Friday, April 29, 2016

KUOW Story on the Mayor's Summit

This story was on KUOW today.
"Perhaps the greatest challenge we face in addressing the opportunity gap is the persistent disparities in our public schools," said Murray, in an statement promoting the event. schools," said Murray, in an statement promoting the event. "This is not just the responsibility of the Seattle school district.
This is clever way for the Mayor to get the City more involved but really he should have said:

"Perhaps the greatest challenge we face in addressing the opportunity gap is the persistent disparities in our city.."

Because that is equally true AND his turf.

About the next steps after the Summit which is the work of the Mayor's Advisory Group:

Banks is on the mayor’s advisory group that will hold a series of meetings after the summit, and draw up a list of recommendations for the mayor. That plan has drawn criticism because the advisory group meetings won’t be open to the public.
And she says the closed-door meetings shouldn’t make people suspicious. 

"It’s really hard to do strategic work if you open it to the public," Banks said. "I hope people will trust us, because I think at the end of the day, all of us, including Mayor Murray, we want the best for all kids in the Seatttle-King County area."
It's hard to know what to say to that.  I will point out that when I was on the Closure and Consolidation Committee, we DID close our final two days of session and some were not happy.  But our committee was going to make real and dramatic recommendations to the superintendent.  Our two days were full 8+ hour days and we worried that people would wander in and out and not have heard all the discussions and lose context.

The Mayor's committee is quite unlikely to anything like all-day sessions and, if this group is anything like the HALA committee which had about 40+ recommendations, then the recommendations are likely to be more suggestions to pick from than actual recommendations.

I'll note that Daniel Beekman over at the Times had a good article this week over how the Mayor said one thing about inclusionary housing and is doing another.  They "rebranded" their housing plan with different wording.  Indeed, the HALA report changed some wording as well around putting in schools on the street floor of any city housing created, from "charter school" to "public school."  I was never able to get anyone to answer who/why charters would have come before any SPS school.

If things are to change for public schools, some of that has to come from the City and where housing is located is one big issue.


Anonymous said...

From today's New York Times - on point - and fascinating.


Anonymous said...

In the case of the old Fire Station #39 site (Lake City), the Low Income Housing Institute will build approximately 70 units of affordable family housing at former Fire Station 39 site, at 12705 30th Ave NE. LIHI is working with the Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning to provide preschool to the families of Lake City on the first floor. It is set to open in Fall 2018.

There is a meeting with LIHI reps and the architect next week, to discuss the plans:

Thursday, May 5, 2016, 6:30 PM - 8 PM at the Seattle Mennonite Church, 3120 NE 125th St in Lake City.

The Fire Station 39 site is within the Olympic Hills attendance area (just west of NE 30th Ave, the (2017) boundary between Olympic Hills and Cedar Park).

-North-end Mom

Melissa Westbrook said...

Thanks, PW, very interesting. I've read about Union City, NJ before; they certainly seem to be doing something right.

Anonymous said...

I view the Mayor's efforts to increase equity with a lot of skepticism.

A year ago I was part of a parent team at the new Jane Addams Middle School trying to ensure that the 700 kids there had some basic safety features as they went to and from school. Realizing that the school had no marked crosswalks around it, we petitioned the City to put in the crosswalks - as well as sidewalks in areas close to the school where kids would have to maneuver around parked cars in heavy traffic. The school has a large percentage of minority and immigrant students, who mainly walk to school.

It took a full year to just get marked crosswalks at the school, although some other improvements were done before that. Meanwhile, Capitol Hill got some fancy colored crosswalks, for adults who already had marked crosswalks. When we were trying to get them to protect poor and minority kids right outside their school, it took much longer.

In a few years, sidewalks might be put in some places around the school.


Anonymous said...

Tagging on to Momof2's post. It should be noted that the Jane Addams building has housed school communities for decades...and it shares an access road with Nathan Hale HS. The lack of sidewalks and safe crosswalks around the school was not a new thing, and is something that the City should have addressed years ago. It shouldn't have to take intense lobbying from school PTAs and administrations to make these types of safety improvements.

Similar issues have surfaced recently for Cedar Park, which was a closed building for about 30 years and opened recently to serve as an interim site for Olympic Hills Es. Apparently, school walk zones are drawn through a joint effort between SPS and the City, though the process is somewhat vague. It was shocking when the first Cedar Park attendance area maps were released with a walk zone that spanned Lake City Way. It took about a year of lobbying to get the walk zone changed so that it didn't cross Lake City Way. It took neighborhood "walks" with State Legislators, School Board Directors, and representatives from City departments (SDOT, DPD) to get the walk zone changed so that kindergartners from the Little Brook and Olympic Hills neigbhorhoods were not expected to walk across Lake City Way to get to school.

There are still issues with the Cedar Park Walk Zone, in that it spans major arterials (35th Ave NE and NE 125th Street) in areas where there are no controlled intersections. There are community members who have recently submitted grant applications to the City for traffic lights, flashing crosswalks, sidewalk improvements, etc... Even if the grants are accepted, there is little hope that these improvements will be made before Cedar Park opens as an attendance area school in September 2017.

I don't understand why the walk zone was drawn the way it was in the first place. Even if there is the possibility of traffic safety improvements being installed sometime in the future, walk zones should be drawn based upon EXISTING pedestrian safety concerns. I do not understand why sidewalks and other transportation safety issues around schools, existing or new, are not a higher priority.

-North-end Mom

Eric B said...

I've been on a closed committee that suggested some unpopular things. It was helpful to have closed sessions where we could vet ideas to see if they were terrible without having immediate press about what jerks we were. That said, with all closed meetings, assumptions were made about what kind of jerks we were.

Some open meetings are a good idea, even if they are only the ones where votes are taken. I think all members of the committee should also be given time in the open meeting to talk about why they like or don't like a proposal.

Transparency Please said...

"Perhaps the greatest challenge we face in addressing the opportunity gap is the persistent disparities in our public schools," said Murray, in an statement promoting the event. schools," said Murray, in an statement promoting the event. "This is not just the responsibility of the Seattle school district."

Murray's statement does not even come close to addressing the potential levy cliff, and the fact that SPS may face a budget gap of $70M next year. If Murray considers appointing a minority to the school board- or being provided the opportunity to hire the superintendent...he can think again.

I did not see Murray advocate for funding in Olympia this year.