I didn't use those exact words. What I did say is that often the parents of those students who are most impacted by lack of funding - poor, brown, recently immigrated - often don't have the same ability to advocate for their children, because they either don't speak the language or don't know their voices matter.
I queried The Stranger to ask if they felt they have misunderstood/misinterpreted what Jones said. Here's what they say:What I said is that I want to help families who have not had access. Typically, PTA is the platform for engagement in school-based decision-making. I have spent years training educators and community-based organizations on how to more effectively engage those who may not see the PTA as a mechanism with which they feel comfortable. Although I was a PTA member for several years (when I had time), I was the only person of color. There is a reality that the image of the PTA does their business in a certain way...has a reputation for serving soccer moms (not saying that is truth, but that is how many in communities of color perceive PTA).And I wasn't just speaking about SEATTLE. I am speaking based on my personal experience with Seattle, Federal Way, Tacoma, Puyallup, Yakima, Spokane - the places I have spent the most time. On the East Side of our state where there are large migrant communities, PTA doesn't make sense, because adults are often working 2-3 jobs or don't speak enough English to feel comfortable engaging in these kinds of processes. In Spokane, I worked at the poorest school in the district. Getting parents to show up for a meeting of any kind at school took incredible creativity, and our entire neighborhood was poor, so there was not any ability to raise funds, even had their been a PTA.My greatest desire is to educate families who have not been engaged about the importance of funding, about what full-funding means, about how to advocate with their local leaders.
I think Erin’s comments to you jibe with what she said in the interview. I don’t think we misinterpreted anything, and Erin hasn’t said we did.They went on to say this:
When I followed up with you on charter schools, you acted quizzical about where anyone could have gotten the idea that you like them. But you briefly praised the region’s charter schools during our meeting, calling them “fabulous," then backtracked when another candidate objected: “Well, they would say they are fabulous.” You can’t act like no one has a reason to doubt your position on the issue. We just don’t find those concerns overriding or convincing, in the end. You are the best person to lead on racial justice in schools and you also criticized charters, which is why we endorsed you.So there you have it. Like The Stranger, I have my own concerns about Jones and charter schools.
On the one hand, she has a lot of charter supporters in her endorsement/funding. (She also did speak in support of a charter school when it was filing its application but I truly believe she was trying to support a friend who was to be the principal.)
On the other hand, she has said, publicly, that she doesn't like/support charter schools. But, as The Stranger found out, it's hard to gauge how firm that belief is.
I suggest we all follow the campaigns of these candidates and see what else is said. That's why I'm not endorsing in the primary. I just haven't made my mind up.
end of update
Update: Both The Stranger and the Times have endorsed Erin Jones for State Superintendent (for different reasons so both endorsements are good to read.)
But Jones did have a quote at The Stranger that gave me pause:
I'll have to ask her to flesh out that statement because there's a lot said there in just a few words and I don't want to miss her meaning.
Too often, as Jones pointed out, who gets what in our under-resourced schools is determined by wealthy white parents with time on their hands.
end of update
At our very lively discussion on the goings-on at Garfield around "Honors for All," one person stated there was to be a noon rally for HCC parents at Garfield tomorrow. I am working to confirm whether that is true or not.
As well, I had reported that the Washington State Charter Commission had cancelled their July meeting but I just received notice yesterday that they are having a meeting by phone on Wednesday. Here are the details:
CHARTER SCHOOL COMMISSION
SPECIAL MEETING AGENDA
Wednesday, July 13, 2016 │ 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
This will be a Special Meeting that will be accessible by the telephone.
Dial-In-Telephone Number(s): U.S. and Canada:
(800) 245-9874 Access Code: 7784207
1. Call to Order (2:00 pm)
1.1 Roll Call
1.2 Agenda Review
1.3 ESP Contract Requirements
1.3.1 Engrossed Second Substitute Senate Bill 6194 (Charter School Act) (2:05 pm)
1.3.2 Charter School Contract (2:15 pm)
2. Executive Session (2:30 pm)
3. Commission Action Regarding the ESP Contract Between Excel Public Charter School
and Green Dot Washington (3:00 pm)
4. Identify Next Steps (3:15 pm)
5. Commission Adjournment (3:20 pm)
Also to note, Jack Archer from the BOE and Dan Grimm from OSPI are both voting members. I had assumed that Mr. Archer just substituting for someone else and was not a voting member because the minutes of the WCC April meeting reflected that he was not.
In legal news on public education, the AP is reporting that the state of Mississippi is being sued by the Southern Poverty Law Center on behalf of several public school parents against the charter school law in that state. The claim is that the law violates their state constitution over the use of property taxes for schools. There are only two charters in the entire state (both in Jackson where the lawsuit is based) with a new one to open in the fall. Their charter law was enacted in 2013.
Lastly, your primary election ballot will be coming to your mailbox next week sometime. Here's a link to the Washington State election guide (in four languages) and video statements by candidates including those for State Superintendent for Public Instruction.
A quick rundown after viewing the videos:
- many of the candidates have teachers in their families or were themselves teachers
- some have children/family members with disabilities
- many want to cut back on standardized testing
Has a good background as a nurse (13 years in SPS) and at OSPI in health services. She will work for fully-funded schools as well as early learning. Her video was very health-based in its message.
He has been a teacher and bus driver in Washington and California for both traditional and charter schools. He has taught at the Juvenile Justice Center and is a Vietnam vet. He seems to be a Tea Party candidate - doesn't like testing or Common Core, wants to get back to the "principles of liberty" and teaching "computation" and wants boys to be boys and girls to be girls. Mr. Higgins ran in 2012 against Randy Dorn.
An ELL teacher in Kent (she sued the Tahoma School district once.) She has taught early childhood to high school. She doesn't like charters or Common Core. She spent much of her video time telling viewers good books on education to read. She didn't time her video and gets cut off mid-sentence.
For someone I know to be so vivacious in person, she comes off a bit flat. She hit a lot of talking points like zip code not being the determination for success for a student and fully funding schools. She did not mention charter schools. It just didn't resonate as she does in person.
Comes across very energetic and sincere. Wants to work on public education financing and would be one of the few (with David Spring) to have children currently in the public school system. He,too, wants to reduce standardized testing and bring back more CTE (Career and Technical Education, formerly vocational ed.)
Spring is always a direct speaker and said his three foci would be class size, school funding and high stakes testing.
He starts off by saying "If more funding is the answer, then our schools would already be top-notch." He has a PhD in "American Environmental History" and has been a teacher. He said gender identity is not an academic basic and why would it be taught in schools? He said there are too many administrators and not enough teachers in the system.
There appears to be two other candidates but there are no videos of them - KumRoon (Mr. Mak) Maksirisombat, a teacher from Seattle and John Patterson Blair, a former teacher and school board member from Vashon Island.
KumRoon (Mr. Mak) Maksirisombat has been Special Education teacher and ELL teacher and has taught on a reservation. He has worked for SPS for 10 years as a school counselor and has two children in SPS.
Mr. Blair also ran for this office in 2004, 2008 and in 2012 and seems to support vouchers.
It's an interesting group because there are two people who would seem to appeal to many voters in Eastern Washington. The front-runners seem to be Erin Jones and Chris Reykdal but if Eastern Washington could muster up votes for Runte or Higgins, someone could get bumped.
There's a candidate forum for this office next week on Tuesday, July 19th at the New Holly Gathering Hall at 7054 32nd Ave South. Doors open at 5 pm with the event starting at 5:15 pm and ending at 7:30 pm.