sorry swk, I was mean.

The last part of your statement makes a lot of sense. The concept of transient society is one to consider.

From my perspective, I've become increasingly concerned about competitive salaries and the fact that superintendents are vested in retirement systems after three years. It is possible for a superintendent to make $1M in 3 years, become invested in a retirement plan and leave their mess behind, and make a higher salary.

Perhaps one should look at disallowing superintendents from being vested in pension plans until 5 years. The concept of voting on superintendents is another option that I would like to explore.

I've heard from an insider that it is highly unlikely for Pettigrew's bill to pass. Yet, it does show the intentions Seattle's elite business class.

Anonymous said...

There is no indication that mayoral appointed board members would be more likely to clean house at John Stanford Center. The problem lies at the John Stanford Center and the $100,000 admins not doing their jobs. Not the board.

HP

Melissa Westbrook said...

CMJ, correct, the Board can only fire the Superintendent.

-NNNCr, thank you for that laugh about the Murray "midas" touch.

I note that KUOW reported this morning that lawmakers will likely get a raise (first in 7 years) and there's some oversight board on setting salaries. Maybe we need to find out what they would think about funding school board directors.

"2. In theory,the candidate won't be "bought" by special interests."

Very funny. You can't get more "bought" than being beholden to the Mayor (an elected official).

HP, that's it in a nutshell but the powers that be will not admit it.

Anonymous said...

Greenwoody, people died so we could elect school board members? Come on. What you're engaging in is called a slippery slope fallacy.

--- swk

TechyMom said...

I want an elected super.

Anonymous said...

One of the problems seems to be that there aren't always good candidates for which to vote--and this is not unique to school board elections--so we often end up choosing the lesser of two evils or the most competent of the incompetent. What if we had a system in place that included not only the slate of candidates for each position, but also a "I'd rather this position be appointed by the mayor this time" option? Then if there is a good candidate the people like, they get the gig, but in those cases where you're not really satisfied with anyone, you can take your chances that the mayor can find someone better.

Granted, this is a half-baked idea that just came to me after one too many cups of coffee, but it seems like it has potential to preserve democracy while also ensuring some level of quality. Then again, that's not what's behind the current efforts to change things...

Half Full

Eric B said...

Another wrinkle is that it appears that the board directors appointed by the mayor do not serve at his/her pleasure. In other words, he can't fire them like he can his department heads. This is more like a judicial appointment where there is no way for the appointer to remove the director until the term expires.

Robert Cruickshank said...

Eric B, good catch. That's the entire point here - to put directors on the board who cannot be removed before the end of their term and thus become totally unaccountable. That enables them to push through massively unpopular things like school closures, conversion to charters, more standardized tests, mass teacher firings, and so on.

All of those things, by the way, are routine in cities without elected school boards.

Elephants Memory said...

Former Seattle School Board President- Steve Sundquist- was charged, by the State Auditor- for failing to oversee district operations and for putting public dollars at risk.

Then, the Governor appointed Steve Sundquist (!!) to the Charter Commission and Sundquist is now serving as Chair. How is that working=out? First Place= anyone?

Appointments do not equal accountability. The concept of an appointed school board is nothing more than a power grab.

Anonymous said...

Which is it FTM. Mayoral control, Federal control, State control? Class-action lawsuit? No-action lawsuit?

I understand we're going to get a new Supe someday. See, I'm prescient!

Stargazer

Anonymous said...

Robert, school closures and mass teacher firings are routine nowhere.

Can we have a rational approach to advocating against this bill?

--- swk

Anonymous said...

The die was cast with Maria Goodloe-Johnson. She was part of the Eli Broad network and willing to make ridiculous cuts look justified on paper. She paved the drive-way.

City takeover was in the cards as a plan B, and since we've had two placeholders superintendents, the power vacuum is waiting to be filled.

Westside

Anonymous said...

Even if I thought Ed Murray would bring something valuable SPS, the city is doing the opposite, with SPS on the short end of the stick. No equal footing. Add to this the debacle, the sloppy ass backroom deal to approve Larry Nyland? A perfect sh*t storm. Bad city, bad, by that I mean CORRUPT school district, and a batsh*t board. There's a toadie board and then there's Marty and Sharon and the rest screaming that the retired double dipper simply must be our leader.

This crowd stopped making sense months ago. This is going to be a long, hard struggle: keep your school system and finally make it honest or kiss it goodbye.

