Last night, the King County Labor Council voted to rescind their dual endorsement for Marty McLaren and Leslie Harris to a sole endorsement for Harris. It appears that Jonathan Knapp played a hand in getting the dual endorsement back in May but McLaren's apparent lack of support for teachers during the strike changed minds. Letter from King County Labor Council to Marty McLaren.
As well, Teamsters Joint Council 28 recently endorsed Harris.
Jill Geary received a unanimous sole endorsement from the 11th district. Six out of seven legislative districts have given her their sole endorsement and the 7th gave her a dual endorsement.
Some of you may recall that in the last school board election, that one candidate made claims that seemed to me to be embellished. I did some investigating and found that yes, she had embellished claims she made at forums.
This has happened again in District #1.
At the Hale High candidate forum last week, Michael Christophersen said that he was working with someone at UW on an NIH
grant that would help provide professional development for teachers
working with Special Education students. He
that it was for $1.5M and he was told that if he didn't get elected, the grant would go away.
did contact UW Communications and Media and they sent me onto the
College of Education. It turns out the person he was working with is Dr. Virginia Berninger. She is well-known in her field of Educational Psychology.
Here's what she had to say in an e-mail to my query on working with Christophersen:
There appears to be a major misunderstanding. One of the aims of the funded grant (and I have no idea where $1.5 million came from because it is not accurate) is professional development of educators to translate research into educational practice. To achieve this aim, I have been working with Mark Ellison Taylor at UW Extension toward developing on line professional
development courses for continuing education credits. The goal is to offer these courses for the first time sometime during winter 2016. But these are open to any educators in the country and are not specific to the Seattle Public Schools.
Of course, schools in Seattle could participate if they were interested by contacting Mark Ellison-Taylor but in no way is this professional development related to the school board election.
I would like to make the facts clear.
1. It is absolutely not true that the grant will not be given if Mr. Christophersen is not elected. In fact, I have made it clear to Mr. Christophersen that I as a public employee cannot get involved in any political campaign. I believe the Seattle Times has endorsed his candidacy but that has nothing to do with the NICHD grant on learning disabilities at UW.
2. As part of the research aims of the funded grant, parents whose children complete our intervention programs are informed that they can invite one or more of their child's teachers to a one-time presentation on strategies for maintaining gains during the coming school year. We also offer pro bono consultation for implementing the recommendations for maintaining gains based on post testing if the school the student attends so wishes to consult with us regarding helping that student. But again this has nothing to do with Mr. Christophersen running for election to the school board.
3. Over the years, students from the Seattle Public Schools (and many other school districts) have participated in the NIH funded research groups on which I have served as P.I. 1989 to 2008, and 2011 to present. Numerous parents in our current study have asked that we share what we are learning with the Seattle Public Schools their children attend. There is a parent group that invited me to speak and I attended and that led to an invitation to return and speak to some administrators in the school district. Recently, Wyatt Jessee, Directed of Special Education, contacted me and told me that his colleague Kerry Hansen will be contacting me in the future. I asked that she wait til December.
When she does, I will tell her about the on line professional development to be offered by Mark Ellison-Taylor's program in UW Extension.
Please know we are willing to share with the Seattle Public Schools and any other schools what we have learned from research funded with public tax payer money.
To summarize, in no way is our grant funding tied to political elections and in no way am I a part of Mr. Christophersen's election campaign. In fact I do not live in Seattle and do not follow election issues specific to Seattle.
I do understand the frustrations and anxiety currently felt by both parents and schools as they struggle to help students succeed in an era of high expectations and I care deeply about helping both parents and educators. But I have to restrict what I do to what is appropriate for a university professor. I hope you can get this resolved with Mr. Christophersen because I do think he sincerely wants to help children. But it has to be done in appropriate ways for all concerned.
I asked Christophersen about this issue and got no reply. It appears that he did talk with Dr. Berninger but it does not seem - from her viewpoint - that he "worked" with her. Nor does it appear that any grant is dependent on his election.
He also claimed that he was being smeared over issues with Sped PTA, said he would provide evidence and did not.