Kind of amazing considering that the district has been trying, for literally years and years, to steady and make better the relationship with the Alliance. The district wrote quite a detailed accounting of the issues, which the Alliance answered with their letter including a refutation chart, and now, an op-ed saying how much this partnership means ...to the district.
There was no partnership left. Here's what I said in my comments at the Times:
This is a sad, bittersweet moment. I've been around this district since the Alliance began.
I do remember John Stanford being very proud but the Alliance was there to serve the district, not the serve the Alliance's goals and desires.
I urge readers to read both documents carefully. There are some very striking items to consider.
One is that the district's letter says that not one, not two but three Seattle Public schools' superintendents have had problems with the CEO. That there was talking about one superintendent behind his back. If three very different superintendents have a problem with just one other person, maybe the problem isn't at the district. You have to wonder with all this public talk of losing superintendents, if the bad relations there with one of the district's biggest partners, the Alliance, might not have played into that.
The Alliance has tried to control the Board's retreats (and had been for awhile) by organizing the day AND creating the agenda. It's not the Alliance's job to decide what the Board talks about at its retreats.
The so-called "Our Schools Coalition?" What exactly have they done? Nothing visible except take the work of an earlier group and create their group. Ask the League of Education Voters for that story. Or the League of Women Voters. Or the Seattle Council PTSA. Or CPPS. They were all at the table when it happened.
What else did the district have problems with? Lack of clear understanding about the lines of communication between the Alliance and district personnel and keeping the Superintendent in the loop. Raising the amount of money that the Alliance makes off of managing PTA school funds (they charge 7.5%).
"Seattle Public Schools administrators have a unique opportunity to seize this moment and double down on building strong working ties with partners who are positioned to help. Now is precisely the wrong time to push community partners away."
Actually this a great time for the district to maintain control over ITS vision. There are enough people - the Gates Foundation, the Alliance, the Mayor, etc. - chiming in about "what" the district should be doing. The Board and the Superintendent are the people elected and hired to do this work.
As well, there are many community groups willing to partner in a collaborative manner. In fact, maybe a new group will spring up and be the real partner the district needs.
The district made the right call on this one.