Westside

Robert Cruickshank said...

swk, Chicago closed 50 schools. Philly unilaterally canceled the union contract. There have been big layoffs or test score-fueled teacher firings in many of these cities with appointed boards.

Anonymous said...

Most kids whose schools closed in Chicago and elsewhere, ended up in worse schools than were closed. It did nothing to help kids.

HP

Anonymous said...

Robert, you're calling one-time events (the closing of 50 Chicago schools and the cancellation of the Philadelphia teacher contract, both occurring in 2013) "routine." As I said, nowhere are these actions routinely occuring.

HP, the studies conducted following the closures showed that the majority of students displaced enrolled in better schools than those they left (although not significantly better). Those students who chose to enroll in schools other than those designated for them by CPS more often enrolled in schools worse than what they left. The most common reason for enrolling in a worse school than the one that was left was proximity to the families' homes (which is reasonable).

--- swk

Anonymous said...

Hey Pettigrew,

Like Winston Churchill said,

“Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”

Words to live by.

-NNNCr

Anonymous said...

But the study by the University of Chicago's Consortium on Chicago School Research also showed that the majority of students who enrolled in schools other than their assigned replacement wound up in lower-performing schools.

lRelated Did CPS take care of its displaced kids?
EDITORIALS
Did CPS take care of its displaced kids?
SEE ALL RELATED
8

This poses a potential problem, the study said, because research has shown "that students' achievement improved only if they moved to a substantially higher-performing school than the one they left." The study indicated there simply weren't enough available seats for displaced students in higher-rated schools.

Only 21 percent of displaced students attended schools that had a top rating under a now-retired CPS assessment model, the study said, slightly lower than what would have resulted if all students enrolled in their designated school in fall 2013.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-chicago-school-closings-study-met-20150122-story.html

HP

Anonymous said...

HP, I'm pretty sure I acknowledged this same point in my previous post: "Those students who chose to enroll in schools other than those designated for them by CPS more often enrolled in schools worse than what they left."

But, overall most displaced students enrolled in better schools, as I said.

--- swk

Robert Cruickshank said...

Those school closures were bitterly and strongly opposed by the community, which saw them as racist - 88 percent of the students targeted were black. http://www.thenation.com/blog/174385/lets-call-racist-school-closings-what-they-are-racist

Those closures have left deep wounds in the communities, and students aren't necessarily any better off. The closures are a major reason why Rahm Emanuel is struggling in his bid for re-election.

And it was all enabled by the lack of democracy at the school district. I cannot imagine why anybody would be willing to give up their power over their own schools like this.

Melissa Westbrook said...

The other fascinating part of the bill? Nothing to do with the City Council. Apparently the Mayor has the "know all, see all" power.

So you can't get rid of these appointees (no matter what and boy is that a HUGE loophole) and the City Council has nothing to do with it.

Frankly, this looks like the City is setting itself - excuse me - the MAYOR is setting himself up to take over the school district. Preschool, school board - what's next?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Funniest comment at Times' article:

"In a reciprocating agreement , should the School Board's elected members appoint two City Council members?"

n said...

My take is that we are losing our democracy. We used to applaud the power of the ballot box. No more. With gerrymandering, an activist court, judges and politicians on the take, and now an usurping of the power to elect our own representatives at local levels, we no longer have a democracy.

But then that's become old news.

chunga said...

swk - not sure what your requirement for routine is, but closing schools has been an explicit policy approach in Chicago since 2002 (when Arne Duncan was there) for dealing with "low performing schools". Refer to http://www.wbez.org/news/history-school-closings-chicago-2002-12-104383

Closing schools (either permanently, or converting to charters) is indeed common in cities with mayoral (or state) control. Refer to Detroit, Philly, New Orleans, Newark.

Anonymous said...

@swk: Your last several comments are incredibly ignorant and simply dead wrong.

Closing 50 schools was not "routine" in your book? Jesus! What is? It didn't just happen in Chicago. Similar closures happened in NY, DC, and New Orleans, which went 100% charters after Katrina. Routine enough?

And please curb your condescension about slippery slopes. People died for the right to vote, and sure, there will always be those like yourself to snicker and poo-poo that fact. I suppose you don't salute the flag or sing the national anthem either. Well, good for you, but remember that you wouldn't have that right if people hadn't died for it.

Alas, this is a simple case of rich people who think they know best not getting their way by hand-picking and purchasing the School Board like they did with the Gang-of-Four in 2007, so now they throw their money in a different direction and embrace the old oligarchs favorite tactic: "If you can't get your way by playing by the rules, change the rules." (The buying and selling of democracy.) I.e., if the electorate doesn't do what YOU want, then take away the electorate's power.

Yes, it is clearly an erosion of our voting rights in the most "fox guarding the hen house" fashion. Here we have elected officials seeking to take away power from other elected officials they don't agree with. Make no mistake folks: This has nothing to do with performance or outcomes, and everything to do with power and hegemony. "We want it our way" say the millionaires and billionaires in town, even though "their way" has been tried in multiple US cities and has not "moved the needle" an inch. (But it has made a lot of rich people even richer!) And the electorate? Screw them! They voted out Peter Maier and Steve Sundquist! We'll show them! Eddie "lapdog" Murray will avenge our guys removals!

It's time we described the Ed Reform forces accurately for what they are: Like Goldman Sachs, "a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.

Follow the money, indeed. That, my friends is what 100% of this is all about, and the proof is there for everyone to see. All you have to do is google Ed Reform from 2000 forward. The abject failures and taxpayer fleecing schemes are all there in print. But to avoid repeating history, we have to know it. And the forces behind Mayoral Control are counting on large numbers of people not doing their homework and learning their history.

WSDWG

DesperateTimesMeasures said...

"Make no mistake folks: This has nothing to do with performance or outcomes, and everything to do with power and hegemony"

WSDWG is 1000% correct. Seattle's political and business class could not get their darling-Suzanne Dale Estey- into office with a quarter of a million dollars and a PAC that was used to distort Peter's views.

Anonymous said...

WSDWG, come down off your high horse. Did people die for our right to elect the chief of police, comptroller, and fire commissioners? These were all positions that we in Seattle used to vote for and the loss of those didn't diminish the sacrifice that many made to secure and protect democracy here and around the globe. I know damn well the sacrifices our citizens have made. You have no idea what I believe and what this means to me, so just the back the hell down.

My comment regarding the slippery slope has to do with the frequent argument/fallacy that if we lose the right to vote for school board members, it's only a matter of time before we lose the right to vote for city council members, state legislators, and members of Congress. That's referred to as a slippery slope fallacy.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

@swk: I think you're selling snake oil here. Mayoral Control of any fraction is the absolute last thing anyone truly "in the know" would want for our schools. This Board hasn't been given a fair chance from day one, thanks to the Times, the Ed Reformers, and apologists like yourself. It's purely the disenfranchisement of the voting public. It's corrupt, swk, and you shouldn't be pushing it. WSDWG

LiaR said...

The Seattle Times article indicated that Murray woud consider hiring the superintendent and/or other governance changes.

Does anyone remember 1B? Murray swore he wasn't interested in devolving into governance issues. He only wanted to improve outcomes.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Murray is being guided by an agenda and talking points (at least on public education). I'm sure he wouldn't if he didn't believe it.

Anonymous said...

WSDWG, your last several comments are incredibly ignorant and simply dead wrong.

Please identify one instance in this thread (or anything other) when I push the appointment of school board members over their election. I'll save you the time --- you won't find any. In fact, you'll find just the opposite. If you had bothered reading the entirety of this thread, you'd have discovered that.

This is just another instance of your ready-fire-aim approach to debate. I shouldn't be surprised, however. You are clearly omniscient --- not only do you claim to know the facts of any given issue, you are gifted with knowledge of others' intent and motive. You create a nice little narrative in your head and act as if what you've created is the truth. It's fascinating.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

swk uses the right wing memes of ed reform-onsters in swk's hallowed, nobler than us, above the fray, phake great debate style - all so swk can pull out the the great old tricks of telling people their arguments shouldn't be made cuz those arguments don't fit the phake great debate speak of swk.

what I find interesting about this swk pattern is that I've seen it used for decades, and some who use it know exactly what they're doing to censor, and many are just zealously censoring people they disagree with and haven't a clue what I'm talking about.

OhWell

Anonymous said...

OhWell, if it makes you feel better to set me up as some kind of right wing, corporate ed reformist straw man, go ahead. You can believe that as long as you like --- similar to believing that I'm trying to censor you by my commenting on a blog.

The straw man argument and playing the victim are usually winning strategies.

--- swk

AnotherName said...

swk, It appears you've had a very painful episode in your life and I wish you peace.

--Another Name for Today